Dear friendly United Airlines rep from Seattle… (we just sent this, will see what happens)

Dear friendly United Airlines rep from Seattle… (we just sent this, will see what happens)

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Hi xxx,

I’m hoping you remember me and my wife from this morning when we checked in for our flight to Buenos Aires from Seattle at ~5:30am–we are the newlyweds (Jen and Ryan) that quit our consulting jobs recently, got married and are/were headed to Buenos Aires for the next 6 months.  You were very friendly to us and also left us your contact information, so I was hoping that maybe you could help us or at least advise us on what we should do given how poorly United handled our LAX-IAD-EZE flight.  Here is what happened:

We arrived in LAX on time at ~9am and saw on the connection board that our flight to Buenos Aires (flight 847 with one stop in Washington DC) was delayed and they were expecting it to leave at 1pm instead of 12:48pm.  Obviously a 12 minute delay is no big deal, but as we got closer to 1pm, they moved it back to 1:40, and then 2:40 and then 3:40pm.  All they told us was that an aircraft was coming in from SFO and was delayed, no other info was given despite repeated questioning by us and other passengers.  The flight from SFO finally arrived at ~3:15pm and only had a handful of united crew members and no other passengers, so this was clearly not a normal flight.

As they continued to move back the departure time, they came on the intercom once and said that they were working on connecting flights.  We were initially told that we would have no problem because we were continuing on the same flight (#847) to Buenos Aires, so we should be fine regardless of how delayed we were.  Later we were told that there was actually a plane change for the Buenos Aires portion of the flight, so they weren’t sure whether or not we’d make it and were unwilling/unable to tell us more until we arrived in Dulles.  Throughout this process, the gate agents made it fairly clear that they really didn’t care at all how things went.

When we finally landed in Dulles at ~10:25pm, they came on the intercom and said that all connections had been missed and that anyone connecting should check with customer service for overnight accommodations and rebooking.  Our flight from Dulles to Buenos Aires was scheduled to depart IAD at 10:07 under the same flight number, but apparently it left before our leg of flight 847 landed by ~15 minutes.

The customer service reps rebooked us on the only available next flight which is not until 10:07pm tomorrow night (24 hours later), gave us a hotel voucher and a $15/person meal voucher and told us that we could not get our bags back.  On top of that, they apparently didn’t call the hotel that they had booked us and all of the many other travelers who got stuck here, so after waiting outside for the shuttle, when it finally arrived we were told that there was no room and that it was the last shuttle (and the hotel is 20-30 minutes away from the airport).  So, we had to go back into the airport, wait in line again to get taxi vouchers and barely made it the hotel by midnight (which is when they stopped serving food).

So, we are now sitting in a hotel somewhere in Virginia with none of our baggage (e.g., no clean clothes) and are stuck for 24 hours with only $15 in compensation from united for a 24 hour plus delay on two ~$1250 flights.  The united reps in LAX and IAD all were completely apathetic and did not seem to care one way or another that this had happened (let alone on our honeymoon, let alone that I am a premier exec and Jen is a premier).

Suffice to say, I’m quite shocked that it has been handled this poorly.

I absolutely understand that this is not your problem at all, but am wondering if you have any advice on how we should proceed?  At this point I’m not even sure who to complain to, but it doesn’t seem appropriate that we should be stuck for this long without our baggage and forced to spend quite a bit of money on clothes/laundry and food to get us through tomorrow, does it?  Please let us know what you think and if there is anything you can do to help us, or even just advise us on who we should call or write to.  We have both been quite loyal united business travelers for a long time and this day has been absolutely horrible :(

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,

Ryan and Jen

Please leave a comment, it will make us feel special!

  • Ashley Fuller March 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    That sucks! Hope you’re enjoying your unplanned, unwanted stay in Virginia! Safe travels.

  • Alan Becker March 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Wow. The lack of info is so infuriating and perplexing. hopefullly you get off tonight and this is just a bump in the road

  • Joe Maliekel March 23, 2010 at 1:16 am


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