Why You & Your Simulation Program Should Avoid Flying United Airlines
(Image via Bloomberg)
When I started HealthySimulation.com 7 years ago my goal was to provide honest unfiltered advice, resources, news and information to healthcare simulation champions around the world. We’ve heard back from a lot of readers that many of the 1,000+ articles on this website have helped their programs successfully start and expand their programs, connecting the right people, equipment, resources, and knowledge to overcome any of the many challenges we all face.
Today will mark the first day I write an article recommending you completely avoid utilizing one specific company when dealing with the logistics of your simulation program, and beyond that, to your professional and personal life. As someone who wants to see your simulation program succeed, I feel it is my duty to inform you that United Airlines should be avoided as your mode of air transportation at all costs. I’m not alone, AirlineQuality.com peer reviews rated United Airlines a 3/10!
I am blessed to be able to travel around the world to host and attend simulation conferences that have taken place in numerous different countries. Of course this has meant I have flown countless hours in economy class with a multitude of carriers — and have seen a dramatic range of services from the industry small and large.
Out of all the carriers I have ever flown, United Airlines has consistently proved to care the least about their passengers. It’s not the poor quality of food served, the minimal legroom (at 6’1″ I literally could not move my legs on my last United flight), and embarrassingly out of date video entertainment systems (which if available at all are flat in the seat in front of you so when the person ahead of you puts their seat back your screen is now irreversibly angled downward). As bad as that sounds, I can exhaust a deep sigh and live with all that without writing an article about it.
What I can’t live with is the fact that during the multiple errors regarding my UA flights around the world through their airlines, their customer service reps consistently demonstrated that they could care less about my needs. Even after waiting 45 minutes in line, I have seen a UA rep play games on their phone until a supervisor showed up. I have been lied to by multiple UA reps about associated change fees. I have seen normal weather conditions be blamed for late service with no overnight support. I have heard UA employees tell me “There’s nothing I can do about what another UA rep told you, it’s not my fault”.
Repeatedly I have experienced United Airline’s out of date service model that blames the customer at every turn, taking any opportunity to make another dollar today over the building of a long-term relationship.
Contrast this experience with a company like Southwest Airlines — that consistently goes above and beyond to provide welcoming, understanding, and flexible customer service that knows the life long relationship is the most important priority for the airline. (Southwest is my absolute favorite airlines by the way and I keep asking them to expand further internationally).
While United Airlines may seem cheaper than other carriers for your flights to simulation events, I urge you to consider the strong potential for an unpleasant experience and unforeseeable fees that will show up if almost anything goes wrong.
Bloomberg recently wrote an article about United Airlines which shared some pretty shocking information:
- Recently the carrier agreed to pay $2.8 million in fines for tarmac delays and the poor treatment of disabled passengers.
- On all major performance metrics—delays, cancellations, mishandled bags, and bumped passengers—United has, since 2012, been reliably the worst or near worst among its competitors.
- In 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, United was responsible for 43 percent of all consumer complaints filed against U.S. airlines.
- There has been 3 different CEOs in the past year
- Many of the merged airline’s front-line employees complained that management, having promised significant savings to Wall Street, focused on cutting costs above all else.
Bottom line: If I have ANY other alternative when booking travel for myself and others, I will always take another carrier over United Airlines. Do yourself and your sim program a favor and consider doing the same!
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He lives with his wife Abigail in Las Vegas, Nevada.