The joys of United flight 242

Waldemar Horwat waldemar at
Mon Sep 17 19:36:38 PDT 2012

I went to SFO today to fly to Boston for tomorrow's ECMA TC39 meeting. The
flight was listed as about a half hour late — no big deal. Got on the plane
uneventfully. Noticed that one of the passengers had a service dog.

Crew goes on the intercom and states that the flight will be delayed
because the plane has the wrong kind of safety instruction cards in the
seat back. Crew collects all pink safety cards and exits with them. After a
long time they come back with grey ones and hand them out to everyone.

We taxi out.

Crew reports that we must taxi back to the gate because of a minor
mechanical problem in the cockpit. We do and they begin to work on it.

Crew reports that we're ready to go but we must wait while they find a
passenger who went back to the gate to walk her service dog.

Nothing much happens for the next hour.

Crew turns off the seat belt sign and several of them leave the plane in a
huff. Not a word is said.

Nothing much happens for the next half our or so, except that the elite
passengers one by one get up, take their bags, and leave the plane. Not a
word is said.

Someone goes on the intercom and tells everyone to grab their bags and exit
the plane. No comment on the status of the flight (although it was obvious
what was happening when the elite passengers started leaving). What's left
of the crew is not interested in talking to the passengers.

Huge line appears in the rebooking center. Spend another couple hours in
that line and later retrieving my checked bag.

When I speak with the United representative over the phone, I get very long
periods of hold. They're asking me to go (drive?) to LA for a flight that
leaves LAX at midnight and arrives in Boston at about 5pm (yes, pm, not am)
on Tuesday. What?

Current status is that I'm rebooked on another SFO-BOS flight that arrives
Tuesday evening.

Wonder if I'll get my baggage fee back, since my bag never left SFO.

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