When United Airlines sent Amrita Deshmukh a $75 certificate after a recent flight, she was delighted by the airline’s goodwill gesture. But when the certificate didn’t work, and United refused to help her, it cast serious doubts on the airline’s good will.
Her story — and its surprise ending — offer an important lesson to airline passengers who are traveling at a time when generosity is thought to be in short supply in the airline industry: Behind every “no” from a customer service representative, there may be a “yes” from a supervisor.
Here’s what happened to Deshmukh:
I recently received from United Airlines Customer Relations a Goodwill Electronic Certificate of amount $75. As per its rules I tried to redeem it on the Web site.
I got the error “This promotion code has been used the maximum number of times.” In fact, I had NOT used this voucher. I didn’t share it with my friends or family members, either. So the error message is definitely some kind of mistake in either their site or database.
I called United Airlines customer service, and they only repeated what I already knew: that the certificate has been used before. They were not able to tell me who used the certificate or when the certificate was used.
So I am very disappointed with United Airlines, and I am starting to believe that the certificate that was issued was just a bogus one in the first place.
United’s customer service department should have tried to figure out how to get Deshmukh another certificate, particularly since this was a “goodwill” certificate that was presumably given to her for a service problem.
But isn’t that how it goes? You reach the first level of customer service and no one can help.
I recommended that Deshmukh take it to a higher level at United. She did.
I used one of the contacts on your site, and the problem was solved. They sent me a $100 certificate.
Lesson? Sometimes it’s necessary to appeal your case to a higher authority. The case of the non-working “goodwill” certificate should have been a no-brainer for the folks on the front lines, but remember — you can always appeal.