- We sat on the tarmack for over 2 hrs due to a lack of 'float time'. Are flight plans not confirmed prior to departure? "
==> What was said was a "FLOW time" or Flow program, It's formally called an AFP, or Airspace Flow Program, which is administered by and soley at the discretion of the local FAA or foreign Air Traffic Control Center that overseas operations from YEG & YYC.
When weather turns bad-- be that at the origin, at the destination or anywhere en-route, the local ATC centers will, at their discretion, institute a AFP to insure that the aircraft have increased operational space which is needed during periods of inclement weather.
Airlines don't control it, can't control it, and are solely at the mercy of the ATC center and what they deem to be to the appropriate flying conditions.
- Being told we were taking off in 10 min when we had not even been de-iced. I have never seen that happen in under 10 min.
==> I suspect take-off was meant to confer that the aircraft would start to move or the overall departure process would commence..
Once you apply deicing spray-- and there are several types-- is a VERY time sensitive and VERY regulated process.. Once you de-ice, that is to apply a heated spray that removes any ice, snow or other surface mater that will negatively impact lift at take-off, a 'clock' starts, whereby, unless you're airborne within X minutes, you'll need to reapply the de-icing spray again to insure you're free of surface particles.
Again, another HUGE safety issue and I suspect this comment of "take off" was meant to imply that the process would start soon.
- After being grounded on the airplane for over 3 hours (float time problem & medical issue), we were greeted with a snotty customer service person who said we were delayed due to 'weather and stuff' and reluctantly allowed us to deplane while the plane needed another 1-1.5 hr delay to refuel
==> Weather is what it is, you can't control it, the airline can't control it.. So everyone needs to deal with it as it develops..
I understand the issue of not deplaning.. IF the weather does improve and the AFP is reduced or eliminated, there will be a backlog of departures and arrivals that need to be cleared.. so, once ATC gets the chance, they'll start assigning take-off positions ASAP.. and if they radio you with your time/slot, and you're not ready- you get passed by.. So there's some reluctance to deplane because IF it does improve, and the AFP is reduced, you want to be ready to go.
However, you do need to balance that with passenger comfort.. So, it can be a delicate balance.. de-plane too soon and if you then get a slot, you'll miss it, but you don't want to keep people on-board too long either...
- Once this flight was cancelled, snotty CS agent made a snide comment about people leaving their bags on the plane (after we were told to do so when we deplaned).
==> I don't condone "snotty" or "rude" or other types of behaviors by staff.. But.. I also recognize that in this case, I suspect "attitudes" and 'patience' was probably already stretched thin.. but that does not mean it's ok.. it's not.. but I'd want to see the whole series of interactions-- both the CS agent and you/the other passengers as these cases really do involve two or more parties, not one.
- The same snotty CS agent announced to everyone waiting for their bags for over 40 min that she was also having a bad day and not to bother her with complaining anymore. This is how you train your staff?
==> If it was said like that, this is not OK.. but like the previous, I'd need to see the whole series of interactions to know what was what.
- Another 1.5 hours was spent in line re-booking our flight for trip, only to find out later that night when we went to check in online that the person who rebooked us did not do it properly and we were on the phone with a united agent for another hour.
==> If the agent erred, then UA needs to speak to that.. While errors to happen, and no one is perfect, this does not mean you get an accountability pass on the results.. If the first agent didn't do it right, then UA should speak to that.
- When we went to check in the next morning on our US airways flight, we were told that United oversold their flight and we nearly got bumped.
==> Probably meant that UA booked it upto the maximum level US allowed.. Remember that UA can't "force" book these passengers onto the US flight... US would have needed to authorize that booking to begin with.. So, while I am sure UA took every seat US had or would give, that number of seats wasn't UA's controllable, that's US's call.. US could have set it lower or higher as they saw fit.. and UA would have had to deal with whatever US allowed them to book.
- At no point, ever, were we provided with an apology, and explanation as to why the flight was cancelled (all other flights from edmonton and calgary made it to SFO that day), or an ounce of empathy for the fact that due to the lack of processes/procedures we lost a full day of our 3 day trip (for our first wedding anniversary).
==> Here I think there's a failure.. While I think the genesis to the issue wasn't UA issue, I don't see any reason why an apology wouldn't be given or appropriate.. I recognize that in today's universe, sometimes an apology is seen or construed as a de-facto admission of fault or liability-- so to a degree, I recognize why it's not done as often as one might expect.. but... I think you can make a form of an apology, but do so without imply fault or the like..
I will pay more if necessary, but I will not fly with United again. You should have Westjet come retrain your staff, their customer service provides a travel experience that puts United to shame.
==> In the end, I see some areas where perhaps it could have been better managed, but I also temper that with the realization that weather events can be fast moving situations where information isn't always know in advance and not every case is the same.. but I do think that despite this, there's an expectation out there for proper decorum-- that's staff behavior AND passenger behavior.. and I think that you can; and should; apologize when appropriate, but that does not have to convey or imply a measure of fault.