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United Unable to Get Us Home

Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard
posts: 5,230
reviews: 113
United Unable to Get Us Home

We bought rt tickets on United for a Christmas week trip. They have changed the return flight twice, with the most recent change including a connection that departs 9 minutes before we are scheduled to land from our first leg. Here are the 2 options we were given: stay on that flight & when we miss the connection, the gate agent will "probably" give us a hotel voucher as it is the last flight out that night. (Did I mention this is New Year's eve?) or take a different flight home the day before.Our lodging is paid for the week, we won't get a refund if we leave early. Anyone got any suggestions as to how to handle this?

australia
posts: 2,551
reviews: 17
1. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

the gate agent will "probably" give us a hotel voucher as it is the last flight out that night. (Did I mention this is New Year's eve?)

which agent? The one at the arriving gate or the one at the departing gate. Being NYE I guarantee the departing gate agent would have already legged it to party.

You have to ask yourself how desperate are you to get home, are you willing to pay up more money if United don't come to the party, where do you want to spend NYE?

New Delhi, India
posts: 938
reviews: 23
2. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

Apart from the two choices mentioned by you, you may be able to, depending on availability, get UA to schedule you on an earlier flight to the transit destination so that you are able to make the connection. Also, look at flights between your departure and destination points transiting via a different city.

In my experience, lately UA shuffle around with flight times more than others, but they're good at making adjustments.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 49,241
reviews: 15
3. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

'... as it is the last flight out of the night.' From what city to what other city? If you are flying from a city with a number of airlines operating to your destination - presumably BOS - then there may be another StarAlliance carrier with whom you can book.

How many are in the party travelling? UA may be able to rebook two pax, but if you're travelling with four others then finding availability for five may be a bit tricky.

Without knowing more about the origin, destination, number of pax and whether flights are booked on UA or codeshares it's difficult to suggest what may be the best options.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
posts: 12,255
reviews: 241
4. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

As noted, pretty important to know the routing on this to provide good counsel. UA cannot book you on an illegal connection. Post up your routing and you'll get better responses.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
posts: 6,577
reviews: 55
5. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

This happened to us on another airline and because of that we were entitled to a refund and booked elsewhere. Have you considered flying with another carrier?

Florida - Alaska...
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Outdoors / Adventure Travel
posts: 3,738
reviews: 1
6. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

My first question ... are you flying on two tickets or one ticket? It seems odd that United would schedule you on a connecting flight that doesn't connect. It sounds like you have two tickets ... in which case United is not really responsible for any mis-connection.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 19,886
reviews: 5
7. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

Where are you returning from, and on which route and airline(s) (yes I know UA for at least the final leg)? And, as per MrCycling's question, did you purchase all the flights on one ticket, or are some of the flights on separate tickets?

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 5,393
8. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

Sound like you got bad advice from a customer service rep on option #1. Never start the trip with an illegal connection.

You need to do your own research and find flights that work for you. Include other alliance carriers (US Air domestically) if it suits your needs. Change the connection city if you need to. Find a couple options and write them down. Call United back and ask to be put on those specific flights. As long as there is space, they should do it.

Also look at current pricing. You may be entitled to a refund and could rebook elsewhere if there is availability.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
posts: 7,189
reviews: 80
9. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

"the gate agent will "probably" give us a hotel voucher " - --

"Probably" being the operating word. Alas the probability is about the same as getting struck by lighting while eating watermelon in a blimp with Elivs and Ghandi. It absolutely is not going to happen.

If you had mentioned the cities you are flying from and to, we may have been able to suggest other paths.

Your only options are to reschedule to different flights or to get a refund. Sitting pat with an illegal connection is not wise and can land you at home days after you were supposed to arrive.

Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard
posts: 5,230
reviews: 113
10. Re: United Unable to Get Us Home

Thanks for your responses. Before I posted, I had done the research some of you suggested & will try again with customer service

Here are the specifics

We bought 3 rt tix from Boston to St. Thomas USVI on United. Original return had us connecting in Washington, DC and on to Boston. Then the connecting city was changed to EWR with plenty of time to connect. Now it has been changed again & has us landing in EWR at 6:30 with the "connection" leaving at 6:39 - and it is the absolute last flight out of EWR to Boston that evening - Dec. 31. When I mentioned that this was not a legitimate connection, I was told it "wasn't a connecting flight - it was 2 separate flights"

There are seats available on an earlier UA flight that day - 1 in Coach & 2 in Business - UA said we could not have those unless we wanted to pay. Their other offer was to leave on Dec. 30 - and return to Boston via Chicago - as frequent travelers over the Christmas holiday we are not too keen on this option because of the likelihood of a weather delay (not to mention the fact we lose a day of our vacation & 1 night's pre-paid lodging).

There is a US Air flight out of STT on Dec. 31 & it shows enough available seats in Coach for us. I will try to see if UA will switch us over.

Edited: 10:43 am, November 25, 2012