2008-2014 Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5
Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, and Etain De Danann
Flying the friendly skies has been a good motto for United. We have overall found efficient friendly and great service. We can’t discount a solitary airline for following suite with all the other airlines for the new charges of luggage, infants, food, and other additional services – though a recommendation to all airlines if they want to please their customers, not to knickel-and-dime them on their flights – one of the fastest ways to lose a customer. United has fluctuated with these tactics through the years causing me at some points to use other airlines while using them at other points because they always seem to have some of the best flight prices available in the market. Overall, they are one of my favorite airlines. Following are experiences and reviews for various travel experiences.
December 25, 2014: A good experience with united from check-in to arrival. Flying out of the Medford airport, we had a smooth check-in, and when on board the plane from Medford to San Francisco, the stewardess asked the passenger assigned next to us to switch so that we could sit together with our little one. A small plane, but comfortable enough. Free beverages served mid-flight and we set down safely in San Francisco. At SFO we boarded our plane for London – easy load in although they no longer seem to invite passengers with children early boarding and they loaded passengers from the front of the plane to the back. It was very difficult getting to the back of the plane being in group 4. Holding a toddler that long is very rough. The stewardess however asked an assigned passenger to the seat next to us if she could be relocated elsewhere allowing for us to have a middle seat free – giving our son the ability to stretch out rather than have to hang out on our laps. This made the flight much more bearable. Movies were good, stewardesses friendly, and helpful. Overall it was a good flight. Rating : 4 stars out of 5.
January 23, 2014: We had a top rating experience with United flying from Shannon International Airport (Ireland) to Newark, New Jersey connecting to Orange County California. Vast improvements seem to have been made with United services on our experience January 23, 2014. We had an unfortunate incident on January 22nd whereas my wife displaced her knee cap (patella) and was on crutches with a need for a wheel chair. United was right on with great personal service to accommodate us with a wheel chair and a staff member to cart my wife to the plane and helped with my burdensome luggage while having a baby strapped to me in a sling. Of course we still have issues with the weight restrictions and prices for checked luggage -overweight and more than one – as international flights should allocate you with 2 checked luggage each when traveling as such, and the child should get one now that we have a fee for an infant in the lap. Granted most airlines take advantage of their customers as the industry is moving away from the give-a ways us older patrons are used to expecting for free. Nonetheless, the staff was very friendly and helpful in accommodating our needs and checking luggage for us. The wheelchair attendant came and picked us up, stopped for us to grab some food for the trip, cruised us through duty free, and checked us in – cutting the lines onto the plane to get us settled before others piled in. That was super appreciated and made our flight. Very efficient with Shannon Airport’s pre-check through customs made traveling very easy – would want no other with foreign travel in the future. Without asking and a very surprise addition, United upgraded us on the Shannon-Newark flight to extended legroom front row so no additional pain was added to my wife’s knee – that was appreciated beyond words – thank you United. Plenty of movies to watch for free, two free meals catered to our gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian desires with plenty of free beverages made United shine in our eyes. It was a very pleasurable flight across the great pond. Arriving at Newark we were carted to our gate, waited our 4 hours layover, and boarding first with handicap assistance onto our flight- this time normal economy seats, so a little cramped. Overhead for all to see a free movie was a nice surprise for the domestic flight. Very appreciated. Plenty of beverage services came through, though one of the stewardesses was pretty worn out holding her friendly demeanor as best as she could. The flight to Orange County was fine and unloading us was very helpful as a stewardess helped me with my bags to the gate since i was overloaded with baby strapped to me with carry on luggage for both me and my wife weighing me down. The handicap assistant took my wife to baggage claim and a agent down in baggage claim had a trolley ready to help us get our luggage to our car and helped us load the vehicle – that was super appreciated and wonderful given our handicap situation. United – you rock. 2014 Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
2013: As with most of the airlines these days, United has been decaying in what used to set them apart from the rest. No more free food during domestic flights, and one meal over international flights. Though as of recent, this had changed. During a January 23 flight from Shannon Ireland to Newark, connecting to Orange County California, we were graced with two free meals – catered to our gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. Plenty of drinks were bestowed upon us for free during this flight. So vast improvements in 2014 with United service pushing our ratings of them up to 5 stars. They keep you hydrated, but blankets and pillows are a rare oddity you have to ask for during domestic flights but very readily available during international flights. Seats seemed more cramped in 2013 flying experiences but improved greatly during 2014 for whatever reason, and movies on domestic flights are no longer free on the modern planes, older planes have them for all to see free (at least during our 2014 experience). In the modern planes – Swipe your card in the seat and then you can watch a show. Of course, they don’t put the price tag on that option anywhere to be found (2013). Winter of 2013 -wWe were flying with a baby, internationally from Los Angeles to Shannon, Ireland, with a connecting flight in Newark. First off, their web page stated that a child was rationed a checked bag and a carry-on. We had to pay a fee for the infant to sit on our lap (used to be free) and they don’t let parents with small children board before others anymore. Flying economy, you queue like the rest, even though you have to hassle other customers with the extra time it takes to settle an infant on board, and risk with the others cramming in at the same time upsetting the baby which could upset the pacifism of the trip (2013). Luckily we have a quiet baby who didn’t make a peep during the trip – all 22 hour length of it. The international flight we took Winter of 2013 was much better than a domestic, much smaller plane than they used to use, and cramped. One meal and a basic breakfast from Newark to Shannon. Plenty of drinks, but no more free alcohol over international waters like what used to be. Nickel and diming their patrons just like all the other airlines for anything they want, except movies – we did get a good selection of shows to entertain us during the journey. Overall, the flight was okay. Still upset about the extra $100 they charged us for the checked luggage with the baby. Airlines now are making it so difficult to travel by air with the added enhanced security checks, the queuing process, luggage restrictions, extreme costs for extra or over-weight baggage (In 2012 I flew to Ireland using them as a hop-over to Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus allowed two free checked bags, but since I was using them for a connection, they charged me $300 for luggage – 2nd and 3rd luggage each $100, and $100 for one being over their limit – even though their partner allowed me 2 free luggage and a third for $50, and had higher weight limits). (Aer Lingus eventually reimbursed me for that issue) While I still like United, I’m searching for a new partner and favorite (unless United changes some things). 2013 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Back in 2008, United seemed to be one of the more popular airlines with cost-effective and efficient flights. My employer booked me on this airline, and while I at the time preferred Northwest Airlines, the experiences I had in 2008 had been more than satisfactory. I did board an international flight that was bound for Tokyo with a stop-off in Seattle (where I got off) where I boarded Air Canada for the remainder of my flight to Vancouver, British Columbia. Free headphones, travel magazine, juice/soda, and a biscotti. The seats were comfortable and already had a pillow and blanket without having to ask for one. The seats of course, were crammed, just like any other flights in economy, but more comfy than the usual (except Northwest). Plenty of overhead space and under-seat storage, so i didn’t have too many issues. The Flight personnel very friendly and helpful. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. (2008)
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