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Mid-Atlantic US Winter Storm (Weekend of 12/19) and Impact to UA's Operations

Mid-Atlantic US Winter Storm (Weekend of 12/19) and Impact to UA's Operations

Old Dec 21, 09, 4:14 pm
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Eugene, OR
Programs: Alaska MVP 100K
Posts: 579
Frustrating Day, Good Service at IAD Yesterday

I flew DME-IAD-SEA yesterday. The Moscow flight had been canceled the day before, and there was a whole planeful of people trying to get on ours - no luck, and no idea when and if they'll get out of Russia! We took off in a strengthening snowstorm, but no problems at DME.

IAD was a different story. The lines at CS in C terminal looked endless, people were breaking down and crying as they realized they would have to spend the night at the airport or wouldn't get out all together.

IAD-SEA initially showed a 20 minute delay, but this started getting pushed back 30 mins at a time. Our plane arrived at the gate around 6:30, we were called to board, but it soon became clear nothing was happening. UA was very proactive in explaining the situation to us. The captain came out around 6:45 and told us that the ground crew was seriously understaffed, many of them unable to drive to the airport, so there was no one yet to unload bags. I headed to RCC to await further information, but got nervous that boarding might began (and wasn't too impressed after the Austrian club at DME) without any computer updates. Ended up spending a further 2.5 hours at the gate, we left and arrived at SEA at 12:30 am, 4 hours after schedule. UA had already sent an email offering $$ or miles compensation, citing "mechanical delay" on our flight. Who knows what the real issue was, but UA was much better than in the past with letting people know more or less what was going on, and doing their best to provide solutions. I'm sure there were many others at IAD yesterday who aren't happy with UA today, but my experience was that they made the best of a very difficult situation.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 4:31 pm
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: TPE/KHH/LAX
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Posts: 1,134
If ORD is hit by storm this week....

I am scheduled to fly CMH-ORD-LAX on Wednesday evening. Right now, weather forecast for Wednesday in Chicago looks messy with sleet and freezing rain.

If a waiver is issued for this winter storm, which of the following options should I pursue:

1) Keep my original itinerary and gamble by going through ORD.
2) Reroute via IAD, where it will be sunny on Wed.
3) Demand reroute on another airliner (via PHL on US, CVG on DL, DFW on AA, or MSP on NW)

Thank you for your advice.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 4:34 pm
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
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Posts: 9,198
If a waiver is issued your only options are going to be #1 or #2. #3 would only be an option if your confirmed flights are already cancelled or delayed (in which case the waiver becomes irrelevant).

I would use the waiver to re-route through IAD if it's available.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 5:31 pm
Join Date: May 2009
Location: ATL
Posts: 516
Here's to hoping no issues in ORD early Wednesday afternoon. Need to get to MKE and would rather not drive in those conditions.

Last edited by vkng; Dec 21, 09 at 5:53 pm
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Old Dec 21, 09, 6:36 pm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 984
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
UA would be under no obligation to accommodate you if you do not make your west coast flight. The waiver does not cover this situation. If it looks like you may not make it, call and there is a good chance they will try to be helpful -- but this is goodwill. (I'm assuming both PNRs are UA metal.) Consider travelling earlier to eliminate the risk.

See no reason for them to provide overnight accommodations. Sorry to sound harsh, but this is the risk you decided to take by having two separate PNRs.
I agree entirely..i am talking about a future storm. I havent booked the flight from east coast to west coast yet, pending further info some of which i now have. It was never possible to have them on the same pnr. But there is still part of the question unanswered. Will they put me on the next available even tho there may be no Z seats left?
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Old Dec 21, 09, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by cranford View Post
.... Will they put me on the next available even tho there may be no Z seats left?
What I was trying to say is there is no guarantee UA will do anything at all. If you miss your international flight on Z there is no guarantee of a future seat. As a gesture of goodwill UA might provide you a seat on future flight, doubt the availability of a Z seat will enter the discussion. There is a possibility UA will ask for a change fee to reschedule.
Suggestion don't let yourself get into this situation -- if weather looks like an issue, travel earlier.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 7:23 pm
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Additional TATL flights:

MO 12/21:
LHR-IAD: 4th flight - B777
IAD-FRA: 4th flight - B777

TU 21/22:
FRA-IAD: 4th flight - B777
cesco.g is offline  
Old Dec 21, 09, 8:00 pm
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Programs: UA, AA, WN; HH, MR, IHG
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Well, I made it... a bit late, but overall, no complaints. UA873 (SFO-IAD) was delayed by 2 hours due to flow control into IAD (because of the lack of gates). The regular security line extended from the security station all the way back to the new Premium lobby... I would hate to even consider how long it took people to get through that line. The premier security, on the other hand, had no line whatsoever - it was a really good day to be a 3P. The GAs did a good job of keeping people updated, answering questions, etc... there were a number of standby pax who had been at the airport for nearly 24 hours and still failed to get on this flight - a sad tale. Although packed to the gills, the flight was excellent - all 4 FAs were upbeat and cheery; they did water/trash service every 15-30 minutes throughout the entire flight. Channel 9 was on, I got my Bailey's on the rocks (thanks to an FTer's drink chit ^), and we arrived "on time" (per the delay). Luggage at IAD was rather a mess - it took nearly 2 hours to get our bags - but altogether, it could have been a lot worse.

Thanks, UA, for handling things relatively well!
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Old Dec 21, 09, 8:42 pm
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,123
Wow, 2 hours to get bags, thats horrible. But I know the ramps must be icy and a mess. I hear that United is holding planes for connections now versus worrying about their on-time zero departures, so that is a good thing if true. Glad you got to IAD.

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Old Dec 21, 09, 8:57 pm
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by aluminumdriver View Post
Wow, 2 hours to get bags, thats horrible.
The bag claim area was a disaster... some people were waiting over 3 hours because some bag cages from other flights were "misplaced" during offloading. There were hundreds of unclaimed bags in various areas. But, yes, the ramps were icy despite the plowing (our taxi to the gate was quite bumpy from all the ruts in the plowed snow) and the delay didn't surprise me. I'm glad my bags made it to the airport at all.

As I said, despite the pro-active delay on our flight (our plane was at the gate at SFO, they delayed us due to flow into IAD [though the reason was listed as "weather" rather than "flow control]), the passengers at SFO weren't all that grumpy and the crew was simply excellent during the flight.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 9:07 pm
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I am curious to see how it is tomorrow. We have an 8:34am flight out of SFO direct to BOS. I am expecting there to be much impact around us, but not to our flight at all.

Have any 1k's over the last day or so been seeing any OpUps? I am flying with my wife (separate PNR due to award ticket for her), so I didn't request an upgrade. I am hoping for one due to trying to accommodate the stand-by passengers. My wife will be understanding if I am offered one, but I felt it was right to not upgrade so we could sit together.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 9:18 pm
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If the ORD waiver does happen, hope it's soon - lots of different ways to get to HKG from NYC this week for me, but I'm sure the seats won't last too long.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 9:43 pm
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
If the ORD waiver does happen, hope it's soon - lots of different ways to get to HKG from NYC this week for me, but I'm sure the seats won't last too long.
I hope the waiver pops up soon too. I'm supposed to do SPI-ORD-LNK-DEN starting Wednesday afternoon. Somehow I think that won't happen. I'll probably switch to the IND-DEN non-stop even if it is on ex-plus.
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Old Dec 22, 09, 1:14 pm
Join Date: Jun 2004
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FWIW, I flew IAD-->SFO this morning at 6:45 and the place seemed like a ghost town. The UA check in lines were short, security was almost fully staffed and the lines there were non-existent (at 5:45 when I got there). The concourses, while slightly crowded, were also relatively calm.

Supershuttle on the other hand, was an hour and a half late picking me up from Adam's Morgan. I tried to call a cab but was told there were 300 people in the queue in front of me. The airport itself was a breeze, but getting there was another matter entirely.
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Old Dec 22, 09, 3:45 pm
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Was once BA Gold, Fallen to BA Blue, and humble UA peasant
Posts: 107
We were scheduled on the 918 (IAD-LHR) Sunday (after rescheduling under the waiver on Friday). We had a four month old and nothing prepared me for what I saw at IAD at check-in. It was worse than when I recall BA on strike a few years ago.!!!!

We were able to use the Premier check in but finding that line was a talent and then it took two hours to get to the desk. Many people didn;t know what to do, they stood in front of the touch-screens all in a frazzled mess, few agents who were working their butts off.

We tried to checkin using the chickens but failed as technically our flight had now closed. However the agents said they were told to check them in anyway as possible the flights would be held. Well, we were in security when our flight was due to leave. No text messages saying delayed so we assumed the worst.

We got to the gate and our prayers were answered. They were still boarding. We went to get our stroller checks at the desk and got an amazing surprise. We were op-upped to C with an infant. I had ruled anything like that out with our precious angel.

Well, we got out 90 mins later which was better than the other IAD-LHR flights that day and the cabin crew were brilliant. Only snafu with our kid was when "rolled out of the bassinet" (on the floor) and so she woke up the front C cabin. Other than that, she behaved extremely well.

Another pax described Dulles that day as so broken, nothing would fix it. Chaos theory at its best. I was impressed with the desk agents. They did what they could with people who were pissed at the start!!!

I knew there were reasons to try and retain my status. That day was one of them.
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