Tag Archives: holiday season

Boycott United

Even though our heads are still pounding, we’ve been feeling guilty every day about breaking our streak of posting so I’m dealing with the headaches to get this out, even though it’s more of a rant and less of an informative post. But these can be fun, right? Especially if, or rather when, you can relate.

 

So we recently flew back to Denver from Los Angeles, a non-stop flight from LAX to DIA. We took United Airlines, and we will never fly or let anyone we know fly with them again. Before I get into this in more detail, I’m going to throw some of my flying experiences and how I grade airlines down to establish that I do have a basis for being allowed to evaluate their performance. Alana was going to help but she feels like someone is hitting her inside the head with a hammer so she’s in bed.

 

 

We’ve been to North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania (or what some people call Australia) making a grand total of six of the seven continents in the world. Sorry Antarctica, not quite yet. We’ve been to South Korea, North Korea, New Zealand, Tanzania, Sweden, Peru, Canada, Bermuda, the United States, etc. We’ve spent a fair amount of time on planes, with my longest flight being a little over 15 hours, Alana’s about 14 hours if I’m not mistaken. We’ve flown on the monster planes with three stories and the huge engines on the top, and we’ve flown on little planes that hold less than 20 people and only know the meaning of turbulence. So we have a fair share of experience for people our age.

 

 

Here are my reviews for airlines: Anything with a positive review comes first, then anything with a mixed review will probably be neglected because I’ve only flown it once or twice and can’t even remember it, and lastly the negative reviews.

 

 

Virgin: A-
Who cares about paying a few extra dollars when you feel like you’re the most important person in the world? That’s how I feel whenever I fly Virgin. And they haven’t always had the most expensive flights, you can always find a deal. From the cool atmosphere inside the plane, to the great customer service throughout the process, the practical personal screen that allows you television, games, movies, and ordering food with just a touch, flying Virgin is my number one choice for domestic flights.

 

 

Continental: B+
Continental got me to South America and back on eight hour flights without any issues. Good customer service, reasonable rates, and smooth flights. Amenities were good on both flights and never any significant delays. Functional terminals and everything else I could ask for from an airline. Overall top choice for international service.

 

 

Delta: B
The only issue I ever had with Delta was actually United’s fault. So I still am docking points from Delta, but they don’t even deserve it. Delta got me across the Pacific Ocean, while I had food poisoning from another source, without a hitch. The flight was over 15 hours long, but it didn’t feel like it with the non-stop meal service and consistent flow of good movies and television shows. The stewardess was very nice in dealing with my stomach problems, even allowing me to use the bathroom when the seatbelt light was on. Would fly again without any hesitation. Top choice for long international service.

 

 

Jet Blue: C+
I want to give Jet Blue lower because I had the worst pilot of my life on a Jet Blue flight. He started the descent into Miami around Washington D.C. and it felt like the longest roller coaster ride ever. It was the only time I’ve ever been nauseous on a plane. It was misery. However, the flight crew on all my Jet Blue flights have been the most entertaining and personable individuals I have ever flown with in my life. Jet Blue also rivals Virgin for in-flight amenities ranging from viewing selections to functional eating. Good terminals and online booking make Jet Blue my number two choice for domestic flights. One time the televisions weren’t working on the flight so they gave everyone an eight dollar credit for their next flight for a free movie. Never used it, but it was nice of them.

 

C: A good grade because average is good in this industry nowadays thanks to certain airlines. Here we can throw in all the airlines that I totally forgot about because they were short flights or no longer exist so thank you all for providing me with good service.

 

 

American Airlines: D+
Nothing memorable except delays nearly every time for at least thirty minutes. Not the best pilots or smoothest flights. Bad or average amenities. I always try to avoid if possible. I might have slept through these flights, sorry LAN and AirTran, etc.

 

 

Frontier: D
Frontier flew us to California without any delays and plenty of leg room, but they lack in customer service and their pet policies are absurd. They were not willing to negotiate with us at all, despite contacting them weeks ahead of time to try to exchange flights so we could fly with our cats. It would have been $500 round trip for the two (three pound) kittens, non-negotiable. Customer service was not helpful or understanding in any way, so we will not be flying Frontier again.

 

United Airlines
United: F
I will never fly United again, and will do everything non-violent in my power to make sure no one I know uses United. They are very cheap, compared to some of the choices above and offer more flights than most providers but that’s like eating Hershey’s for the same reason. I will cover the cost of friend’s tickets to use other airlines because United employs some disgusting individuals, Carlos Menendez, Service Director at Denver International Airport, I am talking about you mainly. United has no sense of responsibility or pride in what they do. I cannot believe the lack of communication, respect and customer service that they have. to put this into perspective, this was arguably the absolute worst service I have EVER received in ANY form of business whatsoever. It was worse than purchasing products at the mall or online, staying at hotels or eating at restaurants, and any other service… and I am talking about ALL OVER THE WORLD. When I couldn’t speak Korean, I had servers in restaurants in Seoul that took me into the kitchen to show them what I wanted because we had trouble communicating. This was the opposite effect. Here’s the general narrative:

 

Friday, Alana and I are incredibly sick and have been for a full week, most sick I’ve ever been, and we have a 5:47 p.m. flight PST from LAX. Being responsible and knowing that it’s a busy travel time of year, we decide to go to the airport nice and early, leaving Santa Monica at 3:00 p.m. There isn’t too much traffic and we’re at the airport checking baggage at 3:50 p.m. We check two bags for the regular rate with a nice LA lady working for United, then head through a very easy security process and we’re actually at our gate waiting at 4:00 p.m.

 

Boarding is around 5:20 p.m. so Alana goes to get something to eat so she can take her medicine to feel a little better because flying with congestion and head pressure is the worst. When she gets back I find it a little funny that the plane hasn’t shown up, the service crew isn’t at the desk, and the digital board isn’t displaying anything about our flight. I take a walk to the departure board a few gates down and it says that our flight, is “awaiting aircraft” and is “departing at 8:20 p.m.” But that can’t be right because that’s almost three hours after its departure on our newly printed boarding passes from checking in our baggage. Alana checks her mail, and at 3:47 p.m. she received an email simply stating that our flight was delayed but we should still show up in time for our 5:20 boarding. Weird, no? We checked baggage after that and the boarding pass didn’t say the time had changed, none of the employees throughout baggage check said anything, our gate didn’t have a service member appear to say anything. Do they assume everyone has a smartphone and checks it every five minutes? But they still said show up on time in that awful email.

 

Ridiculousness

 

Now it’s about 5:00 p.m. or a little later and the flight has arrived, so our plane is here, fueled and ready to go. A United member who was not part of our flight crew out of her own kindness and she was very nice decided to call in to see what was going on since United didn’t feel they were obligated to tell a hundred people with connecting flight and ground transportation plans about their mistake. Apparently, the plane was here and ready but there wasn’t a crew for the plane. Specifically, there wasn’t a pilot, but we could see that no crew was here. I check the departures board and see that there is another Denver bound flight that leaves at 7:29 p.m. but when we check it only has standby seats so they’re not willing to help us there since people with connecting flights get the first standby seats.

 

So we wait for an hour and still no United employees show up to tell us what is going on, no surprise at this point. Hours later, two United people show up to work the desk and they get a flood of people who will be missing connecting flights, etc. At this point, we realize that we are totally screwed (forgive my language) for ground transportation. Our ride we had set up shouldn’t have to stay up all night for us with dangerous driving conditions and the Skyride only runs until a certain time. So our two affordable means of getting home are now gone. We were supposed to land around 9:00 p.m. There are Skyrides at 9:20, 10:20 and 11:20 p.m. Now, after another delay because United can’t find us a flight crew, we are departing at 8:50 p.m. and we land around midnight. The flight itself was quiet, empty because so many people left the airport. A few families re-booked flights for the next day because they didn’t want their whole day ruined. United ruined our whole day. So now, it’s past midnight in Denver and we need to get back to Boulder because we’re sick and the kittens are at home and we need to rest so we can work.

 

 

While in LAX we asked the United employee, a man whose name Alana doesn’t remember, how we should get home because their mistake turned into no ground transportation. We felt they should pay for it and we let him know that. He said to go to the United Customer Service desk in Denver and that they would get us home, we wouldn’t need to worry about the cost. I wish we recorded that because United is full of lies. When we land we ask the United members what to do and they say go to the people at baggage and they’ll help you get home. We get our baggage, no serious damage, and Alana who has a better temper goes to the two ladies at the desk while I sit. The nice ladies tell Alana that we don’t usually do that but we’ll check for you on your ticket and reservation and then they call over Carlos Menendez who says no we don’t do that our contract got you to Denver. Alana gets mad claiming that they screwed up and he just walks away, the ladies say sorry he is the boss and Alana comes back to me. May I add that this guy was checking baggage (scanning barcodes on bags that are just lying around) twenty feet from the desk and when they page him he shouts angrily let me finish this first before he comes over. Alana tells me that they said they fulfilled their contract and we can get no compensation. Now I enter, here comes the rant.

 

 

I come stomping over, face half paralyzed, eye dripping water from the Bell’s, head pounding, voice thick with phlegm, and aggravated as all hell that this guy treated Alana so poorly. I walk past him like he’s nothing because he truly is nothing, muttering under my breath, “you didn’t fulfill your contract, I’ll get my compensation and then some.” He tries to bump me (good thing he missed) with some cocky look on his face and in his tone, says “what you say?” I stare over him in the eyes and repeat exactly what I say and he says we got you to Denver as our contact states, you get nothing else….

 

Chris: You didn’t fulfill your contract actually as you can see, and now we have no way to get back to Boulder. Can you tell me how to get back?

 

Carlos: No, United does air transportation not ground.

 

Chris: Well you work in an airport, you must know something or somewhere I can go to get information.

 

Carlos: We don’t do ground transportation.

 

Chris: I need a way back to Boulder and compensation because United screwed up. Now.

 

Carlos: I can’t help you. File a complaint online.

 

Chris: Do you have a manager or someone that has knowledge or authority?

 

Carlos: No.

 

Chris: So you have the most authority of any United employee in this airport and that authority is nothing?

 

Carlos: Yes.

 

Chris: Well you don’t know anything at all, so I’ll ask your employees where I can find a way home.

 

Carlos: Do not talk to them.

 

Chris: I NEED TO GET HOME.

 

Carlos: If you give them a hard time I will call the police. (Goes for the phone)

 

Chris: I’ll give them whatever time I need to find us a way home. Our phones are dead because your airline did such a poor job.

 

Carlos: Then I’m calling the police to have you removed from this airport and arrested.

 

Chris: NO. (FULL ANGER) I’m calling the police right now because you’re harassing me, maybe they will know how I can get home. (Starts dialing)

 

At this point, Carlos knowing he’s a useless little man who should have never been given a position in customer service let alone as a supervisor or director walks/runs away never to be seen again, leaving his employees there. I never even talked to the two women because I knew it would do nothing since United put a  man in charge who should not even have a job in customer service. Customer service meaning he deals with customers. He should be loading baggage onto the airplanes, if anything, never to be seen by people. He had no tact, no diplomatic skill, no patience, no information, he had nothing. He was the worst employee I have ever seen and if he wasn’t there or if he handled the situation in any other way, we wouldn’t have this problem.

 

I don’t know the airport well but I saw signs for ground transportation. It was right next to the United desk, so Carlos was truly useless or the biggest prick ever. The guys working there were nice and gave us our options. All very expensive. We ended up splitting an independent shuttle with a random guy that flew in form Atlanta to Boulder for the first time. It was about $100 for the trip to Boulder. It would have been free, or $26 if United hadn’t screwed up so in my book they owe us at least $70 in compensation just for that, let alone ruining our day, making us sicker, and putting us through that hell and web of lies. You have some employees telling us it will be covered just go to the next desk and the end of the road is Carlos, who offers no help.

 

On a side note, the man who drove us to Boulder did a phenomenal job. If you want to know the best shuttle service from Denver, please email me or leave a comment for information.

 

I just will never get over how poorly Carlos dealt with the situation. He could have simply told me to go to the ground transportation desk and then ask for compensation after because he doesn’t have the means to pay for it at the time. That would have been enough. But he didn’t, he was aggressive and cocky and did the worst possible thing, threaten me.

 

I’ll be filing complaints with United about the situation, trying to get compensation because of their mistake, and trying to remove Carlos from his position. He should not work in customer service, since he isn’t able to do his duty.

 

Anyways, never sacrifice your morals or values for a few bucks. Pay the extra money for the better flight, for the money to go to the right people! Do the right thing, as we will never fly United again, no matter what.

Slow Down: Be Grateful and Feel Thankful

Too often, I believe this culture is too busy to remember what we are grateful for. What we should feel so eternally thankful for. And this is just a gentle short reminder post on the long-running list of things you are and can be thankful for. Being thankful isn’t just to ease your morality and do your “good deed for the day,” it makes you happy too. Who can beat a free dose of happiness?

Can’t particularly think of anything right now? Let me start you off…

Feel thankful for your health. Too often we forget this…until we become ill.

Feel thankful for those in your life who impact you every day. 

Starting to get the notion? I’ll throw out some more random ones that I may or may not feel…

Feel thankful for the random Christmas card from a professor that you didn’t expect.

Feel thankful that just as you feel like falling, someone is there to pick you up.

Feel thankful you have a beautiful amount of life thriving around you, it’s everywhere when you look.

Be grateful that your partner understands you as a best friend/soul mate freakish hybrid would. 

Be grateful for the kindness and humor of an Emergency Room doctor late in her shift. 

Be grateful when your 6-month old kitten buries her head in your arm and snuggles like there’s no tomorrow.

Feel thankful when you have the chance look at the snow slowly falling from the trees, the salt misting above the sea, and the fog rolling off the plains. 

Be grateful for the ability to ground yourself in peace with a few thoughts.

Feel thankful for the ready availability of water, shelter, and food.

Feel thankful that your family and friends accept you for who you are.

Be grateful that thoughts are immortal no matter what their contents contain…you can always remember them. 

Feel thankful for the way you are raised and the way you are today…all those good traits.

Be grateful for the imagination that rules your mind and can let you escape to somewhere else whenever you choose.

Be grateful for family who will cry with you. 

Sunset

The list plunges ever on, but I wanted to share a few with you that perhaps you can connect with. I know that Thanksgiving has passed, but I believe in stopping for just a moment or two, to find something to be thankful for and smile about. In an era of business and money, this is a small place of refuge.

Thanks to you all!

11 Ways to Maintain or Lose Weight Throughout the Holidays

The holidays are never easy for those trying to maintain or lose weight. Never ever. You’re typically surrounded by family shoving food in your face like ham and cookies. We’ve created a guide that you should follow to weather this tumultuous season. Let’s stay on track!

  1. Exercise or MOVE 30 minutes a day. Minimum. That sounds like a lot. It’s not. Walk the dog, take a brisk walk round the neighborhood, scrub the floors, hop on the treadmill or elliptical. It is worth it. 
  2. Limit yourself to 2-3 treats a week. This plays a big part in maintaining all of your progress. Don’t binge on treats all the time, it’s about moderation.
  3. Strength train 2-3 times a week. Whether that means getting on the floor and doing core work, picking up weights, or using machines in a gym facility, get your muscles working. Keep up the toning and strength work. We want to keep burning calories after our workout! Chris pumping some good weight
  4. Resist temptation most of the time. Say that pack of oreos or that ice cream sundae is looking fabulous. Try to resist as much as possible, but again, have a treat now and then. When you resist the cookies, supplement it with something else like banana and peanut butter, greek yogurt, crackers and peanut butter, or fruit. Still tasty, but tremendously better for maintaining your progress.
  5. Get your friends and family in on the exercise. Think of how funny a plank or push up contest would be with all the folks. Get people to go for walks or jogs with you. Do a 15-minute timed abs routine with your cousins or siblings. Create family time around something other than food–and make it fun. Think how hilarious it would be to see your dad playing Just Dance.  
  6. Look at ingredient labels. If it has anything like “high fructose corn syrup” on it, STAY AWAY.
  7. Eat breakfastA simple simple way to control your metabolism and eating for the entire rest of the day. Not very hungry? Just have some greek yogurt and nuts, eggs on whole wheat toast, or a smoothie. Just to get the metabolism started and preventing a binge-fest later. Alana's typical house breakfast
  8. Control your portion size.We eat with our eyes and then we feel bad if we leave food on our plate. Break that habit and get small servings to start. You can always get more if you’re still hungry, right? Be smart about these choices. Use a smaller plate or bowl. 
  9. Eat often and well. When our glucose levels drop, we usually scrounge for something to satiate it: cookies, chips, ice cream, etc. However, when we eat often throughout the day (every 2-3 hours), that doesn’t happen. Have carrots, fruit, and nuts around the house—easy fix.
  10. When you eat, just eat. Sounds weird, but if you eat while distracted, say, while watching television, you don’t pay attention to your food or how your body is responding to it. Take the time to eat and really enjoy the food. It’s a good meditation and you won’t overeat.
  11. Is it worth it? Look at that piece of unhealthy food. Is it worth it? Is the satisfaction going to last more than ten minutes? What about that feeling of progress with weight or lean muscle? Weigh your decisions (no pun intended). Then reward yourself with a smile and know you did the right thing. 

So there you have it. Not too difficult to follow because you do get some cheats and treats every once in a while. It’s all about moderation. Be realistic,  but don’t overdo it. Good cheer and good luck this holiday season!