The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Fly The Unfriendly Skies …

Remember a long time ago I wrote about the Air France lounge in Paris.

In that post, I talked about the brief I got from Richard Branson for his Virgin Atlantic lounge at Heathrow.

Well recently I was in LA and went into the United lounge and this is what I saw.

Now I appreciate this may come across as a massive ‘first world problem’ and it is … but it’s also a massive brand problem for United, because if this is how they treat their business class passengers, god knows how you must feel if you’re in coach.

Seriously, how hard is it to put a bit of effort into your lounge.

Now they will claim they’re in a temporary location because they’re building something new and special … but that’s not really an excuse. Surely they could have sorted out a viable alternative while work was going on.

Is it so hard to arrange the room to look like it has had some care put into it. Offer some food that looks like you actually give a damn about the passengers who are going to eat it.

But here’s the bigger thing.

If your normal standards are going to be inhibited due to building work, then I’d imagine the sensible thing to do would be to over-deliver in terms of food and service so that your customers still feel valued, despite being in a smaller room with less natural facilities.

But not United … oh no … for them, they see this as a cost saving exercise, which is why they’re about as friendly as sitting next to Donald Trump on Air Force One.

20 Comments so far
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One question. Did you pay for your flight to LA?

Comment by DH

no bookie in the fucking world would take that fucking bet on.

Comment by andy@cynic

Errrrrm, can I plead the 5th?

Comment by Rob

fucking knew it. wanker.

Comment by andy@cynic

Bet you still ate it. You’re not one to pass up “free”.

Comment by DH

he probably stole the fucking bowls too.

Comment by andy@cynic

untidy airlines.

Comment by andy@cynic

and airforce one is going to be renamed trump one. mark my fucking words. america has always been mad but now its fucking stupid.

Comment by andy@cynic

Smallhands one.

Comment by Billy Whizz

All this from the man whose clothing standards are inhibited by everything.

Comment by John

Does this mean Robert is the ultimate triumph over adversity story?

Comment by George

I know that’s a backhanded compliment, but I’ll take it.

Comment by Rob


Comment by John

Be grateful you didn’t fly American then Robert. They make United look like Singapore Airlines.

Comment by George

Even I wouldn’t take a free flight with them. I have standards where my blagging is concerned. Ha.

Comment by Rob

My last trip from China to the US was on American. Client booked it economy class (cheapskates). The flight attendant was Doris Day’s mother, and they had the gall to charge me extra for a glass of cheap Californian wine with their appalling dinner. Never again.

Comment by Ian Gee

I don’t know why I was surprised given I wrote this post about their 1984 approach to air travel:

[Though to be fair, their planes have improved massively, even if their customer service hasn’t]

Comment by Rob

No comment.

Comment by Lee Hill

I think your expectations were too high. A biz class lounge for United isn’t going to be amazing, anywhere. Had you entered expecting wifi, a Bud Light and some cheese to nibble on, you’d have been fine. If you were expecting a comfortable seat, a wide array of food & drink, and a nice view — not gonna happen. Things should improve when they open the new space there Dec/Jan. You probably would have been happier going to the one proper restaurant in that section of LAX and paying for a decent meal (so long as you can expense it).

You can check ahead on lounges, for example:
…and the better one at gate 71

I’m a Star Alliance guy so of course there’s no comparing LAX to United’s Global First lounge in San Francisco, the ANA Lounge in Narita, the Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt or Swiss lounge in Zurich. Though if you really want to slam something, take aim at the Air China Lounge 71 in Pudong. What a terrible place with no better alternatives.

Comment by WhyHighLoo

Hello WhyHighLoo … you’re right, I did expect a better standard of lounge. Maybe I’ve been spoilt with Virgin, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific after all these years.

But – and it’s a big but – expecting some semi-decent service and facilities shouldn’t really be out of the realms of realism, especially with the price of business class tickets. Sure, they were going under renovation, but that doesn’t mean standards have a free pass to be shit. I’ve seen Singapore Airlines and Virgin go through similar situations and always made sure the customer feels valued – even when facilities were impacted.

Fundamentally, it’s a customer attitude issue more than anything else and where United are concerned, they pretty much suck at it.

As for Pudong … you’re right, however they’ve just opened a proper lounge, with proper facilities and food. Sure, it’s no CP, SA or VA … but who is.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Comment by Rob

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