New U.S. Senator Blasts United Airlines, Posts His MileagePlus Number To Twitter

First-term U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) got frustrated with United Airlines and tweeted out his boarding pass, complete with reservation number and MileagePlus number. After pointing out the mistake, since anyone could take that reservation and change it, or use it to social engineer additional information from the airline, he deleted the tweet and replaced it with a poorly-redacted one.

Vance had blasted United Airlines for something that airline passengers are frustrated with all the time – the failure to update customers in a timely manner. In this case the plane hadn’t yet boarded at the scheduled boarding time, but was still showing as though it would. The flight from Houston to Cincinnati ultimately departed a little over an hour late, and arrived nearly two hours late.

Ironically, United Airlines is generally better about providing plain-language updates to customers about delays than other airlines are. American, for instance, is notorious for rolling delays where they only update departure times once the previous time passes, and for failing to update impossible departure times – such as boarding times that can’t be met because no aircraft is yet at the gate.

Passengers get frustrated because they wind up going to the gate and standing around rather than relaxing in an airport restaurant or club lounge. Mostly, though, they’re frustrated because they feel powerless in the absence of information. And U.S. Senators do not like to feel powerless, especially wealthy former venture capitalists.

However not tweeting out your MileagePlus number seems like something that ought to be covered in new Senator orientation, as noted by Josh Barro who flagged the story.

This actually seems pretty basic, and something that would be ingrained in the minds especially of Republicans after Ted Cruz’s flight details were leaked by United Airlines staff after the Texas congressman fled to Cancun during his home state’s historic February 2021 that saw constituents without power for days with significant consequences. He’d claimed only to be escorting his family there with an intention to return right away, when in fact his original reservation (and fully packed rollaboard) suggested that returning to Texas only became the plan when he faced significant criticism for the decision to fleet.

Still, Vance has a reasonable beef and it’s something we all share from time to time. And if you’re a new United States Senator you get to play out all of your airline revenge fantasies – oversight hearings!

Most of us, by contrast, have a harder time getting the attention of airline customer service – let alone an airline’s CEO. Scott Kirby to the white courtesy phone!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. J.D. needs to talk to Supreme Court Justice Thomas and get a TX sugar daddy to lend him his private jet, or maybe his billionaire buddy Peter Thiel to do the same. Geez

  2. Nice try, no way a tough proud boy like Vance is going to get bullied into woke virtue-signaling like “don’t tweet your flight info”

  3. Thank god Democrats don’t do this. It’d be much better if we simply banned other opinions.

  4. So we want more of his type from the trump camp running the country. . .I think not. Idiot.

  5. Well, if he were not such a hillbilly he would have known to download the free UA app and opted in through it to get updated on flight status (he would then likely have complained that the updates were too frequent, especially if the flight kept being delayed).

  6. @DCS: Same problem in the app. And the Yale Law School degree, whatever its shortcomings, is JD, not Hillbilly.

  7. The hillbilly references are very clearly a reference to Sen. Vance’s published book titled Hillbilly Elegy.

  8. A Republican stupidly lashing out in a self-destructive manner. I can already see the MAGAs lining up to vote for him for President.

  9. Wow. If he can get his knickers in a twist over this, wait until he finds out there are no pre-departure drinks.

  10. I love how democrats now are all of a sudden pro big business. In the past, they’d be lining up behind Vance to take these types of shots at a big, monopolistic corporation with horrible customer service. But now, they bash the person who says it just because he thinks #OrangeLivesMatter.

  11. @Thing 1: No knickers in a twist, Thing, although you may want to get an appointment for that ADD. Even Gary acknowledges that airlines are really bad about updating passengers, despite his glaring political bias.

  12. There is something good to be said about a politician who flies with the common folk though.

  13. @DCS: Same problem in the app. And the Yale Law School degree, whatever its shortcomings, is JD, not Hillbilly.

    — L3

    I am not sure what you mean by “same problem in the app”. What problem is that?

    Yup, a Yalie who penned “Hillbilly Elegy” and became a hillbilly 😉

  14. Who would of guessed the liberal mob would be blowing up the message board about a mistake. We spent trillions of dollars and caused out of control inflation but look a member of the opposition party tweeted out a picture of his mileage number…He is so dumb. To counter this ignorant racist injustice we should spent $10 trillion more on climate change or the whole world is going end in 12 years!!

  15. @DCS: He was born to extremely humble circumstances but overcame them through his own efforts to graduate from Yale Law School.

    Note the order of events.

    Read his book, then read it again until you understand it.

  16. @L3 — The book would be trivial to understand. The tough part to understanding about the guy, as a fellow Ivy Leaguer (didn’t go there, just teach there), is his embrace of TFG and MAGA…

  17. @DCS:
    “The tough part to understanding about the guy, as a fellow Ivy Leaguer (didn’t go there, just teach there), is his embrace of TFG and MAGA…”

    You believe? Uncritically swallowing what CNN told you. If you teach college I hope your research is more critical or you may owe your students a refund for delivering a defective product.

  18. @L3 — Please do not insult both of our intelligence with the “uncritically swallowing what CNN told me” garbage. I do not watch CNN, though not because it’s bad journalism. I do not watch Faux News either, but in this case it’s definitely because it is not journalist. Nevertheless, I am sure that if I did watch Faux News, the hillbilly’s MAGA affiliation and tight embrace of TFG would be just as manifest, if not more so.

    With over 150 peer-reviewed publications, my students are getting a tested and proven product.

    We’re done here.

  19. @DCS: “Nevertheless, I am sure that if I did watch Faux News, the hillbilly’s MAGA affiliation and tight embrace of TFG would be just as manifest, if not more so.”

    If you are not simply lying then you are clearly not listening or trying to learn what J.D. Vance believes and has, very articulately, said. There is a reason the two most popular candidates in the 2016 election, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, were both saying the same thing. The self-serving elite of commenters, university professors, and other windbag non-producers was totally out of touch with the country. That is why we see them approving of such things as higher crime rates and lower police numbers.

  20. L3,

    Very articulate indeed.

    Vance 1.0: “I’m a Never Trump guy,” Vance said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2016, “I never liked him.” “My god what an idiot,” he wrote, referring to Trump. He also referred to him as “America’s Hitler.”

    Vance 2.0: “J.D. is a strong supporter of President Trump.”

  21. There is a reason the two most popular candidates in the 2016 election, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, were both saying the same thing

    FYI: Sanders did not win the nomination, and Trump is, well, “The Former Guy”, having been tossed out of office after just one term, and is the first ever twice-impeached and indicted US “president”.

    As for me simply “lying”, here’s just one of many thoroughly sourced news stories on the MAGA conversion/b> of the hillbilly in his own words:

    J.D. Vance on His MAGA Conversion: Trump’s man in Ohio once called him “America’s Hitler,” but there’s an explanation.” NY Mag 22 April 2022

    Six years ago, J.D. Vance was a vocal Never Trumper, once going so far as suggesting Donald Trump could be “America’s Hitler” in a private Facebook message to a law school friend. This week he got Trump’s blessing in Ohio’s Republican primary for Senate, which he’ll receive in person during a rally on Saturday.

    “I think there are so many reasons I was wrong about Trump, but I’m happy that I was wrong about Trump,” Vance said by phone on Thursday, while driving to a campaign town-hall meeting in Findlay, Ohio. His opponents have attacked him as a flip flopper and painted him as an opportunist and a secret RINO, but he brushed off the criticism by portraying himself as an honest convert compared to others in the party. “Something our voters respond to on the campaign trail is being told the truth,” he said. “‘Yeah I had one beef six years ago and I have a different view today, this is why it changed’ is a hell of lot better than trying to pretend that you didn’t say something you said.”

    The internet is ubiquitous, free and loaded with information. You can see the light by turning off Faux News and getting information from any of many legitimate news sources. However, with your MAGA blinders firmly on, I doubt that any light is likely to get through, so this is futile exercise.


  22. @DCS: Sanders got the votes. He was robbed by the corrupt Democratic machine that wanted crooked Clinton.

    Read Vance’s book — then you will have some facts for that discussion.

    Hope the crime you created by letting criminals free affects you personally.

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