How much worse can United delays get?

Hot on the heels of the problems United had last weekend with their computers, I wanted to let readers know about my experiences the weekend before.

a large white airplane at an airport

757 to Honolulu @ LAX

After leaving the Radisson LAX I headed to the airport and Terminal 6 where United send their Hawaii flights, amongst others. The old Continental Club is re-branded as United Club but was packed. Two cancelled flights to Chicago had caused a long queue at the desk whilst they tried to rebook people on a Friday.

Boarding my flight was uneventful but that was where the fun started.

Twenty minutes after we should have left, the pilot told us that he had only just received the weight and balance numbers and we would leave the gate soon. We did, and then had to wait for the tug to arrive – it was busy pushing back other planed, and then we sat in the alley way between terminal 6 and 7 for a further 40 minutes as they could back us out on to the taxiway. So an hour late before we even take off.

On the return – HNL to Houston we boarded on time, only to be hold we were being held to accommodate transferring passengers from Guam. Ironic when United failed to keep my Dublin flight a couple of weeks before. So, we left late again!

a seat with pillows on it

767-400 BusinessFirst seating

We picked up time and landed about on time at Houston.

What, might we ask, is up with United. These are not IT issues, but simple Customer Service issues.


  1. I had a CS problem on a recent United flight too. We were told we had to wait so they could get catering on board. It was a 9pm flight from JFK to LAX and didn’t take off until after 10pm. I mean – who wants to eat at this time… let’s leave without the food and make an on-time arrival. I didn’t end up getting home til 2am. That’s no fun.

  2. It’s very simple. It depends who were the passengers connecting.

    Several years ago I and several other passengers were flying from DEN to LAX and onto SYD in first class. The flight was delayed from DEN for about 2 hours. After speaking to the flight attendants who contacted LAX? (or whoever) we were told that they would hold the plane for us. The flight from LAX ended up being delayed over an hour for us. Checking on for the status of the flight from LAX to SYD, it showed as being delayed due to “customer service”!

  3. Wait, if your problem happened before UA’s computer issue, it wasn’t “hot on the heels.” It would be preceding, no? Hot on the heels means after.

  4. What do you mean: “The old Continental Club is re-branded as United Club but was packed.” You think people would have avoided it because it used to be the old Continental Club? That doesn’t make any sense at all.

    Instead of “but” I think you meant “and”.

  5. I think you also have a typo. “it was busy pushing back other planed”. I think you mean “planes.”

    And, you are complaining about a flight that took off late but landed on time? Really?

    This post is a bit of a train wreck.

  6. I’m not really sure of your complaint. Do you want United to wait for connecting passengers or not? It sounds like you want them to wait when it is you but not when it is someone else.

    I’ve had to wait for weight and balance calculations on multiple airlines, including United and Alaska. It seems to me that perhaps the old United system was more automatic and the new system is perhaps more manual.

    The alleyway between T6 and T7 at LAX is always congested. Maybe UA would have done better to keep the gates at the end (67-69) but that’s further from the club and then people would complain about the walk. I expect they didn’t have a choice because those are the gates that connect to the FIS.

  7. As far as mainline flights go, I’ve had a pretty good record this summer, I can’t think of a single delay longer than a few minutes, the regionals have been a different story.
    Depending on the length of the wait for the GUM flight, I’d argue that is good customer service. I watched a short on determining when to hold flights for connecting pax and when not to, and the number of misconnects it will comes in to play, so I’m guessing they did their due diligence and the people who misconnected at IAH was below the number that would’ve from GUM at HNL.

  8. @Mark – you are correct this happened before, but was written up afterwards, hence the confusion.
    @Mark – that was the way I wrote it I am afraid.
    @Carl – well I’d like them to wait when it’s me for sure.

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