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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fly United or Not

Yesterday I boarded my United flight from Reagan National to Houston for a 1300 takeoff.  The itinerary was Houston-Denver-Montrose.  We started on time, taxied around for a while and then taxied back to the gate to fix something and get more gas.  I'm glad they fixed whatever it was, but taking off an hour late meant I missed my connection to Denver.  At the gate in Houston a Delphic looking person pointed me toward gate C42 to ask there whether my flight had actually left.  Before we landed, we had been told that all flights out of Houston had been delayed about 20 minutes because of bad weather, so it seemed there might be a chance.  There was no one at the gate and it looked like the flight had left.  Soon I discovered the line at Customer Service and after a while my turn came.  The agent told me that I was confirmed to go our of Houston the next morning at 0600 and that United would put me up for the night because I had been delayed for mechanical reasons rather than weather.  I asked if there was another flight to Denver that evening and could I get on it.  She said there was so I could have my choice of over-nighting in Houston or Denver.  I chose Denver and she put me on a flight that left almost immediately.  With a lot of keystrokes she set me up for an overnight stay in Denver and the early flight out for Montrose the next morning, and she gave me a $10 voucher to buy something to eat.  When I looked at my boarding passes, I saw that the Denver flight would arrive at 2045, a full hour and 15 minutes before the 2200 flight to Montrose on which I had originally been scheduled.  At the desk for the Denver flight, I asked if I could be put back on the 2200 flight to Montrose.  Many keystrokes later it was done.  I was back on my original schedule and the only changes were less waiting time in Denver and  my seat number on the Montrose flight.  We took off from Houston with only a slight delay "to repair an armrest."  When I got to Denver, I learned that the flight for Montrose was delayed for three hours, because they had to bring in a replacement aircraft.  It turned out that the delay was only two and a half hours and miracles of miracles the bag I checked arrived with me.

Everyone at United was pleasant enough.  Fortunately I wasn't carrying a guitar.  See below

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