In the wake of the United Airlines incident that saw a man be physically dragged from his seat on an overbooked flight, followed by a non-apology from the CEO, people are roasting United all over the internet. There are jokes galore on Twitter, but over on Reddit, with a little more space to work with, people are sharing their worst experiences flying with United. It turns out, lots of people have had bad experiences on the airline (although, it should be noted, none of them were quite as bloody).
Read on and hopefully it won't destroy your desire to ever travel again.
1. Thanks to United, Skinandtonic missed seeing his grandfather for the last time.
I was flying last minute from California to see my grandfather in Florida as his health was rapidly declining and my parents wanted me and my siblings to all see him one final time before he passed away. My dad and brothers flew out on United a few days before to meet other family members, but I had a test in school and had to fly out later than them as an unaccompanied minor. I was 13 at the time, and had to transfer in Chicago which is a nightmareish airport to connect at so my mom arranged for United to have a staff member take me off the first plane and to the gate to catch my connecting flight, which is a service they offer for some sort of fee.
I get to the airport and I'm checking in when they say that because my flight is the last one of the day, the connection accompaniment service isn't offered, even though we had confirmed booking it on the phone the day before. Even when we asked if I could just make the connection alone they said that not only could they not arrange an accompaniment, but because I was a minor they wouldn't let me on the flight even though my seat was already booked because they didn't think I could make the connection on my own and didn't want to have me cause trouble by getting lost in the connecting airport and potentially delaying the connecting flight.
Even worse, they wouldn't let me take a flight the next day (or the day after if I remember correctly) or move my ticket to another airline saying we'd have to buy an entirely new ticket and pursue a refund on the first ticket at a later time. We went home from the airport after several hours of trying to get me on any flight going to Florida at all but couldn't find a single ticket because it was so last minute. I never got to see my grandfather.
We did finally get a refund, just in time to spend that money on my ticket out for his funeral. Never flying United again and I encourage everyone I know not to fly with them either.
2. Sweetrhymepurereason had a rough experience traveling with United as a kid.
Once when I was 7 years old, I flew United as an unaccompanied minor. They bumped me off the flight without calling my family members and I was just sitting terrified at the gate for five hours with nobody talking to me or telling me what was going on. This was before cell phones were a real thing. My mom got to the airport at my destination and panicked when I didn't get off the plane. They tried to say I never even had a ticket. It took them a few more hours to actually call United at my departure airport, and that was with my mom escalating everything, sobbing, generally freaking out. They put me on the next plane which was another few hours. My parents got free domestic flights for a year but United never once apologized. Not once.
3. And so did Prailock.
I had this happen to me when I was a kid too! My brother and I got grounded early because of some issue with the landing gear when we were flying unattended minor to visit our grandparents. They didn't tell my parents if we were ok for hours after our plane had had an emergency landing that required them to foam the runway. We couldn't get into contact with anyone until we showed up in South Carolina and our grandparents were in tears not knowing if we were going to show up at all that night.
4. Katasian spent 26 hours trying to get from Kentucky to California.
After many delays for the most random things, "we didn't put enough gas in the plane", "we accidentally powered the plane on wrong", "we sat on the runway too long and missed our appointment for take off", etc. it took 26 HOURS for me and my SO to fly from Kentucky to California. By contrast, a direct flight should have been 4-5 hours.
We had 3 layovers (4 planes) and every delay in the book, which caused us to miss subsequent connections and have to be rescheduled, plus babies screaming on the overnight flights. United did not even so much as give us a meal ticket to compensate. I have literally flown to the Philippines faster, including layovers.
5. SoundBearier's suitcase was also a victim of United's abuse.
They ran the luggage truck over my suitcase. No reimbursement. There were actual fucking tire tracks on it.
6. Eggplanton's seat might as well have been on the tail.
My seat was in row 42 when there were only 36 rows on the plane.
7. Silverskeejee arrived in Ireland a day and a half later than expected.
4 days. 4 days to get home from Texas to Ireland.
First thunderstorms flooded the airport, not their fault.
On the second day I went in 5 hours early, figuring if anything happened I was at least there early to catch it. Nope. Flight crew didn't show, so that flight got bumped 3 hours after it was supposed to take off. Queue jumpers just got dealt with, so by the time I got to the front of the queue an hour later all the Dublin flights were gone so I asked tearfully for Shannon. No sympathy, no care, just 'here's your route you go to Dullas now'.
Spent overnight in Dullas utterly terrified out my wits (I don't travel solo well), so bad that by the time I got my flight to Newark I had a lady come ask me if she wanted to pray for me.
12 hour layover in Newark.
Finally got home Monday lunchtime. I was supposed to arrive Saturday morning.
Sod that airline. I swore I'd never fly with them again.
8. Slopduck made it halfway to the correct destination. Better than nothing, right? Maybe not.
A few years ago I was flying to Denver (probably from Newark) for Christmas. There was an impending storm in Denver so no one was sure if the flight was going to happen or not, all the flights after ours had already been cancelled, but they decided ours would beat the storm so they let us take off. We got to about an hour in and they closed the Denver airport, so they landed the plane in Chicago and basically just let everyone fend for themselves. Whatever, I just skipped the gigantic line at customer service and went to the counter for the next flight back to New York. That was fine, they got me on and I went home. The issue came when I wanted a refund. Here was their line:
We'll give you back 50% of the ticket price, because we got you halfway there.
I'm not kidding. It took weeks of fighting for them to finally issue a refund.
Not me, but my boss. They delayed his flight for hours before finally cancelling it. He didn't make it to Guatemala, but his luggage somehow did. Took him weeks to get it back.
10. Sydthebarrett finally managed to get checked in for a flight that had already left.
It was my last flight of a 3 flight trip home. My seat number said "NO" on it for my final flight from Philly to RI....should have been my indicator. Get to the gate early "You cannot board this flight you are not checked in" "Maam, I checked into this flight in Oklahoma yesterday, and printed all of my boarding passes at 5 am this morning. This is not possible. How am I not checked in?" Literally couldn't say anything other than you're not checked in I cannot find your reservation over and over. Ask for a manager. No manager. Tells us to go to customer service. Go to customer service. See the 3 most useless slugs of babbling humans there. When we explain what happen they just tell us we need to resolve it at the gate, they cant do anything. I could be a lot more rude and upset about this situation but I try to hold back. They get off at angry people in the airport. I get back to gate. They've now given mine and my work partners seats to someone on standby. WHY? I have my stuff right here....these work tickets were booked months out, this wasn't a last minute thing. Plane starts backing away from terminal. Manager finally arrives. Hits all of 4 buttons. "Here, they are right here" Thats all it took. Plane already left. Offered me a 200 flight voucher good for one year. At that point it took everything for me to not punch someone. Rented a car and angrily drove from Philly to RI. Picked up my luggage and the pelican case my camera gear was in was broken with damaged camera gear. Nothing was refunded or replaced. Fuck them and fuck "Overbooking" flights.
11. Mashandal decided to take a bus instead, but he couldn't get his bag to join him.
I was on a 8AM flight from NYC to Milwaukee (MKE) with a layover in Chicago. The ETA for MKE was 2-3PM.
Delays upon delays in NYC, and it was a bit weird because the plane was really empty. Well whatever, we finally fly out, landing in Chicago at 2PM. Naturally, the connecting flight was missed so I need to catch the next one. The agents assure me that the next one, at 5PM will be all set. I'm already somewhat pissed at this point because I'm impatient and was supposed to be in MKE for a conference that started at 4/5.
But no worries, shit happens, so I decide to go to the airport bar and proceed to order the largest beer they have because I know it's going to be a couple of hours until the next flight. Not 30 seconds later, I get a text that my 5PM flight was canceled due to inclement weather. THERE'S NOT A FUCKING CLOUD IN SIGHT. This is when it gets interesting.
Next flight is at 11PM and they're saying there's no guarantees that I'll have a seat so I'll probably need to catch the next morning's flight. I have business meetings all day the next morning so I really need to get to Milwaukee asap. I start looking at other options - there's a $50 bus that I figured was my best bet. But wait, what about luggage? So apparently, United has all the luggage in this big room in the Chicago airport, and a staff person said that they can't give me access to my bag so I'll have to wait until it's flown to Milwaukee, only god knows when. I tell them I have medication in the bag that I need - they still refuse. I ask to see a manager, and I swear to god, they send out an 18-year-old to talk to me.
So they won't give me my bag, can't find a spot on any other plane and won't pay for another airline's flight, won't pay for the bus, won't pay for a hotel stay in Chicago overnight.
I ended up paying the $50 for the bus, had to take a taxi to the Milwaukee airport next morning to get my bag from claims, and vowed never to fly United ever again.
12. Brownie285 is just lucky she's not tall.
Oh yess. Ive been waiting for this thread. I had the worst flight experience of my life on united. I was flying from new england to ireland. There and back were both united. There and back both hell. So getting there was an over night flight (depart around 7/8pm, land at 6/8 am). They wouldn't let us sleep. We were not allowed to sleep. So we were late boarding since they wanted to clean the plane after the last flight so heres the timeline:
9pm - Take off
10pm - Dinner
11pm - Dessert
Now if you fell asleep once you finished eating dinner, thet would shake you and yell until you woke up. No idea why. Around midnight they dimmed the lights and most fell asleep. Then suddenly, im being shaken awake. Around 1am we crossed timezones. So now theres breakfast. And flight attendants are going up and down isles waking anyone who wont eat and try to sleep. Then we landed. It was unreal.
Its also worth mentioning that during the flight they werw legit screaming at anyone who stood up to go to the bathroom because they wanted the isles clear. And, i cant emphasize enough how small this plane was. Im a tiny girl, and i was unable to move. I felt so bad for tall people. But, if anyone had their leg even slightly in the isle (even if theyre asleep), the attendants would kick them or hit them with the cart over and over until they brought it in. They would go up and down the isles yelling "I BETTER NOT SEE LEGS, SO HELP ME ILL KICK THEM BACK IN".
The leg in my row in the isle seat accudentally made one of the attendants stumble by sticking his foot out. The attendant stopped and glared at this guy lile he was going to kill him and yelled "WHAT DID I SAY?!" then turned to the rest of the flight and yelled "THIS IS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND!!"
Never in my life have i seen anyone on the job, especially a service job act so violently and uncontrollable
Tl,dr: on an 8 hr flight over night, we werent allowed to sleep, go to the bathroom, or put legs remotely in the isle or we'd be shaken or screamed at.
13. Ihateunited24 made a Reddit account just to complain about United. No joke.
When I was 17, my dad and I took cheap flights to visit colleges I was applying to. We flew United all of once, from Wichita KS to Chicago. On the flight back to Wichita, we were delayed for a couple of hours due to maintenance issues. Oh well, we weren't in any rush, so we relaxed and ended up taking off after everything was solved.
When we landed in Wichita, the pilot sheepishly came onto the intercom and told us that the main engine had blown in midair, but that the "backup engine" allowed us to fly to our destination! Instead of making an emergency landing when the part that made the fucking plane run petered out, the pilot decided to keep going, despite the fact that he was likely endangering all of our lives if the second engine decided to quit.
My father and I freaked out. We ended up complaining to United customer service, who gave us a half-hearted apology about 2 months after the fact and gave me (not my dad, just me) a $50 flight voucher that expired at the end of the month. They gave us the voucher in April 28th and it expired May 1st.
Fucking awful airline. I haven't flown them since. American Airlines can be a pain in the ass, but at least they have their shit together.