Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: Delayed United Flight, absolutely no custmoer assistance provided.

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Old Mar 20, 2013, 5:26 PM
Mike L. Mike L. is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1

My United Flight to Dubai was to connect at Dulles airport and I had more than 2 hours to make that connection. However due to "computer" problems on a United plane at O'Hare my flight left O'Hare more than three hours late. After sitting on the plane for more than an hour at the gate, we were instructed to deplane while they found another plane. There was only one customer service rep available to assist more than 300 passengers with their filght plans, Woefully inadequate and no one from United available to help solve the problem.

Our flight was UA400 to Washington – Dulles on Saturday, 12/29 scheduled to depart at 1:11 pm. We were then to connect to flight UA 976 from Dulles to Dubai which was to depart at 6:45 pm. We had intentionally left ample time to make the connection to insure that we would arrive in Dubai on 12/30. Unfortunately due to United's plane problems with UA 400 we not only wasted more than two hours sitting in the plane at the gate but then wasted another hour while United Airlines staff worked to coordinate a different plane for our flight.

It is at this point that the majority of my frustration began. We were asked to de-board the plane and see United Customer service staff to coordinate any other flight options we might have. There was only one staff person available to see more than 300 passengers, each with their own issues. Why United did not provide more staff to accommodate us with their mobile kiosks still escapes me. After waiting patiently for an hour in line to talk with one of the representatives and not moving very far in line I walked to the main United Customer Service unit and found yet another line, although moving somewhat quicker. I found various other flight optins for me online while waiting. However as the delay continued those options were passing without any contact from a United employee. Finally after more than a 3 hour delay I was able to talk with a United Rep who suggested we remain on the rescheduled flight UA 400 to Dulles and then take UA flight 932Y from Dulles to Frankfurt and then transfer to Emirates Airlines flight 0046 from Frankfurt to Dubai. Although not what we had booked or paid for, it would still get us to Dubai before the New Year’s Eve festivities.

As a direct result of United Airlines plane problems we finally arrived in Dubai at 1:00 AM on Sunday 12/31/12, more than 8 hours later than we had planned. Needless to say we were completely exhausted having endured three flights and more than 6 hours of lay-overs in Dulles and Frankfurt combined.

Now we arrive in Dubai around 1:00 am on 12/31 and endure long lines with their passport review process. Longer because this is their busiest time of the day with many more flights arriving at Midnight than our originally planned 4:40 pm arrival. After spending another hour plus with the processing we finally arrive at baggage claim to finally conclude our long adventure and hopefully begin our Dubai vacation with family. However, I soon learned that United was not yet done with me. Turns out my luggage was not with me on my Emirates flight from Frankfurt. I then had to figure out where my bags were at and how I was going to get them. After spending another hour or more trying to find my bags or someone to help, I finally found the Emirates Airlines Customer Service Department and the assistance I needed to file a “Property Irregularity Report”. The Emirates Airlines staff was helpful but unable to confirm where our bags were. They explained that the bags would be located and delivered to us as soon as possible. After numerous phone calls to both Emirates Airlines and United Airlines and being given various excuses and explanations I learned that our bags were still back at Dulles Airport and United had never transported our bags to the UA flight to Frankfurt.

Please keep in mind that this is New Year’s Eve and we had traveled more than 6000 miles and all of our clothing and belongings were unavailable to us. Now we needed to find something to wear and waste more of our precious time running around on New Year’s Eve to purchase clothing for the evening. Throughout this entire ordeal, we did not receive a single communication from United Airlines despite having commitments from a couple employees that they would research the matter and get back to us.

Throughout the delay at O’Hare and the luggage problems at Dubai I maintained my composure and did not want to be argumentative with UA employees instead allowing them to solve this major screw up and make things right. What I have learned is that you cannot sit back and wait for your problems to be corrected because almost no one with United truly cared or wanted to resolve my problem. I should have been as rude and aggressive as most others were to get my personal problems resolved. United’s handling of this debacle was terrible. The efforts made to assist the passengers that were inconvenienced because of United’s bad equipment were terrible. In my case there were several good options that would have significantly reduced our travel times, stop-overs, and lost luggage. However because of the lack of staff available to assist us and extremely poor customer service our vacation plans suffered. We paid more than $2,100 for these airline tickets and were seriously disappointed with the entire outbound flight and service.

The United Flight staff announced on the flight that passengers should visit your web site to submit a claim or survey about this matter but when I visited the web site I found no such link. I submitted a question via the “ask Alex” link but again received no response. United sure is consistent in all phases of their customer service.

If you are desperate enough to use United Airlines, my advice to travelers inconvenienced by United's poor service is to be as demanding and rude while you are trying to reoslve your probelm as possible. Being patient, tolerant and understanding with them while the problems are researched does not work. We have paid for a specific level of service and should not accept substandard service. Expecting them to "make good" on their blunders is an unrealistic waste of time. Their solution was a lousy $200 voucher to be redeemed on a future United flight which are over-priced to begin with, especially when you consider the low budget service they provide. If going to Dubai or Europe, my advice stay away from United Airlines unless you want big problems with flight delays and baggage loss and are OK with no one stepping up to help you solve those problems, both while they are occurring or months afterward.

United Airlines is the worst Airline. I have gotten better and more timely service from the low cost, budget airlines and have substantially more money in my pocket!!

Mike L.
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