Southwest Rocks; United Sucks

I know today is supposed to be a beauty day, but I just returned from Florida over Thanksgiving break and I have the biggest peeve against United Airlines.  And what better way to vent than on my blog!  Watch out!!  Don’t these people know how quickly their reputation can sour if a consumer posts something online and spreads it to the 1,000+ page views I get a day?? (and this is NOTHING!  Imagine if I had 10,000+ views a day like a friend’s blog!)

Anyway, to save costs, I flew two airlines.  First, I flew Southwest out to Orlando.  That flight was a dream!  No issues, and very nice flight attendants (in fact, such hip and cool flight attendants that for about 5 minutes I wondered if I should abandon my marketing career and become a flight attendant and fly the world all over courtesy of Southwest Airlines).  Best of all, cost of traveling with Buster (who is 4 pounds and thus a cabin pet) was $75.00.  That is by-far the cheapest rate I’ve been quoted by ANY airline.  Oh yeah, also, no fees to check in bags.  I didn’t have to check in a bag on this trip, but if I did, it wouldn’t cost me a dime!  Woohoo!  Go Southwest – I am sold and a total fan.  And I almost forgot – they actually offered peanuts.  Yay – an actual snack in economy.  Need to remember this moving forward that Southwest rocks.

Fast forward to today on my return trip back to California via United Airlines.

Error #1

I have an 8:00am flight with a layover in Denver.  My brother, who is flying AirTran, also has an 8:00am flight back to Boston.  So, we leave the resort at 6:10am to ensure plenty of time of returning the rental car and checking in without hassle.  When I get to the ticket counter at United at about 6:45am, the agent informs me that my flight leaves at 7:19am and they are boarding in 5 minutes and I can still make it since I don’t have a bag to check.  What???!!  I show her my printout clearly marked with the 8:00am time, and she says, United has the right to change their flight time whenever they want.  Fine, but why the hell didn’t United text or e-mail to let me know of this schedule change?  I’m lucky I got to the airport when I did; otherwise I would have totally missed my flight.

Error #2

Upon boarding the plane to California from Denver, the nasty agent scanning my boarding pass tells me that I need to gate-check my carry-on bag. 

Me: Umm… why?? 

Agent: Because you have 2 bags + a purse.

Me: That additional bag is my dog, which I’ve paid $125.00 additional.

Agent: It doesn’t matter.  He still counts as a bag.

Me: That doesn’t make any sense.  I travel with him all the time and he has never counted as a carry-on bag.

Agent:  Well, he does.

Me: Then if he counts as my carry-on, refund me the $125.00.

Agent:  No.  You still have to pay to transport the dog.

Me:  If I knew this, then I would have brought a larger suitcase.  I purposely packed light so I could have a carry-on and not deal with a checked bag.  (UGH!!!!!)

Anyway, we go back and forth on this (and for all of you who know me, you know I must have been really annoyed to have kept this argument going).  Other passengers are looking at me with sympathy because they too know that this is the most inane argument.  Finally, another agent steps in and says, “Can you fit your purse in your carry-on?  That way you’ll only have 2 bags."  So, I unzip my carry-on, fit my rather large purse into my suitcase with no issues, and then continue to board the plane.  So ridiculous!  By the way, there is a $25.00 fee for a checked bag on United.

Error #3

$125.00 to transport a carry-on dog one-way???  Is United bleeding dry and just trying to rape all their customers every which way possible to salvage themselves?  Even American, who I fly most often and usually has the most outrageous charges, only charges $100.00 to transport a dog.

On a positive note, (and here’s the beauty part of my beauty post for today!), I was very happy to find a travel size of Rusk shampoo.  Sometimes the best brands are unavailable in mini sizes, but I found the Rusk at the local Publix grocery store, and thus was ensured gorgeous, volumized hair for all of Thanksgiving in Florida!

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