Wednesday, May 06, 2009

United Airlines wants to know everything about me....and I mean everything

While boarding a recent United Airlines domestic flight I was presented with a "Survey America" which is United's customer survey form. You know the type - where an airline asks you a series of questions about you and your experience using the airline. In exchange you all you get is a nice smile and a warm feeling or sometimes (as with United) a nice smile, warm feeling and a slim chance of winning something. Normally I love a questionnaire. It helps pass the time on the flight and I feel like I have a place to vent about the experience on the airline.

But the United "Survey America" contained questions that I am surprised that anyone wants to let any company know about them, let alone an airline. Plus the way you post the form back to United guarantees that the whole world will know more about you than you could ever want.

Below is a (badly) scanned picture of the worst page but let me list for you a few of the questions on this survey that United is crazy to think that consumer would want to answer and consumers would be mad to answer. On their own (some of) these questions might be ok, but put together the would tell United (and a lot of other people) enough about you for United to all but take over your life (ok maybe that is a bit over the top but still).

Selected Questions

18. Including this trip, how many round trips by air have your flown in the past 12 months (by class and airline)?

19. In total how many times in the past 24 months have you flown to Europe, Asia, Latam?

21. List all the frequent flyer programs you are in and which you are an elite for (check box will all the majors)

22. a) are you Male/Female
22. b) Age
22. c) Approximate household income (in thousands)
22. d) Occupation (with check boxes)
22. e) Race (with check boxes)

then - space to fill in your full name with middle name, address, phone, email etc

And here is the best part. When you fold up the questionnaire to send it to United with the prepaid address on the front, then Question 22 (income, age, sex, race) and your name, home address and contact details appear on the back for any and all to see.

Amazing. Who in their right mind would would complete this survey. Here is a shot of the back page.

PS - was trying to put up a link to a pdf version of the whole survey. I used to be able to load pdfs onto Google Base and then do a link but could not get it to work. Anyone know how to a pdf or link to a pdf on a blogger page?


Penny Arabiata said...

Can't believe you went for the killing-time-with-an-inflight-survey option when you had the wonders of United's "Skymall" catalogue to while away the hours.

Quite simply, it's the best IFE on the planet.

Kudos to United for not buckling under the pressure of consumer demand for mind-numbing seatback TV screens.

Links to some personal favourite Skymall products follow:

(Gotta love "realism" being used to describe a yeti sculpture)

Also love this one:

And this:

(Dog looks like he's loving it)

Wait there's more:

And this:


(That just looks dangerous to me)

How about:


And this gem isn't going to get in the way of your seatback TV screen on United:

Hail the Skymall R&D team. It's go go go! over there.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. There's easily enough comic relief in the catalogue to get you across the Pacific.

Tim Hughes said...

@"Penny" - I love love love love the skymall. Never get tired of reading it. Never get tired of the amazement at what people can build and sell. You read my mind on the yeti sculpture. On that same flight as my "America Survey" moment I was admiring the life like pose and "caught in the act" facial expression!!!. The skymall is my favourite part of US domestic flying.

Kristi Barrow said...

Oh the Skymall!!!! - the only ray of Sunshine in the black hole that is a United flight...

The travel pillow is gold. But I prefer the one you can face plant directly into.