Not Going Away

Coming home from San Diego, I may have gone a little overboard on my shopping but I purposely left room in my suitcase to make sure I could bring some things home.  Obviously not enough room though.  With a 50 pound limit, my luggage weighed in at about 61 pounds so I knew that I would have to probably pay a fee for the excess weight.  When asked if I was to take some stuff out and put it into another bag, they told me two bags would cost 60 dollars (because United charges you for even bringing one bag to San Diego) yet the fee for the extra 10 pounds would actually cost 200 dollars.

What?  Who came up with this math?

I saw the picture below the other night and all I could think of is some corporate big wigs sitting in the United offices when they came up with this luggage policy:

So the deal is that I could actually pack 100 pounds of stuff  in two bags and bring it back to Canada for 60 dollars or 61 pounds in one bag for $200.  Not being a mathematician, something obviously was not adding up although I do know that most airline companies have this ridiculous type of policy.

So what was my first reaction? Go to Twitter.  I went to the masses and tweeted something out regarding this ridiculous policy hoping United would respond.

So after that, I hear nothing from United.  Nada.  What could you answer?  Even the people at the desk know it is an idiotic policy and said it when I checked in but short of change it, the company is obviously more interested in the quick buck then it is in long term customer satisfaction.  I’m not saying that I will never fly with them again, but it will be a last resort.

Organizations and leadership has to realize that we all have a voice now.  Check out what happened when someone made a joke about the durability of Smart Cars.  (Thanks to 22 Words for the story)

Not wanting to let someone else define what Smart is about, they responded in a humouros yet informational way:

Then they actually followed up with a picture proving what they are saying:

 So here is a company taking some bad publicity, and actually coming out looking much better in the end because they not only addressed the person, but also because of the way that they addressed them.  To be honest, I have never thought much about Smart Cars, but I had a newfound respect in the way that they addressed a naysayer.  They probably received a ton of great publicity from that one simple tweet than they have with their regular advertising strategy.

I guess what they have realized, and what schools need to realize, is that the Internet is not going away.  People know that they have a voice and why wouldn’t they use it?  I know United has not had a long time to respond to me but are they going to really change their policy?  Will they even have a logical explanation?

Schools and administrators need to be aware of this world and be able to address all stakeholders in an open and transparent way.  Would we rather look like United or would we rather look Smart?



  1. What's really frightening, Pal, is that (1). many school leaders don't even realize that these kinds of conversations are happening about their schools right now and (2). many school leaders don't really care what their "customers" think of them.

    The simple truth is that in an era of budget slashing, focusing on "customer care" just makes sense for schools, too. Want to get the next bond referendum passed? Start by being responsive and transparent.

    Honesty and openness are the new non-negotiables, man.

    Hate that I didn't get to ISTE. Would have loved to see you.

    Rock on,

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  2. Great lesson for us all. I'm encouraging friends and family to post on Facebook and to Tweet the great service they receive as well as the bad. Maybe the "old establishments" will get the message that we are all connected instantly and will someday become the "smart" company. Thanks for the great article. I'm retweeting it!

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