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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report United made it right

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Last Saturday, I got on a United flight from Dulles to Hartford. Departure time was to be 5:05 PM. Everybody was boarded and ready to go on time, but there was a maintenance issue.

After 50 minutes waiting on board we finally took off and were in the air at 6PM, about an hour late. A half hour later, the pilot announced that the maintenance issue had not been solved. He stressed that it was not a safety issue. Problem was that the equipment needed to fix it was not available at Hartford. So, United decided to turn the plane around and go back to Dulles.

We landed back at Dulles at about 7PM. The pilot announced that he was told there would be another plane (757) available to us to board at 8:45PM and depart at 9:15. He also said he would get the maintenance people to look at our plane again, to see if something could be done to get us going, instead of waiting for that later plane.

It took 10 or 15 minutes before the maintenance folks told our pilot that our plane was not going. During that time, I called the United 1K line and got "protected" on the 10:14PM flight to Hartford. At the Red Carpet Club, I had the agent get me a first class seat like the one I had earlier.

I got a confirmed seat on the later flight even though the plan was that we would have a new plane and leave at 9:15. I told my fellow passengers that 9:15 would turn into something closer to 11PM and we would be lucky if we got to Hartford before midnight. You know how airlines lie misrepresent the known facts about their ability to fix things.

Upon exiting the plane, there was a UA agent at the gate announcing that we would be boarding at gate C23 at 8:45 with a 9:15 departure. This was at around 7:15PM.

I went to the customer service counter because I was concerned that our flight did not appear on the Departures board. The 10:14PM flight was on the board and I was concerned that some of my fellow pax would show up there, then, and be disappointed (I had just informed 5 Korean guys who didn't know what was going on).

The agent at the counter said they couldn't do anything about the departure board, our flight had already departed. I was offered a night at a hotel in Dulles (which at least one person did take). I declined.

I then asked the CSR what compensation United would offer for this 4-5 hour delay. He took my bp and went to talk to his supervisor. When he came back he said that the best he could do was a $150 certificate. I was quite happy about this.

The amazing thing was that there was a plane for us at 8:45ish at C23. After pax deplaned we boarded and departed at 9:17. They said 9:15 and got it done at 9:17. The FA announced that we did not lose anyone from the flight, everybody was accounted for.

As we were taxiing into BDL the FA announced to all that we could go to a customer appreciation webpage and enter in our flight info and we would get some compensation. I wrote down the URL but didn’t need it.

When I got to my hotel, about an hour after landing, I checked my e-mail. There was a Customer Appreciation e-mail expressing apologies about our flight. It provided a link to a webpage to enter info and then get to choose compensation.

We could choose one of the following:
1) One $350 E-certificate for travel in the U.S.
2) 20% discount on international travel (to almost all UA destinations)
3) 15000 bonus miles
4) Four 500-mile upgrade certs.

I was flying LAX-IAD-BDL and return on a $260 ticket that was mostly paid by a $200 “customer appreciation’ certificate from a flight in April.

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