D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

US Airtravel – My United Story

Sunday, November 2, 2008 7:00 PM


After a whirlwind week of PDC and Vegas, it was time to head home. I’ve flown from the states many times, but I’ve never run into any issues like I did today before.

Got to the airport and proceeded through booking. I was informed that my suitcase was too heavy (57 lbs) and that I’d have to lose 7 lbs or pay $125 dollars. Luckily I had brought a bag for my running shoes, so I stuffed as many pairs of jeans as I could into it and my laptop bag until my suitcase was only 50.5 lbs.

D’Arcy’s Travel Tip
Check to see what your airline’s max weight is for checked luggage. Many will let you check more than one bag for a fee (not the $125 fee).

I got to my gate on time, only to find out that the plane was late. No biggie…I had lots of time to make my connecting flight. This was 11:45, and we were told that the plane would be here at 12:20. Then we heard 1:00. Then at 1:15 the plane came up, unloaded the passengers that were on it, and we were able to board up. But by the time we hit the air, it was already close to 2:00. LV to Denver is a 1.5 hour flight…my connecting flight was leaving at 4:40. You see the issue.

But let’s add some extra fun to this: the plane from Vegas was docking at gate 43. My flight’s gate: 88. I’m already tired from the trip, I’m carrying an extra 5 lbs of stuff, and I’m running as much as I can through the Denver airport trying to catch my flight.

D’Arcy’s Travel Tip
DO NOT RUN through Denver’s airport, especially if you *just* got off a plane. My lungs got shredded as I had no time to acclimate to the mile-high air.

I got to the gate with maybe a minute to spare…there was the plane sitting out there and I asked “Am I too late for the Winnipeg flight?”

“Yes.”

Some other Winnipeggers were asking what the issue was and were very upset, after all the plane was there and the door was still open, although the terminal door was closed. I was trying to catch my breath and not pass out from lack of oxygen. This leads to …

D’Arcy’s Travel Tip
If you’re making a connecting flight, and its to an international destination (Canada is considered international) and you have only a few minutes to make your flight, FORGET ABOUT IT. Rules state that you can’t get on a plane without your luggage. So even if you make it in time, any checked luggage won’t. Accept that you’ll need to make alternate plans. If you have carry-ons, then game on. But be warned: Once those doors close, the unfriendly United staff person will turn into Uber-Bitch and have no compassion for you.*

So with my lungs burning and my nose preparing to bleed, I wander over to customer service and prepare for what I was warned about in LV: there’s a later flight, but its full…standby is the only option.

The Winnipeggers that were with me at the gate are now here, and they’re being told that standby is their only option. I step up when its my turn and prepare to accept my fate.

“You’ve already been booked.”

So for all that I went through, the friendly and helpful United staff in LV somehow got me rebooked on this flight and I thank them very much. Also, the flight attendants on our flight from Vegas were very helpful and tried to accommodate those with connecting flights as much as possible.

But still, there needs to be some thought put in to the rules. It’s very conceivable that a traveler would be willing to leave on a plane without their luggage if it means they actually get home instead of staying an extra night or waiting for hours and a *chance* that they might get on standby. If the luggage has already been screened through security, what is the issue if the bag gets put on a different flight?

Anyway, I’m going to assume that the rest of the flight will be smooth and I have no other *tips* to add. So I’m going to grab some food.

D




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