Thao Nguyen's Hate Letter to United Airlines

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One of my favorite newcomers of 2008, Thao Nguyen has posted a bit of hate mail to United Airlines on her myspace blog. Pretty funny stuff:


First- i am disappointed to have to be corresponding with you again via myspace and swear words.

Second- I can't help it, you piss me off so much.

Third- Last time you screwed us like you were trying to tighten a bolt I promised you and myself i would never fly with you again, and the only reason I did the other day was because someone else paid for the flight and i didn't want to seem ungrateful.

Fourth- Why do you hire assholes.

All i wanted was to fly a short distance from one city to another with my guitars intact and present when i landed. Due to previous experience with you, I knew the only way that could happen was if i took them with me on the plane to gate check them.

ME (trying to be proactive about gate checking the guitars so i didn't hold up the line): Hi, can i get a couple gate check tags for my guitars before we board?

ASSHOLE UNITED LADY: What? how many guitars do you have?

Me (pointing): two.

A. U. L (looking at guitars): Wait, two? You have two?

Me: ( looking at guitars): yes.

A.U.L: you're kidding me.

Me(checking): nope.

A.U.L: there's no way you can take those on board.

Me: Right. can i gate check them?

A.U.L: you can't just bring whatever you want on board. You have 3 items. you're only allowed two.

Me: Right. I just always gate check them, I'd actually only bring 1 bag on board.

A.U.L: No one would allow you to do that.

Me: I always do that. I flew out here like that. When i checked in they said i could gate check them.

A.U.L:(insincere) Right, i'm sure.

So asshole asks for my boarding pass and calls a colleague. she is standing 6 inches from me on the phone.

Asshole: Hi? Patti? it's me. Well! i have a young lady here who has not one, but TWO guitars with her. she wants to check them. and she OF COURSE says that she's always traveled like this. There's no way. I know. Yeah, unbelievable. I KNOW! not one, but two! and she has another bag too! what should i do? these guitars are at least 45 inches long. Get someone else to handle it? Ok OH LOOK here comes cynthia.

Cynthia approaches.

A.U.L: Cynthia we have a young lady here who has not one but two guitars and she wants to take them on board.

ME: I had no intention of taking them on board. I'm trying to gate check them.

Cynthia (who is a TINY bit less aggravating then her comrade asshole 1): You can't do that.

ME: (stare.) when i checked in they said i could.

Cynthia (passive aggressive snort): well i really can't see that happening. maybe you confused them. Have you ever considered fed-exing your guitars? i know its expensive but you're going to have to gauge the worth. A lot of people are doing that now.

ME: No.

A.U.L: she says she always does it like this.

Cynthia: Well you certainly can't depend on doing this on a regular basis.

Me: i've always done this.

Cynthia: You should really consider fed-exing your guitars.

Me: no.

Cynthia: Well, we'll check them this time but you really cannot do this again.
Both look at the two guitars and shake their heads.

Me: ok. i hate you. I'm going to punch you both right now in your condescending patronizing unhappy faces. (Proceed to punch both. hard.)

but ACTUALLY i say:

Right. ok.

and ACTUALLY i do:

So then they gate check my guitars but only after cynthia trails me down the jetway and ushers them outside on the steps herself and then she stops to whisper about me to the flight attendant at the door of plane and they both look at me and I glare at them and later I refuse on board refreshments cause i don't want your fucking water i'd rather be thirsty and United probably just serves the airplane bathroom sink water that you're not supposed to drink anyway.

In closing: United Airlines, I am someone who doesn't really have strong opinions on many things. I have a very strong and negative opinion of you and everyone with whom you cavort. I hardly ever want to punch. I want to punch all your asshole employees and then physically embody you as an entity in something accessible and punchable and i want to pummel you.

OK thanks have a good day.


1 comment:

  1. This came out a year and change ago after I got to see what would be Esper's final performance with one of their favorite acoustic guitars at the Palace Theater as part of the Arthurnights Festival:

    This comes from Chris in Espers:

    "friends, especially musicians, please take a moment to read my rant about delta airlines. this ws a very sad and alarming experience.

    espers went to LA over this past weekend to play a festival. we flew out via delta airlines. usual policy states that you can carry a guitar on if it is in a soft case, as it will fit into overhead bins. we fly 10+ times a year for shows and carry on 2 acousics, 2 electrics. sometimes we have to assure folks that it is “cool”, as the agents at the very front gates can be unaware that it is ok to carry on, but it always works out. we always confirm this when tix are purchased as well as day of flight via phone call. we did all of this with delta.

    Technorati Tags: deltaairlines, espers, music, povertyjetset, travel

    when we departed philadelphia, they had concerns but let us carry the instruments through security and left it to the discretion of the actual flight crew. this happens frequently and the flight crews are always accomodating and very helpful with stowing the guitars. basically, if there should be 100% no room, they “pink tag” the guitar as they would a baby carraige and walk it down from boarding gate and hand-pack it in an area that isn’t back w/ the usual stuff. they unload and deliver by hand at the boarding gate upon exiting the plane.

    so…at LAX they would not even let us enter the terminal. this is all prior to going through the scanners, etc., right at the front desk for delta where you check in. we were told that the folks at the desk would have to clear it. so we went back and the agent said we’d have to buy a seat for a guitar. i asked to speak to the manager on duty and he came down and said that the only option was to check it in and put it under. i explained that we travelled many, many times per year via air and this had never been the case. he said “it is a dark world these days and policy like this is a result of it…” and refused an alternative. he also let me know that it was my choice to deal with him or security depending on how i “wanted to go about this..”meg, the owner of the guitar was in tears as she handed it to him and said “you really have no problem destroyng a guitar??” he said he would walk it himself to the plane, he put the pink tag on it and said it was indeed ensured for up to $2500.

    on the plane, the crew noted that we shouldd have been able to carry it on. in the delta terminal we noticed 2 other folks w/ guitars in soft cases that had cleared check in.

    the guitar did not get delivered at the boarding gate in philly. it came off of the belt with a large hole in it. this is the guitar that meg recorded the espers albums with, her solo work, plays live, etc.

    when we went to the office to flip out and make the claim, they said that it might not be ensured due to the fact it was in a soft case. we explaned to them that policy stated it must be in soft case to carry on and told them our whole ride. they stated the policy like this:

    - you CAN carry in intruments as long as they fit in the bins. they reccomend soft cases to ensure this for larger instruments.

    - guitars are too big.

    - this policy is due to room concerns, not security.

    even the folks in the baggage dept were with us, stated that the policy was very grey and unclear. we experienced inconsitency from person-to-person, city-to-city within the delta organization. had there been firm practice, we would have happily obliged with proper cases and planning.

    musicians should avoid this airline at all costs. they were TERRIBLE and i’d hate to see this happen to other folks. please spread the word around and i apologize for the typos that are like all over the place in the above dispatch.