Watch What You Click

A reader sends this:

Beware United Airlines’ tricksy check-in kiosks or you’ll pay hundreds more

If I had pressed the wrong buttons on a recent cross-county flight I took, I would have accidentally paid another $523.68. How did I know they were the wrong buttons? Simple: They were colored and placed to look like the correct buttons.

Intentionally tricking customers into unwittingly spending more money is maybe not illegal but it is unethical.

This reminds me of Turbo-Tax’s “if you would have clicked the grayed-out button off to the side, it would have functioned properly” crap I recently fell for.

United Airlines deserved to be mocked, ridiculed, and publicly flogged for this. Tell all your friends. Send emails. Mock them and call them unethical. Threaten to fly Delta over this.

Then they can decide whether or not their shady ploy makes good business sense. If they still think it’s worth it, good for them.


  1. I just bought some tickets for my kids to fly home after they spend spring break with their grandparents. With all the surcharges and bag fees I couldn’t tell which airline was cheaper. So I chose the only airline I trust not to rip-off my parents for bags, minors, etc… Southwest.

    I’ll be driving an extra hour to Philly avoid United, Continental, and the rest of the nickel and dimers in the airline business.

  2. Don’t get me started on United! I flew to MacDill AFB in April 2005 for a TDY at CENTCOM HQ. All of my toops got their luggage and gear except me.

    The lady at the help desk was not helpful and couldn’t even tell me why my stuff ahd een taken off the flight. Eventually we found out that I had a lighter in a pouch of my assault vest and all of my gear was flagged.

    I got my stuff 9 hours later. TSA had gone through my gear, dismantling a lot of it, and my soft body armor outer vest was torn and the body armor panel itself was balled up.

    I was so pissed off I couldn’t see straight. I spent the next three weeks trying to talk to someone at their headquarters, but was rebuffed by the Mexican call center operator. At one point she stated, “I can’t empower you with that knowledge”, after I asked to speak with someone in Chicago. Unbelieveable.

    I will never use United again.

  3. YIPES!

    Thanks for the info Murdoc.

    Unfortunately, I just checked in on-line with Continental for a flight tomorrow, AM……I’ll be checking my credit card for additional charges since I paid for the flight last September.

    BTW, Many Continental flights are now “cash free”. So if you want to buy an over priced brew or glass of cheap wine you MUST use a credit card.

    Ryanair (Cheap Irish airlines) is seriously considering a charge to use the toilet!

    If the company’s Honcho (Michael O’Leary) gets the go-ahead the rest will follow.

  4. Glad to have you back, Murdoc! I was worried there for awhile, but figured it might also have something to do with the weather, etc. I was without power here in Maine for 3 very long days.

    AS of 2 years ago, I have refused to take a fkight unless it was an absolute emergency situation. Otherwise, I plan my trip accordingly and either take the bus or Amtrack, or a combination.

    I’m going down to DC in April for the MilBlog conference. The airlines want a minimum of $199 r/t (United Regional) but most are $300-$480 r/t, and involve a stopover and changing planes. It would also require me to pay $120.00 for taxi service down and back to Portland, Maine to catch the flight, plus $25.00 each way into Arlington to the hotel. Even at the lowest fare, that still runs to at least $370.00.

    Amtrack out of Boston is $90.00 each way. The Trailways from my home to Boston is $52.00 round trip. Taxi each way from Union Station in DC to the hotel is $20.00. That makes it $272.00 for non-airline travel.

    I like the train because it’s comfortable, and I can get up and walk around, go to the club car for a beer or something to eat, etc. Even better, is that the money I save over the airline means I can take my youngest along with me and see the sights in DC before and after the conference. Since I’m homeschooling her, it will be a great way to let her learn about the Nations capitol up close and personal.

    Heck, even going back to Utah to visit my dad I take the train. It still costs less, though it takes the better part of three days to get there. However, it’s a great way to see the country, and you don’t feel like a piece of meat stuffed into a tin can.

  5. You know what is funny? If it comes close again to bankruptcy, Dems and Reps would bragging about how important the company is to the USA, that needs to bailout to save “american jobs” and blah blah blah.

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