Not a good first taste of the new UA

Old Mar 10, 12, 3:01 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: varies
Programs: AA Plat; Marriott Plat, HH Diamond, BestW Plat
Posts: 202
Not a good first taste of the new UA

I am Plat with AA, but now will be flying in/out of AVP about once a month. Last month, I drove to/from PHL but decided to try the local Scranton airport and save some drive time and hassle. My first time flying UA or CO in years.

AVP-ORD was fine, leaving at 6am and arriving on time, AFAIK (stated arrival time was 7:20AM, this sounds about right). One weird thing was that the boarding passes printed out strangely. There's a perforated part on the right side of the boarding pass, creating a "stub". Pretty much like every other boarding pass I've ever seen. The weird thing is, the seat number is printed on the right side of the perforation, so that if the stub were to be torn on the perforation, there would be no seat number printed anywhere on the main part of the boarding pass. The word "SEAT:" is on the left side of the perforation, and the seat number is on the right side of the perforation. The seat number was also printed on the right side of the stub. So the GA had to tear the boarding pass about 1/2" to the right of the perforation so that the seat number would be left on my portion. Very strange and obviously poor planning on somebody's part.

Next flight was ORD-DEN flight 433. Scheduled departure 8:58AM. I go to the gate (B24, I believe?) and find that the earlier DEN flight is leaving out of this gate. Leaving maybe 8:00 or so? Since my flight was supposed to be leaving from the same gate (more on this later) I looked around for a seat and found one pretty close to the gate itself. Enough that I could hear the whole boarding process.

It seems that this was an oversold flight, and/or had a lot of standbys. I'm not totally hip on UA procedures yet. But getting to the point. After all of the boarding groups have boarded, there are still a good number of people standing around waiting to see if they will get on the plane. The GA calls people by name, according to whatever rules they have set up (I hear her mention "revenue" a couple of times to other employees while talking about who's been sent on, but I get the idea that she bent the rules a couple of times in the interests of filling up the plane). She said at least once "I'm not letting this plane take off with an empty seat." At this point it all seems like SOP. But then it takes a turn for the weird. She sends people down to count empty seats. They come back and she calls 4 or 5 more names. She sends them down the jetbridge together, saying "come back if there's not a seat." I think 1 or 2 people end up coming back, saying that all the seats were full.

So the upshot here is that she had no idea how many people were on the plane. How could she be in charge of boarding, taking people's boarding passes, etc. and not know how many people are on the plane, eventually resorting to just sending people down to find an empty seat if they could?

So then, my flight to DEN was delayed. 9:23 estimated departure. Several gate changes. Of course, it ended up being later, 10:07 actual departure time. Actual arrival time, 11:24. My scheduled flight to LBB was scheduled to depart at 11:23. Actual departure was 11:19. They couldn't have held a flight to LBB for 10 minutes for arriving pax on a hub-hub trunk flight? I know they were holding a flight to Hawaii for other pax on 433; the FA announced for those people to hurry.

In any case I am now waiting until 7:30PM (an 8 hour delay) for the next flight to LBB. No other flights were available on other airlines. I did my own research, looking at going to DFW or ABQ, and then to LBB on AA or WN, but either way it would not have been a workable schedule. My wife and I each got $10 food vouchers and we're sitting here in Terminal B for the next 6 hours. At least DEN has free WiFi so I can log on to FT and p*ss and moan. There are definitely worse airports to be stuck at.

An even worse part was that I foresaw this in Chicago with the lengthening delay there, and the GA there wouldn't re-route me through Houston. She did give me a bulkhead seat, which was excellent in terms of legroom, although it was the middle seat. It did help me get off the plane faster, but still the LBB flight was not on the board when I got there.

Also, as a general observance, UA's gate areas seem to be inadequately sized. But maybe it was just large numbers of standby pax that were crowding most of the gates that I saw in ORD.

And now I check on flightstats and see that my originally scheduled DEN-LBB flight, 6146, was diverted to a different airport (!).

Not the best welcome to UA. I was thinking of trying to hit middle tier with them this year (6 short segments per round trip adds up) but now I am not so sure, and I may try to requal for AA Plat.
badgerW is offline  
Old Mar 10, 12, 3:44 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: SFO and OAK
Programs: FAF, Hyatt <>, SPG PLT
Posts: 2,240
Sorry about the delays and such. Sounds like a long trip.

The sending pax down and what not to count empty seats was not a rare occurrence on UA before the merger so not sure that has really changed.
Beerman92 is offline  
Old Mar 10, 12, 4:20 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: varies
Programs: AA Plat; Marriott Plat, HH Diamond, BestW Plat
Posts: 202
Originally Posted by Beerman92 View Post
The sending pax down and what not to count empty seats was not a rare occurrence on UA before the merger so not sure that has really changed.
Well, that part wasn't necessarily speculation about merger problems as much as it was just complaining vs. what I'm used to with AA. The whole concept of not knowing who's on board... at one point in the discussion, the GA was saying to another employee that so-and-so should be onboard. How could she think that a pax was onboard when the pax actually wasn't? Do they actually do anything with the boarding passes? I sometimes get annoyed at the loud "BEEP" and "Approved" message that comes from the machine when the AA GA scans your BP, but if that's the price of knowing how many people have actually boarded, I'll gladly pay it.

Thanks for the sympathy.
badgerW is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread