Topic Author
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SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Sun Feb 04, 2001 9:39 pm

SFO-IAH Continental Flight 542
DC-10-30 BusinessFirst
Dec. 20

We arrived at the airport about an hour before departure and waited in the First class line for over 45 mins. When we checked in the ticket agent said "you will need to hurry because they are already boarding". All the monitors in the airport said that the flight was boarding, well when we got to the gate we saw at least 200 people just standing around and the door was closed. They announced over the intercom that the flight was going to be delayed about 2 hours because of a mechanical problem. I wouldnt have cared but I only had a 55 min. connection in IAH. I went and talked to some @sshole agent who said "the plane is going to make up 45 mins in flight and you will have plenty of time to make your connection" well he must have been real dumb or something cause the times didnt work out and I started saying that to him and he just walked away like he didnt care. Well after about 2 hours and 15 mins we finally board. Everyone boarded and we were just sitting there for no reason, we heard the f/a's talking about how they needed a few people to volunteer their seats. I said "well we are going to miss our connection in Houston so we will give up our seats as long as you put us on the same flights tommorrow" she said "sorry, we are looking for people whos final destination is Houston". Well they didnt find any Houston passengers who would give up their seats, but they did find some lady and her friend who were going to miami. I heard the lady tell them her flight number, I looked in my timetable and she had some 3 hour layover in Houston, boy I was pissed. They just kept saying "dont worry, you will make your connection fine".

We tookoff after a long wait and flew over Berkley, it was quite bumpy for the first hour of the flight. There was no good movies playing on the PTV so I didnt even bother with it. They served some nasty food that I didnt even want to touch. The flight was quite uneventful until we started to get into the Houston area where it got bumpy as hell. We were bouncing around like crazy and I started feelin alittle sick and scared too. We slammed down onto that runway so hard and stopped pretty fast. We touched down at 7:44pm (my flight to MSP left at 6:55) and taxied for awhile to the terminal. We were the first people off the plane and the first place we went was the counter there where we were handed some piece of paper telling us what hotel we were staying in and some other crap. Well the guy there wasnt much help so we kinda had to fend for ourselves. We were not able to get our luggage, the wait to talk to a luggage service person was over an hour long, and they put us up on some shady Marriott Greenspoint which was about 15mins from the airport.

Well we didnt get to the hotel till around 10pm. We were supposed to get a $12 voucher for dinner and a $8 voucher for breakfast. We got the $8 breakfast one but for dinner we got a bag lunch that contained a nasty ass bologne sandwich, chips and a banana. The hotel also wanted a deposit to use the telephone. I felt like a prisoner up in that damn joint. Anyhow after a few calls to 1-800-We-Care, we got a good warm meal and rebooked ourselves on new flights for the morning that left around 8am.

737-500, First class
Dec. 21

Well we got to the airport around 7am to check in. I went to check in and was told "they should have never booked you on that flight, it is oversold and the only flight available to MSP doesnt leave till around 3:45pm" I said "well what about a Northwest flight" and got a reply that went something like "we do not codeshare with Northwest on the Houston to Minneapolis flights" Yay, 8 hours in Houston. I got denied boarding compensation though which was a $400 voucher and an apology from the ticket agent. Anyhow, I was not allowed in any of the Presidents clubs because they serve alcohol and I had nothing to do the whole time. I got to see way too much of IAH that day. I thought I was going to puke.

I dont remember the flight number, it was on a 737-500. This plane had the old first class seats without the adjustable headrests, the old seats were much more comfortable than the new ones. I slept the entire flight because I barely got any sleep the night before. The f/a was extremely friendly, when I woke up towards the end of the flight she asked me if I would like the meal but I declined. She was being way too nice. We landed in MSP. I got my bags pretty quick cause they had been sitting there since the morning. Oh yeah, when me and my stepdad were in the terminal, some NW employee was driving around in one of those golf carts, well he stopped right in the middle of the hall, let his passenger off and started backing up in this crowed area without even looking. He started to run over some lady, she fell on the floor and was halfway under the back of the cart, all the people standing around were yelling "stop" and other obscenities at him. He just looked backwards and drove off without even apologizing to the woman, boy if I was that lady he would be getting a piece of my mind and I would be talking to some damn supervisor.

Anyhow, this was my trip to hell on Continental airlines. I know it is more of a bad experience report but its worth reading. The next part of my trip isnt as bad but it has some bad happenings in it.

Rating of this whole trip: 4 out of 10. Because they handled everything so badly and really screwed up.

Jason Seiple
Posts: 686
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2000 7:42 am

RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:50 am

Interesting obscene style of trip report.

I'm guessing from your tone in this report and other ones that you aren't exactly an angel to the airline employees. I have found in similar experiences that being nice, and calling the airline on a 1-800 number while in line, will get you anything you want.

Jason Seiple
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 1:50 am

Naw, I wasnt rude at all. They could just tell I wasnt happy with the airline. I am usually nice but if they are rude to me thats when I stop being nice.
Topic Author
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 1:56 am

Oh also, they said I couldnt complain about the flight until I finished my entire itinerary. So when I got home I called 1-800-We-Care again, told them everything that happend and they were more than willing to give me a travel voucher. Hey even though I had all these bad experiences in one trip I am still flying that airline (just cause I have $500 worth of vouchers, hey thats halfway to Hawaii).

RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 2:34 am

Well u don't sound like a nice PAX. It can't have been that bad.
Maybe u're just too spoiled or something.


RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 3:07 am

Sounds like you got royally jacked over by Continental. First of all, since the delay was mechanical, they should have been obligated to put you on ANY flight on ANY airline to MSP the first day. If there weren't any, they should have been legally obligated to put you on the first NW flight available after you were bumped, regardless of whether they codeshare or not. Third, it seems like they automatically gave you the vouchers (for voluntary bumping) even though you could have insisted on cash for involuntary bumping. And I think it was inappropriate for them to refuse you entry to the Presidents club, just because they serve alcohol. You WERE flying in first class, no? I think you need to call them on the carpet on these issues. They shirked their legal obligations by misleading you -- this is precisely the kind of disingenuous behavior that I hate the most from airlines.

In contrast, I'll share a TWA story. I was scheduled to fly SJC-STL-DCA. At SJC, one of the flight attendants failed to show up, so we were already delayed 1.5 hrs, with no end in sight. I knew I was going to miss the connection in STL, and was just wondering when the next flight to DCA would be. All of a sudden, a TWA supervisor came aboard and announced that all passengers going to the Washington DC area were welcome to be rebooked on a United nonstop to IAD leaving in about half an hour. Rebooking was fast and easy, and I was on my way. Now THAT is proper airline service.
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 3:24 am

Adam - my experience with 1-800-WE-CARE-2 has not been too positive as far as complaint handling is concerned. I have a few questions/observations for you though, since I am pursuing my own case against CO in similar circumstances.

a) What was the fare basis of your ticket? Was it a purchased A fare, or was it upgraded?

b) Are you under 18 or over 18? This makes a huge difference, because if you were under 18 and travelling alone without being registered as a UM, they are not legally obliged to do anything for you. Tough beans, but that is the law.

c) President's Clubs are membership based and has nothing to do with class of travel. Once again, the LAW requires that under-21s may not enter unaccompanied.

d) Even though the IAH-MSP leg is not codeshared for O&D traffic, your actual itinerary was SFO-MSP, in which case the flights ARE codeshared. Besides, you were already past the 4 hour threshold for Rule 240 to come into play and you could have picked an airline to take you home and demanded to fly on it.

I suggest you send a fax to Corporate at 713-652-4997 about this incident if you really want some response.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Mon Feb 05, 2001 11:22 am

Just to clarify a few things...

NW does codeshare with CO to MSP from IAH.

Those electric cart drivers are not NW employees.

I never seem to ever have any problem in times of ditress such as you experienced. If you're nice to people, usually you get treated the same way.

All airline clubs have the policy of anyone under 21 is not allowed. Think of it as a bar. You can go if accompanied by an adult.

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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

Lots Of Stuff

Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:47 pm

Well, several things.

First, you seem to be very much a passenger that I would abandon halfway through the flight. You say,
"She was being way too nice." What the hell is your problem? The gate agents are rude to you, but when a flight attendant is nice, it's also a problem? You should seek medical attention.

I have never flown CO, but it does sound like you got screwed. However, given the current state of the airline industry (shippy) I don't think anyone else, except maybe TWA and UA, would handle it any better. American, my hometown airline certainly wouldn't give you the time of day if you got bumped.

Also, those damn carts should be burned. Here at DFW, in the AA terminal (which one of the three, I don't remember) we recently had a small child run over and nearly killed, no exaggeration. The cart backed over him, and dragged him UNDER the cart down the terminal, and the mother was screaming and people were shouting. It took someone physically standing in front of the cart to get that dumbass to stop. The kid, as I remember, did receive brain damage, and he's only four, which makes it that much more tragic. But, AZJUBILEE is correct, they are not employed by the airline. They wear the uniform, but aren't on the airlines payroll.

Topic Author
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Tue Feb 06, 2001 5:59 am

I wasnt saying her being too nice was a bad thing. I was just saying it like it was very very unusual and something I had never seen before. It really irritated me that they wouldnt let me into the presidents club (with a 1 time pass) as I had been let into the presidents club by myself before using a 1 time presidents club pass, they should have something like NW (NW has kids type clubs in DTW for unaccompanied minors on their layovers) has where minors can go during layovers or whatever. I am in no way spoiled, but it was all in all a very bad experience that I feel they handled poorly.

I wouldnt have had a problem at all if they had just let us volunteer our seats in San Francisco and just leave the next day on the same flights or whatever. I just hated the whole experience because I felt like I had no choice in what I was allowed to do. All in all I felt the over the phone customer service agents very helpful (they even agreed that the airline handled the situation badly) compared to the Houston customer service agents. I think the airline was just a mess because of the Christmas season, nearly every flight I saw when I was walking through the terminal had the sign up saying they needed voluteers. When I got denied boarding compensation I had the choice to get cash and find my own travel to MSP or get a $400 voucher and they would book me on a later Continental flight. I chose the voucher and the later Continental flight. Well when they told me the next avail. flight wasnt until the afternoon I said what about a NW flight which is when I was told they dont codeshare on IAH-MSP.

RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Tue Feb 06, 2001 6:30 am

Jeez Adam- I've never been treated badly on CO before. A very good point was brought up- if you're under 18 and not flying UM, they don't have to do jack-squat for you. How nice were you to the F/As and gate agents during the whole mess? That usually helps. I managed to keep my composure (And I'm quite a hothead- I've been known to utter lengthy strings of obscenities because the Jaguars lost a game!) when I was being kicked around like trash by AirTran in Atlanta through all the B.S. stories they were sending my way. I only broke down and got pissed when a gate agent told me I'd have to check either my backpack or my duffel right after letting a guy with two huge Travelpros on. Be nice, and you'll be helped. Except on AirTran.
nwa man
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Tue Feb 06, 2001 6:42 am

For those of you who say that Adam didn't get too bad of a deal and is just spoiled or something, let me just outline what happened on his hellish journey:

1. Waited 45 minutes in F/C Check-in line
2. Lied to by CO agent in SFO about boarding times
3. Ignored by CSA at SFO regarding questions
4. Misled by CSA regarding overbooking comp. possibilities
5. Misled about availability of IAH-MSP jaunt
6. Had a 2-3 hour mechanical delay at SFO
7. Delayed at IAH by lousy CSA
8. Lied to by IAH CSA about no NW codeshare (hello, it's in the schedules!)

Spoiled? I would be fairly incensed myself if all that happened to me while trying to make a simple trip from San Francisco to Minneapolis.

My suggestions:
1. Write a polite (obscenity-free) letter to Continental explaining how you were lied to and misled on your trip. Sub-address it to the Customers First compliance division...they should be real happy to learn how you were jacked around by their employees. Include names of CSAs in the letter, if you took any down. Don't include anything about the quality of the hotel or the old-first class seats...there's really not much they can do about that. Explain that you look forward to flying Continental in the future, that is if the situation can be fixed...translation...more vouchers. If you don't get a reply, just forward the letter to your Congressman.

2. Seven nonstops SFO-MSP are operated by flights save you time, and money (in some cases) and miles earned on NW count for your OnePass account.

Hope that helps...


Create your own luck.
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RE: SFO-IAH-MSP Trip From Hell On CO

Wed Feb 14, 2001 3:56 am

Same thing happened when I was flying DFW-IAH-ABQ, I got the whole "You'll make your connection in IAH" speech, and I too had to wait in line for an hour at the luggage counter, and I even stayed at the Marriott too. I was saving 50 bucks, in the end I should have paid the extra 50 on AA.


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