It took United TWENTY business days to respond to my original letter. TWENTY. Okay, nineteen if they were off on MLK Day.
Given the amount of time it took to receive a response, I expected more than what I got:
Dear Mrs. Brackbill:
I apologize for our delay in responding. We’re experiencing a higher
volume of e-mail than normal and we’re working on responding as quickly
as possible. Your correspondence just now came across my desk.
I very much regret learning of your disappointment and discomfort on
Flight 1502 and welcome the opportunity to address your concerns.
We believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity
and respect and we weave this philosophy into everything we do. There is
never an excuse for unprofessional behavior, and I am very sorry this
was your experience of the services received from our flight attendant.
Mrs. Brackbill, I realize my apology cannot erase what happened. I
hope it helps to know we take your concerns very seriously. It was
especially helpful that you were able to capture the flight attendant’s
name. Please be assured your comments will be forwarded to appropriate
senior management within Inflight Crew Services for internal review and
necessary corrective action.
We understand the value of your decision to fly with us and assure you
we will make every effort to leave you with a better impression when we
again have the privilege of serving you. I ask that you accept my
apology and allow us that opportunity.
We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a
future United Airlines flight.
By no means did I write this expecting anything in return. I wrote it because we were treated wrongly and the flight attendant needed to be corrected. However, in the past, people have complained about much more trivial things and were offered vouchers, miles, etc., so I am very surprised that an apology (read: form letter with my name inserted) is the best that United could do.
Also, given that this was so clearly a form letter, I cannot believe it took them twenty business days to respond to it. Their customer care team is likely sizeable; and it takes ten minutes or less to write an email/fill in the blanks in a form letter. If my assumptions are correct, that means that they have THOUSANDS of unhappy customers who are all writing in their complaints.
Needless to say, I will think twice before flying with United in the future.