Yes, another blog post on United’s poor operational performance. As always, the experience flying with United is a mixed bag. Being a United regular and 1K, I generally know how to handle these issues, but I always feel for the less frequent travelers who get such a poor impression of the airline due to it poorly managing so many aspects of their operation.
Of course, this trip was in February, so the weather didn’t look anything like the above photo. I just wanted to something pretty in this post, since the experience was anything but. My plans were for a quick trip to Raleigh for a business meeting. I was scheduled to fly from Milwaukee to Raleigh via O’Hare. On the outbound I had a shorter than ideal connection, but my schedule required it. There was some snow in the area earlier that day, so there were many delays. I checked on my flights, and everything appeared to be on schedule. At about 2:15, I received notification that my intended departure from Milwaukee would be delayed, which would likely cause me to misconnect on the last flight of the night to Raleigh.
I called United, and thankfully, the agent was very helpful, and quickly changed my flight to another flight that was scheduled to leave at about 3:15. I had to rush to get there, but I ultimately made it.
Now my layover at O’Hare was longer than planned, but I had some time to get work done that I couldn’t do earlier since I was running to the airport. I was pleased that my upgrade cleared several days in advance of departure, so I headed to the gate in time to board relatively early so I could board and stow my baggage without too much trouble.
I got to the departure gate before boarding time, and there was no plane. As is a common occurrence, there was no information about what was happening until well after boarding time had passed. Thanks to the United App, i could tell that the inbound aircraft had landed, but it just hadn’t arrived to the gate yet. Ultimately, this was an annoyance, but thanks to a fast turn, we weren’t too late.
On the return, the situation was similar, but even more annoying. My first flight was delayed, but this didn’t really cause any issues. The second delayed flight was more of a hassle.
When I monitored flight status for my next flight, it showed on time. I checked “Where is my flight coming from”, and that flight showed on time. Unfortunately, the aircraft seemed to be flying back in forth between Chicago and Milwaukee, which is often quite delay prone. According to the United iPhone app, the aircraft returned to the gate in Chicago, so there would likely be further delays:
I was concerned that my flight might be cancelled, and as the clock was ticking, I wanted to look at other options to get home. It seems that the above information was incorrect, since later I noticed that UA5425 did get to Milwaukee, and then return to Chicago to be the aircraft I would take home.
Later I discovered that the aircraft finally was headed back towards Chicago, and it finally landed at 9:06.
Finally, a plane to get me home
While waiting, I waited out the delay in the nice new United Club in Terminal 2. I ordered a beer, but was told the free selection, Miller Lite was not available. Instead they offered a Leinenkugel’s Hoppin’ Helles that normally costs $6. I thought, great, even better. While he beer was a nice surprise, I couldn’t help but notice that it was about 2 months past its expiration date. Guess that’s why it was free? Needless to say, I’m not impressed with the drinks vendor for United Clubs. They charge more than it costs in the terminal and then serve this?
DEC0913 expiration date served on February 6, 2014: United is “Expired Beer_Friendly”
I’ve long been annoyed at how late flight delays are sometimes announced by United. The app can be helpful, but there are still various bugs that need to be fixed, (showing flight status for the wrong day from boarding pass continues to be an issue). But worse yet, incorrect data on the makes it quite useless as a travel tool.
better late than never
What has been your experience with the app? Have you seen similar issues with incorrect data being displayed?