At United, Abuse is a Feature — And You Pay More For It

United reportedly locked the World’s Biggest Rabbit in a freezer for hours and them cremated it without permission. They shoved a 71 year old man to the ground and threatened to take all his miles. And that doesn’t even get us to David Dao. Yet they’re still making money.

Unconcerned about brand or how customers experience their product, they’ve aggressively rolled out Basic Economy fares that take their existing lowest prices and make the passenger experience worse: no advance seat assignments, board last, and can’t bring on a carry on bag.

United seems to be learning that customers really want the abuse. It’s what United passengers value most and will pay for. Perhaps that’s why Basic Economy can be more expensive than first class. (HT: Greg R.)

Domestic first class is fine, but if you really want the United Experience(tm) abuse and all you’re going to have to pay extra for it.

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. UA expired my MP miles a few weeks ago, a shopping transaction apparently hadn’t posted. They were very unhelpful about it, telling me to get the shopping site (cartera, i assume) to post the missing miles and then call them back. Shopping told me they couldn’t find the transaction, even with my screenshot from March, and told me sorry but there was nothing they could do. I emailed them back, that UA had killed my miles over this, they very nicely posted a handful of miles reflecting the purchase. Called UA back, they apparently have a process that, weekly, sweeps accounts looking for problems like this. Fingers crossed it finds this and reinstates my miles…if it were a balance under 50k I’d have gladly just let them go and gone on my way to another airline, I hate dealing with UA….

  2. Do you just not have anything else to write about and are bored enough on a Friday night to write this garbage? This contributes nothing to any conversation. You’ve gone on at length about how awful united is, etc. nobody comes to this site looking to hear just another rehash of a horse you’ve beaten to death. Honestly, I’m done with this site.

  3. Gary-Running with half a story and an old story at that. Most of the time I enjoy your blog, then you feel compelled once a week to go off on UA. The rabbit story again? Do you know all the facts? Did you have access to a necropsy that were unaware of? Ever consider that breeding giant rabbits might come with some genetic abnormalities that might have caused the rabbit to expire?

  4. @CJ: How the hell has this got anything to do with Trump, you moron?

    Christ, you mad-lefties are abhorrent to me, you cannot help yourselves. This shit with UA was going on long before our President’s term began but somehow you associate our President with this. Is there anything you people won’t stop at? This is Gary’s blog, on travel.

    I suppose you’ll link President Trump somehow to the cyclones in TX. It’s his fault.

    Man, if you don’t like it, leave. Pack up and get the hell out. Go to Canada, they have a mad-leftie currently running that joint into the ground. Go for it. You can get all the handouts you want and not have free speech snowflake.

    Th USA is better off without people of your type. Get out. Bugger off. We’re sick of your bleating and whinging and whining. And give yourself an almighty upper-cut while you are it fool, save me from having to come and do it for you.

    You’e a dickhead.

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