Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thank you United Airlines

I have to say that since I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999 that I do not miss traveling on the east coast. Summer or winter - it doesn't matter - it always seems to be a goat rodeo.

Thunderstorms in the New York area delayed my departure on Friday by over two hours. I figured for sure I would miss my connecting flight in Chicago and that would mean an overnight at the airport. Fortunately, thunderstorms in Denver delayed the aircraft and we departed at 10:15PM local time to arrive back here in Seattle around 1:30AM. I was happy to get home as I am off to Detroit tomorrow to visit with EDS on Monday. I would have hated to get home late Saturday and then turn around to fly to Detroit in less than 12 hours!

So what does this have to do with United Airlines? Well, normally most of us like to carp and complain about the airlines but I've had two awesome experiences with United Airlines over the last few weeks that I wanted to share and give UAL props for their actions...

First, my son's flight to meet us for vacation actually took off and then was canceled in mid-air when they had a mechanical problem. I was already in Chicago and we were supposed to meet at the airport. Unfortunately, it was the only flight from Missoula, Montana to Chicago. No problem, I figured my son could fly the next day to Chicago and then on to Ottawa and we'd meet him at the airport. Problem was I had his passport and he had to have it to get on the plane to Ottawa. United not only put my son up - at their expense - and gave him some meal vouchers but they also re-booked me the next day on the same flight to Ottawa with him at no charge. In addition, they gave me a super discount to stay at the Chicago-O'Hare Hilton which is attached to the airport.

Second, imagine a planeload of people who are anxious to get home to Seattle and have been bounced around, delayed, re-routed or have been sitting around O'Hare for many hours. That was us yesterday. Lots of people were frustrated and temperatures were running high. As soon as I saw that the flight was delayed to 10:15PM my first thought was that the inbound aircraft wouldn't make it and we'd be out of luck. Well it did make it! My second thought was that the crew either wouldn't make it or would exceed their number of hours either of which would result in a canceled flight - neither happened! We boarded and took off. Now here's where the thanks come in: The captain got on to say that the flight attendants all waived their "legal limits" and instead of just going to the hotel in Chicago they went ahead to Seattle. It was awesome to come home and for them to work longer than they needed to.

Thanks United!

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