Taking the Scenic Route Home

Monday, November 27th, 2006

I’m back.

Before I get into the results from Worlds, let me just tell you of my ride home from Oz and why I’ll probably never fly United again. The only reason I would is b/c they are the cheapest around and cheap flights are good, for short distances, not for going halfway around the world.

So I arrived at the Sydney Airport for my Friday 4:15pm flight home in good time, even got a lift from on of my Auzzie friends. So when I’m wating at the gate to board the plane they make an announcemt around boarding time that there will be a slight delay in boarding the plane (which has yet to show up at the gate) because it needs a couple quick fixes. No biggy, I’ve had this happen before. Then again… “sorry for the delay ladies and gentleman but the plane is still unavailable right right now but it should be ready soon.” This went on for 2.5-3 hours! By this time people are getting seriously agrovated! Not to mention no one knew what was going on, just that whatever the problem, it would be repaired soon. Well at the 3 hour mark they finally cancelled the flight. I don’t know if anyone has ever had a lfight cancelled but usually this throws the passengers into a state of confusion to what’s going on and telling us what we need to do to get our free hotel room is usually a good idea. Just telling us to go back trough customs is not what I call good communication.

So like a massive herd of buffalo we blindy followed whoever was in front. We had to re-clear customs (even though we never left the country) and picked up our checked-in luggage (heard that one lady managed to gt her’s lost even though it never made it onto any plane). Then the line-up fun began. Line up to get your hotel info, line up to get you taxi-credit, line up to get the cab, line-up to check-in to the hotel. By the time we got to the hotel (and ripped off by Roger the Cabbie, which I guess isn’t too important because we weren’t paying) it was 8:30ish and we were starving. At least it was a nice hotel ($250-280 / night). There was even a window between the room and the bathroom so you could watch TV while in the bath or on the can.

We were told to call a number in the morning to find out our details on how to get home. To give them tiemt o fix the plane or find alternative routes to get us where we had to go. I called and was told that I’d be flying Air New Zealand at noon and going via Auckland and would be arriving in TO 24 hours after I should have. Which I guess it was ok, I didn’t want to arrive late but Air New Zealand has nicer planes than United (e.g. new and all the seats have personal TVs). When I got to the airport I lined up for Air New Zealnd and they told me to line up with United, ok… lining up for United I was told I had to line up for the United ticketing line b/c I wasn’t actually booked on the Air NZ flgiht yet and needed to get my ticket… wait a sec, I was told on the phone I was… while in the ticketing line I was told that that plane was fixed and that anyone who wasn’t on any morning flights would go on the plane at 2pm. Ok I guess. I was starting to get bent out of shape at this point b/c the only way I found ou thtis information was to keep pestering United staff, which I’m sure they loved.

When at the gate we were all waiting for the flight… waiting… by 1:45pm we still hadn’t boarded for our 2pm flight… oh no!

The gate-keepers told us that they didn’t know anything and would tell us soon… riiiiight, again with the great communication. By 2:20pm the told us to go to the United VIP lounge and hang out until they knew what was up. I wasn’t liking this… I should have insisted that I went on the earlier Air NZ flight they promised me. Anyways, we eventually managed to take off at 5:30pm (by this time I’d been at the airport for a good 7 hours!!). But people were in good moods once we took off because (1) we were finally on our way, (2) the flight was relatively empty because a bunch of people got booked on earlier flights (I managed to get 4 seats to crash on) and (3) they’d been giving us free booze in the VIP lounge.

We were told that while we were in the air that our connecting flights would be booked for us so that when we landed they would be ready for us… no dice. When we landed we had to line up (again!) to get tickets for connecting flights. I was about 2/3 down the line. A couple that was about 20min ahead of me managed to get a direct connecter from LA to Toronto (and they were told that there were still seats left on the plane)… but not me, aparently it was sold out… I smell bullshit… and I had the joyous time of going through Denver to get home.

So all-in-all I got home about 28 hours after I was scheduled to get home and was bagged. But this isn’t the end of my ordeal because I’m gonna call United and bitch and moan to them and see if I can get anything our of them. I could always use with some travel vouchers. But more importantly I want to get money for my hotel phone bill out of them.

It turns out that United gives you a free 3-minute phone call when you get delayed. I have a question for you, what can you say in 3 minutes? Personally I made two calls, one to tell the persion that was picking me up that I was delay and another to tell them when I was landing in TO after I was booke don Air NZ. I dind’t talk long, I think it was a total of about 15 minutes for the two calls. Which I don’t think is long. Seriously. But the hotel guy was only gonna give my 3-minutes credit and I had to pay the rest… which I thought was ok, I mean how expensive can 12-minutes be? $1 maybe $3 a minute? WRONG!!! Try $10 freakin’ a minute!!! HOLY FUCK!!! So I had to shell out just over $120 Australian… not cool… I will get my money back!!

So anyone got any tips on how to get the money out of United? Anyone? I need techniques on how to bitch and moan effectively.

Anyways, I’ll stop now b/c this it WAY TOO LONG as is and if you’ve made it this far… I tip my hat to you!