I'm writing from ATL while waiting for my replacement flight after a second cancellation during my brief holiday travels. Im not quite finished with what could quite possibly be the worst air travel experience I've had. hopefully i'll make it back this evening, and in the meantime, I want to do my part as a customer to let you know of several failures in your company's efforts to provide acceptable service. FYI : my confirmation is c2cjb4. (I know it by heart at this point.)
my ordeal began Friday morning (dec 21), when I arrived at the office with bags packed to leave that afternoon from EWR to BNA at 3:30pm. at 9:30am, I received an email alerting me that my flight was cancelled. I had not been automatically rebooked, so I got on the phone.
after a 30 minute wait, I spoke with someone who told me there were no flights on united but she was checking other airlines. she asked me to hold while she called us airways to confirm a seat on a similar flight from LGA. while waiting, I was disconnected. no one called me back, so I called again.
this time I was on hold for 45 minutes (precious time on days with lots of cancellations) I explained to the new representative what had happened, and she said that us airways flight was no longer an option. she looked for a flight for me and was unable to find anything until the next afternoon, not direct, and arriving at 11pm the next evening (dec 22).
now's a good time to mention that December 22 marked my 30th birthday, and my family had planned an event for me beginning a 8pm. this late arrival would mean I would miss this event, and was unacceptable to me.
when i expressed this I was told there was nothing that could be done, and no ways to get me in any earlier. the demeanor of this representative took a dark turn at this point as well, and I was told tersely that if she had something else, she would help me. I hung up very upset and distressed.
after some thought, I decided that if i wasn't going anywhere for more than 24 hours, I might as well look into taking a train to Philly and leaving from there, so I called back. this time (45 minute hold time) i asked the new representative to look into flights from PHL, and she replied with "how about JFK tonight?" I was so happy and also confused to learn that there were still flights from NYC. she put me on hold for 20 minutes. when she came back she said that in fact there were no flights from JFK that day, but she had something the next day. after another long hold, she came back and said that was unavailable as well. then she asked if I would mind going from LGA to BOS to IAD to BNA the next morning and getting in at 1pm. I told her I'd take that and she put me on hold to confirm. 20 minutes later, she came back to tell me that this was "invalid routing" and that wouldn't be an option either.
I also asked if I could get to ATL and MEM as options, to which I was also told there were no flights available. so she finally looked into PHL and told me the only option was to fly there that night, spend the night, and leave on a 6am flight in the morning through IAD then on to BNA. I asked if united was willing offer me a hotel voucher, and I was told no.
I took this itinerary and booked a hotel room in Philadelphia at my own expense of $115.
the first leg of this itinerary was with US airways, and after receiving my new e ticket from the United rep, I went online to check in. I received an error saying this wasn't available and to call US air. I did so (got through with no hold) and was told I needed to call united because the status of my ticket was incorrect.
I called united back (30 minute wait) and asked what was going on, and the rep out me on hold while she confirmed my status on each leg on my trip. this took 30 minutes, at the end of which I was told that I was indeed confirmed on the us airways flight, as well as the others. I was glad I had followed up.
so I set off for the airport. I got to LGA and was unable to print my ticket at the kiosk, so got in line (for 20 minutes). when I got to the counter, the us airways rep told me that while I was once confirmed on the PHL flight, I had been taken off the reservation by United. at this point, nothing surprised me, but I felt totally helpless. no matter how much effort and follow up I was willing to put in as a customer, United was failing at every turn.
the us airways rep ended up finding me a seat on another PHL flight which hadn't left yet, and I was able to reach my destination due to her helpfulness alone.
I spent a short 5 hours getting sleep in my hotel, and returned for the 6am flight to IAD. this one went off without a hitch, until it was time to land. we were forced to perform a "go around" which had us landing about 40 minutes late and I barely made my connection. however I made it to Nashville that morning.
I got started enjoying my holiday almost a full day later than planned.
today, I was scheduled to fly out of ATL to Cleveland and then to LGA, arriving around 7pm. last night I received an email that my CLE to LGA leg was cancelled due to weather. again, no automatic rebooking, so I called and luckily got through fairly quickly this time. the rep on this call was very helpful and rebooked me on a direct flight, however this was to EWR instead of LGA. I took this flight, as it was direct, and I no longer trusted that any of United's flights were going to end up with me where I was supposed to be.
now, I'm at the airport in Atlanta. I arrived early because I had coordinated transportation with my mother who was flying out at the same time, but my new flight leaves 3.5 hours after hers. I went to my assigned gate and saw that a flight to EWR scheduled for the morning was heavily delayed, and leaving shortly. I went to the desk and inquired about getting on this earlier flight (3831), explaining that my initial flight had been cancelled and an earlier flight would be much more convenient. the rep at the desk reluctantly agreed to take a look, and then told me she could put me on standby, for a charge of $75. I refused.
the flight I'm currently booked on is already delayed 25 minutes, hours in advance, and I'm crossing my fingers that I make it home tonight.
I cannot express the disappointment and inconvenience I've endured throughout what was my first time flying with United. I went from having a direct afternoon flight to a 2-day, 3-leg trip which included a hotel stay at my own expense. I missed out on almost a day with my family at the holidays due to the inability of your airline to assist me adequately when my flight was cancelled. and now on my return trip, I'm arriving late, and into a different airport (EWR) from which it is exceedingly more difficult for me to get home to Brooklyn than my original destination of LGA, which is a short, inexpensive cab ride. the ride from EWR will cost me around $60.
I paid over $500 for this reservation, and at no point did United fulfill their end of the transaction. in addition, your airline was unwilling to ease my burden by picking up a hotel tab which equalled a fraction of the cost of my ticket. I'm asking for compensation now, without which I can not ever envision myself booking travel with United again. A full refund or voucher for future travel would go a long way in improving my opinion of your airline moving forward.
On a positive note, I would like to compliment United's iPhone app. it is incredibly useful, and did its part in keeping me updated and informed (though it was almost always bad news...).
thank you for taking the time to address my experience / issues, and please let me know if I can offer any further information.