“I will never fly United again! The airline sucks!”
Flight from Austin to London
- Round Trip
- Number of Stops:
- 2 stops in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois
- Date of Flight:
- July 2010
- Seat Class:
There were problems nearly every step of the way on this trip. On the outbound, I was unable to check in online--when I tried to do so more than 24 hours before the flight, your system instructed me to do so not more than 24 hours prior. When I did so, the option was no longer available, so I ended up having to pay more for my second bag because I did a counter check-in. At the airport, the check-in clerks rather abrasive.
About 45 after we took off, the cabin started losing pressure, so we had to return to Austin, land and deplane. We were told to wait (for an unknown period of time) while they try to resolve the technical problem in the aircraft. After about 45 minutes, they announced that the flight was canceled, and they would put us on another flight the next day. When I asked for conveyance back home, the staff was initially unwilling to arrange for that, saying they do not take care of lodging or transport for passengers whose flight originates at the location in question. I was livid--do they think a local is any less inconvenienced that a transit passenger?? When I insisted, they reluctantly agreed to give me a coupon for the airport shuttle but did not tell me the procedure I needed to follow to get one.
After waiting by an empty van at the stop for some time, I called the 800 number and asked for the Austin desk. Of course, they didn't know anything about my case, but were kind enough to send someone to the stop where I was waiting with too much luggage to be walking around the airport (you have to pay for a cart in the Austin airport). Finally, after an hour, I did get on a shuttle, which took me back home.
The next day, after I got on the transatlantic flight from Washington Dulles and the crew began serving dinner, it turned out that they had no record of my request for a vegetarian meal, which I had made with you at the time of booking my ticket. Of course, they had no intention of taking any responsibility for it. On the contrary, they complained to me that they didn't even have enough of the two meal choices to satisfy everyone. It's bad enough that there is a charge for alcoholic beverages on the international flight; but when I asked the attendant for wine with my meal (instead of before because I was dozing), she told me gruffly that I needed to wait because she was serving food!
The clincher was that when it was time to turn out the cabin lights so that people could sleep, they were unable to do so because of some mechanical problem. So we had to try to sleep the few hours remaining in a fully lighted cabin. Of course, they have offered some compensation for this, which one has to apply for on the UA website. I have to say that one crew member was very gracious and helpful. He obviously saw that his colleagues were not coping with the situation well.
As a result of this 20-hour delay, I missed an important rehearsal for a concert I was scheduled to play on July 9, the day I finally arrived. And because of all the inconveniences and discomfort, I was in less than ideal shape for my performance.
On the way back the same thing happened: there was no record of my vegetarian request. This time, however, the attendant graciously went back to the galley and found a meal that someone had refused and gave it to me. The last leg, from O'Hare to Austin, was delayed nearly one hour due to mechanical problems.
In sum, my recommendation is never, ever fly United.