Why United Airlines Customer Service Is Rated Last?

Have you flown United Airlines recently? If so, you've probably experienced their abysmal customer service firsthand in United Airlines Customer Service. For the fourth year in a row, United has ranked dead last in customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power's annual survey.

As a frequent flyer, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with delayed flights, lost baggage, hidden fees, and unhelpful staff. United seems to have perfected the art of annoying its customers at every turn.

From the moment you book your ticket to the second you deplane at your destination, flying United is an exercise in patience and a test of your tolerance for indifference. No wonder their slogan is "Fly the Unfriendly Skies." If you have a choice, you're better off picking another airline. Your sanity will thank you.

Why United Airlines Customer Service Is Rated Last?

Long Wait Times and Unhelpful Agents in United Airlines Customer Service

Dealing with United Airlines’ customer service is an exercise in frustration. Their long wait times and unhelpful agents will have you pulling your hair out.

  • Expect to be on hold for 30-60 minutes just to speak to someone. They are chronically understaffed, and hold times skyrocket during weather events or holidays. By the time you do get through, you’ll barely remember why you called in the first place!

  • The agents themselves often lack the knowledge or authority to actually help you. They stick to rigid scripts and policies, and frequently have to put you on yet another hold to ask a supervisor. Requests as simple as a refund or flight change become a nightmare of transfers and repeating yourself.

  • Don’t bother contacting them through chat or email either. Responses can take days or weeks, and the agents provide only generic, unhelpful information. You’re better off calling, as painful as that is.

  • Your best strategy is to call early, arm yourself with patience, and ask for a supervisor right away if the agent can’t assist you. Be prepared for pushback, but stand firm in your request. Supervisors do have more power to resolve issues, even if it takes some work to reach them.

In the end, abysmal customer service is a big reason why United ranks dead last among major airlines. Until they invest in improving wait times, better training agents, and giving employees more authority to help, flying with them will continue to be a gamble. Your trip may be fine, but if anything goes wrong, you’re largely on your own.

Lack of Responsiveness on Social Media in United Airlines Customer Service

When you tweet at @United with a complaint or question, don’t hold your breath waiting for a response. United is notorious for ignoring customers on social media.

  • According to surveys, United ranks dead last among major airlines for social media customer service. They fail to respond to a whopping 67% of tweets and over half of Facebook posts directed at them.

  • If they do respond, it often takes hours or even days. By then, you’ve probably already missed your flight or had your bags end up in Timbuktu. Not exactly helpful.

  • The few responses they do send out are usually generic, unhelpful messages that simply direct you to their website or customer service phone line. Hardly the personalized support savvy travelers expect today.

  • No surprise United’s social media channels are flooded with complaints about lack of response and useless bot replies. Yet United doesn’t seem to care or be making any changes to address this failure.

  • In today’s world, social media is key for customer service. Travelers frequently turn to platforms like Twitter and Facebook for quick questions and help with issues. United’s lack of responsiveness leaves a bad impression and erodes customer trust and loyalty.

If you want to avoid frustration and actually get help, don’t count on United’s social media team. You’ll have better luck calling them or chatting with an agent directly on their website. Maybe one day United will wake up and invest in real customer service for the 21st century. But don’t hold your breath on that either!

Outdated Tech and Glitchy Apps in United Airlines Customer Service

United Airlines is notorious for their outdated technology and glitchy mobile apps that frequently frustrate customers. ### Check-in and booking issues

Trying to check in for your flight or make a booking on the United app or website often leads to error messages, crashed pages, and lost reservations. The systems seem to be overloaded and unable to handle the volume of customers, especially during busy travel periods. You may find yourself having to call customer service to speak to an agent to get your reservation sorted out - if you can even get through after being on hold for what seems like forever.

  • Error messages when trying to check in online for a flights.

  • App and website crashing when attempting to make a booking.

  • Lost or missing flight reservations.

  • Long wait times to speak to a customer service agent to resolve issues.

Outdated planes and poor in-flight entertainment

Not only is the technology for booking and check-in outdated, but so are many of the planes in United's fleet. Older planes mean fewer amenities for passengers like in-seat entertainment systems, charging ports, and fast Wi-Fi. 

Don't expect the latest blockbuster movies or TV shows on the seat back screen - the options are very limited. And if you were hoping to be productive and get some work done on your flight, the slow, spotty Wi-Fi will surely frustrate you.

United would benefit greatly from significant investments to upgrade their technology infrastructure across the board. Customers today expect a seamless digital experience when booking travel and state-of-the-art amenities once onboard.

Until United makes these improvements, their customer satisfaction ratings will likely continue to suffer in comparison to competitors that prioritize technological innovation. Spending money on these types of upgrades may be expensive in the short term but will pay off through improved customer loyalty and retention over the long run.

Poor Handling of Delays and Cancelations by United Airlines Customer Service

When your flight is delayed or canceled, United’s poor customer service really shows through. Their handling of these situations leaves much to be desired and contributes to their last place ranking.

Lack of Communication

When there are issues with your flight, United fails to proactively communicate with customers. They don’t send text alerts or emails to notify you of delays or cancelations, leaving you to find out only once you arrive at the airport. Their gate agents and phone support also struggle to provide accurate information about when or if your flight may depart. This lack of transparency and confusion adds unnecessary stress and frustration to the experience.


Rather than doing what they can to get you to your destination, United takes a rather unapologetic stance. They rarely provide meal vouchers, hotel accommodations or rebooking on alternative flights. You’re left to fend for yourself, even for lengthy delays and cancelations that are the airline’s fault. Their “not our problem” attitude shows a lack of care or concern for customers and their needs.

Disorganized Response

When issues do arise, United seems ill-equipped to handle them properly. Gate agents appear frazzled, uninformed and overwhelmed. Rebooking flights is disorganized, with long lines and wait times. Baggage retrieval and re-checking also moves slowly. Overall, United lacks an efficient, streamlined process for managing delays and cancelations in a way that minimizes hassle for customers.

In summary, United’s poor communication, unaccommodating policies and disorganized response to flight issues all contribute to their terrible customer service reputation and rankings. Improving in these areas by proactively notifying customers, providing reasonable accommodation and developing efficient processes for handling problems would go a long way toward improving the experience. But as it stands now, you’re likely to be left in the lurch if there are any hiccups with your United flight.

Lost Baggage Disasters

When your luggage goes missing after a United Airlines flight, you’re in for a frustrating experience. Their disorganized baggage handling and lack of customer service will leave you wondering if you’ll ever see your bags again.

Lost in the shuffle

United Airlines mishandles more bags per passenger than any other major U.S. airline. Your bags can easily get misdirected, left behind, or lost somewhere in their messy system. Even if your bags make it onto the plane, there’s still a chance they won’t make it to baggage claim at your destination. You’ll be left filing a lost baggage claim and hoping for the best.

Unhelpful agents

If your bags go missing, don’t expect much help from United’s customer service agents. They are poorly trained and lack the resources or ability to track down lost luggage. You’ll likely get little more than an insincere apology and a lost baggage claim number. 

Calling their customer service phone line is equally futile. You can expect excessively long wait times, unknowledgeable agents, and few answers about your bags’ whereabouts.

Compensation challenges

When your bags are delayed or lost, you deserve compensation for essential items you need to purchase in the meantime. However, getting United to pay up is nearly impossible. They will deny or delay claims, demand excessive proof of purchases, and do anything to avoid properly compensating you for their mistakes. You’ll spend hours on the phone negotiating with their claims department to receive a fraction of what you’re actually owed.

In summary, if checking bags on your United Airlines flight, prepare for the worst. Pack valuables, medications, and a couple of days of essentials in your carry-on. And once at your destination, don’t hold your breath waiting for your luggage to emerge on the baggage carousel. With any luck, your bags will only be delayed and will find their way to you within a couple of days. But with United, lost luggage disasters are all too common.


So there you have it, the reasons why United Airlines customer service continues to rank dead last among major airlines. Between the endless fees, lack of responsiveness, unhelpful staff, and overall unpleasant experience, United has a long way to go to win back customer trust and loyalty. 

As a consumer, you have the power to choose an airline that actually values your business and aims to make your travel experience as stress-free as possible. Unless United makes some major changes to improve how they treat customers, you're probably better off booking with another airline that will actually appreciate your patronage. The friendly skies await at other airlines, so why put up with the unfriendly service of United?


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