Screwed by United. Compensation?

Old May 4, 20, 12:53 pm
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Screwed by United. Compensation?

Hello,

I mostly live on the Hyatt board but have a question I suspect many of you can answer quickly. Basically, I'm wondering if United will compensate?

Here's what happened:

1. Booked last minute trip on United (same day travel with return 3 nights later).
2. Outbound goes fine.
3. On day two of three I get an afternoon text from United saying my flight for the next day (5PM) is cancelled due to "unprecedented circumstances impacting travel" - exact words. There are NO other flights that day except at 6AM. Taking the 6AM flight would mean leaving my destination at roughly 3AM to reach airport. No "other airline" options (small airport).
4. My only option is to terminate my trip a day early and take the evening flight on day 2 (a few hours after the text came).
5. Still stuck paying for hotel room for third night, cancelled activities, etc. Out several hundred dollars.

So, basically United ruined my trip and forced me to cancel my trip early. The fact that they sold me this flight only 3 days prior is extremely irritating as apparently they had little intention to operate and took my money anyway. Airport personnel (contractors) told me that United is cancelling this flight virtually every day (had no idea) and they have been told to ONLY come to work IF they are texted that the flight is on....

Any advice on what to do next? DOT Complaint? I've already requested I refund but I'm not holding my breath.

Thank you!
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Old May 4, 20, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by txhyattlvr View Post
3. On day two of three I get an afternoon text from United saying my flight for the next day (5PM) is cancelled due to "unprecedented circumstances impacting travel" - exact words.
Well - it is unprecedented circumstances. I doubt they will give you any compensation. If you fly day 2 evening flight, there won't be a refund. If you can find another carrier - you have a case for a refund on the return due to the 11 hour schedule change.
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Old May 4, 20, 1:13 pm
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These things happen, even before COVID. You can't expect anything and aren't entitled to anything either.

However, if you contact United Customer Care and succinctly outline your case they will probably send you an ETC for the value of your expenses as a goodwill gesture. At least, before COVID, United handed out goodwill ETCs practically like candy.
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Old May 4, 20, 1:13 pm
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Unfortunately I don't really see that you have a case. United did not operate the flight that you were originally confirmed on, but it sounds like they made a good-faith effort to transport you on the most acceptable available alternative, and did in fact provide return transportation. In a normal situation you might be able to get an ETC as a gesture, but I think a refund is quite a lot to ask even ignoring the pandemic.
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Old May 4, 20, 1:48 pm
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Just to correct the record:

1. The trip was entirely within Texas which is (and was at the of travel) NOT on “quarantine” or “lockdown” or “stay at home.”

2. Yes, I expect United to reliably operate the flights they sell (esp within 3 days of departure). What we’re dealing with now isn’t new anymore.

Last edited by l etoile; May 4, 20 at 2:02 pm Reason: Removed now-deleted quote
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Old May 4, 20, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by txhyattlvr View Post

2. Yes, I expect United to reliably operate the flights they sell (esp within 3 days of departure). What we’re dealing with now isn’t new anymore.
Time to lower expectations for all airlines for the foreseeable future.
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Old May 4, 20, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Well - it is unprecedented circumstances. I doubt they will give you any compensation. If you fly day 2 evening flight, there won't be a refund. If you can find another carrier - you have a case for a refund on the return due to the 11 hour schedule change.
Have to respectfully disagree with you. We’ve been dealing with this situation for going on two months. They’ve gutted 90% of their schedule. It’s not reasonable to expect them
to actually operate what remains? At what point does “unprecedented” become “new normal?”

Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Time to lower expectations for all airlines for the foreseeable future.
Which is only going to hurt them more....
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 4, 20 at 2:41 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old May 4, 20, 1:59 pm
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I don't think your reasons for travel have anything to do with this situation.
I agree with you that UA should be giving more notice for these cancellations or just not sell the flight. I'd prefer lower frequency over lower reliablitiy.
I would recommend that you should just write into customer service and see what they offer. If you are not happy with what they offer, you should complain to them more. Since you took their alternate flight home, I don't see why you should be getting a refund. An ETC would be appropriate in this situation.
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Old May 4, 20, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by txhyattlvr View Post
At what point does “unprecedented” become “new normal?”
For airlines - probably not for many more months. It is what it is
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Old May 4, 20, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by txhyattlvr View Post
Just to correct the record:

1. The trip was entirely within Texas which is (and was at the of travel) NOT on “quarantine” or “lockdown” or “stay at home.”

2. Yes, I expect United to reliably operate the flights they sell (esp within 3 days of departure). What we’re dealing with now isn’t new anymore.
seeing that United flies and maintains a subset of its fleet entirely within Texas, your complaint seems reasonable.
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Old May 4, 20, 2:17 pm
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Considering the situation, getting up to catch the earlier flight is what I would have done (and have done - 6am out of LAS to west coast instead of day-before-cancellation of my original 9:30am-ish flight). Deciding to sleep later, incurring another night hotel to catch a next-day flight seems to have been your choice. I know things are a bit fluid right now, but I'm going with the flow. There's a lot more worse things happening out there...
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Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; May 4, 20 at 2:24 pm
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Old May 4, 20, 2:22 pm
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Let's be real here. No airline is obligated to fly you anywhere at any time.

They can:
1) Fly you
2) Give you a refund.

That's *ALL* they are obligated to do.

Once United cancelled the flight, your options were take any other flight they offered or take a refund.

If you don't like that, feel free to take your business to another airline.. that behaves exactly the same way.
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Old May 4, 20, 2:24 pm
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Extraordinarily unlikely that UA will do anything by way of customer service gesture in this situation. DL & AA, as well as UA, are routinely cancelling and shifting around flights up to the day before and that is the new normal. They are all inconveniencing thousands of people every day and also know that people who absolutely must will continue to fly.

Accept it or not, but the reality of air travel for the next 12-18 months at best, is going to be full of situations such as this.
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Old May 4, 20, 2:28 pm
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I am definitely on defense on this. However, I would encourage OP to provide more detail about this trip.
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Old May 4, 20, 2:41 pm
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Perhaps your travel insurance provider will be forthcoming here.
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