My recent UA experience EWR-ORD: Is it just me?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by jgrease, Jul 28, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jgrease

    jgrease Active Member

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    So I recently booked a weekend getaway with the Mrs to Chicago. I booked flights a good month and a half out, EWR-ORD and back. I took an evening flight going and coming home figuring that the rush would pass and we'd have hassle-free flights. WRONG! From the moment we arrived at EWR on Friday, we were already delayed 1 hour 15 minutes. As the evening wore on, we wound up leaving 3 hours and 40 minutes late. All of the later flights left before us! It wasn't until we got on the plane that the captain told us reason for the delay was equipment taken out of service for "pressurization issues". At the end of the flight, the chief flight attendant reads a statement directing everyone to UA's website for a "token of our appreciation for your patience". Well, that was 3000 miles or $50 travel certs. Yay. Well, we wound up having a great time in the Windy City, and we headed back to the airport early since it was drizzling. As soon as we checked in the flight was showing a 7 minute delay. Again, after LOTS of waiting, our flight left 3 hours and 35 minutes late, and again all of the later flights got out before us. We got back to EWR at almost 2:30AM, and by the time we got home, we both called out from work since we needed some form of sleep. My wife and I both emailed UA's Customer Care on Monday, and we have yet to receive any kind of response or acknowledgment. Not only did we lose our Friday night in Chicago, we lost a day's pay as well. In the past when I've emailed Delta for one thing or another, I always got an answer within 2 business days. Is this UA's standard for "Customer Care"? If so, there goes my business. I'd rather fly DL or BA to get where I need to go in the future. Anyone have any input? Was I just ignorant from step one? I really figured flying from one UA hub to another would have made life much easier.
     
  2. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    First, the assumption that evening flights brings an extra assurance of on-time performance sometimes yields the opposite. The planes don't just sit there and wait for your flight all day, they are in operation for other flights, making it susceptible to other things such as weather or other mechanical issues that can "domino" to your evening departure.

    Mechanicals happen....and that's regardless of what time of the day the flight departs. My guess is that other MilePointers will speculate as to whether the mechanical was a labor issue, or something that truly needed to be fixed right then and there (but if it truly was an issue with something regarding the pressurization of the airplane, I think you know the answer).

    Now, here is where I'm fuzzy on reading your details. You had "a great time in the Windy City," but you "lost your Friday night in Chicago." I assume you left on a Friday night, and returned on Sunday night....got home at 2:30 a.m. on that Sunday night and felt you had to forego work on Monday? Is that correct? Assuming that's the case, why didn't you just come to work a few hours late instead? Does coming home 3.5 hours later than planned warrant foregoing a full eight-hour day of work?

    Not to be mean-spirited, but s**t happens on every airline, including British and Delta. Again, as mentioned earlier, you're opening yourself up to the domino effect when you book the later flights out. And, as you found out, there are a LOT of things that can go awry and cause delays with your flights.

    Especially considering United was pro-active in your outbound delay and already compensated you, I would chalk this up to "lesson learned."
     
  3. jgrease

    jgrease Active Member

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    Actually, I said I got into EWR close to 2:30am, and by the time we got to the car and got home it was 4:30am. I was due into work at 10, and my wife at 9. Could we have gone in later? Probably, and I'm not whining about that. However, even allowing for issues, I could not make my dinner reservation which was for 3 hrs after my scheduled arrival. Rather than dinner at the House of Blues, we had hot dogs at Seven-11 at 1 in the morning. That was pathetic. Can things happen with flights? Sure. Both ways? Really? Come on - I tracked the equipment changes on UA's app, and the rep in the United Club even told me our plane home was taken for a flight to Vancouver. And five business days without any response is a little obnoxious.
     
  4. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    If I received a reply from UA within five WEEKS, I might die of shock. I have five very legitimate issues that have been completely ignored and date back to March.

    If you are expecting better from another airline, however, then you may be disappointed at this point in time. The only good service I'm hearing about is AA trying to steal elites from UA. The AA I flew for 3 decades (I lived in Dallas almost all of my life) was worse than today's UA regarding customer service. Don't expect their current behavior that is caused by desperation to continue.
     
  5. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    Curious would you rather they canceled the flights and just gotten rebooked the next day? What is status, 5days isn' much
     
  6. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Did you try to change flights to one that was leaving on time? But my main question is why the hell were you eating 7-11 hotdogs for dinner? They don't roll the sidewalks up and close the city at dusk. You can't swing a dead cat in Chicago and not hit a hole in the wall restaurant or dinner. Anything would have been better than hours old hotdogs. Ick
     
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  7. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    No doubt! Food - Chicago's Number One Attraction. I don't think I'll ever forget my last trip to Chicago. Arrived late (although on time) and got to my hotel just after midnight. I was starving. I drove about 2 blocks and found this sub shop with a menu longer than Al Capone's rap sheet. The Italian Roast beef looked good, then they offered to dip it in jalapeño juice. "Sure!" That was the first of three during a five night stay. LOL!

    Next trip there is just 90 days out and I can't wait!
     
  8. jgrease

    jgrease Active Member

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    Let me run down the list...
    davef139 - If they cancelled the flight, I would have went home and spent the weekend somewhere closer to home with my wife. I was only going for Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. And no response front he airline. As I previously stated, the couple of times I have had to contact an airline for a problem, especially Delta, I have gotten a response within two business days.
    Photonerd71 - Yes, I tried to change flights, as did the other people on my flight. The reason for the hotdogs was quite simple - it was going on 1AM, and the hotel I stayed at was in the North River area. The only things we could find were bars and a pizzeria charging $4/slice to drunken bar goers, and the 7-11. After being up since 4:30 Friday morning, I really wasn't in the mood to search out new places to go in a new city. I'm from New York, and I'm well aware there are better places to eat, but is that the time to start exploring? I did have dinner reservations at the House of Blues, right across the street from my hotel, but that went out the window by the time we got in.
    KeninEscazu - To expand a little further, if I had a car, I guess I could have driven to any number of places to eat. But I didn't so I couldn't.
    I'm really getting the idea that folks here don't really have a problem with any of this stuff. Let me rephrase my issue, and please let me know where I am wrong. First, I booked airline tickets that I paid for with real money, not miles. I am not a naive person, and while I may not travel as much as many of you, I do fly at least 2-3 times a year. I've been to most parts of Europe and North America, so I'd consider myself reasonably well-travelled.I understand things go wrong with flights, and there are delays, but for both of my flights to be delayed over 3 1/2 hours is not acceptable. In all of the times I've flown, I've had delays but nothing close to this. I've had flights get cancelled, but there's always a backup for stuff like that. Is it not reasonable to expect your flights to take off within a reasonable amount of time from the scheduled time? Based on the responses here, am I to understand that nobody complains to the airline for excessive delays? Are you all happy to get where you're going no matter how long it takes? It must be me. I guess I'm just being whiney. Sorry, I'll just bend over for the sake of good relations.
     
  9. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    What exactly do you think the airline should do for you? You already stated they gave some compensation for the delay. They got you from point a to b and back to a again. A little late yes, but you got there. News flash, delta, American, us air, southwest etc etc etc ALL have delays now and then. This just happened to be your turn. And no, your not going to find much sympathy for a delayed flight on here, we have all had them and will have them again.

    By the way, the food comment was meant in jest. I guess I should have added a ;)
     
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  10. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Ditto. I wasn't picking on you. Thinking about eating late at night in Chicago just brought back a pleasant memory.

    Photonerd71 is also correct about delays. Even if your plane was pulled for another destination, UA wasn't deciding that they like those passengers better than you. They make every decision based on many factors that aren't always obvious to us. (Am I actually defending UA?) Point is... Somebody wasn't going somewhere if one plane went down. The flight to Vancouver may have had another load waiting to go somewhere else, and the dominoes may have thus fallen further.

    This (milepoint) is really a friendly group for the most part. We're usually civil even when we disagree. Five days is too many in a perfect world, but today's air travel is so far from a perfect world that a five day response for almost anything is almost unheard of. Traveling just 2 or 3 times/year, your historical experience is (sadly) probably much better than what you will get today.

    I'm curious about your United Club comment. It seems sort of out of place that you would travel so little yet maintain a membership there. Was that maybe an accommodation for your delay?
     
  11. CGK
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    CGK Gold Member

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    It is not terribly unusual to encounter two 3+ hour delays in a single weekend these days, especially on a hub-to-hub city pair, in my experience (100k mile/year flyer).
     
  12. sonoma

    sonoma Silver Member

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    OP - another option from ORD is to try and see if you can switch to the LGA flights if it is not weather related in the future.
     
  13. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Won't that be fun for my upcoming MRs. :) Especially the ones in January through ORD.
     
  14. jgrease

    jgrease Active Member

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    Thanks to all who responded. My purpose in this post wasn't to whine or look for sympathy, just another point of view. As far as the United Club, I got in on the free for the first year deal. Based on my experience there, I can't imagine paying for it, but that's a whole different kettle of fish. LGA was out of the picture because our car was at EWR.
     
  15. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    jgrease, since you're looking for different points of view, I'll give mine. You booked afternoon/evening flights in and out of two of the most delayed airports in the entire country and then complained about being delayed. While not the most frequent flyer I know, I've already flown almost 100 segments this year and over 85,000 miles and I can tell you that nearly every afternoon flight in or out of Chicago or Newark (my home airport) was delayed. In fact, despite perfect weather all day at EWR, I got in 2 hours late from FLL tonight....it happens so I plan around it.

    I would chalk this up as "lesson learned" and either book morning flights next time (much less likely although not unheard of to have delays), or schedule plans allowing for possible delays.

    Good luck next time and safe travels!
     
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  16. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    I do a lot of flying between CLE and ORD and LGA (I know, not EWR but maybe just a bit worse??). In the summer, I always expect delays to both of these cities, especially at night. I now book the 7PM flights on a routine basis with the expectation of being able to stand by for the 5 PM flight (or even the 4 PM on occasion) since I expect them to be delayed by at least one hour due to weather or the infamous ATC "flow control" (sounds like advertising words for Beta Prostate:eek:)

    It is sad that I now presume that flights are not leaving on time to these cities. I am glad UA has gratis same day changes.
     
  17. jgrease

    jgrease Active Member

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    I appreciate the input. And it is sad that one should have to plan for delays. I have learned my lesson, and in the future will plan accordingly.
     
  18. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    As everyone has said previously I think you just ran into normal travel delays and, by being proactive, COdbaUA actually did a pretty good job responding proactively.

    Where I think you DO have a gripe is the e-mail customer service. COdbaUA still has a long way to go to bring that up to par. I'm not sure if they're still churning through back-log or what, but their e-mail customer service is beyond weak right now.
     
  19. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    Having two such lengthy delays in a short time is pretty much just bad luck. Sorry, but it happens.

    One thing that is helpful is to use various travel tools (e.g. flightaware) to check the history of a particular flight you are considering.
     

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