Online report of the Progressive Review. For 53 years, the news while there's still time to do something about it.
April 11, 2017
Why i left United Airlines
Tim Wu, New Yorker-Modern American corporations rarely degrade service in bold, attention-getting ways. Rather, it is a kind of suffering by a thousand cuts, each individually unnoticeable but collectively defeating. On the “new” United, seats got smaller as the airline jammed more people into the same tube; upgrades, to escape the sardine effect, seemed to become harder to book. The number of boarding groups began to resemble something like a caste system; “change fees,” which have always been outrageous, grew higher (two hundred dollars for domestic, three hundred dollars for international), while baggage fees soared to as high as a hundred dollars. The cross-country flights somehow seemed to all be on old, broken-down planes, while gate agents and flight attendants all just seemed crabbier. Yet, I remained, through the indignities, the outrages, and the general descent into lousiness.
I suppose that everyone has his breaking point. For me, it was while trying to pre-board an overcrowded flight to Miami with a noisy baby in my arms, only to be ordered back in line by a curt agent. At that moment, I realized that United had quietly eliminated the traditional practice of pre-boarding “passengers with small children,” choosing to favor a few élite fliers over the convenience of everyone else. United spokesman Charles Hobart would describe the new boarding policy as an improvement: “We figured it would be better to simplify that process and reduce the number of boarding groups.”