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Why Not to Fly United Airlines

September 18, 2012

After United accidentally marked me as deaf on their system and then spent an entire flight yelling at me like I was both hearing impaired and mentally handicapped – “WOOOOOOOOULD YOOOOOOOU LIIIIIIIIKE AAAAA BEV-ERRRRR-AAAAAGE?” – I swore I would never fly United again. But what possible harm could come to me in a 45 minute flight from Toronto to Newark and then back again? So I purchased my vacation package online with confidence.

Oh sure, the flight to Newark was okay. The flight back however, left much to be desired.

Ten minutes before we were supposed to board our flight home, I happened to glance at the signboard to find it was cancelled. No announcement, no warning. Just cancelled. I found a United employee (there were none at our gate) and asked what to do. She directed me to a different area of the airport (we were in B, she directed us to C) where we could find a customer service agent.

After I arrived to the customer service desk, and waited in line for fifteen minutes, the agent grumbled, “I don’t know why y’all are coming over here. There’s a desk in B.”

“Sorry about that. The agents in B are directing us here,” I answered.

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude but I don’t need to hear that right now. I’m trying to find you another flight.”

So, why did you ask? I wisely bit my tongue.

“The next flight out is in the morning. I can only put you on standby, so you probably won’t get on. And we won’t pay for a hotel because your flight was cancelled due to weather. Do you want me to book you standby on that flight?”

“Um…not really. Are there any other options?”

More than five minutes later she answered, “I can book you on United to Montreal and then Air Canada to Toronto. Your luggage won’t be on that flight though. It will arrive ahead of you.”

I wondered how my luggage could possibly arrive ahead of me but took Option B.

After waiting an hour for the delayed flight, and then another hour on the runway, we were off to Montreal. When we landed, however, our connecting flight had already left, as had all of the United agents and all other flights to Toronto. I went to the Air Canada counter. The agent was helpful and friendly. She booked me on an Air Canada flight for the next morning. She told me that United does this to her all the time, pawn unsuspecting United customers off on Air Canada so it is no longer their problem. She also told me that because I missed my connection due to a late flight, I should be able to get my hotel covered but not by Air Canada because I am technically not their customer. She gave me the number for United because the agents had gone home for the night.

When I called United and explained the situation, they basically told me I was SOL.

“If an agent were there, you could have your hotel covered but we can’t do that for you on our end.”

“So you’re telling me that if a United agent was here doing their job then I would have a comped hotel room but since no one stuck around until my flight arrived, I have to pay for my own hotel room.”


“I see. Well can I get reimbursed?”

“You can try. Go online and fill out a feedback form. There are no guaranties, though.”

No guaranties, indeed. I filled out the feedback form about two weeks ago and still have not received a reply. What do you think my chances are that I will get my $150 reimbursed? About as good as the chances that I’ll fly United again, would be my guess.

Oh, and is it any big surprise to you that my luggage did not land before me? Luckily, after a couple of hours of going back and forth between United and Air Canada agents, I did manage to find it. At least there was that. 🙂

I’ll sign off this post with a video that Ciara led me to. Thanks Ciara!


7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2012 7:54 pm

    Wow! BTW, don’t fly Continental either. United Airlines gobbled them up this year. My neighbor flew Continental earlier this year and they lost his luggage. Their customer service was horrible.

    • September 19, 2012 12:37 am

      Thanks for the tip. No United, no Continental. Got it. 🙂

      Right after I arrived from New York, I flew Porter to Thunder Bay. It was like day and night. Half hour though check in and security to runway, and in that time I drank a free coffee and ate free cookies. On the runway and they were again offering free food and beverage (alcohol or non). Thanks to United, I was too tired to stay awake to even drink a glass of wine. Don’t worry, though. I totally made up for my teetotalling on the flight back.

  2. September 18, 2012 11:18 pm

    I am SO uninspired to fly United LOL. I’m scratching them off my list for sure!

  3. September 19, 2012 9:16 pm

    Last time I flew United, my flight was delayed delayed delayyyyyed with no agents at our gate and no status updates. I finally called the 800 number and bitched (as politely as I could manage) until finally an agent came over from another gate to give an update. AirTran did something similar recently (had an arriving flight listed for an unmanned gate with no updates and then changed the arrival gate at the last second).

    Never had that problem with Delta. Not that I’ve never had a problem with a Delta flight, but at least they keep gate agents around to give updates!

  4. September 19, 2012 9:37 pm

    My husband retired from United. We have laughed at this video until we cried.

  5. September 28, 2012 10:09 am

    My grandson and myself was sch on a flight leaving poertland oregon at 4:02p.m we were told the flight was 2 hrs late when whe get to the gate it was 4 and a half hours late and the the flight was cancelled. I am a insulin diabetic and told the firts agent at 5:30pm and said there was nothing she could do and when they cancelled the fligh and my blood sugar was at 470 i was shaking and sweating then the other agent got me on a flight with alaska airlines at 7:40. why couldn”t the other agent do that. Due to all of this my flight was on 06/23/2012 and i could even make it to work on 06/25/12 due to this problem. it was my first time flying united airlines and that will be my last time. .

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