Compensation Clinic Update: Delayed United Airlines Flight Causing Missed Star Alliance Connection

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We have an update to a Compensation Clinic a case I wrote about two weeks ago, involving a readers journey that included a United Airlines connection flight that was delayed and caused him a misconnect.

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The original article about said compensation case can be found here, basically what happened was that the reader had to overnight at Newark Airport on his own expense because the United agent who also issued the replacement ticket incorrectly refused to provide a hotel voucher following a misconnect due a delayed United flight from Atlanta.

United Airlines issued the customer a transportation voucher of US$250 which our reader wasn’t really happy with with considering the circumstances and the fact that he paid the hotel personally in cash. During irregular operations such as this the airline should cover the hotel and dinner/breakfast expenses incurred. The $250 in voucher is pretty much no compensation for the inconvenience of the case, just. 1:1 voucher reimbursement.

I suggested to our reader to reply again and request at least a US$500 travel certificate or 35,000 United Airlines miles. I also urged that he files a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation to give the matter another strong push into the right direction. He did so and got a positive reply from United to at least offer a slightly higher transportation voucher:

Thank you again for taking time to let us know about your recent experience with United Airlines.

An Electronic Travel Certificate has been issued to **** ****** (Mileage Plus CV******) valid towards the purchase of one electronic airline ticket, where eligible, on United up to $375.00.
Redemption information – Total Value: $375.00

First they issued him a separate $125 certificate which however can’t be combined, requiring the passenger to purchase at least two tickets. While the initial customer service representative refused to issue ONE certificate for $375 instead of two ($250 + $125) the reader (on my advise) wrote an email to United Managing Director for Customer Experience Sue Sabow. After this the certificates were combined and issued as one item.

Conclusion

Never accept an airline to ‘low ball’ you in a compensation case especially if your complaint is legitimate and you incurred real expenses. If necessary escalate it to senior management of the airline such as an Executive Vice President or the CEO’s office. Of course these people won’t read it personally but it get the attention of their personal assistants who urge someone to take care of this customer.

In this case escalating the matter brought a 50% increase in compensation and $375 is a decent discount. The advantage is that United electronic travel certificates can be used partially for many tickets or all at once plus they are transferable. The downside is that codeshare and partner flights can not be purchased with it.

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