Tuesday, August 23, 2016

United Airlines Carry Over Carry Back

Well that didn't go to plan. I am trying to reach 1,000,000 mile status with United and booked a 20,000 trip (DEN-EWR-HKG-GUM-HNL-IAH-DEN) without a stop. There was little room for disruptions, but the weather was clear everywhere I was flying.
The Original Idea

I make it to EWR early, but saw my flight to HKG was an hour delayed for a mechanical issue. The aircraft had been on the ground since the previous evening, so I assumed it was being worked on. I went to the United Club to wait for my 777 to pull up. My gate was visible from the lounge, so I relaxed (as much as one can in such a chaotic and crowded place). I had a three hour connection in HKG that was just bumped down to 2 hours. Still time to shower.

While going through the bottom shelf (free) drink offerings at the United Club, I saw my flight was now delayed 2 hours. There goes my shower, but the trip will still work. I checked at the desk and there were no alternate options to transport me to Guam in time to rejoin my itinerary. She added me on the last flight to Denver that night (6:25 departure) as a standby, just in case. She wrote "carry over / carry back" on my new boarding pass and explained that if I needed it, I would get home and receive a full refund. It would be like the round trip to EWR never happened.

Then my aircraft was towed into the gate. The flight was estimated to arrive in HKG just in time for me to make my connection. This assumed it pushed back at 6:00. I boarded around 5:55 and was the last person on. I even was upgraded for operational reasons! This happened once before in my flying life on a 90 minute flight. This was huge and I was thrilled to have a flat bed. The flight attendant brought me an ice water and I started rummaging through the menu and amenity kit. I ordered the salmon entree. 
Seat 11A on a 777-200
The clock kept ticking and ticking. We missed the 6:00 push back and the door was open with EWR gate staff still on board. I tried to relax, but also decided that if the door was open at 6:15, I would leave and run to the Denver flight. I did not want a 23+ hour connection in HKG. 6:15 came, I grabbed my stuff (most of it actually) and left. I was taken off the flight and raced to the Denver gate. I had a boarding pass waiting. I traded a flat bed for Economy Plus. It hurt.
My Seat Went Empty
I made it back home and slept well. I check the flight status the next morning and saw that I would have landed in time to see my next flight depart. I was frustrated a mechanical issue cheated me out of an upgrade lamenting that I'll never be as lucky again. I also submitted a refund request that should take a week to process.
Departed Just in Time to Misconnect

No comments:

Post a Comment