Tuesday, April 22, 2008

United Airlines Suck!

We're back from Kauai, Hawaii. It was a terrific trip. Seb enjoyed the sights and experienced many new things like riding an airplane, playing in a lagoon, viewing a canyon, and eating Dole Whip.

The only bad thing about our trip was the return travel with United. We were scheduled to return on Wednesday, April 16th with a 1:30PM flight from Lihue, Kauai back to SFO. Our flight was delayed until 5:30PM due to a mechanical problem which needed a special qualified techncian to be flown out from Honolulu to work on the aircraft. Once the aircraft was cleared for take-off and we were finally airborne, the captain announced that there was a fuel-related problem and he felt it was unsafe to travel over water so we turned back and landed in Honolulu. Once the plane stopped, we waited for at least 30 minutes on the plane with no word from control as to when we can deplane. The captain got fed up and overrode the control tower's decision and let us off the plane. Once in the terminal we waited for some time before United representatives announced that we would be shuttled to the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the night with $15.00 dinner voucher per person. BUT, we still had to wait an additional 45 minutes before our baggage would be off-loaded from the aircraft because there were no available rampers to spare. By the time we got to baggage claim to get our luggage, it was already 9:30PM. The shuttle was supposed to arrive by 9:45PM and the hotel restaurant closes at 11:00PM. We decided to not wait for the shuttle since so many people were on the fight so we took a taxi instead. We got to the hotel, ordered our food to go so we could get to the hotel room. Seb didn't sleep until 12:00AM.

The next morning, our flight was scheduled to leave Honolulu at 9:00AM. We were all supposedly getting a wake up call at 6:00AM so we can pack and arrive the bus depot at 6:30AM in time for the 6:45AM departure to the airport. Our wake up call didn't ring until 6:15AM. Thankfully we had our own alarm clock and were up by 5:40AM (fyi, I didn't sleep until 1:30AM). We proceeded to the bus depot and stopped a bell hop to ask where it was. He asked us if we were on that United flight and we said yes. He said that the fight was canceled and that we need to check in with the front desk to see what is being done about it, but he heard that the flight wasn't going to leave until the next day. WTF?!!! Once at the front desk, the travel concierge told all of us that they did not have any new info as to when we would be leaving. I called United reservations on my own to find available flights leaving from HON to SFO. They said they were sold out but there was one flight the next day (Friday) at 9:00AM. The rep booked us on that flight. Come to find out about 40 minutes later, I booked us on the flight that was newly created for us stranded passengers. My selected seat assignments were overided once everyone was moved onto this new flight reservation. There goes 15 minutes of wasted conversation with United reservations.

We decided since we weren't going anywhere and that United was paying for another night, we would try to enjoy our detour in Honolulu. We spent the day walking up and down Waikiki. Much to our dismay, we found the shopping was all high-end, catered to Japanese tourists and there were always more than one store for each brand. 3 Coach stores within a 5 block stretch. Why do you need 3 coach stores? All the stores on Waikiki can also be found at our Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel too. We were probably better off wasting our day at the Ala Moana mall. Waikiki has changed since our last visit three years ago. It was disappointing but we did get Seb some Dole Whip at the International Market versus doing to the Dole Plantation.

The next morning, we almost missed our bus because we did not receive a wake-up call like the previous morning. We got dressed, packed and rushed to the bus depot in 20 minutes (that must be a new world record), just in time for boarding. Our scheduled flight took off on time and we arrived back in SFO slightly delayed due to high winds.

Now that we are finally back home and back to our day-to-day routines, I have been on the phone with United for the last two days trying to resolve our ticket price issue. They are as I keep saying, over capacity. They issued a $200 travel certificate per person so far (whether it arrives in the mail is another story) but still have not found resolution to my refund. I will be calling them again later today. I don't think we'll be flying anywhere for sometime. Especially not on United!

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