I just got off the phone with United and dealt with a GREAT agent in HNL. United, take note: Your HNL agents are gems.
While most Dearborn and some Chicago (yes, I suppose I could be exaggerating) agents refuse to go the extra mile and seem perturbed rather than thankful for your business, almost every HNL agent I have ever interacted with (and this is not an exaggeration) has left me smiling.
I sponsored a systemwide upgrade for a friend tonight on an upcoming overseas trip from Asia. My friend is traveling on a full-fare economy ticket, but has no status with UA. She’s attempting to upgrade a flight that is oversold in business class with 35 passengers on the upgrade waitlist. Rather than just applying the upgrade and saying goodbye, the agent took time to examine the itinerary and volunteered to find a better routing that would maximize my friend’s upgrade chances–yes she volunteered to go the extra mile!
After a few minutes of searching, she determined that adding an extra connection on the west coast would really help the upgrade chances and she made the changes for me. Now instead of being on a flight already overbooked in business class with a snowball’s chance in hell of clearing the waitlist, she is on a flight in which business class is undersold and there are more seats available than upgrades requested. The flight is still a week away, but her chances look good.
Next came the application of my SWU. Applying a SWU over the phone requires a trip to the airport to sign a "bluey" (a form authorizing the release of your upgrade and pledging that you did not sell it). The agent suggested I try to sponsor the upgrade online while she waited to make sure everything was okay. I tried to sponsor the upgrade but (figures…) UA’s new MP website gave me an error. Not deterred, she put me on hold to call web support and sorted out the problem so I won’t have to go down to the airport to sign the release form. Now that’s what I call service.
UA has gems at every call center, but HNL has a corner on the market. How often do you hang up the phone after a call to the airlines with a smile on your face? I sure did tonight.