United Airlines Doesn't Give a Damn What You Lost on Their Planes

Illustration for article titled United Airlines Doesnt Give a Damn What You Lost on Their Planes

Steve Silberman suffered through a flight from Hell. Not only did United attendants ask him to switch seats when the woman next to him irrationally demanded so, but after forgetting his Kindle on the plane, the attendants refused to grab it.

As the story goes, moments after stepping of the plane, Silberman realized he had forgotten his Kindle, yet nobody could go and get it for him because of "policy."

Then I remembered that my precious Kindle and the documents on it were still in the pocket of my old seat on the plane. I turned back to the gate and asked an agent if I could quickly reboard the plane to fetch it. That would be impossible, I was told. I was instructed to call United's lost-and-found number to retrieve my Kindle.


Silberman was greeted by an automated phone service and never heard back from United. When he called to deactivate the account on his Kindle, he dishearteningly learned that someone had already done so, meaning that it wasn't sitting in a lost and found bin somewhere.

And like he says, it's only a $200 device, but it's a device that was a Christmas gift from his wife. A gift with meaning and a story behind it. That's a bummer. [NeuroTribes]

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This is where it pays to have status with an airline. I'm Diamond elite on Delta, and a few months ago I left my work laptop in the seat back (rookie mistake), I went back to the counter to see if I could retrieve it, but no dice. I called the number on the back of my diamond status card, 5 minutes later the gate agent got a call, and a few minutes after that I had my laptop back with an apology from the gate agent.

I'm also in the minority in that I genuinely enjoy flying, but again if you're a road warrior it's a whole different experience. I have a special fast lane at security that has my through in under 10 minutes, a quite, nice lounge with free snacks, get to board first and usually get a first class bump. But, to my less frequent traveling friends I always give them the advise to just roll with it, take a deep breath and relax. If a flight is delayed, don't get upset, enjoy the extra time you have, while I know this sounds silly but if your flight's delayed there's NOTHING you can do about it, so just roll with it. Another tip is if you make the gate agent feel like they're the most important person in the building you can get a lot out of them, saying things like "I could never do your job, I definitely have empathy for what you have to deal with" gets them on your side. I've befriended gate agents and it's benefitted me in many ways, be it a bump to first class, moving you to another flight, getting called to the desk for an update before the rest of the passengers, the list goes on. There's tons of small tricks I've learned over the years that honestly make flying a really enjoyable thing for me, I don't dread it, I look forward to it.