Economy

United Airlines Flying Low

EDITOR NOTE–This personal experience is being shared because we felt passengers on United Airlines needed to know about it. We don’t want any coupons as hush money and welcome a corporate response.

The GUARDIAN editor did the BSU-MSU ball game trip over the Labor Day weekend and returned Monday about noon aboard one of the noisiest, rickety, creaky, shaking planes we have ever boarded.

It was a CRJ-7 with United Airlines colors, but operated by the delightful name “GoJet Airlines.” The ticket on the cramped minor league flight cost the same as a seat aboard a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320…sort of like booking a room at the Waldorf and ending up in a “Waldorf operated by No tell Motel” for the same price as the big brand.

Now for the bad news. The water dripping from the headliner (probably moisture from the air conditioner) was mildly disconcerting, but the constant vibration/rattling of the overhead luggage doors, the door to the lavatory, and the oscillating humming prompted more than one passenger to request earplugs, but none were available. We were presented with “please accept our apology” forms good for a “token of our appreciation” at a website.

Upon landing at Boise, the plane felt and sounded like a shopping cart with a wobbly wheel. It was noticeably malfunctioning and made a strange sound. The pilot skill at the landing was smooth.

Upon deplaning we asked the pilot if he noticed the strange behavior of the gear. He acknowledged that both he and the co-pilot noticed it. When asked what it was, if it would be fixed and if he was concerned, he just silently shrugged and gave us a silly grin.

The co-pilot was at the gate and we approached him with the same concerns. He admitted they felt all the vibrations from Chicago to Boise as well as confirming the landing gear needed attention. “We would all like to fly new planes that run smooth, but all we can do is write it up for maintenance to look at. Problem is, this plane just came out of maintenance,” he told us.

Note to anyone who cares or truly wants to check it out: flt UA 3628, O’Hare to Boise Sept. 3, 2012, depart Chicago at 9:13 a.m.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. LOL! Due to the truly amazing engineering and assembly of nearly all commercial aircraft, they remain safe in spite of the owner-operators skill in avoidance of fixing them. When that little hunk-a-junk you rode on gets to be about 15-20 years old it will be sold to a genuinely dangerous airline in central America or Africa where it will be flown another 20 years until replaced by the next generation of used beer cans America and Europe.

    Remember the same people who reach in your shorts before the flight have a separate division which is suppose to notice all that shaking and dripping stuff that you noticed… but they’re probably at a convention to improve moral after the last 10% pay hike, or maybe they were all ordered to SC to help fill the convention hall? It is a holiday weekend after all too. I bet if you paid more taxes they’d work harder to notice all that obvious stuff wrong with an airplane and airline. They might even ask the pilots the same questions you did… but they don’t.

    As for UAL: Here’s an oldie but a goodie from another unhappy client: Link to youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

  2. I will never fly United again.. if for no other reason, going through O’hare is awful. People are rude. The lines are insane. There are better options.. both for hubs and carriers.

  3. That’s pretty terrifying to even read about, much less experience in person. I hope this was a plane they brought out of the shed for this extra flight to get BSU fans to the game and back.

    The problem with stuff like this is that all these weak signals they’re getting that something is wrong will eventually line up, and a catastrophe will happen.

    United, please get after fixing that and provide a response about your corrective actions so we Guardian readers can feel safer if we are faced with flying on one of these planes!

    EDITOR NOTE–The real problem is the plane is owned and operated by a contractor. For sales purposes it is United, but they can just pass it off as the problem of GO JET (that’s the real name of the carrier).

  4. @UNITED_AlRLINES I don’t think the shake, rattle and roll should be done in an United airplane.

  5. “Express carriers” otherwise known as “United Excuse” were created for only one reason: To bring down the wages and benefits at the mother airline.
    Now that the goal is fully achieved and the employees at United are beaten down to the ground, there is no reason for the existence of GO JETs.
    The major airlines are now putting the economic squeeze on their feeder carriers. When the money for CEO bonuses are tight, the only thing left to steal from is maintenance and training.
    Their employees are already on food stamp wages and under pressure to accept any junky aircraft!
    Captain Ross “Rusty” Aimer
    (UAL Ret.)
    CEO
    Aero Consulting Experts
    Los Angeles, CA

  6. Howard Beale
    Sep 4, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Sadly it may only get worse as cost and competition pressures result in shortcuts.

    There have been some recent books written from insiders of the industry about over-worked pilots, inadequate and cut-rate (offshore) maintenance and aging infrastructure (air traffic systems) so flying will likely get worse….

  7. 777PIC has it right and the FAA is in full support of these business polices.

  8. They no longer use the words “FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES OF UNITED” any longer and ceased any evidence of customer care long ago. What they are doing is hauling human freight so please just shut up and suffer through the flight.

    Regional jets are fondly known as “Vomit Comets” to those who travel.

  9. I am traveling United this month, you have me freaked out.

    EDITOR NOTE– Let us know if you fly on any of their “GO JET” partners.

  10. Dear JJ,
    Hopefully you are flying on United Airlines and not one of the Express Carriers. In which case I can firmly assure you that you will be in perfect hands. My former colleagues are still the greatest gathering of dedicated professionals running the safest operation in the world. All despite the incompetence and greed of their upper management!
    Captain Ross “Rusty” Aimer
    (UAL Ret.)

  11. It’s all about GREED. Remember, the shareholders aren’t on that plane and the CEO’s have private jets.

  12. Did not fly on Go Jets, I flew United and United Express, and for the express flight it was Trans States as the vendor.

    All went fine, the express jets were definitely older and not as clean, but flights were safe and on-time.

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