United Makes it Hard to Give them Money

Christopher Elliott (whose column on the best airline flights in America I Fisked last month) shares one of my biggest gripes about United Airlines. They demand to see the credit card used for ticketing at check-in.


This means that if you’re purchasing a ticket for someone else with your credit card, you need to show that credit card in person. And since there aren’t any “city ticket offices” anymore, you need to show it at the airport.

You can get around this requirement by ticketing with a travel agent or getting paper tickets (for a fee, and takes time — the tickets would be shipped to you and then you need to get them to the traveler). But this annoyance pops up if you buy online or directly from United.

They say it’s to prevent credit card fraud, but other airlines manage this process better. Most don’t feel the need to ask for the card at all. Delta asks only if the ticket was booked within 72 hours of travel.

E-Commerce has advanced far enough that United should be beyond this. Their competitors all are. But then United’s website is in the stone age. It’s not surprising that they haven’t seen their way through to reducing the costs of giving them business.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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