The letter from United Airlines wanted to know if everything was all right.
“Dear Mr. Thompson,” it began. “In the past you have been one of our most loyal customers. Our records, however, indicate that you have not flown with us in more than a year. If this is because of some problem or dissatisfaction with our service, we would like to know.”
They enclosed a brief survey along with an offer to add 5,000 miles to my frequent flier account if I would fill it out and send it back.
Flying more than 100,000 miles a year on one airline for a number of years in a row it gets you a special place in their database. When I was flying, they sent me a card every year to be a member of their “100K” club. I guess when that annual total goes from 100,000 to zero in one year the database probably sends a flag to the customer service department so they can send out the survey. Pretty good customer service technique.
But I don’t plan to fill out the survey. I hate surveys and the last thing I need is another 5,000 miles in a frequent flier account that I will never use again. But I may send United a letter to explain that my lifestyle change includes never, ever, getting on a plane again if I can help it. I may use the opportunity to explain that flying commercially, something I did for nearly 40 years, had become a less and less of a viable travel alternative with airport security that is more show than substance, crowded planes, seats too close together and a “cattle car” atmosphere.
Besides, I’m on the “no-fly” list of the Transportation Security Administration for something I wrote about the current occupant of the White House and probably woudln’t be allowed on the plane anyway.
Or I may just toss the letter and forget it. In another year, the computer at United will see that I haven’t flown a mile for a second year in a row and delete my name from the database.
From favored customer to non-entity in 24 months: Now that’s America.