No More United Airlines

I'm done with United. I've been frustrated for a while with their deteriorating level of service and frequent flight delays. Unfortunately, due to a previously canceled trip, we had tickets to burn.

We were frustrated before we even reserved our tickets. Instead of being able to fly direct, we had to fly to a nearby city (3 hours away) because the (two) available flights were already booked.

When we got to the airport on the morning of the departure, we found that the flight was delayed due to a delay in the incoming flight. Once they got the plane unloaded, we thought we were on our way. However, they instead informed us that we were changing gates, and that as soon as the current flight at that gate took off, our new plane could come in, unload, get cleaned, inspected, and then load us. We later found out that the gate (and plane) change was due to 'insufficient water' on the plane. Go figure.

The (second) inbound plane was delayed as well, so we ended up waiting a few hours for it to arrive. Once it did, they got it unloaded and ready to go. We finally boarded!

However, once we were all seated and ready to go, we found out that they had incorrectly catered the plane. Yes, we couldn't leave because they didn't have enough Coke and snacks (oh wait, they don't give out snacks) for the return flight. And they couldn't just load the food at our destination airport.

We eventually got the catering figured out and pushed back from the gate. After a fairly smooth flight, we landed and deplaned. I was pleased to see all of our suitcases come around the luggage carousel quickly, until I realized we also checked our car seats. I waited. And waited. And waited.

After a while the United representative came on the PA and notified us that some of the luggage didn't make the flight and would be arriving on the next flight in. Great news, the next flight is only in 1 hour (plus another 1/2 hour to get the bags unloaded).

They offered to messenger the luggage out to us, which would have been great if it weren't our children's car seats. We elected to wait around for the next flight and after some minor lobbying received a couple $8 food vouchers for our inconvenience.

This would be slightly more forgivable if the same thing (delayed luggage) didn't occur on last United flight. I don't fly a lot, so two in a row becomes a pretty big pattern.

Thorough it all, the actual personnel we dealt with were professional, courteous, and good humored. They seem to be good people stuck in a bad system. It almost makes it more frustrating though. They can't just fire a few incompetent people, the entire system appears to be broken.

In the end, we'll be looking to other airlines for our future travel. I'm still a reasonable fan of American although that may just be due to better luck as opposed to better quality. I think we'll end up trying out some of the smaller airlines and seeing if they are more 'with it'. Flying out of Chicago will always be a challenge due to the weather, but it has to get better than this.