I thought my trip was going to be fairly straight forward. I arrived at the airport and used the priority 1K lane to check-in, which was very simple. I was intrigued when a screen popped up saying that one of my flights was overbooked and I could be provided a $300 travel voucher if I volunteered. Thinking this MIGHT be a good idea, depending on which flights they would re-route me on, I finished checking in and headed to security. Knowing that the security screening is always longer by the UA desks, I walked over to the other side, which took no more than 10 minutes.
When I arrive at the gate, I ask the agent about my re-route options since the flight to ZRH was overbooked. Basically, the only option was through AMS (United from IAD-AMS, then KLM from AMS-DAR). I found it strange that they would re-route on a non Star Alliance carrier. I’ve taken the KLM flight before and I enjoyed it, but I turned it down because I thought I might not get my miles. Luckily the United Club was right by my gate so I sat in there and finished up some work before boarding started.
The boarding process started on-time and was basically done, but then the Captain came on the PA and announced that the software uploaded to the aircraft was wrong (he said it was Continental?) and they had to re-download the correct software which would take 45-60 minutes. At that moment, I knew that I was going to miss my connection, but I had a lingering hope that the LX flight would wait since it would be really close. False. After the “download” was complete, we sat at the gate for another 30 minutes and there went any chance of making my flight.
So, from this point on, I don’t really want to write some elaborate story, thus here are some of the highlights. It might seem a little jaded because I was thoroughly displeased with UA, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
The FAs on today’s flight were what I was expecting…older ladies wearing ill-fitting uniforms. Some of them were nice, others were there to “get the job done”. Meals and drinks were served quickly. Dinner was served maybe 1.5 hours after take-off, and your choices were either pasta with beef (mini-meatballs) or chicken and rice. I opted for the chicken and was rather disappointed. I’ve flown UA enough to know that I’m not going to get some spectacular meal in Y, but in the past they were at least decent. This wasn’t so good. Also worth mentioning is that they were offering 1 free alcoholic drink due to the delay.
UA needed to refresh the entre 767 cabin…while F and J look nice, Y looks tired. While I guess I should be happy they have some sort of PTV, its rather antiquated. After the first round of movies, I kept getting the message below…it made for a very pleasant flight.
The only movie I ended up watching Hitchcock which I thought was good!
Soon after dinner I fell asleep for much of the flight, waking up just as they started serving breakfast. After landing and arriving at the gate, a Swissport rep comes over the PA with connection information. Once she gets to Dar es Salaam she said “Please see a representative at the Transfer Desk”. I think to myself…MAYBE they’re holding the flight. I walk off the aircraft and see an LX 333 take off…t’was my flight! I make my way to the transfer desk in Concourse E and was provided a new itinerary on British Airways (ZRH-LHR-DAR) and a CHF 20 meal voucher. Why they booked me on BA, I have no idea. Do I now wish I would have taken the re-routing from IAD. Absolutely! The agent noticed that I have status and called over to the Swiss Lounge D to make sure they still let me in even though I wasn’t flying on a *A carrier. The lounge itself was nice and quiet. There were some hot and cold food available, drinks, and light snacks as well. The view wasn’t that good, but some heavies did end up rolling by.
After a quick rest and drink in the lounge, I walked over to a LHR bound BA flight in Concourse E to try to get boarding passes. I was told that Swissport can only book people on non-Swissport carriers but can’t print boarding passes…? Thankfully the nice people at the desk (DNATA reps) were able to help me and take care of my bags and put BA tags on them. Two thumbs up for their assistance! There is a whole back story about my checked bags which involved and somewhat heated conversation between Swissport and DNATA, but I won’t bore you with it. Here are some pics of my wandering around the airport…
I’ll write a separate report on BA to DAR.
Let me know if you have any questions!