United sucks (No. 162,376,201 in a series)

Lost: The Story of Flight 1200

The United Airlines flight that vanished without a trace. We were told Herself was booked on this one, but subsequent inquiry revealed that UA, as usual, was completely full of shit.

If humans were meant to fly, we would have wings, plus pouches for carrying those itty-bitty bottles of in-flight hooch.

And thus we would have even less use for United Airlines, which yesterday managed to disrupt the travel plans of yet another O’Grady. Back in March the bastards got me, but this time they discomfited Herself, who managed to fly all the way from Kailua-Kona to Honolulu despite having booked a flight to Bibleburg via Los Angeles. (Editor’s note: They got her in March 2007, too.)

Pigasus, circa 2007

I Photoshopped this image after Herself took a beating from United in 2007, en route from Bibleburg to Knoxville, Tennessee.

I can’t fault United for the original problem, some class of mechanical that required diversion to Honolulu for repairs.

I can and do fault the anonymous fuckwit in Honolulu who told Herself that she had been rebooked onto a flight leaving at 11 a.m. local time Tuesday — a flight that vanished mysteriously shortly after I confirmed this reservation with United customer service, which as you will recall is operated out of Spaminacanistan, Lower Intestinopolis, or some other exotic locale in which the native tongue is Squinch and the English competency limited to the phrase “I am sorry for the inconvenience, sir.”

During a follow-up call I was told that Herself had in fact been rebooked on a flight due to leave not at 11 a.m., but at 7 a.m. By this time, of course, there was no way she could make it a few hours earlier United had shipped her off to a hotel 10 miles from the airport and that 7 o’clock bird was practically taxiing as customer service and I chatted so enjoyably at the top of my lungs.

We discussed a variety of alternatives, some merely whimsical, others outrageous and physically improbable, to say nothing of deleterious to various internal organs should one prove successful, before I finally got Herself a seat on a 7:28 p.m. flight that should put her in Houston — Houston! — around 8:13 a.m. on Wednesday, and have her home by 10:40 a.m., a mere 24 hours behind schedule.

It goes without saying that Big Tex could have triathloned it faster. But then Herself gets around and about on nothing stronger than the occasional beer or glass of wine.

And of course, if you’re to be stranded somewhere, there are worse places than a Waikiki Beach Marriott. And I plan to suggest that United customer service go there directly, just as soon as Herself has the wheels down in Bibleburg.

• Late update: After double-checking the latest arrangements, I found that thanks to a late incoming plane out of San Francisco, Herself was now looking at a 90-minute delay exiting Honolulu. This meant she would miss her connector from Houston to Bibleburg and would have a tough time beating Jesus here, even if she drafted Big Tex. After a little more rooting around online I found a late-night Honolulu-Denver-Bibleburg deal, but trying to book it over the phone as The Boss cabbed it to the airport proved impossible (“I am sorry for the inconvenience, sir. …”). And thus I threw up my hands, told Herself to get a chokehold on the first English-speaking United agent she found in corpus and book that fucking flight. And lo and behold: The agent was helpful, if slightly uninformed, and once she had the 411 she even laid an aisle seat on Herself without any pressure applied to her carotid artery.

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8 Responses to “United sucks (No. 162,376,201 in a series)”

  1. P. Morrissey Says:

    That used to happen to me all the time on Delta. Panama City to Atlanta late on Friday afternoons during hurricane season. If they didn’t have enough people on one of two adjacent flights, they would cancel one and combine them. They would always blame it on a mechanical mishap.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I don’t know what happened here, P. That 11 a.m. flight was never canceled, it just vanished, like the federal surplus. And both Herself and I were assured that she was booked on it. Maybe it went to Shangri-La, Area 51, or wherever Amelia Earhart is hanging out these days.

  2. BruceM Says:

    While you’re missing your better half, check this out: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/09/162586325/instead-of-surgery-man-pedals-off-the-pounds


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Heart-warming story, eh, Bruce? I think VeloNews.com ran something on this a while back; I know I saw it somewhere else.

      Funny how we fret over the “need” to lose a pound here, or five pounds there, or wouldn’t it be swell to max out the Amex card and buy a 16-pound carbon wonderbike to take 10 seconds off your Strava KOM?

      And then you stumble across a guy determined to rid himself of a few hundred pounds the hard way, and in the process meet some other folks — leg-shavers, mind you — who are lining up not to mock, but to support.

      The world could do with a few more such moments, eh?

      • md anderson Says:

        I think those “feel-good” moments are a lot more common than we want to believe. The vast majority of folks really are nice people, and it shouldn’t surprise us that they generally behave in a kind and supportive way of their fellow man/woman. Have we become such a nation of cynics that acts of kindness surprise us? The airwaves, blog-o-sphere, and letters to the editor pages have become such concentrations of invective that it colors our perception of the world.

        OTOH perfectly nice people can believe crazy shit.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Next time United pulls this crap, they should put her up for a weekend at the New Otani Hotel. Ocean view.

    The Gagnon story is amazing. While most of the country is looking for one or another magic bullets to cure them of far less serious health care situations, this guy is out there well past the ragged edge, putting his heart and soul where his mouth is. Allez, Ernest!

  4. khal spencer Says:

    And speaking of that old Monty Python line from Holy Grail” he doesn’t have shit all over him”


  5. Larry T. Says:

    Airlines. Can’t get to Italy without ’em but they screw you over seemingly at will. This is the most frustrating part of our biz, having ZERO control over our client’s experience getting to and from one of our tours. No matter how great the experience of riding and eating in Italy may be, the airline jerks can either have a client arrive pissed off, or get home feeling that way. None of that helps us but what can you do? They’re pretty much all the same these days.

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