LegalEagleStar

… a kind of Legal Column

Posts Tagged ‘Dublin Airport

Leaving Texas is always difficult. A United Airlines Customer Service Agent didn’t help !

with 3 comments


Newark Airport, NJ. Foreground: Terminal C; ba...

Newark Airport, NJ. Foreground: Terminal C; background: The borough of Manhattan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday Morning in San Antonio was another beautiful day. Unfortunately myself, my son, my daughter and her son had to make the journey back to Ireland. Never a happy day. That said, we were all content that we’d be back in a couple of months to enjoy our Texas home as that is where we have come to enjoy family get-togethers and meet up with our Texas Family i.e. good friends gained over the years. Texas, to the uninitiated, is very different from any place I’ve discovered over many years of travelling. The people are warm and friendly and the State has a rich history. I don’t know really why but we have come to call Texas ‘Home’. It is like a separate country from the USA. We are drawn there like to no other place. Tejas Rodeo in Bulverde is our destination of choice on Saturday evenings where we meet with good people and where old and young can mingle and enjoy themselves in an atmosphere hard to find, if ever, anywhere in my native Ireland.That’s just Saturday and the rest of the week is as enjoyable.

We were driven to the Airport by Jim, a good friend, and after saying our Good-Byes, headed to the Check-In Desks of United Airways. As usual the Staff were most helpful and after passing through the Security Gates, always a good experience in San Antonio Airport, unlike elsewhere, we proceeded to our Gate to await our departure to Newark Airport, the first stage in our journey. I hadn’t travelled this route for some time as my preferred route takes me via Atlanta on Delta. I had chosen Atlanta over Newark in the past as I have had good experiences, never missing my connecting flight to Dublin and you always get a warm reception in Atlanta, unlike the colder Yankee experience in New York. Maybe it’s the character of the Southern States that I yearn for but today I was on a flight with my children and grandson ‘Toes’ , booked by my son.

On arriving at the Departure Gate, we noticed a delay on the flight. As we had only two hours to make our connection, I had a memory of this flight to Newark being diverted to Baltimore and us missing our connection. But sure that was with Continental years back and I was reassured that times had changed. ‘Relax Dad’, we’ll be fine I was reassured. As it turned out we were delayed less than an hour so we were on track. So, I sat back on Flight UA369, buckled my seat belt and enjoyed my flight to Newark. Well, until we joined the many flights circling over Newark. I felt some downward movement as I thought and said, somewhat relieved, that we seemed to be making our approach. Then the voice of the Captain advised us that as our fuel was running low we would have to divert to Washington Dulles International Airport to refuel. Oh boy, here we go again. We’ll definitely miss our connection to Dublin ! I could feel the tension with my daughter as ‘Toes’ , now three years old, had reassured her that he would sleep on the second flight.

On landing at Washington Dulles International Airport, the Captain advised us that he was told there would be a twenty-minute turnaround. He said that from his experience this seemed somewhat optimistic. He was right. Later he advised us all that we could leave the aircraft if we wished to purchase anything in the shop. As this was a flight where no food was served but the famous ‘RyanAir’ type trolley with food to purchase passed along the aisle, a few people took advantage of the opportunity to stretch their legs. People were now phoning their friends to tell of the delay and as many had connections to make in Newark, phones were the order of the day. My son then informed me that his girlfriend in Dublin had noticed that there was a flight to Dublin leaving from Washington circa 10 p.m. On hearing this, my son and I made our way to the front of the aircraft and spoke to the Steward who thought that a good idea and suggested we head out to the Customer Service Agent who would be able to help us. I must at this stage point out that I was using a walking stick as I have a disability which can restrict my movements.

At the end of the passageway we approached the desk where the Customer Service Agent was located. What looked like a security man, obviously in bad form shouted at me to ‘MOVE’ as I was supposedly blocking the passageway. I couldn’t believe his rudeness but proceeded to the desk. There was a blonde lady busily checking people in and out i.e. the people who had walked out to the shop. Beside her was a rather large gentleman and as we approached him he turned his back on my son. I said ‘Excuse me please, could you help.’ He turned around and said YES. I started to explain that my son’s girlfriend had informed us that there was a direct flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Dublin circa 10 p.m. and to see if they could accommodate us on that flight. He told me to take it up with the Service Agent in Newark. I replied that it would then be too late as I’d be in Newark, not Washington where the flight was from. I asked him would he contact the Agent in Newark. At this point he turned away and stood with his back to me. I then asked him again if he could help as my daughter was travelling with me and she had her three-year old son with her. No reaction. When he eventually turned around I leaned forward to read his name tag. David B it read. At this point he said to me ‘Why are you looking up my name?’ He went on to say that these things happen all the time in aviation and it was not like the auto industry. Just put up with it he told me. The relevance of his reference to the auto industry is still beyond me. Maybe Michael O’Leary of Ryanair would care to comment on this point. I was annoyed with the way this man treated us and both myself and my son headed back to the plane and relayed what had happened to the Steward who just shook his head. He was clearly embarrassed with the way we had been treated. Some minutes later David B arrived onboard. For a brief moment I thought he might have some news for me but then he just started counting heads. I mentioned to my daughter that this was the gentleman who had been unhelpful to us and then I head a loud voice, ‘Take your seat NOW SIR as otherwise YOU’RE going nowhere.’ Yep, it was David B, a man who clearly was not at all happy with me. Such an attitude is reprehensible. When he left the aircraft some passengers tried to come to our assistance. One lady had looked up the Irish Flight in Newark and said that the new departure time was now 8:30pm. She said we still had a chance to make it. About ten minutes later the Pilot informed us that we were ready to go. Ah, some chance to make my connecting flight. Things were looking up. Then a couple of minutes later again the Pilot, clearly frustrated, told us ‘Bad News’. We would have to wait another fifty minutes. Eventually we took off. At this point I decided to look at United Airlines inflight magazine. Maybe there was a customers complaints section? Didn’t find it but I did read an article entitled ‘If the Name Fits.’ Excellent article about a Denver Customer Service Agent, Rufus Lovett who offers service with a smile ! Now why couldn’t I have met Rufus and not David B ? We landed in Newark circa 9PM at Gate C120 or suchlike.

I told my son to rush to the Board and see if the Irish Flight had departed. He did so, gave the thumbs up and took off at speed in the direction of Gate C81. We had landed at Gate C120?, which is some distance away. My daughter and grandson took off as well leaving me with Toe’s ‘Ride-On Carry-On Bag’. I attempted to follow them as fast as I could. Remember, I’m using a walking stick ! I ran, hobbled would probably describe it better. Pain was immense but I didn’t want to be the cause of them missing the flight. I passed many a Cart going at speed but none offered assistance. I’m sure a perusal of the video tapes in Newark Airport between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. would make interesting viewing. Perhaps they could be used as training tapes as to how not to treat a person with disabilities attempt to make their flights ! Well…I arrived at Gate C81 where a lovely man, a Customer Service Agent, told me to relax as we had made our flight. My daughter had a worried look on her face and was worried I was having a heart-attack but I assured her that I was just in pain and would be fine when I got to my seat. The staff on-board were lovely and we had a most pleasant flight to Dublin.

I was going to write in a complaint to United Airlines but thought it better to write about it here on my Blog. That way I could put balance in the piece and be fair to everyone. I would indeed welcome the Airlines comments regarding my experience as I’m sure with a little tweaking they could rectify matters. I must put on record that I have found over the years that, bar the odd exception, that my experiences while travelling have in the main been pleasant and I’d had the pleasure of being served by many great people in the industry. Unfortunately gone are the days when flying was a pleasurable experience. Today unfortunately, air travel is more like an endurance test. I would also like Newark Airport to examine the tapes of my sprint, with the aid of my walking stick and indeed walking stick under my arm for a short distance. I would also like to hear their comments. Not a great experience. I do not believe that I would not have been assisted in some way if the same happened in Atlanta. Surely someone could have intervened and assisted me get to my Departure Gate? As time was of the essence I did not have the opportunity to ask for assistance. Maybe if David B had taken the time to ring Newark as I had asked him to instead of refusing my request, assistance could have been made available at Newark for me?

As my phone was not on roaming, I did not get the many Updates sent by United Airlines regarding the delayed departure of the flight to Dublin. In fairness to United Airlines, the last email stated..

Confirmation number LS7P9E

As of 9:33 p.m. on June 25, United flight UA23 on June 25 is delayed due to a late-arriving aircraft.

Now departs: 9:35 p.m. on June 25 from gate C81, New York/Newark, NJ (EWR-Liberty) (EWR)

Now arrives: 8:49 A.M. ON June 26 at Dublin, Ireland (DUB) (DUB)

Please be at the gate for boarding prior to original scheduled departure time of 7:10 p.m. ,as the departure time could be revised again.

Information is subject to change. For up-to-the-minute flight status information, go to united.com , use the \United mobile app or check flight information screens at the airport.

Is it possible that David B got them to hold the flight for us? Unlikely. If that was indeed the case I would welcome that news from United Airlines. More likely this information was available to David B who couldn’t have cared less whether we made our flight or not. Maybe if he had taken the time he could have reassured us that they were doing everything they could to help. That would have been nice and reassuring.

I must say, full marks to the Baggage Handling team at Newark. They managed somehow to get our bags onto the Dublin Flight. Well done Guys. I was not expecting to see all four bags appear on the conveyor belt at Dublin Airport.

LegalEagleStar, Thursday, 27th. June, 2013.

Texas On My Mind

Texas On My Mind (Photo credit: i heart him)

Upgraded to First Class, met by Tornadoes, then Wildfires. Welcome back to Texas.

leave a comment »


Bastrop Wildfires

We left Dublin Airport at midday Monday en route to meet up with family members in Texas. On arrival at the Departure Gates my daughter and myself heard the welcome news that my eldest daughter had arranged an upgrade for us to First Class on Delta to Atlanta. So, we both slouched down in luxury for our Transatlantic Flight. We were both oblivious to what lay ahead and never noticed the fact that the Pilot never spoke to us regarding weather conditions en route nor at Atlanta, our initial destination. While the landing was rough and the weather very rainy, we thought nothing of it. We had come from Ireland after all and such conditions are an everyday occurrence. Well, shock registered upon watching CNN while awaiting our connecting Flight to San Antonio. We heard that two tornadoes had touched the ground in Atlanta about the time our flight was landing. We communicated that to my daughter in San Antonio who informed us that she thought we’d been diverted elsewhere because of the stormy conditions. As it turned out we arrived in San Antonio, safe and sound, only an hour behind schedule. After leaving Thunderous Cloudy skies in Atlanta, we still encounter thick clouds through Alabama, Mississippi and into Louisiana. Only when we hit The Great State of Texas did we see clear skies again. A great sight to behold after the drama we’d just left behind. More drama was to greet us though, as we could see Wildfires north of San Antonio and south of Austin. After speaking with friends, we realised that the City of San Antonio Fire Department has been and is fighting Wildfires in an around our city. Many people have lost their homes and there have been a number of fatalities. This State has seen little or no rain since I was here last May/June. In fact at that stage, they were praying for rain each Sunday at Mass. What a change from what we are used to in Ireland. I contacted a pal in Austin yesterday to tell her we’d arrived and looked forward to seeing her. She said she’s have to see how the situation was in a few days time as there have been outbreaks of bush-grass fires near her home and in fact she feared for the safety of her area. I pray that she and the rest of the people here in this Great State overcome their current difficulties. What they wouldn’t do for some of our Irish Rain here now in Texas.

As for me, I’m back where I love, Texas with it’s huge clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid to high 90s. I’m here enjoying life with most of my family including Toes, my grandson. Thanks to someone’s prayers I survived to tell this tale. My late father would be 95 today if he’d lived. No doubt he’s still looking out for all of us.

LegalEagleStar , San Antonio , Texas , Thursday , 8th. September , 2011

Written by LegalEagleStar

September 8, 2011 at 7:31 am

%d bloggers like this: