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United Trip To SLC For Air Show  
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5067 posts, RR: 15
Posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5642 times:

This was my first time on United in a number of years and I didn't exactly have a great experience. It was a 3-leg trip on June 4: GRB-ORD-DEN-SLC. GRB-ORD was on a Mesa CRJ-200, N27191 (ASH2798). It was about half full. Fairly uneventful, on time, nice weather. We flew off of runway 18 at GRB and simply continued due south to West Bend, then a couple zig-zags and approached ORD from the west to runway 10.

1 hour later, the 2nd leg would be ORD-DEN on a United 777 (UAL675) - my first ride on one. N213UA, old colors. It was comfortable even though the seats cushions seemed hard, or flat. My window at 45J wasn't too clear and we took off to the north (rwy 34) with the sun at my side so I didn't get much for pics. They had channel 9 on, I listened to it the whole time. I love that! They had us at FL400 but when it got choppy other pilots lower had better ride reports so they brought us down to FL360. Not much scenery to shoot - the midwest is flat and brown. The load factor was at least 90%. All I had in the way of food was a free coke.....

Now, at DEN is where things got interesting. We were pushed back in the A320 (N419UA) for the ride to SLC and after disconnecting the tug, the nosewheel steering broke. They kept us on the plane for probably a half hour while they figured out how to handle it. First it was no part is available, then a part was. First it would be a 2 hour fix, then it was outright cancelled. All the pax were taken off and told not to rebook because they might be able to fix it. 2 hours later, cancelled.

Well it turns out that United, Delta, and Frontier all of whom run frequent DEN-SLC trips, all the flights were 100% booked except the RON flight at 9:45pm. I was booked on that one and placed on standby for 4 earlier flights. I was #17 on the standby list but none of them got on because of the 100% load factors. The 9:45 flight had 2 empty seats. I received no meal voucher for some food in the airport - nothing. I was forced to spend nearly 11 hours trapped inside DEN with only expensive over priced food to eat. Seeing how this is a maintenance base for UAL they should have been able to get this thing resolved and I can't believe how EVERY flight to SLC was fully booked. What was going on there that weekend?

I eventually arrived on UAL387 at 11:15pm to a desolate, off-hours terminal with only cleaning folks walking around.

On June 9 was my return, same routing. My first flight was due out of SLC at 10:25 but my first indication of a problem was that this flight was delayed by ATC in Denver. 1 hour. Our wheels-up time was now 11:15am for UAL884 (N334UA). My next flight was due to leave at 12:34 to ORD so I knew it didn't look good. We got off the ground at 11:15 on runway 16R, made a big loop to the west while climbing to come back around eastbound with a nice view of SLC. It was about an hour....the F/A announced that passengers with connections before 1pm were "protected" on other flights. I didn't know just HOW they "protected" me until later and that would have made me go ballistic. Anyway, we were at the gate B21 at DEN by around 12:20 and I had to go to B39. i damn near ran. As fast as possible. That plane (a 767-322) was on time and I got to the gate at 12:30 for a 12:34 departure. The lady was announcing that it was closing just as I made it. All the overhead bins were full and closed so they checked my carry-on thru to GRB at no charge. There was only 1 empty seat on this plane: mine (40A). Within minutes of sitting down we were pushing....

The flight to ORD was smooth and quick and we landed again from the west. Once in the terminal I learned just how United "protected" me in case I had missed that flight: they booked me DEN-ORD-GRB the **next** day. I swear, if I had been forced to spend 23 hours inside DEN they would have had to call security or something. That is no way to treat a passenger.

At ORD I had an hour, for the first time all day at 4:15pm i was able to eat some (overpriced) food. My flight to GRB was on another Mesa jet, N520ML, and was ontime.

Overall, NOT happy with United's service. I am likely to NOT fly them again. On the outbound trip they should have put me on another routing like DEN-PHX-SLC or something that could have moved me to my destination earlier than 11 hours.

I have some pics which I will put on flickr and upload here. Here are some that are finished already:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28042007@N07/


Bruce


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineORDflier From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5271 times:

Welcome to travel in USA!

Same thing happens on almost all airlines...

The airline got you there and back safely.

I guess I would have a bit more sympathy with you if you had left out the part where you state:

"I swear, if I had been forced to spend 23 hours inside DEN they would have had to call security or something. That is no way to treat a passenger."

Really? Call security? Hopefully you are just being overdramatic...



ORDflier
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5067 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4880 times:

Well, yeah, maybe a bit over the top but at any rate.....I'd be extremely mad. I dont think this type of thing would happen at Southwest. They'd put me on a plane to somewhere, routing me the long way to my destination.

The thing is, at Southwest all the passengers are equally important. But at United, they probably put more effort into re-routing the Premier Elite meaning that people like me are screwed.

I mean, 23 hours. Come on. I could drive from Denver to Chicago in less time than that. And from DEN to SLC? That trip takes about 6 hours with scenic mountain views. They had me waiting 9 hours for a flight. Their slogan should be: United. Fly the Friendly Skies....or Drive.

Bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineUal777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1564 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4827 times:



Quoting Bruce (Reply 2):


I mean, 23 hours. Come on. I could drive from Denver to Chicago in less time than that. And from DEN to SLC? That trip takes about 6 hours with scenic mountain views. They had me waiting 9 hours for a flight. Their slogan should be: United. Fly the Friendly Skies....or Drive.

I really don't get the point. The plane broke and you have no idea how big of a fix was needed. It just happened to be bad luck that you couldn't get on an earlier flight due to full loads. You also mentioned that F9 and DL had full flights as well.

UA put you on standby but you couldn't get on. What more do you expect?

Quoting Bruce (Thread starter):
I am likely to NOT fly them again. On the outbound trip they should have put me on another routing like DEN-PHX-SLC or something that could have moved me to my destination earlier than 11 hours.

I don't believe that UA flies PHX-SLC. You would have had to go to LAX or SFO and would have likely gotten to SLC at the same time.



It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
User currently offlineJkudall From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 615 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4771 times:



Quoting Ual777 (Reply 3):
I don't believe that UA flies PHX-SLC. You would have had to go to LAX or SFO and would have likely gotten to SLC at the same time.

No, but there are two other carriers they could have rebooked him on from PHX-SLC (not including WN).


User currently offlineDurangoMac From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4372 times:



Quoting Jkudall (Reply 4):
No, but there are two other carriers they could have rebooked him on from PHX-SLC (not including WN).

Let me tell you from experience as an airline employee, DEN-SLC is one of the tightest markets in the US. Even doing crazy routing like DEN-PHX-SFO-SLC is still hard.

Quoting Bruce (Thread starter):
I received no meal voucher for some food in the airport - nothing.

All you needed to do was ask an agent for meal vouchers. Some agents ask if you want them and other only give them out if the passenger asks.

Quoting Bruce (Thread starter):
Once in the terminal I learned just how United "protected" me in case I had missed that flight: they booked me DEN-ORD-GRB the **next** day. I swear, if I had been forced to spend 23 hours inside DEN they would have had to call security or something. That is no way to treat a passenger.

This is actually the doing of the automated "easy rebook" system (trust me, it's not so great of a system). It tries to keep you on UA if at all possible and because it was ATC that caused the delay UA is not required to put you on another airline or even give you a room since the delay was uncontrollable. I'm glad to hear that you made the flight though.


User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4316 times:



Quoting Bruce (Reply 2):
I dont think this type of thing would happen at Southwest. They'd put me on a plane to somewhere, routing me the long way to my destination.

Really??? Have you ever seen the show "airline"? Just about every episode there's a sitaution like yours and the whole show is about Southwest. They can't always please everybody equally as well and some of the folks on that show say some pretty bad stuff about Southwest.

Quoting Bruce (Reply 2):
at United, they probably put more effort into re-routing the Premier Elite meaning that people like me are screwed.

If you owned a major airline, wouldn't you work on re-routing your first class or premier flyers first? That's not to say that someone who doesn't fly that often should be treated poorly but during IROPS, the airline has to start service recovery somewhere and that somewhere is with their loyal, frequent flyers or first class customers. That's what I would expect if I were sitting in first class or flying on a $1200.00 last minute ticket or was a platinum level frequent flyer.


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