Itís been a wonderful start to the new year, NOT! Before I begin my rant, I would like to mention that I totally get the odd ball maintenance/mechanical issues with aircraft's which could cause delays. This is not surprising as aircraft's are very complex and minor issues could be a major safety concern. (If complications occur regularly, and are not human initiated, then I would be concerned with the quality of the design. But we all know Boeingís are brilliant piece of design and have been tried and tested.) These situations where maintenance issues cause flight delays need to be handled with care and airline staff need to be trained on this appropriately.
So I begin my rant (will try not to go into every detail and keep this to the point):
I reach the airport by 10:30 AM PCT (January 1st, 2017) to head back home to Cleveland after my awesome vacation in California. I wait patiently to board the UNITED flight (# 1950) which departs at 12:55 PM from San Francisco Airport, when I get an email at 12:36 PM PCT (3:36 PM EST) that the flight has been delayed. I am not concerned at this point as this is quite common for aircraft's to run slightly late, sometimes. They usually make up time during flight.
It starts off with a half hour delay. Then, every hour for the next six hours I get an email from them letting me know that they have been delayed due to maintenance issues. Of course, they also announce it at the gate.
Itís so frustrating to get an email every hour to let me know that itís been delayed by one hour. How difficult could it be to make a swag at the repair time and not have to update it every hour. (They mentioned that fire extinguisher in the engine was not functioning Ė not sure what that means, but, since they knew what the problem was, I am quite sure they could have made a decent estimate on the repair time and not have to update every hour.) Some cheap tactic of some sort to give false hopes!
Due to the delay, all passengers got a $10 food voucher from UNITED with which I could not even buy a full meal (drink/coffee and food) due to the costly prices in SF airport. I had to pay from my pocket to get a complete lunch. At a minimum United should have provided a decent $ amount food voucher so that I could have had a complete satisfying meal. I freaking paid $530 for the roundtrip ticket, which is overpriced due to new year. The ticket price probably has been marked up by a factor of 2-4, and I am quite certain UNITED still made a profit even with delay on this flight. At the least, you could have taken a hit on your profit and given a decent amount food voucher!!!
In addition, the staff there were not very helpful. I enquired if I could be put on waiting list on the next available flight to Cleveland and the lady replied with a frowning face,Ē NO! YOUR FLIGHT IS NOT CANCELLED!Ē. If she would have said this in a sweet tone, and with a smile on her face, I would have been satisfied with the reply, but NO, she had to be rude. UNITED staff need more training on how to handle such situations, and of course, lessons on basic courtesy.
So, finally after 6 and half hour wait, they let us know that the aircraft has arrived and boarding will begun soon (I am glad UNITED did not CANCEL the flight) . Boarding began at around 7:00 P.M.(PCT), aircraft took off around 7:45PM PCT, this was after two gate changes in a span of 10 minutes. After boarding, the pilot updated on what had happened, that they couldnít repair the aircraft so had to get another one. It would have been nice to know this update during the wait!!!!
Last but not the least, I chose this flight as it was a non-stop flight to Cleveland from SFO and had an arrival time of around 8:30 PM EST. I would have reached home by 9:30PM EST, if there wouldnít have been any maintenance issues. But due to the delay, the flight arrived in Cleveland at around 2:30am(EST) and I reached home by around 3:30 AM which is another major discomfort in addition to being unsafe to drive at 3:30AM in the morning especially after a tiring flight!!!
UNITED were quick to send an email with their apologies and a token of appreciation (see below picture). I do appreciate this, but in comparison to the major **** up, this is nothing. At the least, UNITED should have handed back a big chunk of what I paid for my ticket and forfeit their profit for this flight, for the pain you have caused. I understand you have a business to run, so keep a % of what I paid (for fuel, staff and pilot salary, small markup etc.) and hand back the rest!!!! As I mentioned earlier, I paid $530 for this round trip flight and Iíve seen prices as low as $200 for this flight. So, Iím quite certain they still made a decent profit.
What could UNITED have done differently?
Provide real estimates of delay time, and not some bogus number.
Provide regular updates on the progress.
A decent amount meal voucher for the long wait time.
Provide information on what options we have and are entitled to due to the delay and long wait.
Give back a decent token of appreciation for the ordeal we had to go through.
Be EXTRA NICE and COURTEOUS!!!
You can find the review with photos here: http://www.monadventures.com/single-...you-disappoint