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You’re Done Already? Why United Just Can’t Be Good

February 5, 2013

United’s delta-T of non-suck was much smaller than anticipated.

OK then, lets review. Finally got TSApre working (at least once), and then United went and changed the data for my Premiere account in order to “match up with my trusted traveller profile.” Fantastic (not)! All of my already-booked tickets are now toast for TSApre. Like today’s flight to Detroit. And the next few flights I have in the hopper too! It’s shoes off for me, and bathroom stuff in a stupid little baggy. At least there is no line for the “our computer thinks not” TSApre overflow line at IAD.

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And then to add insult to multi-trip injury, I was on the plane on my flight to Detroit when we were informed that the equipment had been changed. Go to Gate 5A they said (we started at 3A on an actual airplane). On arrival, we discovered that the flight was actually cancelled. Double fantastic. (BTW, we happen to know that operations cancelled the low-revenue flight in order to give our plane to a higher-revenue regional flight. Not enough seats to Detroit it seems. But they forgot to factor in that I was on this flight.) HEY OPS, WE ARE NOT JUST BLIPS IN YOUR DAMNABLE COMPUTER.

I called the 100K desk to get things fixed up and was connected with an utterly useless droid. My bud Mike called the regular 800 number. We were in a race. He won. But sadly even after all of the flight switching, the client was unable to adjust their timing.

So United, you owe me one dinner with the CSO of a big account and five hours loitering at Vino Volo at IAD. But really would you please please please stop sucking in 2013? It is way too early in the year for this nonsense already.

United already found out about this on twitter. They responded, but do they care?

Special bonus Vino Volo tip. Great place for a glass of wine. And you can access the United Red Carpet club wireless too.

Of course it got worse! Check this series out.

My original email: Flight number: UA5760
Departs: 12:28 p.m. on February 5 from gate A3c, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Arrives: 2:04 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

Then: Flight UA5760 5FEB from IAD to DTW is cancelled. You are now confirmed on UA5734 5FEB departing 5:00 pm from gate A5e, IAD to DTW. The flight is now estimated to arrive DTW at 6:41 pm.

Then: @United starts following us on twitter.

Bwahahahaha.  United dares to follow @noplasticshowers

Bwahahahaha. United dares to follow @noplasticshowers

Then: United flight UA5734 on February 5 is delayed and awaiting arrival of the crew.
Now departs: 6:00 p.m. on February 5 from gate A5e, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Now arrives: 6:38 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

(By now my dinner meeting has been cancelled.)

Then: United flight UA5734 on February 5 is delayed due to late-arriving aircraft.
Now departs: 8:30 p.m. on February 5 from gate A5e, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Now arrives: 10:08 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

Then: United flight UA5734 on February 5 is delayed due to late-arriving aircraft.
Now departs: 9:00 p.m. on February 5 from gate A5e, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Now arrives: 10:38 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

I walked down to the gate at 8:30. Why? Good question.

Then: United flight UA5734 on February 5 is delayed due to late-arriving aircraft.
Now departs: 9:25 p.m. on February 5 from gate A2f, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Now arrives: 10:38 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

Then: United flight UA5734 on February 5 is delayed due to late-arriving aircraft.
Now departs: 10:45 p.m. on February 5 from gate A2f, Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Now arrives: 11:23 p.m. on February 5 at Detroit, MI (DTW)

Who is in charge? Jeff Smisek of course. Hey Jeff you suck! Who is on the United BOD? They need to fire you.

And I have not flown yet. I do hope I get to Ann Arbor before my two public talks tomorrow! An eight hour and thirty-four minute delay. Imagine if they had to pay my last billable rate for this nonsense! United, you owe me $4250 and two meals so far. Expect to hear from me.

United is so awful I could just scream!

United is so awful I could just scream!

Finally after waiting for over 11 hours for a flight that never took off, I bailed. I am now booked for the first flight tomorrow morning. Absolutely the worst United flight experience in my flying history.

4 Responses to “You’re Done Already? Why United Just Can’t Be Good”


  1. […] my ridiculous non-travel day trapped at Dulles courtesy of United, the Marriott across the street from the terminal was a welcome respite. My friend Drew has Elite […]


  2. […] of the United fiasco trying to get up here, I missed the client dinner slated for Tuesday evening at The Ravens Club. Have to try that out […]


  3. I sent this email to Customer Care:
    Today I spoke with Linda Allen who opened case number 6224310. She asked me to scan in and email the hotel receipt from the night I was forced to spend at Dulles airport after 11 hours of Chinese water torture delay (finally, I just gave up and checked in across the street to get some sleep before two major talks at the University of Michigan the next day).

    For the record, you cancelled my original 12:30 flight on 2/5 and rebooked me on the 5pm which was continually delayed until 11:00pm. Absurd for what should be such an easy route.

    This fiasco with flight 5760 cost me 11 hours (a full day of work) and forced me to miss an important business meeting with the Chief Security Officer of . Literally millions of dollars hangs in the balance here. (Not to mention that calculated by my billable rate you burned $4250.00 of my time.) I count on United to get me where I need to be and not to yank me off a flight I have already boarded because the revenue is not meeting your expectations, only to fly that plane elsewhere.

    Please let me know immediately how you plan to compensate me for my trouble. More importantly, please hire a new CEO who understands operations. Mr. Smisek clearly has not a clue and would rather talk about paint.

    To make my expectations clear, here is what I would like you to do to compensate me:
    1) voucher to cover the cost of the hotel
    2) 35,000 miles
    3) a confirmed upgrade on my return flight from with a re-credit of the systemwide upgrade I used (that resulted only in an unsatisfactory wait listing)

    For the record, this is the worst flying experience I have had in all of my many years of flying. Congratulations.

    I just spoke to customer care and they gave me 1 and 2. No upgrade though and no third thing. I feel sorry for the Customer Care people who have to clean up after Smisek’s operational messes.


  4. […] For the second “flight” in a row, this has happened, and today it’s my birthday to boot. So I get rebooked on a flight that departs 8.5 hours after the one I was supposed to be on. And I get to be in a middle seat for 5.5 hours. […]


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