United Airlines has not had a good week by any measure. While no one dragged me off a plane and I didn’t have a scorpion encounter, I did have some
fun annoyances on my recently completed trip. With no further introduction, here’s how it went down.
I approach the United Customer Service Counter.
Me: Our first flight arrived early and I see there’s an earlier flight to our destination with available seating that we could make. Is there anyway we could switch to that flight?
Employee: Let me check into that for you. Yes, I do see plenty of empty seats on that flight, but it’s in less than an hour. I don’t think we would be able to get your checked luggage onto that flight in time, unfortunately.
Me: That’s completely fine. We’re headed home, so it’s not vital that we have our luggage immediately. It can come on the follow flight as scheduled.
Employee: Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to fly checked luggage separately. I’m not going to be able to put you on that flight.
Me: Thanks for checking, just wanted to see if it was possible.
Everything was perfectly pleasant. We were fortunate to have Club Passes, so we spent the next 3 hours relaxed in the club as we awaited our regularly scheduled flight. We boarded and flew home.
As soon as we landed, I get a text message from United: Welcome to Lafayette! Your 3 bags arrived on an earlier flight. Please see a United Baggage Service representative.
BUT! I thought it was impossible for those bags to make that flight. And I thought we couldn’t fly separately. WHAT!?
Because our baggage came in on an earlier flight (and due to horrible staffing by United), we then had to wait for our current flight’s luggage to be completely unloaded, transferred to baggage claim, loaded on the belt, and picked up by all customers before I was able to talk to a single representative to ask them to retrieve our luggage from a locked room.
In summary, we weren’t able to fly home early because it was impossible for our luggage to be transferred quickly (even though it was) and we were not allowed to fly on a different flight than our luggage (even though we did). We used one-time Club Passes because of a long layover that we had to take (even though we didn’t have to) and we waited an obscene amount of time to retrieve our luggage (even though it arrived through an impossible means).