United Airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the United States, with some of its predecessors going back to the late 1920s. Originally, United Airlines was known as "The Boeing Company," and, in some ways, they still are the Boeing Company since this is the primary plane found in their fleet. United has nine airline hubs throughout the world. Its largest hub is in Houston and handles 16.6 million passengers every year, with 45,413 people getting on United flights every day. Chicago O'Hare is the company's largest hub in terms of departures. United flies Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787s. They also fly narrowbody Airbus 319s, 320s, Boeing 737s, and Boeing 757s, as well as various Embraer and Bombardier jets for its regional carriers. For its regional flights, United usually uses third-party carriers (such as ExpressJet) to get customers to and from smaller airports when traversing between mainline destinations. United Airlines is also a pretty safe airline. In the past twenty years, there have been 3 fatal flights, including two flights that crashed on 9/11, and one minor incident where some passengers and crewmembers were hurt on takeoff (though there was no structural damage to the aircraft).

 

The Good

  • Ticket prices
  • Boarding
  • Check-in
  • Destinations
  • In-flight services
  • Time in business

United Airlines has a low price guarantee on their tickets. They have some of the lowest ticket prices for both domestic and international flights. Their prices were often the exact same being offered by other large airlines (such as American Airlines or Delta). Because they are such a large airline, they have the ability to offer many different options for ticket times and connections. With their low prices and flexibility, many customers would be able to choose the flight that best suits them while using United. United also offers different discounts and promotions on their website and for reward club members. Customers can become a part of the MilagePlus program and earn different discounts with their miles. Customers can also have United email them specific discounts or promotions that are being offered.

United Airlines has a similar boarding process to many other airlines. Seats are chosen when purchasing tickets and can be changed or upgraded at the check-in time depending on availability. Boarding times vary depending on the flight locations and specific airports being used. United offers a few different methods of check-in including:

• Mobile check-in
• Online check-in
• Airport kiosks
• Airport check-in counters

Using the United mobile app, passengers can check-in for their flight 24 hours before departure and receive a mobile boarding pass. This speeds up the time at the airport and eliminates the need to keep track of a paper boarding pass. Passengers can also check-in 24 hours before departure on the online check-in and can also ask to receive a mobile boarding pass. If a passenger chooses to check-in at the airport, they have the choice of self-service kiosks (which are always open for use) or check-in counters which have specific hours of operation depending upon the airport.

United Airlines serves 374 different destinations, both domestic and international. This is a large number of destinations for an airline and makes United one of the larger airlines available. Some of their top destinations include:

• Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
• Ft. Lauderdale from New York/Newark
• In and around California
• New York
• Chicago
• Las Vegas

United flies to Asia, the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa. With all of their destinations, United would be able to serve many passengers on their flights. They would be able to provide a number of different options and because they offer more destinations than many other airlines, they would have more flight choices for passengers to choose from. United Airlines partners with a number of different airlines so that they are able to provide as many destinations as possible. They also continue to grow and their destinations are constantly changing and expanding.

United Airlines offers many of the customary in-flight services that are expected from passengers. Some of the details include:

• Dining: For economy flights, United offers a snack shop as well as an onboard bistro for their domestic flights. For international flights, they offer a complimentary meal. Often this is a three-course meal with a light snack and beverage options. They provide an option of beer, wine, and water. United also gives passengers the opportunity to order a special meal in advance for any dietary restrictions.
• Entertainment: There are a number of different options for entertainment on United Flights. Some of their planes offer personal devices. The passengers can use a personal device provided that it is already uploaded with a number of games, movies, and TV shows. Other planes offer screens on the back of the seats for passengers to view the entertainment options. And some of the United fleet has main screen entertainment. There is a screen at the front of the cabin for passengers to view the entertainment. The type of entertainment viewing option available for each flight can be found on the United website. They also offer magazines and packages of different DirecTV programs for purchase.
• Shopping: On international flights, United offers tax-free shopping for different items such as fragrances, cosmetics, and jewelry similar to many other airline shopping offers.
• Wi-Fi: United is in the process of making all of their planes have the option of Wi-Fi. Currently, 700 of their aircraft's do offer in-flight Wi-Fi for purchase. The prices vary depending on the specific flight and are not posted to view without specific flight information. Wi-Fi is also not permitted to be used to make any video calls on flights.

United Airlines has been in business for 89 years. They have become one of the oldest airlines, opening their company on April 6, 1926. Since they opened they have been committed to becoming the airline that customers want to fly with. They are currently offering the following to become that airline:

• Most extensive network: United flies 150 customers every year on close to 5,800 flights
• Most flat-bed seats: United offers the most flat-bed seats of any airline
• More overhead space: Passengers enjoy 66% more room
• More leg room in economy: Economy seating on United enjoys extra leg room for their seat

United Airlines also recently received their 5th consecutive perfect score on leading LGBT Equality Index for the Best Places to Work.

The Bad

  • Baggage
  • Flight statistics

United Airlines does not allow any checked baggage to be free for most of their flights. In comparison, a number of airlines do allow at least one piece of free checked baggage. A few international flights are free for one checked bag but generally the first checked bag costs $25, the second $35 or $100 for trans-Atlantic, and the third costs $150. Any additional baggage will cost $200 a piece. Additional baggage is also only accepted if the aircraft has room. While the cost is relatively low, it is still a cost while other airlines offer it for free.

The maximum exterior dimension (length + width + height) of standard checked baggage is 62 inches (158 cm), including handles and wheels. Having excess baggage weight or size will come at a fee to be determined by the specific weights and size of the baggage. However, there are restrictions including any baggage weighing over 100lbs will not be accepted (with the exception of assistive devices and musical instruments). Any baggage whose total outside dimensions are larger than 115 inches will not be accepted.

United Airlines flies close to 5,800 flights a year. When examining the daily flights that United flies to the most frequently, they did not have as high of performances when compared to other top airlines. Other airlines close to their size (such as Southwest and Delta) have slightly better statistics of daily flights than United does (as per Flightstats.com). Overall, United had roughly an 82% on time rate, a 7% late, 2% very late, 5% excessive and 1% of canceled flights according to Flightstats.com. Many other airlines have 0% canceled flights, unlike United. When looking at their most active routes, they received ratings lower than average for top airlines. Their top three routes include:

• Washington to San Francisco (3.5 stars, 91% on time)
• Los Angeles to Chicago (3.5 stars, 90% on time)
• Los Angeles to Houston (3.4 stars, 89% on time)

When compared to other airlines that have many high four-star ratings and some five-star ratings, United's 3.5 stars are low. United's most active routes are all domestic routes so it is hard to say how they compare with other airlines on international flights. Their lowest rated flight was the route of Houston to Newark with only 1.9 stars and 78% on-time according to Flightstats.com.

The Bottom Line

We recommend United Airlines as a top airline company. They offer very low prices and tons of flights that consistently leave and arrive on-time. They also are improving their in-flight service to ultimately enhance the overall user experience.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

3.1
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490 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
21%
4 star
27%
3 star
14%
2 star
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1 star
25%

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William

December 8th, 2017 South Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Probably my least favorite airline. Every time I fly United try lose my bag. I will say they usually get it to me the next day though.

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Evan Rasmussen

November 29th, 2017 Sandy, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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For what you pay is what you get no more and no less and that is not a bad thing

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GEO BJ

November 28th, 2017 Winchester, VA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The worst customer service on the ground and on Air

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Helen Hoch

November 20th, 2017 Princeton, MJ DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Planes are on time, employees are pleasant and efficient and the price is good.

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Sheridan Greenhaw

November 20th, 2017 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Wonderful staff and food for international flight. Accomodation was exactly as advertised.

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Jeffrey D. Gordon

November 20th, 2017 Sacramento, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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All the international flights are excellent; however, I have had some bad experiences with the continental flights.

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Tom Kosky

November 20th, 2017 Staten Island, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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i went to FLORIDA a few years ago and paid extra for legroom and did not get it on the way down.the seat did not exist on the plane.i sent for a refund and never got it.the staff on the plane was great but i deserved a refund and never got one.

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K R

November 20th, 2017 Fairfield, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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lousy pricing; to many cancelled flights; no free food or drinks

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Ryan Smith

November 15th, 2017 Sandy, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Not a good travel experience or customer service experience

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Vicky Reynolds

November 14th, 2017 Hayward , CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Pleasant staff. On time travel. Have routes to the cities I am traveling to with only one plane change.

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Victor Munoz

November 14th, 2017 Austin, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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They don't have customer service after a delay from connecting fly they leave me with my family and we tried to get customer service and nobody answer

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Tom

November 14th, 2017 Conroe, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good, but sometimes they have delays, otherwise good.

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Thomas Craig

November 14th, 2017 Missouri City, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I am at their highest level and get frequent upgrades

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Steven Mercurio

November 14th, 2017 New Providence, NJ DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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reasonable fares, awesome inflight entertainment, rewards program kind of poor but workable

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Pat Ohagan

November 14th, 2017 Estero, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have flew United so much that I am a retired Million Mile customer. They have always treated me great and with respect

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Pat Garvey

November 14th, 2017 Chevy Chase, MD DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Because they are good and I like flying with them

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michael ferguson

November 14th, 2017 Rutherford, NJ DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The service has gone down since the take over of Continental

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Marge Hansen

November 14th, 2017 Birch River, WV DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Almost always on time; friendly & professional staff

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Lumina

November 14th, 2017 Wakefield, RI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have no major complaints and I have always been on time

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Lee Ward

November 14th, 2017 New York, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Customer focused, great equipment and they listen

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Jeff Levin

November 14th, 2017 Freehold, NJ DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The on time performance is poor, they do not care about customer service

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Gary & Corliss Connelly

November 14th, 2017 Laguna Niguel, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Meals are no longer part of your flight and the seats are too narrow in coach.

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Elizabeth

November 14th, 2017 Beverly Hills, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I don't like that they charge for checked bags

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Dianna Dumler

November 14th, 2017 Federal Way, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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They treated me like a piece of baggage.

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C R

November 14th, 2017 Bernville, PA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I had a good experience, flights were good. Overall I was satisfied

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Becky Mock

November 14th, 2017 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Dirty bathroom, no food past 9pm at Denver airport, ( what's up with that?), Rude employee s

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Anna Bartalis

November 14th, 2017 Sacramento, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Small legroom, other than that not worst than other airlines

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Anna

November 7th, 2017 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Prompt departure times and accurate arrival times. Never need to pay more for extra luggage

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Gary Mayer

November 6th, 2017 South Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great airline and enjoy flying with them. Their service from reservation to flying is always first class. They are so very friendly. Highly recommend them to everyone.

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john carlisle

November 2nd, 2017 Sacramento, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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AWARD MILES PROBLEM--what I found trying to use my award miles from United is that they not that good as they say when you join-- Yes you can get a ticket-but it will like Airline Welfare--Not very good Choice of times-selections are absurdly long flights-if you want a 2nd ticket for your spouse the seats are not together--connection time are 3 times longer-plus they put a code on your pass so anyone looking at it know you are a lower class customer- I do not feel it is really equal of the effort you put in to save these miles--plus remember you have to pay a fee "$100." every year to received your award miles.

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Connie Mayer

November 2nd, 2017 South Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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United Airline is okay. They have good, friendly staff that works to be on time. They don't offer many perks for us though. We like using other airlines better because they give us more for our money.

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Pete

October 30th, 2017 Centerville, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I recently flew to Hawaii on United and I wasn't impressed with the flight being delayed and causing me to miss my next flight, but the staff was very helpful about getting me and my friends hotel accommodations and free dinner to make up for it. We were able to get on the next available flight in the morning.

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Katelyn Empey

October 30th, 2017 Logan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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They have fairly decent prices but there was a lot of rescheduling of my flights. It was a little bit of unreliability so I was a little frustrated with that. One flight I think about 10 changes to one flight. About every 2 minutes I got a notification that the flight had changed, etc.

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Alex Murphy

October 30th, 2017 Reno, NV DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have flown United quite a few times for work and the planes seem to be very hit and miss. Some are great and some are very old. On short flights, it usually isn't a big deal, but I hate paying high prices and not getting a TV.

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Marina Korogoda

August 21st, 2017 Buffalo, NY

I am extremely disappointed in united. They have a total lack of customer service and will not try to remedy errors made by their company. During my ordeal with the company, I was constantly notified via email, text and phone call about delays and cancellations. On the way to San Antonio, my flight was delayed, even after they changed my flight, which meant I didnt get much sleep last night. I decided to forgive and forget. My flight back home was a nightmare. My flights kept getting delayed/cancelled so i asked the agents at the counter to change me to a morning flight, even though it meant I'd miss an important appointment. The agents were rude and unhelpful. I was scheduled for an early morning flight that was then cancelled without any notification. When I went to again change my flight, they rescheduled me to a flight that was known to be delayed and i ended up missing my connection. I ended up getting home almost 24 hours later and United made no effort to rectify the isssue. At the end I was emotionally spent and glad to be home. United (and American) have the worst customer service. I will not be flying with United ever again. The little money you save is NOT worth the hassle.

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Paul Braudis

July 21st, 2017 Giddings, TX

Amazing that with all their negative press they have received United hasn't gotten the message. Our flight was a short one so they didn't have real drink service but they came around with water, WARM WATER! When I asked for cold water or I was told that was the only water they had and they were out of ice because they did not restock at the last stop!

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Heidi L Gale

July 5th, 2017

United refuses to accommodate changing our tickets to a safer travel time for pregnant lady to prevent zika from being contracted, doctor note can be provided stating mom should not travel during this critical period of fetal development.Family safety must not be important to United Airlines.

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Jacob Lundquist

June 12th, 2017

Me and my wife were returning from our Honeymoon, and we noticed that our seats were not right next to each other. We talked to the gate agent, and the next thing we knew they had upgraded us to first class at no extra cost. I know that United as a whole gets a lot of bad press lately, but I can say that I actually had a great experience and they went above and beyond for us.

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Julie Firkins

June 12th, 2017 Orem, UT

i was recently a customer on a united flight. The flight attendant was very pleasant but the flight was late and i missed my connecting flight which missed up my trip, next time i will book with someone else,

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Aubrey Rentschler

June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

We flew United to California and our flight was on time with no delays. The customer service was outstanding.

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Maile Curtis

June 6th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

Flying United has been an okay experience for me. Their prices are average and so is their service. They are not my first choice when I'm looking for tickets to travel.

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Susan Stewart

June 6th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

United Airlines is one of the worst airlines I have flown. The only time I will choose them is when their price is significantly lower than all of the others. My last time I flew with United they were extremely late. When we did land we sat on the ground 45 minutes waiting to taxi in. I literally had to run to barely catch my next flight.

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Jim Swift

June 2nd, 2017 Wayne, NJ

Not only was the flight delayed but also the passengers were forced to get off with all there bags and re-board hours later.

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Doyal Stewart

June 2nd, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

I have never been much of a fan of United Airlines. I've tried to avoid them, and only end up choosing their flights when they are the cheapest. But you get what you pay for in this case. My flights are usually late, service is subpar, the planes seem old and smell unpleasant. I've just never had a good experience with them.

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Joshua Stewart

June 1st, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

I've never had a problem personally with United nor talked with someone who's had a complaint about the company.

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Quen Wilson

June 1st, 2017 Ogden, UT

I try to avoid United as much as possible, due to their constant mistakes in the media. The last time I flew United our flight was delayed an hour and then the flight attendants weren't very nice. I have flown with them in the past and it was an okay experience.

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Alex Golod

May 24th, 2017 San Francisco, CA

Typical United ORD-SFO flight on 777. Very narrow seats, as comfortable as city bus ride. At least it was on time. 1K United customer, but almost impossible to get upgraded on this route. Exit row helps, as usual, but it is not something most of the people, including me, look forward to.... spending 4.5 hours on the plane under these conditions.

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Elsa Egger

May 17th, 2017 Half Moon Bay, CA

Entire crew extremely polite and friendly.

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Mark L

May 16th, 2017

United has taken a mediocre product, economy and come up with an even more heinous version, basic economy. Start with the already tight seats, luggage restrictions etc and turn those into no seat choice, no option to upgrade, no pre check in if you don't check a bag and you come away with the feeling you're lucky you're allowed the plane. Don't even think about basic economy and honestly consider other airlines like Southwest before taking this worst of the worst airlines. I'm not a frequent business traveler, but I've flown all over the globe on a variety of domestic and international carriers and United really does suck.

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Dustin Brayley

May 16th, 2017

Hello, I traveled yesterday with my wife and two young sons. There was a long line at security with only one TSA agent working, then a long pat down which caused us to get on just before boarding. We were not late arriving. We needed to gate check 3 bags and the agent working the gate in Greenville, SC, said our bags would be checked to our final destination. We didn't even think to question it. Upon arrival at our connection, walking quickly to a train to our terminal for our next flight, we were made aware that gate checked bags were to be picked up plane side. Now really rushing, I send my wife and 2 boys to our gate, while I go back to get our bags. No one there and our bags are gone. Customer service says the bags are going to baggage claim, there (HOU) and if I went to try and get them, I would miss my flight. So I ran to the gate and joined my family since there was nothing we could do. We're still awaiting a phone call to inform us our bags have arrived in LAX so that I can go get them. It's been 24 hours. Point being, don't tell a family of 4 that your gate checked bags will be sent to your final destination if you're not absolutely sure. When traveling with young kids (4, 1 yrs old) you trust what the employees say. Now we're without bags and have to go get them, whenever they happen to arrive. Dustin