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Should we ask compensation for this lengthy delay?

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Not sure what our 'rights' are when the flight is delayed a day ... any suggestions?

Details: Flew into Houston (3 hour flight) OK, booked first class on UA 4 to London, boarding at 8 PM, leaving at 9 PM.

We board OK but there's a "small problem" with one of the lights that illuminates the escape path in case of an emergency. This is looked at for an hour, then 2 hours, then 3 hours, then almost four hours ... finally at midnight we are told they can't fix it and we will be put on a different plane at a different terminal for the flight to London. So 238 pax catch the sky train to the other terminal and board the 2nd plane.

This one takes off at 1 AM and we are served a meal in first class, then 2 hours into the flight as they are finishing dessert service and we are over Kentucky (per the map on screen) the pilot announces that this plane lacks a certain radio needed to cross the Atlantic (either it isn't on the plane to begin with or it isn't working, dunno).

Instead of continuing on to Newark or Chicago (other United hubs that are closer to London than Houston by now) the plane U-turns to Houston. We land in Houston at 6 AM (about when we were supposed to land in London) and the scramble is on to find new seats ...

A dozen bleary eyed agents were called in to re-book 238 angry pax ... we get re-booked via Chicago, on a flight leaving Houston at about 9 AM, with a five hour layover in Chicago, then on to London in first class.

This flight to Chicago also has a problem (three flights in a row, a record for me). We wait on the tarmac as they check for luggage balance ... after an hour we finally take off to Chicago.

In Chicago we spring for a day room at the Hilton at the airport ($99 + tax), where we take showers and sleep for 2.5 hours (with four alarms set to make SURE we get up and don't miss the London flight). This is our first sleep in almost 40 hours.

We make it to London OK, about an hour before lunch at a pricey highly rated restaurant (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal). We are so tired my wife falls asleep at the table and hits her head (no harm, no foul).

Basically we are out one night's hotel in London (about $400) and $99 + tax for a day room in Chicago.

What should we ask for from United? My wife is Platinum and I'm Silver Elite, if that would make a difference, and we fly overseas several times a year, so we are probably considered great customers.

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