Newbie needs help with complaint for Trip from Hell today

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Miss Staunton, Oct 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    I was leaving Chicago today on a United Express flight. I am the woman that has the broken foot - you might have seen me this weekend at the Seminar. Anyway, left the hotel on the 11:00 shuttle, got to the airport by 11:20. United rep called for a wheelchair for me. Flight was at Terminal 2 Gate F11, which is downstairs and you walk to the plane. I was told they would get a ramp for me to walk up to the plane since I couldn't do the airplane stairs I was put in a chair and told that a wheel chair would take me outside at boarding time. We boarded the plane for our 1:17 flight and then we just sat, and sat. We were at first told that the pilot had just landed and would be over momentarily. That turned out to be a lie - the pilot never showed up. We were later told that a shift pilot would be coming in at 2:00 and he would come over and pilot the plane. Passengers were allowed to deplane around 1:45 because the plane was so hot. I wasn't allowed to get off since there wasn't a ramp available. Then all of a sudden another pilot came over. He had just landed and was asked during his 3 hour layover if he would fly us on our 37 minute flight to TVC. He agreed and we were all happy. Everyone came back on but during this time it started raining hard. We were waiting for a pushoff but it started lightning and the ground crew went inside. We sat for about 30 minutes. We then had to do an emergency evacuation as a tornado was spotted on the field. I was last off and they couldn't get a ramp for me three employees helped me off the plane and into the building where a wheelchair was called. I was brought upstairs as all passengers were told to go towards Chilis since there was a tornado warning. After about 20 minutes an announcement was made that the tornado warning had expired. Brought back downstairs to the gate. Again, last one to board as they had to get the ramp again. We were on board about 3:45. We didn't takeoff till 5:05 (CDT) as we were 47th in line. We arrived in TVC at 6:45 (EDT) and had to wait again as the pilot told us that the ground crew wasn't answering his phone calls (since Chicago). We had to wait for the crew to bring the jetway to our plane. Finally we got off the plane at 7:05 almost 4 hours after we should have landed. We had during the entire time, 2 bags of pretzels, one glass of water and a can of soda.

    Although this turned into a massive weather problem, it began with a personnel problem. All of this could have been avoided if a pilot showed up at the appointed time. So, what is reasonable compensation? Should I ask for miles, voucher or something else? How likely do you think they will react to all of this? Who do you suggest that I write the letter to? I do want to complement the pilot that did come on board, the FO who made the decision to let passengers off the first time since it was so hot, and the flight attendant who tried her best to keep us happy. I have all of their names.

    Sorry if this is too long but I did want to give the details.
     
  2. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    Everything being weather related and there being an evac of planes and terminals. I would be surprised if you got anything honestly. Maybe a few 1000 miles.
     
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  3. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    The problem, in my mind, is that it wasn't weather related to begin with. The problem is that the pilot never showed up and we were delayed by about an hour or more before it became a weather problem. I think that is the crux of the issue. Weather, although we may not like it, is understandable.
     
  4. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    The question you have to ask is "why was the pilot late?" and the answer is the same as for everything else that happened -- weather.... after all it wasn't exactly the type of stuff you want to go out on the Bay in.

    DTWBOB
     
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  5. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    From what I could ascertain, the pilot wasn't late because of weather. I "think" they would have told us that. Remember, in the beginning, we were told that the pilot had landed and would be over shortly. If he was late for weather, wouldn't we be told that we would be delayed? Wouldn't they have made us wait in the boarding area rather than on the plane. Surely they had to have an idea of where he was and how late he would be. The FA kept telling us that she didn't know why he wasn't there, why he had just left If it was weather, that certainly would have made sense AND this was several hours before the weather hit at ORD.
     
  6. nacho

    nacho Silver Member

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    The only thing I can imagine that will give you any form of compensation is if the first pilot never showed up because he didn't want to. If it's due to bad weather etc. then you are not entitled to any compensation.

    Your situation reminds me of our trip to Orlando from IAD. We couldn't make our connecting flight at IAD due to the extreme long queue at US immigration - that's the reason why we decided not to do the 'first port of entry' thing. Then we were rebooked on a 5pm flight. Had to deplane due to tornado, then the pilot was not allowed to fly because he and his crew had to rest. So the flight was cancelled and we were stuck at the terminal. Then we waited and waited and then finally we arrived MCO at 2am. Nothing from UA, not even a snack.
     
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  7. IDGflygirl
    Original Member

    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I appreciate the problems that you experienced, but honestly, -- if that pilot, for whatever reason, was not up to flying, I'd consider it a good omen that he didn't show up!;) (sorry I can't help on the compensation question).
     
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  8. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    IMHO no cause for complaint. You really don't have any idea why the pilot didn't show up. Employees may have told you what they knew at the time, not necessarily what may hav been the full story. There were hundreds of us with delayed flights, missed connections yesterday.
     
  9. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Agree with what the others have said. The pilot not showing up may be the original cause of the delay but it is not United's fault that weather moved in and caused all the other issues.
     
  10. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    Yes, we were basically told that the pilot just didn't show up. When we inquired if anything would happen to the pilot (demerit, letter in his file, etc) we were told no. United doesn't do any form of discipline to their pilots. All this and the demeanor of the FO, and the TA led us ALL to believe we were blown off. I never expect anything because of weather - but this wasn't weather to begin with although it did escalate into weather. We would have been to our destination and the pilot would have had time to make the return flight back to ORD before the weather.

    With these details, what is reasonable compensation to ask for?
     
  11. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    I had something similar a few years ago. The agent said "weather" I said it was a crew scheduling problem. I got a meal voucher out of it.
     
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  12. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You can ask for the world, but chances are you will get very little, if anything.

    Last summer we had an American flights from LAX-ORD-DUB (in business / first). The LAX-ORD flight was on time. When we arrived at ORD we received a text message that the flight would be about an hour late. Wound up being about 4 hours late, causing us to miss much of what we planned on our first day in DUB. Reason was mechanical and they had to wait for a flight to come in from Paris. All we received was one drink chit in the lounge. No meal or anything. After complaining about not even receiving a meal voucher, we did receive a $200 voucher.

    You had what amounted to an hour or hour and a half delay because of crew availability (which considering the weather problems at the time could have been weather related). The rest of the delay was beyond the control of UA. When you look at it this way, there is no way that UA would give any significant compensation.

    If you feel strongly, go ahead and send a note to UA and they may give you a token compensation.
     
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  13. JoeCortez

    JoeCortez Silver Member

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    I also had a major travel delay that was ultimately caused by a personnel issue (not an ATC issue like they said in Richmond). Ended up getting bumped off two flights before I made it home today. It was kind of lame.

    So I totally empathise with you. All that just to get home - its a really bad situation to be stuck in, and they probably should have been more responsive over it. But I agree with what everyone else said here: if weather caused the personnel to not show up, then its an "Act" of whatever you want to call it.

    But if you were to make an argument, I would put together an rational and professional (not emotional) argument that outlines your treatment, how you felt the situation could have been better handled, and ended with "Is there anything that can be done to help me consider a future flight with your company?" Odds are that you may get a letter back saying "Sorry, nothing to do here," but at least you tried, and they received your complaint.

    Good luck!
     
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  14. nacho

    nacho Silver Member

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    I was considering 'complaining' at IAD but then when I saw a queue with tons of people I decided not to. I saw most people get a '80% discount' voucher for hotel accommodation which is pretty hopeless.
     
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  15. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    I appreciate that you and others have written back to me. I certainly wouldn't be upset if weather is what caused the delay but in my mind it wasn't. My question would be "would the airline knowingly have us board a plane if they knew that the pilot was over an hour away from landing at ORD because of weather at his end? Wouldn't they have had us wait in the boarding area and list our flight as delayed instead of on time as it showed on the schedule board? My other point is that they are not equipped to deal with a handicapped person (and I am temporarily handicapped with a cast on y foot) during an emergency evacuation. Luckily I am ambulatory and can walk short distances but going down the outside stairs of the plane during heavy rain was beyond what I could do. Luckily I did have help but what if I wasn't ambulatory as a passenger was on my flight to ORD on Friday?
     
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  16. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    I have boarded many flights will awaiting a missing crew member. Most of the time they arrive when scheduled but there have been a few times that The Tower has re-routed the aircraft up and down the coast, in a holding pattern for quite some time. As a gate agent, I don't know this until it happens and then it's difficult to predict when landing will occur as it's all up to the weather and what other planes are stacked in holding patterns.
     
  17. Miss Staunton

    Miss Staunton Silver Member

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    I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing that piece of information. I'm learning quite a bit.
     
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  18. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

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    I have to use flightaware dot com myself from time to time at work.
     
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