Like many desis, I love me some deals. I know I am playing into stereotypes here, especially because I am Gujarati, but come on EVERYONE likes good deals. The enjoyment for me isn’t just finding a good deal, but the whole process: it is the hunt, the chase, and the glory in opening the mail and finding that rebate check that you thought might not ever come. Suffice it to say, I spend a good percentage of my time on the internets perusing some favorite deal sites.
But while I like finding good deals, one of my pet peeves is really poor customer service and the feeling that I have been taken advantage of. So when I was visiting one of my new favorite deal/consumer rights blogs, The Consumerist, (part of the Gawker family of blogs) I was a bit dismayed to hear the tale of our desi brethren, Mahesh, who reported on his parent’s really poor experience on United Airlines.
Mahesh’s parents flew from Omaha, Nebraska to Colombo,Sri Lanka, but at LAX, United Airlines (UAL) refused to honor their tickets, saying that they had not “been approved, authorized and authenticated.” The family ended having to pay $2860 extra to complete their journey. Apparently, Sri Lankan Air Lines, a United code-share partner, could not find the reservation Mahesh’s parents made. Mahesh wrote three letters of complaint to UAL and so far his parents have only received two $300 coupons in return. When Mahesh scoffed at the sum, United wrote, “our policy does not permit us to respond with the generosity you had anticipated. (link)
It seems that instead of writing letters, which I am a big fan of, now when desis are wronged, we blog. So as a good South Asian, Mahesh has started his own blog detailing his battle with United Airlines’ Customer service at evilunitedairlines.blogspot.com. His story is really messed up and I hope the airlines eventually do the right thing and refund the extra three grand his recently operated-on parents had to hand over to get home.