Missed Connection Expectations

 
Old Feb 25, 12, 2:38 am
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Missed Connection Expectations

My wife and I were scheduled to fly from Newark to Buenos Aires (BA). From Newark we flew to Dulles where we were scheduled to connect with the flight to BA. The flight from Newark to Dulles on Continental Connection arrived late due to problems the ground crew had getting luggage loaded. The BA flight was notified we were late and asked to hold the flight a few minutes. We arrived at the gate at 10:07PM, the scheduled departure time for the flight. The doors closed just as we were approching the waiting area for the flight.

We begged, pleaded, groveled, offered bribes but no luck. We asked the staff if they had been advised that we were on our way and they said yes, but could not hold the flight.

My wife and I both have elite status; Mine is platinum her's silver. We expected that we would receive resonable accommodations and compensation equivalent to an involuntary bumping on an overbooked flight delayed for more then 4 hours. Actual delay was 24 hours since there is only one flight per day from Dulles to BA.

Actual compensation was a room in a Sheraton, without our luggage, and vouchers worth $18 each for meal tickets to cover meals for 24 hours. Breakfast itself at the Sheraton is $18. What were they thinking?

At the airport customer service desk they could not confirm the flight the next day, claimed it was overbooked, but did get us a reservation. They advised us to go online at the hotel to try to book seats. At the hotel it turns out the voucher did not cover internet access in the room. Ca-chink another $12 dollars, only to determine we couldn't assign seats at continental.com or United.com. We arrived at the hotel about 11pm. Our meal vouchers were not very useful since the restaurant and bar in the hotel were already closed. Closest open restaurant was a taxi ride away. We hadn't had dinner yet since we were scheduled to be served meals on the
international flight.

So called the elite 800 number. After explaining the situation to the nice lady that took my call she offered compensation. Did not describe it but said it would arrive in an email within 35 minutes. Then said should coudn't get us seats but would transfer me to the "desk" that could. On hold for 40 minutes. Next agent was able to confirm seats for us and even managed to get us an exit row. Since I had used miles/money to upgrade to Business on the missd flight I asked if the upgrade request was automatically transferred to the flight we were now on. It wasn't but she placed us on the list.

When we did arrive at the airport the next day we checked the status of our upgrade request with an agent in the lounge. She couldn't find the request in our reservation. But she was persistent. She did see miles were taken from our account. The upgrade request was for a flight a March 23rd - a flight we were not booked on. She did manage to correct the issue and clear the upgrade. So we finally made it to BA.


The email with a compensation offer did arrive, only to me. My wife still has not received one. Compensation offered is 7,000 bonus miles (not EQM eligible) or $150 credit on a future flight. Keep in mind that compensation for an involuntary bumping causing a delay of 4 hours get $800 compensation per person.


Question - Are we being unrealistic in thinking there should have been (or should still be) some additional compensation? Should UA have provided us a complimentary upgrade for all of the inconvenience?

I also have lifetime gold status on AA. Our last several flights on AA have been much better experiences than previous years. Makes me second guess my decision to steer our business to Continental for the last few years.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by rokap View Post
Question - Are we being unrealistic in thinking there should have been (or should still be) some additional compensation? Should UA have provided us a complimentary upgrade for all of the inconvenience?
Yes, you are being unrealistic by comparing your situation (a misconnect) to an involuntary bumping.

The door was closed when you got there. Sucks that it was just before you got there, but it is what it is. Sometimes you get the elevator; sometimes you get the shaft.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 6:16 am
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
Yes, you are being unrealistic by comparing your situation (a misconnect) to an involuntary bumping.

The door was closed when you got there. Sucks that it was just before you got there, but it is what it is. Sometimes you get the elevator; sometimes you get the shaft.

Honestly, you should be happy you got a hotel and the food vouchers that you did.

I wouldn't risk a scheduled ~1 hour connection, when missing my connecting flight would mean a 24 hour delay in my travels.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 6:27 am
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Originally Posted by kwildnj View Post
Honestly, you should be happy you got a hotel and the food vouchers that you did.
The delay was caused by COEX ground ops, so that's within the airline's control. Hotel and food amenities are issued to all passengers as appropriate in controllable delay situations.

It's only in uncontrollable delays (e.g., weather) where hotel/food is not a given for non-status passengers.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 7:03 am
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you would have a good point if I planned the intinary. In this case the itinary came up as a standard route from Newark to BA. Since Continental/United offered the route IMO they should live up to their commitment.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by rokap View Post
you would have a good point if I planned the intinary. In this case the itinary came up as a standard route from Newark to BA. Since Continental/United offered the route IMO they should live up to their commitment.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 7:44 am
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Originally Posted by rokap View Post
you would have a good point if I planned the intinary. In this case the itinary came up as a standard route from Newark to BA. Since Continental/United offered the route IMO they should live up to their commitment.
I often connect in IAD, and would have no problem booking a 45, even 30 minute connection. -- However, this is when I am traveling early to mid-day, where I know I would have other options available to me, should I miss my connection for whatever reason.

That said, I would never book anything less than a two hour connection, where missing the connecting flight would give me little options, other than waiting until the next day's flight.

Things happen, and planes are delayed. While this indeed is a legal connection, and should, all things aside be perfectly do-able, you also should be proactive enough to think about what even a small delay would mean for your travel plans.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 8:45 am
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If I saw the flight was late in Newark, I'd have been on the phone to the Elite line that minute to reroute via IAH.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
If I saw the flight was late in Newark, I'd have been on the phone to the Elite line that minute to reroute via IAH.
Unfortunately, one needs to be on a flight to IAH two hours or so before the scheduled departure to IAD. In this case, it appears from what the OP said, the delay became apparent after boarding had already started and/or finished even.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 11:46 am
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It doesn't much matter what status anyone has, as 99.99999% of the time the doors are going to close when the g/a's are instructed to shut them, PERIOD!

Holding an aircraft anymore for anyone is very, very rare. It's ALL about on time and bonuses!

Like others have posted, you already got more than most people receive. Face the fact that nobody much cares whether YOU make it to YOUR destination on time, it's whether the airplane makes it to its destination ON TIME!!!

I've had the door slammed in my face more times than I care to count, and always, it seems, on the last flight of the evening, when they knew that I was arriving on a delayed flight, through no fault of my own. I've been so out of breath when I get to my gate that it has taken me 15 to 20 minutes before I could even attempt to ask for a room for the night.

Wait until the new UA gets into full swing, and see what one gets for missed connections.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by kwildnj View Post
Unfortunately, one needs to be on a flight to IAH two hours or so before the scheduled departure to IAD. In this case, it appears from what the OP said, the delay became apparent after boarding had already started and/or finished even.
I think IAH has more options to Buenos Aires. (TAM and AC come to mind, even with extra stops).
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Old Feb 25, 12, 2:05 pm
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Misread OP.
Disregard!
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Old Feb 25, 12, 2:18 pm
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It seems to me that some posts are too harsh with the OP: *A rules require that UA provides hotel+food vouchers for controllable delays for legal connections, no matter how close to the MCT these are.

Regarding compensation, unfortunately a few k miles or a small certificate is the standard... a delay is very different from denied boarding.

In a delayed arrival situation I always assume they will close the door at T-10 and aim at making to the gate at T-15 by sprinting if necessary. In a couple of occasions, I have seen planes held a few minutes waiting for passengers, but I think it might be more for other operational reasons and in those cases they keep the door open...
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Old Feb 26, 12, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by rokap View Post
you would have a good point if I planned the intinary. In this case the itinary came up as a standard route from Newark to BA. Since Continental/United offered the route IMO they should live up to their commitment.
UA did live up to what they had to give you, they just didnt live up to your expectations of what it is they had to give you.

the only time I would have booked what you did is if I was booking the 1st flight of the day , in your case EWR-IAD. Just cause UA or CO or any carrier offers a set of flights doesnt mean I have to book them as such.

At times I dont have a choice its either a 6am flight as my 1st flight or leave the night before and overnight at the connecting hub. Ive done this at times but its not always possible for me to. So I book the 6am day of flight and hope nothing goes wrong, knowing if something does and I miss my connecting flight that either Im overnighting at the hub on UAs dime or asking for a flight in vain and CXing the whole trip , if I was only going to be at my destination for 2 or 3 days losing 1 day might make it not worthwhile going.

But its not IDB its as chana said simply a misconnect which wont get you anything near what a IDB will , compensation wise that is. Not what you want to hear but it is what it is
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