Indulge me a rant...
Having flow hundreds of thousands of miles on United Airlines over the years (I had 100,000 miles/year for many years, with perhaps 50+ transpacific flights in the 90s), I've always been inclined to like them, but I think those days are over.
My wife and her folks were supposed to arrive to Cleveland Airport twenty minutes ago, but the plane that is to take them there from Toronto has not yet left on its previous leg (Newark to Toronto), so the best they can do to Cleveland will be at least 3½ hours late. Yet United Airlines is currently showing their flight as arriving 45 minutes before it takes off!
United Airlines' Web Site
(note: all times are in the same timezone)
What pathetic data maintenance, inexcusable in a world where people have brains, much less in the age of computers.
The airplane used for this flight started its day in Atlanta, leaving on its first flight four hours late, so United Airlines has known since very early this morning that every flight that plane would serve would be similarly delayed, yet they didn't push a flight-status update for the Toronto-Cleveland leg until well after noon, ensuring that I couldn't call Fumie at her hotel to let her know that she had the day free. Instead, they sentenced her and her folks to a wasted day sitting around at the airport. Joy.
I understand that there are delays in air travel (weather, equipment problems, etc... ), but what really pisses me off is the stupid information. As I write this, I got a real-time push notification that the flight from Newark finally pushed off, yet on the same page they note that flight into Toronto will be three hours thirty-six minutes late, they claim that the continuation flight will be quite impossibly just an hour forty-five minutes late.
It's United Airlines pure, utter disregard for their customers.
The lesson I learned (besides that United deserves its horrid reputation) is that at least on United, when checking the flight status, to also check the status of the flights prior to the one you care about, via the “where is this aircraft coming from?” link seen at the bottom of the screenshot above. Checking the status of that flight (marked with the orange arrow above) and of the other preceding flights down the line for the aircraft in question can give you the insight United should be showing you in the first place. Had I done this when I woke up, I would have been able to save Fumie and her folks a wasted day.
In other United-Sucks news...
After my United-induced day of frantic travel the other day, my luggage finally was delivered two days later (at about 4am on Christmas Day). Ho ho ho.
And as I mentioned on that frantic-travel post, I've been mostly impressed with United Airlines' iPhone app. On the app yesterday, I noticed that info on my return-flight reservation had disappeared, so I checked the reservation on their web site only to be greeted with a “this reservation has been canceled” note. Doh!
Two hours on the phone with United last night finally got it cleared up. At first they blamed it on ANA (the Japanese airline that brings me from Tokyo to Osaka after United brings me from Ohio to Tokyo), and said that they couldn't rectify things until they talked to ANA to confirm that I still had that reservation. Unfortunately and somewhat unbelievably, United Airlines has no special way to contact their partner airline, so said they couldn't help me until ANA's USA office opened the next morning.
That's ridiculous, so at my own expense I called ANA's English-language reservations line in Tokyo and found that my reservation was fine. So I called United back and, after much delay I found out the root of the problem: on the frantic-travel inbound leg, they apparently never actually checked me in on the flight I took, so when I didn't show up for the much later flight that I had been waitlisted for, their computer assumed I had abandoned the reservation and canceled the rest of it.
PS#1: this is my rant, and so I don't want to use it to collect others' rants about United or air travel in general, so at this point I'd appreciate comments of commiseration but not of others' tales of airline woe.
PS#2: after the hour it took me to write up this rant, they've finally updated the estimated arrival time to Cleveland to actually be after the departure time.