Divine Calm: United Airlines is a scumbag.

« Home | A random act of kindness in Texas » | My Christmas with 2 Casts » | Viewers' Choice » | Happy Holidays  » | Christmas at the Statehouse  » | I miss the sun  » | Coffee with a touch of cynicism » | My Addiction » | Silver  » | Is it just me, or does this season sometimes suck?... »

12.14.2005

United Airlines is a scumbag.

Having a mother with only one arm, I have always been aware how difficult it is for disabled people to open doors and turn on water faucets in public places. I also have noticed adults staring at my mom in grocery stores and especially at swimming pools. (To that lady in the Florida Denny's who loudly pointed using her piece of bacon to my mother while making comments to her son: "SHAME ON YOU!"). Due to witnessing these events over the years, I'm not usually shocked by humanity's inability to put themselves in another's shoes. However, last night my girlfriend, Rebecca, woefully told me about her dealings with United Airlines, and I am outraged.

First, a little background regarding Rebecca:

Rebecca has a lesser case of muscular dystrophy and also has been diagnosed recently with osteoporosis when she broke a vertebra in her spine. Now I don't want you to feel sorry for my friend, and I certainly know that Rebecca doesn't want you to feel sorry for her. For those of you who don't know, people with disabilities often are the strongest willed people you will ever meet. They don't want your pity. They just want to be able to have the same opportunities to live a full life that everyone else has. I know that both Rebecca and my mother try to do as much as they can by themselves and only begrudgingly accept help when they know they will cause further injury to themselves.

So when I heard Rebecca's frustration in her voice last night, I knew United Airlines had been especially difficult. Rebecca goes on a January mission trip to Russia every year to visit an orphanage. Yesterday, she called United Airlines to see if United had any special accommodations for people with disabilities, since her back hasn't completely healed and is worried about sitting upright in a cramped space for the gazillion hours it takes to fly to Russia. (By the way, Rebecca's doctor is okay with her going to Russia with a few restrictions.) The United company representative said that the only accommodation United can provide is if Rebecca upgrades her ticket to a business class or first class ticket. The cost of upgrading the ticket to just business class was $8,000! Also, the company representative flagged Rebecca's ticket that she has to have medical clearance before she can even fly (just because she asked the question if United had any handicap seating). Rebecca was then sent on a phone call goose chase in order to get the proper forms for her doctor to fill out, so she can fly to her annual Russia mission trip.

Rebecca ended her phone call to me stating that people with disabilities are suppose to be millionaires in order to live a life like everyone else. However, it's difficult to become a millionaire unless disabled people can fly or win Survivor.

Survivor? I'm glad to see that Rebecca has kept her sense of humor even when facing adversity. However, I am still livid. I realize that United is trying to protect itself from liability, but how about a little customer service skills? I am hoping that Rebecca will write to United's CEO. BASTARDS!