When it goes wrong, who steps up to help?

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I suspect the picture above says more than a thousand words to the experienced traveller.

Landing at LAX this morning, after sitting on the taxiway for 20 minutes, I noted that my international configured 757 to Newark was cancelled. Checking my reservation on the mobile app (as every flight attendant on United appears to be telling me to do these days), I found an all to familiar problem – United had nothing about its cancellation.

With less than an hour to the next departure the only seat left on the next flight was in middle, at the back of Economy Minus. I had about 18 hours booked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and there was no way to get there today with United, or American. The agents in the United Club were as helpful as they could be, and put up with some really angry passengers.

So, I had to abandon the trip – 8,500 status miles – along with it.

In comparison to United, Hyatt could not have been more helpful.

I called their number, and explained the problem. The agent waived the cancellation charge on the Hyatt Place in San Juan and found me a room at the Hyatt Place at LAX. Increased room rate of course, but My Elite Rate, saved me 20% off my new bed.

So, here with have the contrast – United who cancelled the flight for mechanical problems did not nothing – except of course to charge me for a new ticket to SFO tomorrow – ($400) – thank goodness for travel insurance – and Hyatt who had nothing to do with the problem, sorted me out.

Now to find a way to get those status miles back as well as press United for a refund of the original ticket and re-credit of the upgrade certs. I suspect this saga is going to run and run.

(BTW, when I called the Hyatt Place at LAX for a pickup by their shuttle, they explained that it was out for maintenance and that I should hop a cab and they would pay. Now that is service!)

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  1. It looks like DL could have gotten you there via JFK, albeit landing around 3am. Also, since it’s a cancelled flight, you could ask for original routing credit on UA.

  2. Open jaw with this being the last segment? Or did you just reroute with the trip-in-vain, skipping San Juan?

  3. Go Hyatt!

    I was never a fan of Hyatt, but never a critic either — but this story impressed me. Thanks for sharing the good along with the bad.

  4. Welcome to United’s awesome customer service. Everything is a customer’s fault and nothing is United’s responsibility. They only do one thing well – take customers’ money.

    But yes this is pretty much my experience with United as well. Reps have no power to help as management is all about cutting cost. They are losing their best customers month after month by focusing all on cost savings and maximizing extra $$$.

  5. With your years of experience, I have to wonder why yo were flying United in the first place. You, of all people, really should know better!

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