Controversial and Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About United Airlines (NYSE:UAL)

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United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) is facing criticism from all over the world now for how it forcefully dragged down a passenger from one of their flights recently. But this is not the first time they are in trouble for how they treat their customers. When measured by revenue, they are the world’s third-largest airline. Here are some other surprising and controversial facts about United you may not know.

1.    They Make More Money From Extra Charges Than Any Other Airline

Idea Works published an annual report recently, according to which, United Airlines collected the most “ancillary” revenue or money that is not included in the fare, in 2015. They made a staggering $6.2 billion, more than any other airline. American came second with $4.7 billion, followed by Delta with $3.8 billion.

2.    United Charges Passengers For Using Overhead Lockers

United launched their “basic economy” fare sometime back, which sparked anger. People who buy the cheapest ticket can travel with one small luggage that measures no more than 23cm x 25cm x 43cm. However, they have to keep it under their seat and not in the overhead locker. Hand luggage can only be stowed overhead if they buy a standard ticket, which costs more.

3.    United’s Customer Service Is Not The Best

United delivered in 2014 what has got to be the least sincere apology letter ever. “Dear (CUSTOMER NAME),” it began, with staff having forgotten to fill in the case fields. “Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees. To encourage you to fly with us again and as a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, enclosed is (SPECIFIC ITEM). (CUSTOMER NAME), I ask that you allow us another opportunity to serve you, as we consider it our privilege to have you aboard.”

In another email apology to Chris Chmura, the airline referred to him as “Mr Human”, not once, but thrice. “Dear Mr Human. Thank you for contacting us at United Airlines. Mr Human, your email clearly expresses your disappointment and I would like to extend a sincere apology…”

4.    More Than 1,000 United Passengers Have Died In Plane Crashes

According to the Aircraft Crashes Record Office, since the airline was established, 1,211 have died in United crashes. This is the fifth-most among all airlines. Aeroflot tops this list with 8,231 deaths. However, United has improved over the years. AirlineRatings.com reports it is now amongst the safest carriers.

5.    United Hired The World’s First Female Flight Attendant

Initially, the flight attendants were all males. United Airlines hired the first stewardess in 1930, and soon the first air hostess.

6.    United Doesn’t Like Beards

United has a strong stance on facial hair for their cabin crew. The company says, “Trendy facial hair styles are not permitted”, and “Mustaches may not extend more than ¼ inch below the sides of the mouth”. United also says finger nails “may be no longer than ½ inch measured from the fingertip and should be even in length and shape”.