One would think that United Airlines would mind its P’s and Q’s in light of last year’s United Breaks Guitars You Tube hit and its pending merger with Continental. But no. In an egregious example of airline customer service United has hit a new low. Read on…
Jessica Cabot, of Courtenay, British Columbia, was on a United Airlines flight from Vancouver to Jacksonville, FL last April to join her fiancee when the plane made a scheduled stop in Chicago. Cabot was supposed to be guided to her connecting flight by United personnel. Because she’s blind.
The 18-year-old was born blind and this was her third time flying by herself, so she thought she was familiar with some of the routines. “I was instructed by the flight attendant to wait until everybody else got off the plane,” said Cabot.
“That’s what they tell me every time so I didn’t think anything of it.” She said she heard the other passengers leave and then the unmistakable sound of the aircraft door being sealed shut.
“And then, just complete silence. And I started calling out with no response.” That’s when she realized she was alone, she said. She had no idea how to open the plane’s door or whether that would be a safe thing to do.
She said she was stuck for 10 minutes, uncertain what to do, but was found by a maintenance crew that happened to enter the aircraft. “They didn’t have to be there,” Cabot said. “If they hadn’t, I would have been there for a very long time.” Cabot eventually made her connecting flight to Florida.
Her family complained about the incident to United Airlines, which gave Cabot a $250 voucher for future travel. The airline declined a request for an interview about the incident but sent a statement: “We apologized to Ms. Cabot for the delay in providing her an escort, and have taken action with our employees and vendors at O’Hare to ensure this does not happen again.”
Yes, because what are the odds? That she’ll ever want to use the voucher or ever fly United again!