Loony Loopy Lea Lovegood (chickadilly) wrote in bad_service,
Loony Loopy Lea Lovegood

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United Airlines Flight Crew walks off plane ... (Er, yes. They suck)

Hi all - new member here. I posted this story to my personal LJ last night and LJ friend kiwiria (*waves*) suggested I repost it here so I am. Any advice or suggestions on what to say in my official letter of complaint is appreciated.

As this is C&P'ed from my original LJ post allow me to explain a few things (because I had already posted in previous posts on my LJ some of the background stuff ...) ... I live in Jackson Hole, Wy (famous for the ski resorts, being close to the Grand Tetons and the fact that Harrison Ford lives here ... ) and spent a fun filled week in Orlando at Disney visiting with my mom, sister and a good friend from New York. The flights to Orlando were pretty much uneventful and the time at Disney was amazing. In fact the Customer Service at Disney was so good that it makes the folks at United Airlines look even worse. Which is saying something.

I suppose a letter reading Dear United Airlines, you suck probably won't get me anywhere. 'Tis a shame really because that's what it all comes down to.

I'm too tired for all the details so this is actually an abridged version - a lot more nonsense went down ... but here goes.

In a nutshell all of the connecting flights to and from Denver were delayed yesterday because of weather. Anyway, my connecting flight from Denver to Jackson Hole was delayed by about three hours last night. Now at first this seemed like a good thing (for me) because my flight from Charlotte (yes, they had me to from Orlando to Charlotte to Denver to Jackson - pain in the arse but that's a whole 'nother bitch session ... ) was almost three hours late. (Why? Because they claimed the weather in Phoenix where the flight supposedly originated was bad. Only the Awesome Roommate looked it up online and saw that that flight actually was coming from Jamaica. The first of many miscommunications... ) I was sure I was going to miss the connection but by the time I raced through three gates and one shuttle train thing I found the plane hadn't left yet.

I was pretty much thinking OH THANK YOU GOD but it turns out I thought too soon. A while later (maybe 20 minutes? Not sure - it's all sort of blurring together in my mind at this point) they boarded us. I call the Awesome Roommate and tell her that it's good to go, I made the flight and that I'd see her in about two hours. Much rejoicing on the phone because we both thought I wouldn't make it.

FIVE ... FIVE (?!?!?!?!) minutes later the guy at the customer service desk walks on the plane and announces the flight is cancelled. Why?


*ahem* Allow me to repeat that one becuase I'm still all WTF about it.

The flight crew walked off the plane.


The same pilot who stood there and said hello to everyone as we walked on the damn plane told the Customer service agent that they had made their 8 hours for the day and because of Union laws they were walking and that was that.

There was a lot of confusion at that point as everyone on board was looking around like "wait, what? What? Did you just say ... wait ... what?" Has this ever happened to anyone else out there? Because I have never had anything like that happen before. I've been on flights where they were short staffed with the flight attendents (such as someone being sick or whatever) and I've had a few flights cancelled because of weather but I've never had a flight crew just walk off like that.

So anyway, the CS dude (he was pissed on our behalf - and I felt bad for him because the pilot just threw all of the shit of angry passengers off on him) said that United Airlines would be paying for our hotel accomodations and that if we went up to the CS desk we could get those arrangements. Unfortunately (for me - this will come to play later) I stayed to ask him a few questions and by the time I got to the CS desk (mind you it was in another gate and took freaking forever to find) there was a huge long line of people. United had been having problems all day so the line was about half a mile - AT LEAST - long. So. I was near the end of the line.

I won't get into all the details of the confusion with the various lines (at one point they had something like five different lines for the "Jackson flight" but none of the agents knew I talked to knew what was going on, who was getting travel vouchers or even if the travel hotel vouchers were allowed. At one point I thought I was FINALLY getting somewhere (after about 90 minutes of being told to go into various lines) only to be told a supervisor had to approve the vouchers and he couldn't find her. O_o

Seriously - WHY hadn't a supervisor given an all over approval for that at the beginning?!? I mean I dunno ... you think a Stupidvisor could very easily put a notation on the flight information that an over the board approval has been issued, yes? But nooo - so he left his desk for a good ten minutes to find her and by the time he returned ALL of the allocated hotel rooms that United works with had been booked.

(Again with the wait, what? Are you telling me that after all of this you're not going to do anything?!?! response.) So the dude gives me a pink slip of paper and tells me to call this 800 number and that if I go back and stand in another line someone will give me a slip indicating that if I pay money for a room out of my own pocked United will reimburse me the money.

I didn't believe it because after all that I was skepitical but I go and stand in the line anyway. By that time I'd made friends with a few others who were in the same situation and we talked about splitting the cost of one room but then there was MORE confusion and it never happened. Something about how it was never said we would be given compensation if we paid for our own rooms and that once the hotel room vouchers were gone and the rooms booked they can't do anything.

So, I asked "Well what about a refund for the cost of the damn ticket?" I was told that since most of my trip had already been taken and that United Airlines was still going to get me to Jackson (by this time they had added another flight for the next morning - not at 7am or an early hour though . Oh no, it was to go at 11 - and didnt' take off until noon ... ) they could not nor would not reimburse the cost of the ticket. I was about to say something in respond and the Customer Service agent said this: "Look, it's after midnight and we have to close the desk. You can take it up in the morning" and basically put a closed sign on the counter and walked away.

Yeah. Seriously. I'm getting angry remembering it. So, me and this other girl who was stranded made our way up to the terminal and camped out on the ground. I think I slept for about a half hour to an hour all night. Around 6am I made my way back to the CS desk, waited an hour and a half for someone to open the desk and requested a meal ticket. I mean hey - most of the passengers got a free hotel room. I figured a meal ticket after everything else wasn't too much to ask for right?

Well. The BITCH (and that's being nice) I talked to told me that she would not give me one because the flight was cancelled BECAUSE OF WEATHER and therefore they were not responsible.

I seriously just stared at her for a minute because the words didn't make sense. Weather? I said, "No. It. Was. NOT. Cancelled. Because. Of. The. Weather."

She? Looked me in the eye and told me I was lying.

Yes. Because I would make up something like the flight crew walking off and everyone on the plane BUT ME and a few other people GOT HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS so I could get a lousy 10 dollar meal voucher.

Her response? "The computer says it was cancelled because of weather and therefore what you're saying is incorrect."

I turned around and asked the line formed behind me if anyone had been on the cancelled flight to Jackson. This one guy said he had. So I said, "So was it cancelled because of weather?" He said no, "The damn lazy flight crew walked off" (heh, his exact words)

She STILL said that we were wrong and then dismissed me. NEXT! She said.

I stood there for 45 minutes waiting to talk to a supervisor but none would come to talk to me. Finally I just left. I was in need of the restroom and so tired I was about to pass out. I know that's what they wanted - me to walk off but I succuumed and was just too tired to fight anymore.

There's so much more but I have to stop writing. I'm still really tired and I'm getting too angry remembering all of their lies. But that's the story in a nutshell. Unreal, eh? Jerkoffs. It seems, judging from this link (www.untied.com) another LJ friend sent me that I'm not the only person who has ever gotten the shaft from them.

edit: It's been pointed out in the comments that it is an FAA regulation that pilots not fly after 8 hours on the job for safety reasons. I actually did wonder about that - and really if that had been mentioned at least ONCE in the whole time of all of this confusion I think people would have been at least more appeased. The fact that it was never mentioned and that no one cared was what made it all the worse. I mean I can understand not wanting to have someone who may be overly tired fly an aircraft but why wasn't that mentioned in the first place? We were only told it was a Union rule and that was that. It sort of boggles me that not once did anyone think to mention safety issues. If I had a planeful of angry customers in front of me you can bet that their safety would be one of the first things I would comment on!
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