United Airlines is offering passengers affected by one-week delays and cancellations 30,000 frequent flyer miles following a bumpy recovery and a series of bad publicity.
“I know this has been a difficult week,” United wrote in an email from Chief Customer Officer Linda Jojo on Saturday to affected passengers, and obtained by TPG. “Severe weather, air traffic control issues and some of our own operational challenges have led to a difficult experience for you and many of our customers.”
Severe thunderstorms caused widespread disruption to travel Last weekend, however, United fared far worse than other US airlines as it led to cancellations and delays in the days following the inclement weather.
Due to the thousands of cancellations and delays reported by United during the week, thousands of travelers have been abandoned at airports across the country, jostling for relief flights ahead of July 4, reported as one of the busiest travel weekends on record.
According to United, the email was sent to customers with trips between June 24 and June 30 who were delayed overnight or whose flights were canceled.
United told TPG via email: “Customers will receive a follow-up email later next week with simple steps to automatically add 30,000 miles to their account (existing MileagePlus members will have a path, non- MP members will receive instructions on how to sign up and receive their miles).”
United initially blamed the Federal Aviation Administration for the disruptions, but the carrier also faces staffing issues, with its Association of Flight Attendants-CWA chapter reporting long wait times for scheduling.
To add fuel to the fire, Kirby also chartered a private jet from Teterboro Airport to Denver as the Chicago-based carrier struggled to restore operations. United said it failed to pay for Kirby’s flight.
Kirby apologized for flying on a private jet as United faced operational issues in a note sent to staff.
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“Taking a private jet was a bad decision as it was unresponsive to our customers waiting to get home,” he wrote.
As of Saturday afternoon, United appeared to be on the road to recovery, totaling 523 delays and 56 cancellations, according to FlightAware. Still, 19% of its Saturday flights were delayed by 4:48 p.m. ET, with most of those delays again coming from its Newark hub.
“Providing these miles is the right thing to do,” Kirby wrote in the email to passengers. “After all, you trust us and expect more.” Customers will receive a follow-up email on how to claim miles.
United told TPG: “This gesture is in addition to the many other ways we are helping our customers whose travel has been impacted this week, including: providing hotel and dining vouchers, providing convenience carts with snacks and beverages, and give customers future travel credits and miles.”
Interestingly, United is not suggesting it would reimburse all affected customers for costs incurred during the collapse, as southwest made after a similar Christmas mess.
“This has been one of the most operationally challenging weeks I have experienced in my entire career,” Kirby wrote to employees in a memo. first reported by CNBC.