Great review from a UAL hater

Old Sep 1, 19, 1:42 pm
  #1  
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Great review from a UAL hater

I regret to say that most of my recent UAL flights have been poor - for various reasons. However I did accumulate a fair amount of miles, so I took the opportunity to fly UAL from SFO to CDG last Thursday. Obviously I had low expectations (and I was flying in back-of-the-bus coach) and was dreading the experience.

But, I was pleasantly surprised...the only negative was a 60 minute departure delay - and the explanation didn't make sense (the aircraft arrived SFO at 6am from New Zealand, departing at 3pm...so they had plenty of time to clean). The reason for the delay? Cleaning.

Anyway, the flight itself was perfect. Newly upgraded interior, the seat had decent legroom (I'm 6'2), a very respectable in flight entertainment system, comfortable seating, very decent food, and an efficient staff. They made up most of the delay en route. Good non-intrusive pilot and crew announcements, and smooth skies.

So....a (somewhat begrudging) "great job" to UAL....I wish most of my other experiences were as good as this; now at least I know that UAL is capable of delivering a nice ride all the way around. The return flight is on Turkish from IST to ORD, I hope to be blown away by their business class experience!
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Old Sep 1, 19, 3:43 pm
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back of the bus as in E-? at 6'2" myself that is never a great experience. glad yours was better!
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Old Sep 2, 19, 1:58 am
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UA takes a lot of heat from the blogger crowd but I am generally treated very well when I fly UA. Sure, there are airlines with better food, better seats and better service. But UA generally delivers what it promises and gets me to my destination (most of the time a few minutes early). And until this year I got miles that I could often use for saver business class awards. Keep your expectations reasonable and you will do just fine.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
the only negative was a 60 minute departure delay - and the explanation didn't make sense (the aircraft arrived SFO at 6am from New Zealand, departing at 3pm...so they had plenty of time to clean). The reason for the delay? Cleaning.
This is a constant problem at SFO. In somewhat qualified defense, they have an awful lot of widebodies to turn every morning.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 2:22 am
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This is a UA practice. The plane is not cleaned immediately after arrival. The delay due to cleaning happened to me at EWR and SFO.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 6:49 am
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doesn't Customs have to release it before it can be cleaned. those people aren't in a hurry to do anything.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 7:30 am
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Back to normal! I connected at ORD yesterday (TL from Istanbul, UAL from ORD to SJC). The TL flight was somewhat late (about 30 mins), and that jeopardized a somewhat compact connection. I phoned UAL for options, and I really had to work hard with their rep to convince them to consider any options aside from just waiting a few days (potentially) for the (prescribed) solution just to wait for another seat to open up on another SJC flight. Eventually - after about 45 mins on the phone, the agent agreed that they could indeed send me to SFO (or any other airport within 500 miles) if I chose. By that time, I had gotten both bags collected, gone thru customs, rechecked the bags, and was on board the T5 - T-1 connection bus.

I ended up making the connection, but one bag didn't. One did.

I rechecked them at ORD exactly at the same time, and both were tagged for SJC. What's so hard about that?

The other bag went errantly to SFO. Huh? How does that happen when the bag was tagged to the correct airport - and the other bag, and myself, were taken to the correct airport?

I suppose I know the answer, based on my request to have a Plan B lined up, that must have triggered the issue, but it was agreed specifically to hold off on changing me to SFO unless I missed the SJC flight, and I would call them back to confirm.

So, back to normal w/my UAL/Murphy's law experiences. Too bad, since I had a nice trip otherwise.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
The other bag went errantly to SFO. Huh? How does that happen when the bag was tagged to the correct airport - and the other bag, and myself, were taken to the correct airport?
If one bag somehow missed the SJC flight, not at all surprising UA might try to get it to you via SFO since it would be faster than waiting for UA metal service to SJC.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 7:49 am
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Since UNITED burned me back in 2005 I have never forgiven the airline for what they did to me or put me through, but that could merit a thread of its own IMHO. With that said, if I am honest, the few times that I have flown UNITED since 2005 my experiences have been perfectly fine.

Which brings me to the Polaris flight that the wife and I just completed the other day, was it as good as almost any European airlines, absolutely not, but the crew was friendly enough (a win in of itself) and while the heat and serve casserole dishes just scream cheap, I actually got a good nights rest, so a decent flight all around as much as it pains me to say that.

Would I actually pay for a Polaris ticket in the future, no absolutely not, but for free (we won them at an auction event) it was a decent ride.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
If one bag somehow missed the SJC flight, not at all surprising UA might try to get it to you via SFO since it would be faster than waiting for UA metal service to SJC.
Makes sense, but that would require that someone actually made that decision. My experience w/mishandled bags is that no one ever thinks these things through, and it just would end up on the next scheduled flight. (Unless, as I theorized before, my convo w/the agent somehow interfered with the bags, but he never actually booked me to SFO - that I know of.

That said, if someone at United actually did route that bag in order to get it to me quicker, then that's great. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to be delivered to my hotel here by 730am today, and it's not yet arrived. SJC would probably have been a better choice.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
Makes sense, but that would require that someone actually made that decision. My experience w/mishandled bags is that no one ever thinks these things through, and it just would end up on the next scheduled flight. (Unless, as I theorized before, my convo w/the agent somehow interfered with the bags, but he never actually booked me to SFO - that I know of.

That said, if someone at United actually did route that bag in order to get it to me quicker, then that's great. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to be delivered to my hotel here by 730am today, and it's not yet arrived. SJC would probably have been a better choice.
Iíve taken to telling them to hold at the baggage office - here in ORD, itís open 24 hours. I then drive out at 05:00 or 21:00 when no traffic, and itís a breeze. Not sure if other hubsí or out-stationsí baggage offices are open around the clock? But Iíve gotten tired of the 6-hour delivery windows that keep altering at the whim of the drivers.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 10:43 am
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If it had gone to SJC, that would have been great, it's 2 miles away.

SFO is another story, horrendous traffic, etc. 40 miles away
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Old Sep 5, 19, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
That said, if someone at United actually did route that bag in order to get it to me quicker, then that's great. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to be delivered to my hotel here by 730am today, and it's not yet arrived. SJC would probably have been a better choice.
The contractor that delivers late bags from SFO around town seemed rather unreliable based on my one and only recent experience with them. Setting my delivery day/time via their online portal was useless. When they finally got around to delivering my bag, I got the sense they were going to bring it when they bring it. I tried an earlier delivery, and it didn't come; then set a later delivery (so the bag would not sit unattended in front of my home), and they brought it many hours before.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 11:19 am
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I wonder if these airlines have any idea how truly disruptive mishandled bag situations are; aside from the inconvenience of being separated from one's necessities, the nuisance of relying on delivery services (and their dubious accuracy), byzantine communication processes/collective outsourcing, and "angst" makes for a very difficult and stressful experience for the owner of the misplaced bag. Then there's always the "fear" that the bag will never be recovered, etc.... By the way, my bag was scheduled for delivery at 730am. I got a text indicating it had been delivered (but it hadn't) - and the online map showed the hotel next door (the Fairmont) instead of where I am - that led to a frantic run over there, etc. Just crazy.

By the time I got back to my own hotel, (the bag hadn't been delivered even then), I started a panicky call to UAL, and only then, did the driver show up, almost 3 hours later than committed, and 15 mins after the app said it was delivered.
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