Treated As Less Than Cargo

December 17, 2007

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Earlier this year, we flew from Newark to Beijing on United Airlines. Since there is no direct flight, we had to make a connection in Dulles. The aircraft came in late in Newark, and we sat on the runway in Newark waiting for the 26 planes ahead of us to take off. By the time we rushed to the Dulles gate for our Beijing flight, the door had just closed – we were barely one minute late. There were at least five of us making this connection.

United Airlines knew that we were making this connection, but decided not to hold the gate for us. We then had to stand in line for over 2 hours to see a customer service person. We were told that we had been re-booked for the next day’s flight to Beijing. The airline assumed no responsibility for food and lodging – so we ended up paying to stay overnight in Dulles.

This kind of cavalier attitude towards customers is deplorable. When we purchased a ticket to go from Newark to Beijing, we assumed the airline would take us there on the day and time we planned. The airline treated us as less than cargo, because even Fed Ex guarantees that their packages get there on time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Why didn't the airline wait one extra minute to put the five people on board?

Probably the same thing happened the previous day and they needed your space for those passengers.


ASL February 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm

If the airline is going to treat the passengers like crap, it's a wonder that it might still be in business.


RedHead0186 February 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm

So your flight out of Newark was delayed, which sucks, but why should that delay create another one? If they held the flight at Dulles then that flight would be delayed too, which means passengers on THAT flight making connections elsewhere would have to ask for their flights to be held, which creates more delays, etc. If they can avoid a delay they're within their right to do so. Yes, as a passenger it sucks, but they can't always accommodate a few people over a flight full of people. That's part of the unfortunate gamble of connecting flights. Depending on the reason for the original delay, they should have at least given you some meal vouchers and/or accommodations for the night (again, depending on what cause the plane coming into Newark to be late-weather, mechanical, etc. If it was an unavoidable delay and you just maybe had a short layover in Dulles, that's not their fault).

"When we purchased a ticket to go from Newark to Beijing, we assumed the airline would take us there on the day and time we planned."

That was a poor assumption on your part. Airline travel is not that accurate or predictable.


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