David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD


Bait and Switch…Then Taunt – January 2023


  You know the guy who says “stop me if you’ve heard this?” Well, stop reading if you’ve heard me rant about this before.  I have.  I apologize for repeating myself, but every time I put the pain out of my head United finds a way to rub salt into the wounds they created.  So here is another instance of them trying to sell me (and other million milers) what we (by all rights) earned over decades…yet they stole from us.

My first flight on United was in 1978.  Not a long time ago by most standards, but as far away from today as the 1930s was from then.  I and thousands of others believed United when they said we would be granted lifetime status at one down from the top elite level if we put ourselves through years of flying pain and achieved the incredible total of a million miles in the air.  I got there just as United and Continental merged, when the evil management of the new United decided they were reneging on that decades-long commitment.  The CEO and executives (who were eventually forced out in disgrace) decided that million milers would only be given gold status.  The goalposts for platinum status were unilaterally moved right at the end of the race up to what would now be two million miles.  A United passenger sued the airline for breach of contract over these changes after decades of promises that passengers acted in reliance upon.  United won the case, with the judge saying that while United was probably acting deceptively and in bad faith, the Mileage Plus Ts and Cs allowed United to change anything they wanted at any time.  

It stung.  It still stings.  Those of us affected by it try to put it past us and go on with what life requires, and then Lucy comes along sending us an email asking us if we want to try to kick the football again.

United says I’m “so close” to platinum that they’re willing to sell to me what they stole from me for a tiny five grand – for just one year of course, not the rest of my life as I had already earned.

I can’t begin to explain how much reading something like this stings and brings back all the old anger over the deception.  Please don’t try to tell me that it is unintentional.  How hard would it be for United to remove million milers from this mailing list?  It’d probably take 10 minutes of sorting through the records – an effort their revenue management team likely handles multiple times a day.  This is an intentional stab at a wound they created. 

I replied to United via the email that I’d consider paying the $5K if it restored the benefit for the lifetime status that was originally promised to me all those decades ago.  I doubt I’ll hear back from them…heck, I doubt the email reply address is even monitored by them.

Please just know who you’re dealing with every time you fly United.  They didn’t downgrade million milers to ‘protect the integrity of the program’ as some claimed at the time – they’re still offering to sell the status to anyone.  They did it to minimize how many of the promises they made about service and upgrades they’d need to fulfill. 

There is a special room in hell reserved for the folks that run United and other airlines.  I assume it’s not hot enough to burn them, but it’s probably just a bit too warm and a bit too small and very close to a more comfortable room that they never quite reach.  But, they can take solace in the fact that they’re always in the twenties or thirties on the list of people that might have been allowed to be in the more comfortable room if there was ever any space available there.


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My blog from last week spurred a handful of you to write in and tell me about your experiences with travel nowadays.  No one said the traveling experience is as good as it used to be.  Many of you drive now wherever possible, stopping whenever you feel like it.  Some are pleased that they’ve retired and left the rat-race.  Some just spend what it costs to buy premium seats, resolved that they’re getting what the coach experience used to be.  Others have almost completely given-up flying.  What a shame that our society has lost the glamour and comfort that air-travel used to provide.  What a shame that greedy and out-of-touch management have been able to destroy a once proud service industry.




This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

Copyright 2023 David Danto


As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.  Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.  Thanks!