On June 21, 2016, our United Express flight 5547 out of YVR to LAX had an engine issue just before takeoff. We went back to the terminal and were told it would take a few minutes. We were then told they needed a new part. We were then told they couldn't get the part, but we could get on a SkyWest flight. We were handed what we thought were boarding passes. We were not informed by the United ticketing personnel that we were required to check in again, so we sat and waited. Then, a fellow passenger realized that a check in was required just before the flight was about to board. Suddenly, there was 60 people waiting in line to check in to a flight that was leaving in 40 minutes. Because of computer issues, the line was not moving. I waited 30 minutes before being told that we could not get on the flight. 60 of us cried out in unison. We were told by SkyWest to go back to United. The clamor was impressive. The SkyWest person then threatens to call security to get us to leave the SkyWest gate. At this point, it's 3 hours after the original take off time.
The United ticketing folks then told us that a United flight from SFO terminating at YVR would be turned around to LAX for us. They said it was arriving at 5. Then I got a text saying 6 something, then 7 something, then 8 something. The plane finally arrives and we're on by 9, a full 8 hours after our original take off time.
For all this trouble, we were offered a measly $10 meal ticket to use at the airport. When we were finally aboard, I suggested that perhaps a free drink and free wifi coupon were in order. I was told by the flight attendant that neither was possible. To their credit, throughout all of this both the United ticketing folks and flight attendants handled the situation quite well outside the alternative flight ticketing fiasco we endured, which made the Keystone Cops look like the Manhattan Project.
While all this is happening, I'm complaining on Twitter. I get a response from United telling me to go to a website to be compensated for the trouble. When I get there and take more of my time to fill out the forms, I'm offered a paltry $50 credit on my next United flight, which isn't ever likely to happen at this point. It was like having salt poured into an open would and was frankly, very insulting.
In the end, we are just meat with money to United, and offering a ridiculously low $50 credit to be used on their woefully inadequate airline is clear proof of this.