Archive for the 'Flights' category

United Ruined My Family Vacation To Amsterdam – August 2017

| August 5, 2017 6:05 am

It’s 3:55 p.m on Friday, I eagerly board UA flight 20 from Houston to Amsterdam for a non-stop flight to reach my family that’s currently waiting for me in Amsterdam.   They’ve made reservations for us at La Perla Pizza (the best pizza in the world) on 7:30 p.m. Saturday and I tell them that I’ll be there Saturday morning.

It’s now 4:15 p.m. and the flight finally starts boarding and as I walk past the flight attendant, I whisper to him, “red wine please” and quietly walk to my seat in 4L.   After settling into my seat, he joyfully brings me my red wine and jokingly says, “I understand there was a red wine emergency over here” and hands me my glass.   I think to myself, “it’s going to be a great flight.”

As the rest of the passengers board I decided to watch a movie and select John Wick 2.   The flight attendant comes back and asks what I want for dinner and breakfast.  I tell him I want to go to sleep right away so I can land refreshed and ready to go as I’m visiting my family in Amsterdam so I advise that I’ll need a couple of more glasses of wine and will pop some Aleve to help me drift away.

It’s 4:45 p.m. and I get an alert on my phone that my flight will now leave at 5:30 p.m. – mechanical issues with auxiliary power unit.

It’s 5:32 p.m. and I get an alert on my phone that my flight will now leave at 6:30 p.m. – still same mechanical issue.

It’s 7:21 p.m. and I get an alert on my phone that my flight will now leave at 7:21 p.m. – still same mechanical issue.

It’s 7:49 p.m. and I get an alert on my phone that my flight will now leave at 8:10 p.m. – still same mechanical issue.  I now have finished watching the whole John Wick 2 movie.

It’s 7:55 p.m. and I get an alert on my phone that my flight will now leave at 9:00 p.m. – still same mechanical issue.

It’s 8:24 p.m. and flight attendant tells everyone to get off the plane, new gate is now E20.

It’s 8:25 p.m. and I get an alert that my flight will now leave at 9:30 p.m.

It’s 8:26 p.m. and the flight now leaves at 10:00 p.m.

It’s 9:00 p.m., after sitting 4 hours in a hot plane, I decide to go to United Club and take a shower to rinse off the sweat and be clean for a good nights sleep after this fiasco.

It’s 9:40 p.m., United sends me an alert that my flight has been cancelled.   Technically, I think they’ve fixed the plane but now the flight crew will exceed the number of hours they can work.

I walk over to the customer service desk to find out what can be done however there are hundreds of people there and only TWO agents and the business class / premier desk is NOT manned.    I am next in line in the premier queue but it never moves because the reps are on the phone for 20+ minutes and nothing is getting done.  I realize based on the conversations I am overhearing that getting to the Netherlands anytime on Saturday is going to be impossible.

I decide to cancel the flight since the weekend is gone at this point.  I head down to baggage and am told that no baggage is getting pulled from planes for at least 3 or 4 hours so I should just go home and come back to the airport tomorrow as  a 40 minute drive for me to and from the airport isn’t an inconvenience.

It’s 11:45 p.m. and I finally get home.  I get an email from United apologizing for the cancellation of the flight and they offer me 15000 miles or $300 voucher.   Knowing that miles get diluted almost every year with United I opt for the travel voucher but it doesn’t ease the pain of missing time with my family at all.

This morning I get online and come across this article that states under EU rules, flight cancellation from EU based airlines that delay you longer than 3 hours entitles the passenger to 600 euros in compensation.  So now I’m left wondering why I should ever fly a U.S. based airline over an EU one if one offers double the compensation of the other in the event of delays or cancellations?

As for my family, they’re still in Amsterdam going to have La Perla Pizza tonight while I’m sitting at home 🙁

Thanks United for ruining peak holiday time for 300+ people this weekend.