Gung ho to infuse myself with cutting-edge job search and career marketing strategies, I eagerly signed up for not 1 but 3 career conferences even though I hadn’t flown in 15 years. The first in Baltimore, Career Thought Leaders 2010 (CTL2010), gave me the opportunity to learn new concepts and meet new friends. The second in New Orleans, Career Management Alliance 2010 (CMA2010), expanded my career industry knowledge and built connections.
United Airlines to San Diego!
Career Directors International 2010 (CDI2010) was in October in San Diego, a city on the top of my list of places to see. I knew I would meet more great colleagues, convert online relationships to find new friends, and forge potential alliances. I booked my flight with United Airlines in September.
United Airlines Change of Plans
I woke up in the middle of the night two weeks after I booked the flight convinced I should not go. The chronic sinus issues I struggled with re-surfaced right before CTL2010. After CMA2010, sinus issues turned into a severe ear infection and later an eye infection. Two specialists finally delivered the right medical help. By the time it was all resolved, I had been sick more than two months and felt the impact on my business.
To top it off, my husband had surgery leaving us with new debt of $10,000+ in addition to investments I poured into my home office and business in 2010. I needed to work on planning for the unexpected. If I canceled, I might lose my airfare investment. If I went, I could not trust my ears would not get re-infected, plus restaurant and hotel expenses, and I could lose potential income.
United Airlines to the Rescue
Airlines rarely give refunds but when I got the advance flight directions from United Airlines, I noticed a link for refunds. I wrote a short e-mail to United explaining financial issues and my recent ear /eye infections prompted me to cancel my flight to San Diego. I really didn’t expect a response much less a refund.
The same day I sent the e-mail, I received an e-mail back saying they were considering my request. Then I got this e-mail 5 days later:
Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry to hear of your illness described in your email, our thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time. We have received your refund request in reference to ticket number 000000-00000
A refund in the amount of $411.80 has been issued to the Master Card ending in xxx1111 on October 12, 2010. It takes approximately 7 business days for the amount to be credited back to the account.
United Airlines exceeded my Expectations!
I was astounded! Everyone told me I had almost NO chance of getting a refund and if United even considered it, they would impose a fee of $100+. The credit posted to my credit card on October 12, much earlier than promised, so once again United Airlines exceeded my expectations.
We have all seen customer service that failed. How wonderful to receive “over the top customer service” from United Airlines. I know that if I am ever in a position to travel again, my airline of choice will be… drum roll please… United Airlines!