Monday, March 28, 2011

United Airlines, My New BFF

It was the busiest flying day of the year, the Saturday before Christmas. Danny and I had planned our trip to Hawaii for over a year.  We arrived at the airport early.  On this travel day even arriving on time would not guarantee you a seat what with the lines and security.  We only had two small carry ons.Everything else was checked.  We had confirmation numbers for our flights, rental cars, hotels.

What could go wrong?

Danny approached the ticket agent (we were second in a very long line) and gave him the confirmation numbers for the tickets we had bought using an on-line service which shall remain nameless.  The United Airlines ticket agent asked us where our paper tickets were.  We never received paper tickets.  The ticket agent (from now on, he will be referred to as TA) suggested we call our Nameless On-line Service and if they would go into their computer and just change out tickets to e-tickets he could give us our boarding passes and all would be good.  Danny called.   He talked.  And talked.  And talked.  He could get nowhere with the person on the other line.  TA got on the phone and talked.  And talked.  And talked. Nameless On-Line Service kept saying that we had the tickets.  Danny and TA kept saying we did not have tickets.

In the meantime our plane left...without us on board.

Danny slumped down in a seat in the airport and I called Nameless On-Line Service.  The manager of Nameless On-Line Service told me he had the routing number where the tickets were delivered and that I had signed for them.

I have no memory of signing for the tickets.

I looked at my husband and walked up to the very helpful TA and told him that I had to get my husband to Hawaii and soon. He clicked and clicked on the computer.  He could not get us out that day.  Everything was booked (remember, Saturday before Christmas).  He clicked and clicked some more.  He could get us out on Sunday on some cobbled together flights. We would change airlines and have layovers but we would get there and, oh, it would cost $5,400  on top of the $1,900 we had already given Nameless On-Line Service. But at this point, I just pulled out the credit card and said ok.

Just as we were leaving, helpful United Airlines TA gave me some forms for lost or stolen tickets.  He said we might get some of our money back. And, he also coupons for $150 each for two future tickets on United.

We went to Hawaii.  Had a lovely trip.

And, on Wednesday, March 4 we received a letter from United Airlines saying that  $5,400 was credited to our charge card.  We are still out the $1,900 we payed Nameless On-Line Service but we would have paid that anyway.  So, essentially, United Airlines flew us for free after Nameless On-Line Service messed up.

How do I know Nameless On-Line Service messed up?  I checked the routing number with Fed Ex.  Those tickets were never delivered.

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