It’s the initial ascent. As the plane climbs higher, I cannot help but get lost in my thoughts about my present surroundings. I look around to see who is seated immediately around me, and I am caught up in whether my seat mates are friendly and non-aggressive or not. I also wonder whether my airline is as friendly as they advertise themselves to be.
United airlines slogan is “fly the friendly skies of United.” Just what makes an airline friendly or not?” I chose United for this flight not because of their friendliness, but because they got me to my destination for the least expensive. Flying “least expensive” however can be costly on United. I despise the current airline trend of charging for seats at the front of the plane and calling them “economy comfort” all the while charging an arm and a leg for the same convenience we used to have in prior years. Just how much did my comfort cost me? A whopping $59 one way. Friendly? I suspect not. I mean come on, at the very least you could give me priority boarding or an extra snack or something!!
Carry on or checked? In this case, checked will cost you a minimum $25. Unless you have the United mileage plus card, then first bag is free. Carry on? Still free at this point, however I do not care for the multitude of announcements prior to boarding letting us know that there are insufficient overhead space to accommodate all bags. Another pet peave of mine, charging for checked luggage and now hassling us to check what we have now learned is a free inconvenience. Friendly? Again I must give it a resounding NO!
We have reached our cruising altitude the pilot remarks. Great! Free coffee! And out of United’s move to enhance guest experience following a profitable year, the airline now serves complimentary snacks! A delicious Stroopwaffel from Holland. In case you are not familiar with a Stroopwaffel, it is a crispy round wafer, filled with a rich, gooey caramel sauce. Tastes good with coffee or alone. Friendly? Yes! A good choice on United.
Let’s consider the flight crew for a moment. The pilots are always “friendly” as they tell us who they are and when we will arrive. I keep waiting for the pilot to give us a good monologue or even a joke here or there! Instead I take note of the rest of the crew. There were 4 flight attendants with an average age of 50+. I cannot comment on age since I am no 20 year old, however when did “seniority” turn into seniority? Lol. I can only hope that in case of emergency they can think straight and move faster than most. As far as the friendly meter, I would have to give them a thumbs down in that department. Lack of smile, lack of conversing or even kindness left me feeling unappreciated.
United’s Hemisphere magazine asserts that they are working hard to improve onboard experience throughout the cabin. How concerned are they for my comfort and enhanced experience when their in flight entertainment service comes with a price tag? Another thumbs down to friendly skies in my opinion.
If United ever wants to attain a loyal audience and enhance our experience then United has a great deal of work to do. For myself, I will continue to fly other carriers who peak my interests with little perk and great service.