United Passengers Revolt While Stranded in Shanghai

Talk about a delay. United Airlines passengers flying to Newark, New Jersey, were held up in Shanghai for three days this past weekend due a string of issues ranging from maintenance problems to flight crew work restrictions.

More than 275 passengers showed up for United Flight 87 on Wednesday, only to discover that their flight was delayed because of a maintenance issue. United initially rescheduled the flight for Thursday, but then delayed it again when a replacement generator being sent from the U.S. didn’t make it in time. On Friday, passengers were told they would be taking a previously scheduled flight back to Newark. That’s when the real problems began.

After making an announcement and telling passengers they would be getting on a flight, even if it meant having to bump other passengers scheduled for that flight, a United pilot returned to the intercom and told travelers that the original United Flight 87 was leaving after all — but from a different gate. Travelers reportedly staged a “mini-revolt,” refusing to move to the new gate and preventing other passengers from boarding their scheduled flights in Shanghai. United ultimately persuaded passengers on Flight 87 to switch gates and board their new flight, but the story doesn’t end there.

After boarding their original flight on Friday, passengers were informed that United’s flight crew had exceeded its duty hour limits and the flight would be delayed once again.

Passengers on United Flight 87 did ultimately get back to Newark on Saturday morning, and United’s representatives have said they’ll be offering full refunds plus $1,000 vouchers for future travel on the airline.

FlyerTalk members are nearly unanimous in their opinion that United’s service was unacceptable, but it’s unclear what passengers in this situation could have done to protect themselves. Only 50 of the 275 affected passengers made it back to the U.S. on other flights, and those passengers who did wait the full three days had trouble getting to their checked baggage while they waited for their rescheduled flight.

So tell us, what would you have done if you were one of the stranded passengers, and what should other travelers do if they run into similar delays in the future?

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