Oh, international call centers….

I’m flying on Friday and as usual like to get creative and request special meals. The same stuff gets boring after a while, so this time around I decided to request a muslim meal. When I have eight segment trips I prefer to talk to the international call centers as opposed to the 1K desk, since they’re less likely to ridicule me for my roundabout way of flying (like going from Tampa to San Francisco via Washington, New York, and Los Angeles).

Anyway, I called United reservations without entering my Mileage Plus number and was connected to an outsourced agent. After I gave her the reservation number and told her which flights I wanted a special meal for, our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Yes, I’d like to request a muslim meal for that flight.”
Her: “What kind of a meal?”
Me: “A muslim meal please.”
Her: “Can you spell that please?”

At this point I burst out laughing but nonetheless mustered up the courage to spell it out — “M-U-S-L-I-M.”

Her: “Sir, can I put you on hold?”
Me: “Sure.”

After about a minute she returned.

Her: “Sir, I don’t see that kind of meal.”
Me: “Are you sure you don’t see a muslim meal as an option?”
Her: “May I place you on hold again?”
Me: “Em, ok.”

After a minute or two she came back and confirmed it, but ultimately it took seven minutes on the line with her to request a special meal. Ah, United!

Not sure whether it’s better to waste a few minutes with the international call center or take some flack from an agent in Detroit that refers to themselves as “Mrs. _____,” which is always a sign it’ll be an adventure….

Filed Under: Humor
  1. So did ya call the ICC to place your special meal order in hopes that they’ll screw it up and you’ll be forced to console yourself with a Skykit? ;o)

  2. @ bk3day — Hah, nope, wasn’t even something I had considered. They usually enter the special meals correctly once they figure out how to do it. I just don’t like getting ridiculed by the 1K desk for my routings.

  3. Lucky: “U’d like a Muslim meal, please.”

    \Manila Call Center, “May I place you on hold while I check my resources?”

    Manila Call Center: “I’m sorry , we do not offer a Muslim meal. Would you be needing a Hertz rental car?””

    Lucky: “Thanks, I will hang up and call back.”

    Manila Call Center: “Have I met all of your travel needs today?”

  4. I’ll never forget a flight during the final days of Pan Am. On a lark, I ordered a kosher meal. My co-workers choked down cold, stale sandwiches, while I enjoyed a large, very tasty serving of beef brisket, served piping hot.

  5. Could have been your pronounciation… I imagine you said something like “MUZ-lim” rather than the more widely understood (outside of America) “MOOS-lim”.

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