My wife was in Grand Junction, Colorado attending a wedding over the weekend. She was ticketed both ways on United Airlines. On the way over, her flight to Denver was diverted to Colorado Springs because of bad weather. She missed her connection to Grand Junction but was able to get a later flight.
Yesterday afternoon, she left the wedding reception early to make her flight to Denver. It was delayed as no planes were allowed to land in Denver due to tornado warnings and storms. After several hours they finally took off, but her plane arrived in Denver too late to make her connection, which had left about an hour before, just as soon as the flight ban was lifted.
When her plane did finally land they didn’t pull up to the terminal but instead immediately evacuated it down steps, because there was a fire in the under-floor area (which they had not announced to the passengers).
After that, there was a “customer service” line that she said was four hours long. Finally she got a boarding pass for the next flight which was at 8:30 am this morning.
That was it. No room, no food, no corner in the Admiralty Club, no blanket, no “we’re sorry”. Nothing. Since the delay was due to weather, it’s beyond the airlines’ control and they are legally not required to do anything for the passengers, which is, of course, exactly what they did: nothing. But then they really don’t have passengers, or customers, do they? They have business units or profit units, obviously all the airlines see when a human being enters an airport, gets on an airplane.
So she was stuck. To make matters worse, the seating at Denver airport has fixed armrests between each chair so it’s not possible to lie down on a row of seats. SHE HAD TO TRY TO SLEEP ON THE FLOOR with her ticket, purse and carry-on bag clutched in her arms. She said the floor was cold and hard, she was bone-chilled and the night cleaning crews just told her to move – not gently – as they went through with vacuums and floor polishers. She said she wasn’t too worried about robbery or rape as there were security guards around, but it was an awful night.
Finally this morning she was able to get some coffee (the restaurants had closed at 11 p.m. while she was still in that “customer service” line) and a muffin at McDonalds before she got on her plane. Still not the slightest sign of apology or sympathy from United Airlines. Her plane got to Orange County at 10:30 this morning and I picked her up and brought her home. After some breakfast she took a shower and went to bed. She’s still asleep now.
I am furious but of course there is nothing to be done except shrug it off. The airlines have no responsibility to the passengers, or “business units” or “profit units” or whatever the correct designation is. With the kind of treatment they give, certainly “passenger”, “customer” or “human being” aren’t in their vocabulary, except, perhaps, in the jokes they tell behind the backs of the unfortunate people who go onto airplanes.
I certainly won’t be one of their objects of scorn, ridicule or punishment. If it is humanly possible to avoid it, I’ll not fly again. Yes I’m furious and yes this was typed in anger. Perhaps I ought to apologize for the rant, but right now I don’t feel like it. It was all I could do not to fill this account of events with expletives.