Last Friday, I was supposed to fly from Houston to Madrid, via Washington Dulles. My flight was delayed out of Houston due to weather-related issues and suffered some additional delays prior to landing in IAD. What was supposed to be a safe 2-hour layover, became a missed connection (by no more than 10 minutes) to an international destination (last flight that day to that destination)
The operations group at United knew very well our plane had landed and, even though there was a Global Services rep to receive us at the gate (with NO ELECTRIC CART though!) and we all had to run to the connecting gate (including small children), United chose to not let us into the flight because we missed the boarding time by 10 minutes. For the record, the plane sat at the gate for another 15 minutes or so even after we arrived at the gate - would have been easy for United to let me and the other 15+ passenger that were in my same situation but instead they chose not to - I assume in order to avoid delay-related airport fees.
The result: instead of arriving at 7am to Madrid, I arrived close to 6pm. AN ENTIRE DAY LOST. It is shameful that United would only make operations decisions solely under the premise of fine avoidance with complete disregard for the value of time of its passengers, particularly for business travelers like me. A lost day is a lost business opportunity (sometimes in the order of $10,000 a day or more) and in many cases results in angry clients that I have to deal with (they don't care United didn't deliver me to my destination, they only care I wasn't there!).
The service provided by the ground crew at IAD was appalling, with the exception of Amy who did her best to try to handle 15+ really angry customers, but had no power to do much. As a Global Services member, I was ashamed and upset United would do this to me. There was no Global Services manager to offer compensation to passengers and, even though I was told one would reach out to me in 24 hours, it's been 4 days and I'm still waiting to hear from United. I even emailed their CEO, who hasn't bothered to respond yet...
My wife had the same issue today - the delay was 100% united's fault. As a Global Services member, she was treated poorly also. These aren't isolated events. This signals an operations policy to not wait... For ANYONE!