I just got back from a pretty amazing trip,1 but as much fun as I had getting away from the snow, I’m not going to go into the vacation stories. No, see, something you should probably know is that I have interesting2 travel luck. And this trip had something very specific that caused a lot of trouble.
Some of you have heard the story of my getting stranded on the East Coast a few years ago because of them. I was never going to fly with them again, but the folks I was traveling with insisted it would be fine this time around. And there was a plan! I would head down to Portland, meet up with one of my friends, and we’d meet up with another one at the layover in Chicago. It should be fine.
Except the flight was delayed by an hour. And the layover was an hour. But we were assured that we would make that connecting flight and got our seats bumped up so that we could get off the plane quicker and make that transfer. United said everything would be all good. We figured it would be fine.
We touched down in Chicago and immediately got in touch with our friend on the other plane. As we were taxi-ing around before stopping so we could get off, we found out that they had already given our seats away. We finally stopped and tried to get off as quickly as we could. Us and about four other people ran to the next gate to try and still make the flight.
We watched the plane leave.
Customer service was pretty miserable. While we were landing, there were customers with another flight with a short transfer who had been assured that the plane was waiting for them3 and we were told when we were ushered to the long line of United customers now stranded in Chicago from other flights that they never held flights. I realize customer service front line folks have no control over anything, but it would certainly help if they weren’t all so damn smug about us getting stranded and missing flights after we’d been assured we would make them. Or if they didn’t all go for their breaks at the same damn time which meant that all of us who could have been put on other flights to make our trips missed those options.
And so we were routed through Houston. Three hours of flight, followed by three hours of sleep4 and we eventually made it onto a flight to Orlando. A day late, a day of parks missed, United unwilling to do a damn thing about the trouble. They offered food vouchers that don’t even work on their planes.
It’s a better ending than the last time, but I’m hoping this is the absolute last time ever with United. They may not have stranded me this time, but it’s clear that they are still absolutely terrible.