It’s been a week since our stroller was effectively destroyed by United Airlines during our flight from Chicago to Baltimore. I really wanted to believe that the airline would do right by us, considering Shane chooses to fly United frequently when traveling around the world for his job. We had an expectation that our property would be be returned in the same manner as when we checked it at the gate. After reviewing United’s policies, it clearly states: United is not liable for damage to strollers.
Well, alrighty then. I guess I just don’t know what we’re expected to do the next time we travel. Buy two cheapo umbrella strollers and just pray they arrive in one piece? Attempt to carry our squirmy, wormy, active babies while also juggling our carry on bags, diaper bag and my purse? Never travel again until they’re able to walk, carry their own bags and maybe help chip in on the cost of airfare? I don’t think any of those options will work for us. Our nice double stroller (RIP) was a gift from Shane’s parents. We loved everything about it. Easy to manuver, independent reclining seats, breathable mesh rear wall to allow a nice breeze… not to mention we purchased a parent console, belly bar and received the coordinating rain canopy as a gift. Really though, who has a few hundred dollars lying around to replace a stroller? We looked into cheaper ones, but for the reasons listed above, we’ll probably end up just replacing ours. Why should we have to deal with an inferior stroller because United ruined our perfectly good one? Don’t they make enough money to throw a couple hundred our way to help out? Fingers crossed, I have a few inquiries into some second hand ones from Craigslist, so maybe we’ll be able to get a bit of a deal off our replacement. If that fails, I found a 20% off coupon for our local baby store that sells it. I’m pretty much refusing to pay full price.
Lesson learned I guess. I don’t think we have any recourse since it’s very clearly stated in the travel information on their website. I’m just really upset at how poorly the whole situation played out.
When we took the stroller to the small office near baggage claim and filed a complaint we were told they would keep the stroller for an “investigation.” We were never told what United’s policy was. Surely the woman we dealt with was aware of the fact that they don’t cover damage to strollers. We were also told we would be contacted in a few days. Our flight was on Monday night, so Shane called again on Wednesday and Friday. He was promised on Friday that a supervisor would contact him on Saturday and that there was a note made in our file indicated our request. Well, Saturday came and went, so this morning, one full week later, Shane finally got in touch with this supervisor who said that their policy is to never cover damage to strollers and that they usually don’t even contact customers to relay this information. He was only responding to our numerous calls. I’m still confused as to why the woman at the baggage claim office said she needed to keep our stroller to investigate. She probably just wanted to appease us and send us on our way and let her supervisor deal with it days later. It’s infuriating. When I arrived home today, our stroller had risen from the dead and landed on our front doorstep. Not sure why they bothered to return our damaged stroller, but thanks, I guess?
Luckily we had our carseats so we had other means of carrying the boys around the airport. There’s a small part of me that is obsessed with stressing about the future and she wonders what will I do if instead of a stroller, it’s Caleb’s wheelchair that’s bent and damaged. Would that not be covered? Believe me, I swore up and down and threw a fit when I saw our broken stroller, I can only imagine the the rabid mama bear that will show her face if anything happens to an assistive device that Caleb needs. I’m fuming just thinking about it!
Personally, our family will be unlikely to travel with United Airlines ever again. We’d love to encourage our family and friends to do the same, but let’s face it, times are tough and the airfare dictates the airline a majority of the time. I do, however, highly suggest you learn from our mistakes and think twice when checking items at the gate. I’m off to eat some Ramen noodles… for the next 6 months.