For a long time, I have always boasted about United Airlines. In fact, it was my airline of preference when flying locally. I guess it was that way because I always traveled alone on United. However, after I got married and started having kids, we went to the cheapest available airline and then recently flew mainly Delta because of my husband’s mileage with them (we got upgrades as he had platinum membership thanks to his Asia trips).
Anyways, we were booked to travel on United for a quick spring vacation trip with our friends from Jersey. Flying out of San Francisco has never been so chaotic. Who would have thought the “rain” would have caused so many delays? This rain to me looked more like showers and a few heavy downpours during the day. Our flight was for 11pm but on our way out we checked on the flight status just to make sure it was still on time and it was still on time. We had a connecting flight in Dulles airport with a 1hr 15 mins lay over. I had planned to meet up with my sister and get my usual meatpie (beef patty) supply from a Nigerian restaurant in Beltsville, MD. When we got to SFO, there were a lot of people in the airport. A whole lot. Everyone including several high schools chose to travel that night. Bottom line, our flight had been delayed by exactly an hour and fifteen minutes and my first concern was how on earth will I get my meatpie now. 🙂
My older son started crying because he did not want to delay his vacay. UNITED said since the delay was due to a problem beyond their control, there would be no reimbursement or transfer to other airlines so we can make our flight in Dulles. They tried to see if they could put on other routes heading to our final destination but all flights were either booked or had 1 to 3 seats; not enough for my family of 5. They basically said just go home, on your dime, come back tomorrow and start the trip again. We explained that we will loose a lot of money from hotel accommodation made to taxi to and from airport. They still maintained without sympathy, empathy or any remorse that there was nothing they could do. In fact, it felt like, gotya, finally we can screw with you guys and get away with it since the delay was nothing from their end.
After a quick prayer and a strong sense of just go, the flight will wait for you, we stayed behind to take our delayed flight. At least, I would have my meatpie. Flight came even later and by now I was like even if they were going to wait for us in Dulles before this additional 30 mins delay has ruined the chance. Midway through the flight, my husband decided to ask the Air Hostess to check on our connecting flight. Guess what? The flight/plane we were on WAS the connecting flight. YUP. We were not missing our flight after all. We were relieved and knew that God came through but I was like how can I still get my patties? I was determined. They made us all deplane to clean up and said boarding would commence in 20 mins. I made a dash out of the airport to meet with my sis. I did not realize how much Dulles had changed, I thought I would be gone for 20 mins and ended up being gone for 40mins because the baggage claim was quite a distance of walking, train, escalator and more walking. My husband called several times but I did hear my phone, by the time I was on my way back, I called to let him know and he said they are about to close the gate and have been calling my name. Oh boy! I said this cannot happen. Luckily, I took my 2 yr old with me and she was my saving grace because my husband told them I HAD to pick something for her. I was met at the train station by a manager and escorted to the gate with a lot of help with her.
Phew, thank God we did not listen to the jokers and incompetent staff members at SFO who could not even do proper due diligence.
I wish I could say I would never fly UNITED but I know airlines are like that, some more sympathetic than the others.Definitely, UNITED will never be my number 1 preference. So next time you have a weather related delay and a connecting flight, make sure they check the origin of your connecting flight. Better yet, give yourself a longer layover.