January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flying the "Friendly" skies of United - NO!

Hermosa,   SD

Here we are back at Heartland RV in Hermosa, SD after two very trying days.

We left Philadelphia (almost) on schedule Tuesday afternoon.  We were expecting a 4 hour lay-over in Chicago O'Hare and then a flight to Rapid City.

As we were boarding the plane in Philadelphia we were asked if we would check our luggage without cost because they expected the flight to be full and not enough overhead storage.  We gave them our two small bags, keeping only my computer.

We arrived at O'Hare on Concourse B.  Our remaining flight was leaving from Concourse C, quite a walk through a tunnel and through the airport.  Of course both our incoming flight and outgoing were both at gates on the far ends of the concourses.  I would judge the distance between them to be a mile.

We were about an hour into our wait at O'Hare when I pulled up the Internet to find an email from United informing us our gate was changed.   No problem, the other gate was nearby in section F.  About a half hour later we were told to move to another gate in F.  This time down a flight of steps.  No sooner got there and told to move again, back up the steps  and over to section E.  

About 10 pm we heard the announcement the flight was cancelled and to come back to section F.  They were handing out phone numbers to call.  I called the number and found that office was closed, as did others.  A lady came around with another number.   I called and was told the next available flight would be 6:30 pm the next afternoon.  

We then waited in line to talk to an agent who confirmed what I was told on the phone.   The next flight they could get us on would be 20 hours later.   She gave us a discount coupon for a hotel and four $10. food vouchers.       We asked about our bags because of our medication.   We were told to go downstairs (a loooonnnngggggg way away) and see if we could retrieve them.   By this time Len could  barely walk with a sore foot.

We went to baggage claim area but were told no one was working back there and we could not get our luggage.  They gave us a number to Walgreens  and told us to call them.   WHAT?   We don't use Walgreen for our meds, just how were they supposed to help us at 11 at night.

I attempted to call the hotel and got no answer.  We could not find the free shuttle they said would be outside.  So, - spend the night in the airport.  With no luggage.   The baggage claim people gave us each a small bag with toiletries.

We found some bench seats and tried to get some sleep.  By this time it was midnight.  By one I knew I would get no sleep as the A/C was on full blast and I was freezing.  We walked around to try to find someone who could find me a blanket.  We saw three agents having their break.  These were REALLY sweet people.  The lady got me two of those skimpy blankets airlines USED to provide.

Then when they heard we were not scheduled to leave until 6 pm, they looked further on the computer.  They found a flight that was leaving Chicago at 8 am with a four hour layover in Denver before another flight into Rapid City.  We'll take it!  Our original flights were Phila to Chicago to Rapid City.   But to get out earlier from Chicago we would do another layover.

We went back to the benches and snoozed for a while until around 5.   I should say Len snoozed, I slept twice for about 30 minutes each time.  

After using the vouchers for breakfast and sandwiches we go, we were all set to leave at 8 am.   They boarded us around 9  and 1/2 hour later told us to get our bags and deplane.    The plane was having mechanical problems as were 2 others in the immediate area.   They talked about cancelling the flight but around 2 pm found another plane.   In the meantime, our gate was changed three more times.  We missed our connecting flight in Denver but when we got there they had us booked on another flight just 45 minutes later.

We really did not expect to find our luggage when we landed, but somehow there it was.  When I opened my email this morning, there were 14 messages from United.   I did not read them!  

Len's foot has been bothering him with occasional swelling.   After all this walking his big toe is so big and side of foot so swolen he can not get his boots on.  This morning we found an urgent care center.   As we thought it might be - gout.  

Yea, United, some friendly skies you fly there!


Carol and Kevin said...

What an awful return trip! Hope Len's foot is feeling better soon. Your description confirms why I would much rather travel by RV!

Judy and Emma said...

What a nightmare! Sure hope you can take some time to recuperate from that experience. :(

Laurie and George said...

I fully empathize with how your trip went. Same experience almost exactly two years ago. Sorry to hear about Len and gout. No fun!

Texas Yellow Rose said...

We flew United on a trip to Scotland and I vowed never again. American it is for me. So sorry you had such a horrific ordeal but very grateful you are home safe and sound. Take a couple of days to recharge, okay, dear friend?

Rick Doyle said...

What a nightmare is right. Sure glad I don't have to fly much.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the flight from Hell. What a mess. So sorry to hear about this.

JOJO said...

I gave up flying 25 yrs ago and vow to never do it again. So sorry for your trouble.
Hope Len's foot get's well soon.

MargieAnne said...

I've heard about nightmare flights but this is terrible. You must be so exhausted. It would take me a week to recover.

Hope Len's foot is better ASAP. Not much fun when you can't wear your normal footwear.

We always carry our medication in our cabin bags. One thing I know would stress me to the max is having to get them replaced when away from home. I hate taking them but I'm scared to not have them.

Does this chaotic trip mean we should avoid United when we are in the States?

Thank goodness your luggage was arrived with you.

Hope you have plenty of time to recover.


George said...

I would rather take a Greyhound bus than fly with United Airlines.I once put my Wife on a 3 hour flight to Seattle and 8 hours later they couldn't tell me where she was.Long story but there wasn't even access to cell phone for her to call me.Sorry you had to go through that hassle.

MargieAnne said...

Just to let you know.

There has been so much going on is our lives this year I could not do justice to my primary Blogs Growing Older Gracefully at http://withgodnothingistoohard.blogspot.co.nz/ and New Zealand Diary at http://newzealandmyhome.blogspot.co.nz/

I wanted to continue with my weight loss tracker so I keep a diary and journal there as time and mood allows. So these days I only write at Improving My Health tThrough Weight Loss and Exercise.

I hope to pick up the other Blogs again next year.

Life seems to be normalising again ... whatever that means. We still dream about another trip in the States but it all takes time and who knows what will happen.

Meantime we continue to read RV Blogs and our list of places to visit and things to do grows longer.


Donna K said...

What a terrible nightmare. I hope never to fly again. Glad you made it okay finally. Hope Len got some meds for his gout.

Donna said...

That's just awful! I don't fly very often, and your experience makes me never want to fly again. I hope you both recover quickly!

Elaine said...

I held off reading your post because it pertained to 'flying'...and we have to fly from the east coast to the west coast this Friday and I'm freaked over the flight..I'm a petrified flier...but this morning my curiosity got the best of me..so here I am...I hope they fully reimbursed you for all this trouble they put you thru....glad you arrived safe and sound....what terrible service...