So I go on United website to buy a one-way ticket for my son from El Paso to San Diego. First the site freezes constantly, and it took three times before I managed to get thru the whole process and buy a ticket. Between every web page change, they show you an "ad." Then everything, from your seat, to when you board, to your luggage, is "for sale." It was like a commercial for Southwest. But got thru it, gritting my teeth all the way.
So on the confirmation page of the purchased ticket it says in tiny, but red letters "The credit card used for this purchase must be available at check-in." Now mind you, there has been ZERO forewarning of this. So as my son is in El Paso and I am in San Diego, this is a little bit of a problem. So swearing already, I call United. First I get the horrible rings of hell of robotic idiocy, then I get the 20 minute harangue about how their agents are all terribly terribly busy, and that I should try using their website (been there/done that).
Almost immediately after the recording I get a United rep -- who sounds VERY young (like 15).
The rep tells me that this is for "my protection from credit card fraud." When I explain that I am 900 miles away from where my son will check in, he suggests that I mail the credit card to my son overnight (that's to protect me from fraud?). When I protest at that solution and how stupid it is, he tells me "it's your bank that is instituting the policy." An obvious lie, since I used an American Express card -- so not bank sponsored. By this time I am, ladies and gentlemen, truly steaming.
I ask to speak to a supervisor. I'm told I will have to wait. I wait. I get a VERY young sounding woman on the line, who claims to be the supervisor. I have some doubts on this as the call progresses as she seems even less informed than the rep. Her story is that United has suffered from so much credit card fraud (oh COME ON!!!) that they have had to institute this practice of confirming the card with the passenger. I pointed out that it would be extremely inconvenient in this case, and her "solution" was that I could go to "any physical United counter" and show my card and ID there.
So I said to her "let me get this straight, I've already purchased the ticket with my credit card on your site, but you're telling me I can't purchase a ticket for my son via the internet, without physically going somewhere to show my credit card?" That's right, says she.
At which point I lose it -- pointing out that I buy goods and services, including air tickets for both myself and other members on my family on the internet on a regular basis, and have done so for more than a decade, and no one, ever, has asked for such a stupid request.
Her response -- "well I can cancel the ticket for you." WHICH I WOULD EXCEPT IT'S THE ONLY VIABLE FLIGHT IN THIS CASE.
Can you believe this?? I have already sent a complaint to United, and I am now dedicating my life to spreading this story to embarrass them as much as humanly possible. NO WONDER THEY'RE GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. I can't wait. I will NEVER use UNITED again EVER.