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Newbie questions on passenger's right to international flight reroute, baggage delay

Newbie questions on passenger's right to international flight reroute, baggage delay

Old Apr 16, 13, 9:03 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Newbie questions on passenger's right to international flight reroute, baggage delay

My parents are elderly and for their comfort on a long international flight , business class tickets were booked through United. Flights were booked as follows

SAN->EWR(operated by united), EWR->FRA(operated by united), FRA->MAA(operated by Lufthansa).

Depart San diego at 6:15 AM and reach final destination Chennai, India at 11:50 PM. Total hours from departure to destination time was approx 29.

Based on my discussion with United Airlines and my parents, here is the account of their travel.

Flight to Newark was delayed causing the connecting flight to Frankfurt to be missed. Per Lufthansa, while rerouting, United had not properly notified them and made a mistake of rerouting their flights to a different city in India (Bangalore, India) and not to their Chennai destination. Lufthansa had asked them to sort it out with UA and United was sending them back to Lufthansa. The sorting out discussions happened 3 to 4 times and my parents had to pass through the security 3 times as they were shuttling between 2 airlines desks.

Finally they put them on a Delhi flight with a connecting flight to Chennai.
Meanwhile 2 of their checked luggage had already left to Bangalore , remaining luggage went to Delhi.
The itinerary got changed in Frankfurt (FRA->DEL(operated by Lufthansa) , DEL->MAA(operated by Air India) ).
Flights reached Delhi at 1:30 AM and they had to wait 5.5 hours in Delhi airport during the middle of the night. This is in addition to the 3 hour delay in Frankfurt.

Problems faced by the passengers

1) They were delayed by 9 hours and 55 minutes before they reached their final destination making their total travel time close to 40 hours rather than 30 hours.

2) Two of their checked Luggage were lost as it was sent to a different city due to wrong routing by Airline. Luggage reached after 3 days of their arrival to their final destination.

3) Travel was a nightmare for the passengers. Most of the passenger's time was spent on sorting out the mistakes made by the airlines on rerouting their itinerary. They had to pass the security 3 times in Frankfurt. They had to follow up on their luggage in Delhi and in Chennai.

4) They had to wait in Delhi during the midnight from 1:15 AM to 6:55 AM, no business lounge as their ticket was changed to Economy( all the other flights were business or first except the 3 hour journey within India).

5) Wheelchair access was reserved for the passenger in Lufthansa and wheelchair did not show up either.

Relatives hired a cab and went to receive them in Chennai airport (an hour and half drive) and waited for couple of hours in the midnight. My relatives. called me from the Chennai airport and inquired about my parents not reaching the airport. I called UA to find the passengerís whereabouts. UA rep was confused and was not sure why in the first place it was rerouted to Bangalore as their final destination before it was fixed by routing them via Delhi to Chennai. The rep realized , it was a mess. Meanwhile, my parents called my relatives after they reached Delhi and asked them not to wait any more.

I spoke to United customer care on behalf of my parents. United offered $300 united travel vouchers for each passenger. However, this may not be of use to them as they donít have united flights in India where the passengers reside. United offered no real alternate options for the passengers.

I have no idea whether United has offered a fair compensation for this kind of situation.
Any suggestions on the passengerís right and how to approach this?
plaks is offline  
Old Apr 16, 13, 10:13 pm
  #2  
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The passengers right is captured in the Contract of Carriage RULE 24:

E) Schedule Irregularity
2) Delay, Misconnection or Cancellation
a) When a Passenger’s ticket is affected because of a Schedule Irregularity caused by UA, UA will take the following measures:
(i) Transport the Passenger on its own flights, subject to availability, to the Destination, next Stopover point, or transfer point shown on its portion of the Ticket, without Stopover in the same class of service, at no additional cost to the Passenger; or
(ii) At the Passenger’s request, provided that the tariff covering the original transportation permits routing via the carrier which will transport the Passenger, UA will re-accommodate the Passenger in the same class of service on the next available flight on another carrier, or combination of carriers, if the length of the delay to the Passenger’s destination exceeds two hours.
b) In the event a Passenger misses an onward connecting flight on which space is reserved because the Delivering Carrier did not operate its flight due to a Schedule Irregularity or Change in Schedule, the Delivering Carrier is responsible to arrange for carriage of Passenger or to make a refund.
3) If a Passenger is not transported as provided in C) 2) above, the Passenger will be eligible for a refund upon request. See Rule 27 A).
4) If space is only available and used on a UA flight(s) of a lower class of service than originally purchased by the passenger, UA will provide a refund of the difference in fare pursuant to Rule 27 C) 6).


In short they'll rebook you on UA or sometimes another airline in the same class, if it's available.

None of your 5 issues have any publicly defined compensation. I can't say what inconvenience they offered the $300 for, but that's a fairly typical offer for IRROPS like this.

Some advice for the future: There was no reason to talk to LH at EWR; they're not relevant at that point.
mduell is offline  
Old Apr 16, 13, 10:25 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by plaks View Post
.... Flight to Newark was delayed causing the connecting flight to Frankfurt to be missed. ...
what was the reason for the delay / misconnect. Weather / ATC / ... or an UA caused reason -- Mechnical crew, ....??

If the former, UA is pretty much off the hook. If the latter and it was UA controllable, then UA has some responsibilities.

Originally Posted by plaks View Post
...
I spoke to United customer care on behalf of my parents. United offered $300 united travel vouchers for each passenger. However, this may not be of use to them as they don’t have united flights in India where the passengers reside. United offered no real alternate options for the passengers.

I have no idea whether United has offered a fair compensation for this kind of situation.
Any suggestions on the passenger’s right and how to approach this?
In USA law / regs there are no specific rights spelled out.

The proposed $300 is about what one would expect from UA for economy non-elite customer if UA controllable problem. Feels a little light for paid business class but you will not likely be offered much more -- you can try and make noise, call / write UA execs, .... What is it you want?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 17, 13 at 12:23 pm Reason: typo
WineCountryUA is offline  

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