Here's my story. My husband's uncle passed away and he was named executor of the estate. We needed to fly to Ireland to take care of arrangements and meet with lawyers. We booked flights CO3439 from Buffalo to Newark (5:45pm - 7:20pm) and then CO 66 Newark to Shannon, Ireland (10:08pm - 9:28am) for August 23. When we checked in we were told that the flight to Newark was delayed until 7:30 due to weather. The previous flight had arrived on time and the plane was sitting at the gate the entire time we were delayed. We finally board the plane around 7:30 for a "wheels up" at 8:00. The flight attendants went through the safety instructions and everything and then the captain announced we'd be delayed another 2 hrs. They had everyone deplane. We spoke with an agent (Paolo) because at that point we knew we wouldn't make our connection. She told us if we went to Newark and didn't make the connection they wouldn't pay for a hotel. We don't live very far from the airport so we rebooked both flights for the next day (and rebooked our returning flight to be a day later as well) and we went home. However she failed to notify us that delays to Newark are a frequent occurrence.
We go back to the airport the following day and again are told that the flight to Newark is delayed, this time the plane was late arriving from its previous destination. The agent, Pam, was helpful. She put me in the very first row so I could be first off the plane and said in the event we didn't make our connection she okayed the airline to pay for a hotel for us this time. We spoke with the agent at the gate (didn't get her name but she was not too tall, heavyset, long curly red hair) and were told "You will make your connection". When the plane finally did arrive they told us once we were boarded we could be up in the air in 10 minutes. However after boarding we sat on the tarmac for at least 30minutes before the plane even taxied out. At this point we knew we were cutting our connection close. Near the end of the flight when I was skeptical about making the connection I spoke with the flight attendant. He made a call and said that the Shannon flight knew there were connectors on board our plane and they would try to hold it. When we landed I was the first off the plane and ran through the terminal (if you know the Newark airport, our gates were no where near each other, it wasn't a short run) and got to the gate. The plane was still there at the gate but the doors were closed and they wouldn't let us board. I told them about how we were going for funeral/executor business and they were not compassionate at all and the gate agent brushed me off and walked away. I followed her asking where I could go to get help but she wouldn't talk to me at all, didn't acknowledge me and kept on walking. I was in tears by then, they made an already bad situation much worse. We finally found someone who would help us, Joanna, who helped us at the customer service desk although they were supposed to be closed by then. She booked us a hotel but we weren't given any food vouchers. From the hotel we called the airline to file a complaint and they told us to wait until all our travel was complete before requesting any compensation or filing a complaint. The next day we finally made it to Shannon, 2 days late.
Our returning flight was delayed 2 hours due to plane maintenance. We were told by the agents we would "most likely" make our connection. And this time we did, however when we got to Buffalo our luggage didn't. 2 bags have since been located and are supposed to arrive later today, but the 3rd is still lost. For a first time over-seas flyer this was an absolutely horrid experience.
When I finally got home I called the airline to request a refund. The refund manager I spoke with, Janet, was not at all helpful or sympathic. She was rude, put me on hold for 20 minutes without even asking first if she could put me on hold. She said "I need to find out why your flight was delayed" and put me on hold unnecessarily when I could have told her why. She refused to acknowledge there was any wrong doing on the part of the airline and would not refund us. We were offered a $175 voucher each for a future flight... but why the hell would I want that? I never want to fly with them again, I want my money back!
So in the end the trip cost us an extra day off work with the rescheduling and 2 wasted vacation days not to mention the emotional stress we endured in an already emotional situation. I've read other forums and I'm going to be following up the DOT and any pursue any other means I can. I just wanted to share my story as a warning to others.. DO NOT FLY WITH CONTINENTAL.