An Open Letter to the F*cks That Run United Airlines


I’m not a spazzy person, I truly am not. I am in possession of an Irish temper, but I usually manage to hold it at bay and wait till I can unleash it on my blog. I usually try to remember that the person standing in front of me is not responsible for the decisions that are currently pissing me off. Rather, they are underpaid minions of the Man, and I should cut them a break.

Usually. Not so this past Sunday. I arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport with plenty of time to catch my 2:30 p.m. flight. I get in line to check my bag. Granted, it’s a big bag, but I was in no way prepared for this:

United Airlines Worker: “Ma’am. Your bag is 11 pounds over the limit.”

Me: “I wasn’t aware there was a limit. Thanks for letting me know. And?” (I knew there was an ‘and’. I figured he wasn’t telling me on the off chance that I needed to know this information in case there was scenario where this particular jem of knowledge could save my life.)

UAW: “That’s a $125 overweight bag fee.”

Me: blinkblinkblink. “$125? For 11 pounds?”

UAW: “Unless you have a bag that you want to put some of the stuff from here into.”

Me: “Do I LOOK like I have a bag? I have a purse, a lap top, and this swanky new hat I bought on Michigan Avenue. I don’t think the hat is big enough to fit eleven pounds worth of my dirty clothes.”

UAW: “I can give you a bag.” He then proceeds to pull out a plastic garbage bag roughly the size of a baby elephant. “You can put some stuff in here!”

Me: balks. “Um, I’m not trying to sound like a snob, but see, I’m sort of trying this whole girlie thing, and while I’m not 100% sure, I think that clashes with my jacket. In other words, I am not lugging a giant plastic garbage bag around the airport.”

UAW: “Oh, you can’t take it carry-on, you have to check it.”

Me: “For another $20?”

UAW: “Oh, no. Second checked bag fee is $40.”

Me: “So let me get this straight. I have to pay $40 for the PRIVLEGE of yanking out my guchies in the middle of the airport, stuffing them into a PLASTIC BAG, checking this plastic bag, trusting YOUR AIRLINE to get a PLASTIC BAG safely into Pittsburgh without splitting open, thereby tossing my new bra and panty sets all asunder? That is what you want me to do?”

UAW: “Yes.”

Me: “I will pay the $125.”

So, Mr. United Airlines, I was already not happy with you. Then I get to my gate. It was patently clear there were too many people there for the flight. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was at my gate, or if you were giving away free money. There were that many people there.

My ticket said confirmed seat, please check in at the gate for seating assignment. So I dutifully get in line and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. The plane starts boarding. Me and about 11 other people are still waiting. The two women behind the counter were desperately asking for volunteers to give up their seats, as this flight was overbooked.

No shit. A few brave souls standing around me ventured up to the front of the line, only to be snapped at to step back! Our names hadn’t been called yet. They announce final boarding. Up until this point, I truly believed I was getting on this plane.

I had been gone for six days.

I missed my kid.

I missed my dogs.

I missed my house, my life, my bed. I wanted to go home.

Tears started welling up in my eyes. TEARS, Mr. United Airlines. I quickly stuffed my more delicate feelings down into that deep, dark space where I keep half of my family members, and started to boil.

We were a rather rowdy group of eleven, as the stressed-out counter attendant tried to explain that we had involuntarily failed to board. Which somehow makes it sound like it was our fault, doesn’t it? Well it WASN’T our fault Mr. United Airlines. It was YOURS.

I had booked this flight three weeks out. I was at the airport a full hour and a half before my flight. I just paid an obscene amount of money to have my bag checked. I have a kid and dogs and I want to see them and who the fuck do you think you are to overbook your flights to the point of RIDICULOUSNESS!!??

Sisterfriend behind the counter didn’t know it, but she was about to get it.  When it was finally my turn at the counter, I unleashed a verbal fury that I didn’t even I know I was capable of. And I have unleashed some verbal furies. I made her cry. Am I proud about this? No. Did it make me feel better? No. Again, I’m going to go ahead and blame you, Mr. United Airlines, for making that poor woman cry.

I then proceeded to NOT get on the next two flights out of O’Hare, and finally sank my tired ass into first class on the 9:15 p.m. flight. A full 8.5 hours after I arrived at the airport. I got home at midnight on Sunday. Too late to see my kid. Who I hadn’t seen in six days. As I was travelling for work. Because I need a job to support above mentioned kid.

In conclusion, Mr. United Airlines, you suck. Your baggage check fees suck, your policy of overbooking your flights to the tune of over ten people sucks. If I could bottle up how bad you suck, I could sell it on the street as Giant Suck Juice.

Thanks for the round trip ticket you gave me for my ‘trouble’. Again, making it sound like this is all somehow my fault. I probably won’t use it, because that would mean flying your sucky airline again, something I have vowed to never do.

I hate you.





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7 responses to “An Open Letter to the F*cks That Run United Airlines

  1. I still remember when it was fun to fly. You didn’t have to worry about assorted crazy fees, you could stop your car near a curb at PGH, you could get through security in less than four hours, and airlines treated you like a customer. Now you’re nothing more than an ATM. They want money, money, money, and when they’re done getting that, they like to kick you.

    Sorry you had to deal with so much suck. 😦

  2. I have had a problem every single time I have flown out of O’Hare – overbooked flights, canceled flights, lost luggage, and my favorite – one that was delayed by 30 minutes over and over again – just a short delay that means you can’t leave the gate and go anywhere, and then when it’s time to board, ANOTHER 30 minute delay. 7 times total.

  3. The little Lion's mom

    I wonder if they count all of those extra flights they give away as progress when they tout how many people fly United compared to other airlines. Wait. That would require counting, which they are not capable of.
    Never mind.

  4. My boyfriend lives in Louisiana, so I have become very intimate with Pgh International and its assorted airlines in the last 4 years. They suck. All of them. The only one I have never had a problem with is Southwest, but I never fly them because their advertisments of cheap flights are all a lie.
    The last 3 times I flew down there to see him they lost my bag for a day. The best story being me flying from Pittsburgh, laying over in Atlanta and then flying into New Orleans Intrnt’l.

    My bag ended up in Akron.

    I still have Delta saved in my cell as “Fucking Airlines”

  5. How unbelievably mind-scrambling. I’ll tell you, just based on your story, I won’t fly on United again. And I won’t bring anything more with me that a toothbrush, a contact lens case, a pair of underwear and a crossword puzzle book.

  6. Umm, LOVE this post. United sucks. I fly Frontier and Midwest and I’ve never had problems like this. Though I’ve seen them overbook and ask people to give up their seats… I just don’t know if there are any airlines who don’t do it. Boo on them!!!

    Great post, again… I loved it.

  7. Lisa

    You are so dead on about airlines and their mountains of suck! recently i witnesses an attendant pull the door out of a passenger’s hand and slam it-refusing to allow her to board. the passenger arrived at a dead run-and got to the door just as the desk girl was closing it. The desk girl looked her in the eye and slammed it.
    The poor girl was in tears-her flight was late-they told her to run to catch it…It was 10PM. I sent her to the next gate to talk to them… (F-ing AMAZINGLY) IT WORKED! The supervisor came over, unlocked the door and let her board.

    My personal suck story took place in Tampa. I was coming home for the holidays. I arrived at 5AM (yes, before dawn) for a 9AM flight. I MISSED My Flight (DELTA SUCKS) because I had my dog-who I paid $100 in advance to get on the plane with me-and they refused to allow me to check in via th kiosk. that meant I had to stand in line-ONE SINGLE SOLITARY PERSON ON THE BIGGEST TRAVEL DAY OF THE YEAR!!!!! They were boarding a charter flight..and refused to allow anyone to check in who “required” a real person until it was done..and the 50 people in front of me all missed THEIR flights-causing a back up while the airline scrambled to put them on another filght. i stood in line for 6 hours (yes 6 hours with a dog) just to check in.
    I tried everything beforehand-asking them to at least allow the people who still had time to make flights to check in….calling DELTA directly…anything and everything. Nope… I literally was given a seat on the very last flight out..and I got the 2nd to last available seat. (there were over 100 people behind me) Good thing i have a very good dog.
    I think the worse thing is…she is so good I wouldn’t have had to even tell them I had her…no one on the plane knew a dog was in the bag until I got off..and asked where I could take her to do her business. No one.

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