Compensation...or move on?

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Old Mar 9, 18, 11:10 am
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Question Compensation...or move on?

Just wondering if I should try to pursue any type of compensation for a late flight and delayed luggage or if I would just be wasting my time.


Here's the story in a nutshell (feel free to ask any other questions if I've left something pertinent out):


Part 1:

When I boarded a flight to RTB (with a connection in IAH) the pilot announced that the reason we are still sitting at the gate is because United Airlines refuses to hire additional ground crew and that he recommends to anyone that is dissatisfied with the situation to contact united.com/feedback

The flight was supposed to depart at 6:20am but didn't leave the ground until 7:23am

During the flight to IAH it was rerouted to San Antonio. We spent 25 minutes there. The announcement was that we were refueling. I assume that there was enough fuel when we took off but something must have happened for us to use more fuel than predicted. I never heard why except a mid-flight announcement that there were strong headwinds.

When I arrived at IAH, my connecting flight had departed. I talked to the flight crew about the situation and one of the flight attendants said that United is responsible for me missing my flight not the stop in SAT. She walked me over to the United service center and told me not to let them (United representative) tell me that my missing my flight was an ‘act of God’. Well the United representative promptly told me I missed my flight due to an ‘act of God’ and that I was not eligible for any type of compensation. So, I left to find a hotel for the night—the next flight to RTB was the following morning at 10:10am. That flight went fine.

Do you think I should try to seek compensation or just move on?




Part 2:

When I arrived in RTB (Monday @ 1pm), my checked luggage did not.

I talked to someone from United at the airport and they said my luggage would be available for me to pick up at the airport on Wednesday. He gave me his phone number as well as a reference number to check the status of the luggage. Later that night I went to the United website and used the reference number but the message I received stated that the reference number had no result.

On Tuesday morning, I tried to call the United rep that was at RTB but the number he gave to me didn’t work.

On Wednesday morning, I called United and gave them my reference number and they said they would need to research and place me on hold several times. The entirety of the call was 1 hour, 10 minutes. They ultimately told me the luggage was on the mainland of Honduras and they would deliver it to me on Thursday by noon. I ended up getting it by 2pm on Thursday.

There were some items missing from the luggage but I don’t have documentation as to what was originally in the luggage so there is no way for to substantiate that claim and I should just be thankful most of my packed items made it to me.

Would it be worth me trying to obtain compensation for the delayed luggage? I had to repurchase several of the items that were in my checked luggage that I needed for the days I was without.


Just wondering your opinion.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 11:40 am
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Part 1. What did the United app say the reason was for your original flight to IAH? Was that delay alone was enough to make you miss your connection? If so, I would argue that that delay, provided it wasn't due to an issue outside of United's control, should make you eligible for some compensation (and the issue with headwinds is irrelevant and doesn't excuse UA from responsibility for causing you to miss your connection).

Part 2. Did you buy replacements for what was missing in your luggage? I would submit receipts for those and see if you can get reimbursed. But I believe you have to file a report first; however, I am not familiar with the details here so will let others who know more speak.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 11:48 am
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The only issue of note here is that you are due reimbursement (not compensation) from UA for the fair market value (FMV) of any missing items as well as necessities which you had to purchase while your bag was missing up to a maximum, presumably a lot less than approx. $1,650. But, you are a bit confusing. You say that there are items missing, but you don't know what they are. You will, of course, need to explain what they were and you may be asked for receipts, although perhaps not if your claim is reasonable,

The rest of this sounds like a labor dispute with an unhappy crew. There is no compensation due under UA's COC and indeed it would be quite common for headwinds to require a refueling diversion. Aircraft can't land if they are too heavy, so having too much fuel is not doable either. You haven't posted where your flight originated, but if this was a fairly short hop, this would be even more common.

I do think that the crew were unprofessional. The Captain is not a staffing expert and even if he is, casting blame is simply poor form.

Deal with the baggage claim and separately, if you wish, send UA a note so that it can deal with the crew issue.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 11:57 am
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I'm sure I'll get some heat for this position, but I would skip United and just file an abbreviated version of what you posted here with the DOT. I wouldn't frame it as asking for compensation, but rather for the DOTs tracking and monitoring of airline performance. And just focus on the substantive end-results. 1) Missed connection, forced hotel night out-of-pocket and 2) delayed luggage with items missing.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 12:07 pm
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Whenever I hear a captain complaining publicly like that, I assume he is emotionally unfit to fly and report this via ASRS (https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/).
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Old Mar 9, 18, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by lilpisher View Post
I'm sure I'll get some heat for this position, but I would skip United and just file an abbreviated version of what you posted here with the DOT. I wouldn't frame it as asking for compensation, but rather for the DOTs tracking and monitoring of airline performance. And just focus on the substantive end-results. 1) Missed connection, forced hotel night out-of-pocket and 2) delayed luggage with items missing.
Rightly so. For one thing, there's no reason to file a DOT complaint until / unless you're unable to reach resolution with UA. For another thing, the first issue sounds like weather, which is out of the DOT's purview. Having items stolen from your luggage may be worth a DOT complaint if UA refuses to compensate, but OP hasn't given them a chance yet.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
the first issue sounds like weather
There's no way to logically conclude that with the lack of information we have. It could just as easily have been poor preflight planning or a fueling discrepancy. You would need to access United's complete planning data for the flight to make that determination.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
There's no way to logically conclude that with the lack of information we have.
A mid-flight announcement about strong headwinds, coupled with a refueling stop, suggest that weather and ATC are the two most likely causes, neither of which are within UA's control.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
A mid-flight announcement about strong headwinds, coupled with a refueling stop, suggest that weather and ATC are the two most likely causes, neither of which are within UA's control.
Agreed that the headwinds are definitely weather. However, the reason for the hour delay at the originating airport is less clear.

Last edited by windhund; Mar 9, 18 at 1:13 pm
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Old Mar 9, 18, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by iowa guy View Post
When I boarded a flight to RTB (with a connection in IAH) the pilot announced that the reason we are still sitting at the gate is because United Airlines refuses to hire additional ground crew

The flight was supposed to depart at 6:20am but didn't leave the ground until 7:23am
I'm not sure if it matters, but the departure delay was attributed to the station, with a code of XF...also your plane was off at 7:17am

Originally Posted by iowa guy View Post
During the flight to IAH it was rerouted to San Antonio. We spent 25 minutes there. The announcement was that we were refueling.
51 minutes

Originally Posted by iowa guy View Post

...told me not to let them (United representative) tell me that my missing my flight was an ‘act of God’
the flight coded as XF, which is Extreme Weather, which unfortunately does include 'high winds'. I do see that plane taking fuel both at DSM and SAT.

hope this helps
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Old Mar 9, 18, 2:11 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Whenever I hear a captain complaining publicly like that, I assume he is emotionally unfit to fly and report this via ASRS (https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/).
What a ridiculous practice and a waste of NASA's time.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by runner450 View Post
the flight coded as XF, which is Extreme Weather, which unfortunately does include 'high winds'. I do see that plane taking fuel both at DSM and SAT.
Given that, I'd suggest you chalk it up to weather, though given that you had to overnight due to missing a connection, they may give you some compensation as a token of goodwill (not out of obligation).

However, did you purchase your ticket with a credit card? Your credit card may have had trip delay insurance that could reimburse you for some or all of your costs from the delay.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 2:49 pm
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Complaining to DOT simply feeds the narrative that the bulk of consumer complaints are b.s.

UA (or the express carrier if that was it) has already filed a report on the diversion and absent a calamity that's the end of it.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
A mid-flight announcement about strong headwinds, coupled with a refueling stop, suggest that weather and ATC are the two most likely causes, neither of which are within UA's control.
UA has control over how much fuel the plane takes. The question is if it were possible for the plane to take more fuel and make it all the way.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by FreFly View Post
UA has control over how much fuel the plane takes.
Well, no. It isn't an unlimited fuel tank.
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