An Open Letter to Continental/United

Below is an open letter to Continental/United that I submitted through their online form. My experience with their reservations system, their customer service telephone line, website and representatives were pretty horrendous. Worse still was the inability of Continental to fix admit their own mistake, apologize and make it right. I did eventually make it home to Baton Rouge, but it was after an extremely frustrating, migraine-inducing experience.

Dear United/Continental Airlines,

I’ll try to give you a summary here, but I was told by a Continental representative that my flight log says it all and that someone will surely call me:

When I tried to check in online on October 30, Continental’s site told me my itinerary was cancelled. See the attached documents (not posted online to omit personal information). I tried calling Continental and United. I tried e-mailing through the online form. I tried Facebook. I tried Twitter. No response.

When we showed up yesterday morning, the extremely curt, impatient representative at the Continental check-in counter, Jim (last name excluded for online version), informed me that yes, my itinerary was cancelled on the first leg of our trip last week from BTR to IAD when they had to move us to American Airlines (there was a mechanical failure on the Continental flight on which we were booked) so that we would still reach D.C., on the day of our scheduled travel.

He informed me he could not get me on a flight that day and I would just have to wait, even though it was Continental’s fault. Eventually he sent me to Reagan International for a different flight, separating me from my boyfriend.

A woman at Reagan in Continental later informed me that this is a major issue and I should complain. She said that this happens to many people now because of the merger and the airlines (referencing Continental and United) don’t talk to one another.

I spoke to a Continental Customer Service representative when I got to Houston who then informed me that the Continental representative in D.C., hadn’t actually booked me for the connecting flight and I wouldn’t make it to BTR that day — there was a weight restriction on the flight. Again, no issue with my boyfriend’s ticket. I was put on standby.

Only by the grace of another passenger getting stuck on the train did I actually get on that flight.

Throughout the entire process I found only one Continental employee to be kind and apologetic. I am a small-framed woman and was more shaken than angry (verging on tears rather than raising my voice).

There was no reason for the rude, short demeanor of many of the Continental employees, especially considering that the issue was not of my doing but Continental’s.

Throughout this entire experience, all I really needed to hear was an apology from someone. Now, I am furious, exhausted and extremely burned by Continental.

I would like to know that some has read this, and I would like a response. I hate to say that I want some sort of compensation for this experience, but given the circumstances, I do feel it is fitting. Please make this right.

Olivia Watkins

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