The attorneys general of the CNMI and Guam have joined forces to complain to United Airlines for what they described as the subpar and declining quality of service on United’s Guam-Honolulu international route.
Guam Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson and CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan issued a letter yesterday to acting United Airlines CEO Brett J. Hart, outlining numerous customer complaints and asking to initiate a dialogue to help improve services on United’s Guam-Honolulu route.
The concerns raised in their letter include the loss of free in-flight meals, increased costs for luggage, loss of free entertainment, older planes causing frequent breakdowns, and insufficient flight crews, to name a few.
While customers understood that the Continental-United Airlines merger would result in certain changes, the resulting changes have been very frustrating, they said.
“The level of service provided by United on this route has never met the level of Continental,” which was “deeply rooted in this region and invested in its people,” Barrett-Anderson and Manibusan wrote.
Barrett-Anderson and Manibusan pointed out that the Guam-Honolulu route is an international flight, yet United does not provide free in-flight meals and two free-checked baggage to consumers on the flight as United provides for all the other international Asia-Pacific flights.
“Instead, [customers] are treated as if traveling on a domestic North American route and are forced to pay for meals, certain beverages, and a baggage fee after the first checked bag,” they said.
They pointed out that “these inequities are even more glaring…given that the fare for the [Guam-Honolulu[ route is more than twice as much as the [Narita-Honolulu] fare.”
Barrett-Anderson and Manibusan said they intend to reach out to government officials in the Western Pacific Region whose consumers are also affected.
In a statement, Manibusan said this is the first of many ventures the Consumer Protection Divisions of the CNMI and Guam Attorney General’s Office will embark on under a cooperative agreement between the two offices on behalf of local consumers for both islands.
Airline consumers from Guam and the CNMI frequently travel to Hawaii, mostly for medical referral issues, and have complained for years about United Airline’s declining quality of service.