Good morning! I hate to tear you away from your conference with Satan and his Army of the Night (morning seminar: "Goodness and Light in the World: How United Can Help Destroy It"), but I have just a couple of small notes on the recent trip I took on your airline. Constructive criticism, right!
Here's the Executive Summary: I contracted with you to take me from San Francisco to Tucson and back, and YOU FAILED TO DO EITHER ONE CORRECTLY. You'd think, just by SHEER CHANCE ALONE, you'd get one of them right, wouldn't you? NOPE. You actually had to TRY to fail this miserably at the task which you ADVERTISE YOURSELF AS BEING ABLE TO DO SUCCESSFULLY.
Let’s recap and see if we can figure out what went wrong:
PHASE ONE: SAN FRANCISCO TO TUCSON, VIA LOS ANGELES, THURSDAY, MARCH 24.
So The Wife and I are going to a little town outside Tucson to see my Mom, who for some reason decided to live there. Anyway, we’re supposed to leave SFO at 6:30, change planes in LA, and get to Tucson around 10:30 pm. Long layover in LA but whatever. That gives us 2 1/2 days there, coming back on Sunday.
It’s raining at SFO, and we’re about an hour delayed. Oddly, one of your minions says the delay is occasioned by “bringing in another plane from Seattle,” which doesn’t sound weather-related at all, unless the Seattle plane is a Magical Weather-Resistant Plane that can fly through the most violent storm without incident. Anyway, we all get on, very late now, and fly to LAX. We land there at 9:15. Guess what? Our flight from LAX to Tucson is scheduled to leave LAX promptly at 9:15. Now THAT flight, of course, left with Germanic precision, at 9:15:00, one minute before The Wife and I arrive at the gate. GUESS YOU CAN LEAVE ON TIME WHEN IT HELPS FUCK ME OVER HUH?
Well, that’s life. Let’s go to the Service Counter and get our hotel voucher and we’ll leave tomorrow morning. What’s that, United? You won’t pay for a hotel, because the delay was weather-related? The Magical Weather Plane wasn’t the cause? Oh, that’s great. So far, we’re out $90 for a hotel in LA, plus a $80 bar tab at said hotel that I also blame you for, United. But little did we know, the worst – much, much, much worse – is yet to come.
The next day, mirabile dictu, we get on an 11:50 am flight on standby and make it to Tucson. We weren’t vaporized by acid and the plane didn’t explode in midair, so POINT TO YOU, UNITED. YOU GET A GOLD STAR STICKER IN YOUR STICKER BOOK FOR THIS FLIGHT.
So we see Mom blah blah blah that’s a whole other blog post coming soon.
PHASE TWO: TUCSON TO SAN FRANCISCO, VIA LOS ANGELES (SUPPOSEDLY), SUNDAY, MARCH 27.
Sunday was a gorgeous day in the Greater Tucson Area. Bright sunshine, low 70s. Perfect day to travel! UNLESS YOU’RE ON UNITED AIRLINES IN WHICH CASE THIS DAY IS A BLACK AND HORRIFYING SCENE OF HUMAN MISERY AND DEBASEMENT.
Just as we arrive at the Tucson airport at 11:30 a.m. for our 1:30 p.m. flight to LAX, I receive a robocall on my phone. "YOUR FLIGHT," the robotic voice of one of United’s Archdemons Who United Chairman Glenn Tilton Keeps When Needed to Unleash Hell on United Customers informed me, "HAS BEEN CANCELLED." The culprit? Oh, it’s that tricky “weather” again! For some reason, EVERY OTHER AIRLINE has developed the capability of flying in the rain, but Ultra-Cautious United has a different approach: “A stiff breeze? A fine mist? DANGER DANGER GROUND ALL PLANES!!!! IT’S NOT SAFE!!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!!!”
UPDATE: Wait, The Wife just reminded me that this flight was cancelled due to the ever-mysterious "mechanical problems," not "weather." So I was wrong to blame United's inability to fly a plane in a light fog. I should have blamed United's inability to manage to have aplane mechanically able to fly a short flight you've known about for months in advance.
United Customer Service Agent #3442. How may I help you?
So we make our way to the counter, where two United Agents await. Here we arrive at a bright spot in the story, for we chose wisely. Our guy, John Something, immediately went to work trying to get us home. The Tall Bald Guy with a Moustache next to him took a different approach. When the girl next to us asked for help getting back to LA, he said “SORRY!!! NOTHING I CAN DO!!! SEE YOU TOMORROW MORNING!!” She left weeping. Meanwhile, John Something tapped and tapped and developed a solution: We would fly USAir from Tucson to Phoenix, then USAir from Phoenix to Santa Barbara, then United from Santa Barbara to SFO. We’d be home at 8:30 that night, earlier than the original itinerary! Sold! THANKS JOHN SOMETHING!! Off we go.
I have to admit, hubris took over and in Phoenix we were positively giddy. We’d made it! Sure, we were conducting our own Personal Tour of Western Airports, but we were going to get home! I mean, USAir was taking care of shit, and United only had to do one thing: Get us from Santa Barbara to SFO! Even stupid, incompetent, hateful, evil United could get ONE THING RIGHT that day, right?
What do you think?
20 minutes before boarding time for the ON-TIME, TOTALLY PROFESSIONAL, NON-WEATHER-AVERSE USAir flight to Santa Barbara, RING RING RING. It’s one of United Chairman Glenn Tilton’s Demons calling again!!! OH NO!!!! YOUR FLIGHT, Tilton’s Pet Demon says, HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
Jesus Fucking Christ. NOW IT IS WAR, UNITED AIRLINES. Here is a list of people who HATE UNITED AIRLINES:
2. Mother Theresa
3. TK and The Wife
4. All Good and True People of the World
So I get on the phone to the United Call Center, located in Strange Accentia, Somewhereland. I don’t even know what I said. My eyes had rolled back in my head and I was frothing at the mouth. Mothers were directing their children away from me. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I might have been speaking in Latin at some point. All I know is, at the end, United agreed to refund the entire ticket price and we were at the Southwest counter, buying the last two seats on a flight from Phoenix to Vegas to SFO. Which was a little delayed, BUT NOT CANCELLED LIKE UNITED DOES EVERY TIME.
We’ll see if the refund shows up on my credit card. So far, nothing.
So in closing, United, good show. You almost beat me. Cancelling that flight from Santa Barbara to SFO was a masterstroke. That would have broken many lesser men. Well-played, Glenn Tilton. Somehow we made it. Slink back to your Evil Lair and try again.
Please, please, please, refund my money like you said you would. Next time I’m in Chicago, we’ll go out for Virgin’s Blood and the Flesh of Your Enemies.