Dear United: What gives?

Below is feedback sent to United a little over two weeks ago about a trip that took place on August 10, 2012.  The customer has not yet received a response, so he gave me permission to share his issues via my blog and social media.

In 300 segments of travel in the last couple of years, I have never seen a worse performance by an airline as I did last night, starting with the operations team that decided to board Charlotte NC (CLT) and Charlottesville VA (CHO) at the same gate – A1E and A1F.

But perhaps that would have been acceptable if the gate agents had a clue what they were doing. Starting by calling the boarding for Charlottesville, they had scanned the boarding passes for four or five passengers before they realized that they were BOARDING THE WRONG FLIGHT! They had to send someone down the hallway to bring these passengers back. And then they started calling Charlotte.

While I don’t want to add a racial component here, the fact that neither of these two GAs were primary English speakers certainly didn’t help.

All of this on top of several other late flights being screamed and shouted at the same podium and the one next to it.

What the h*** is going on at United Airlines these days?

Below is a list of issues the customer encountered:

– Cancelled flights (they cancelled two of the afternoon’s three ATL-ORD due to weather)
– Unhappy passengers (the one flight that did go still left 20+ standbys behind)
– An “almost-a-mechanical” on the runway. Quote: “We’re being rerouted and need to update the computer, but it shouldn’t be more than a few minutes,” then the cockpit didn’t give us any further info for 25 minutes. By that point, I had signalled the FA to call and ask what’s up. The Captain said that they had a mechanical issue that took them a little while to resolve but “it’s all good now and we’ll be on our way in a few minutes.”
– And I-don’t-know-what was going on with the baggage carousel at Charlotte. They couldn’t open the door to the belt or something and so it took a half hour for me to get my bag, which was thankfully the first one on the belt.
– There were eight passengers from an earlier flight that didn’t get their bags. This was at 12:15 AM while I was watching them fiddle with the carousel.

So United, what is going on?  And why has this customer waited 17 days and counting for a response?

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UA: GSO-ORD-(LAX)-PHX 2 Dec 2011 by Bruce

When I booked the ticket, I needed 2517 miles* to reach and maintain my Gold status. A search through the Matrix for flights to places where I wanted to go (LAX, SEA, FLL) suggested that the cheapest itinerary would be to go to PHX with two outbound and two inbound stops from GSO. VanMetrics at the bottom of the post.

For the 06:00 departure, I let my alarm clock wake me at 02:15. There was very little traffic on the highways at that crazy time of the night, so I arrived at the airport and parked at 04:45. It was still dark and I ended up in the $6 a day long-term uncovered lot. I’ve never been to GSO before, so I was impressed with the size and modernity of the place when the two mega-hubs CLT and RDU are nearby. It sort of reminded me of PBI (though I haven’t been to that airport since 2001). I did not need to check-in, but the departure boards did not show my flight. The ticket agent pointed me in the right direction, since the two halves of the terminal are not joined up.

Security was a breeze and my transportation security officer was friendly. I did not alert the magnetometer, I was not randomly selected and my bags did not need any additional attention. With a short bathroom detour, I was at my gate by 05:00. Or at least I thought it was my gate – there was still a lot of confusion with the departure boards. Even the crew was wondering if they were at the right place.

Boarding was called about ten minutes late (at 05:45) with military in uniform and special assists. No takers. 1K, Platinum and Gold were called together and I was second onto the plane. An ERJ-145, I was in 12C (the first guy was 1K and was in 12A). Operated by Trans States under United Express, it’s the same configuration as the ExpressJet flights I’ve taken that were Continental Express livery.

At 06:10 (about ten minutes past scheduled departure), the captain announced that there was an issue with the floor panel where the handle hides that allows manual deployment of the landing gear. He updated us constantly on progress and said that if it looked like it was going to be an extended delay, he would allow us to leave or anyone who wanted to get off now was welcome to do so. The flight attendant came down the aisle to help passengers understand if they had connection problems. 12A called the 1K service line from his phone and I overheard him decide to stay on the plane rather than head to the other gate where an IAD flight would allow him to connect to SEA about four hours late. At 06:30, seeing that I would now only have a half hour instead of a full hour to connect at ORD, I called and learned that I was protected onto a direct ORD-PHX flight (instead of my scheduled ORD-LAX-PHX) that would actually get me to Phoenix 90 minutes earlier. Bonus!

More announcements about the missing handle and such, before we were informed that it was resolved and we were just waiting on signoff. Doors closed about ten minutes later and we pushed back at 07:10 and immediate clearance to take off. As soon as we reached altitude, I put on my sunglasses and my noise cancelling headphones and slept the rest of the flight, only waking for descent into O’Hare.

A very short taxi to the last gate of terminal B, we used the aircraft’s stairs to disembark. Nearly ten minutes of standing in the freezing cold waiting for our gate-checked bags. Ugh.

Inside the terminal, the first kiosk I found said to pick up the phone and in turn that told me that I needed to see someone at special services in order to be rebooked. So now I got to walk all the way to the main concourse where the special services guy helped me with my new boarding passes. (He insisted on having my original ones, which made zero sense. Maybe someone can explain this one?) Sadly, the only Economy Plus seats available were middle ones, so I kept the seat he gave me and crossed my fingers to get the middle seat open.

Over to the C terminal and with 45 minutes until boarding, I headed into the United Club for coffee and a bagel and also topping up the charge on my phone. This is a really nice club with a lot of seating in “noisy” and in “quiet” areas, as well as a TV that seemed to capture the attention of several. After stocking up on a banana and some other snacks, I headed to the gate.

Flight 661 is an A319 operated by United with only six seats in F. I was number 23 for the 2 available seats, so I didn’t have my hopes up (I hadn’t been upgraded on my original ORD-LAX either). I was well back into the crowd when 1K, then Platinum and finally Star Gold were called. Waaaaaay to the back of the plane, seat 37F is the last seat before the lav and rear galley. There is a space behind the seat and it did offer some recline. The middle seat remained open and we pushed back on time. Smisek did his thing to introduce the video and it’s just as “fake” as ever. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel any connection with him like I did with Larry.

Channel 9 was awesome as usual. It was very bumpy for the first hour and I listened to our Captain searching for weather reports from other altitudes. We eventually got up to 36000 before it smoothed out some.

By that time, the in-flight entertainment started. Flip-down monitors revealed an episode of “Big Bang Theory” I hadn’t seen, followed by “Our Idiot Brother” (Paul Rudd with a beard) and then Suits. Frustratingly, the in-flight entertainment system does not pause when there is a PA announcement so I missed a good amount of the movie and the show.

Buy on board was offered which I declined (I had my stuff from the club) and then a full can beverage. A few water services and before I knew it, we were descending into Phoenix for a good landing and then taxi to the gate.

Summary: Our crew in GSO did a great job of handling the potential mechanical. I was pleased with the communication that was at least every ten minutes. UA did a good job of rebooking me onto another flight that saved me a bunch of time, but I would have preferred to get the job done at the kiosk instead of having to find special services. I didn’t need those 500 miles for the LAX-PHX segment. My ORD-PHX seat was bad but would have been unbearable if I had to share the armrest and floor space with a middle-seat. It was nice to have in-flight entertainment, it could have operated better. Grade: B-.

Original itinerary:
Total Trip Cost: $ 288.20
Actual Airfare: $ 221.40
Actual Miles Flown: 5601
Yield: $ 0.040 per mile
Taxes & Fees: $ 66.80, 23.18% of ticket price

Updated:
Total Trip Cost: $ 288.20
Actual Airfare: $ 221.40
Actual Miles Flown: 4296
EQM’s earned: 5318
Yield: $ 0.042 per mile
Taxes & Fees: $ 66.80, 23.18% of ticket price

*I’ve since earned 2000 Flex EQM’s, so would only need 517!

LHR-ORD-XNA-ORD-LHR on United and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class 13 May to 16 May 2011 by Bruce

Fri., May 13
UA949 dep LHR 12:20 arr ORD 15:18
UA6063 dep ORD 18:00 arr XNA 19:43

Mon., May 16
UA5927 dep XNA 10:21 arr ORD 12:02
VS40 dep ORD 18:00 arr LHR 08:00 (+1 day)

This trip was outside my usual rotation (my daughter’s Master’s degree graduation ceremony), so I paid for the tickets instead of my employer. Rather than spend $1200+, I opted to use miles. CO’s super-saver was 55,000 miles for the RT in Y but they also offered some partner fares. Since Tuesday was a work day, I chose the VS seat in Upper Class for an additional 25,000 miles, totaling 80,000 miles (plus taxes and fees).

The UA 767-200 LHR-ORD (2-3-2) in Premium Economy did not have power outlets in the seats and the IFE was 8 channels on a rotation. Four-inch screens were mounted in the seat back area. Channel 9 had a loud whine that made it impossible to enjoy. I watched movies on my iPhone instead and plugged it into my laptop to recharge until that too was drained. For dinner, I chose the cheese ravioli.

The departure from ORD to XNA was delayed by a half hour due to a late inbound, but it was communicated well at the gate. The ERJ-145 XNA-ORD was completely full and 12A is still a great seat. Beverage service only. Otherwise, the three of the United flights were boring and without any memorable or noteworthy comment. The Red Carpet Clubs I visited in Chicago were also unremarkable other than being very busy.

For the return, the only itinerary that lined up with the Virgin Atlantic flight gave me a six-hour layover in Chicago. I spent it at the SAS Business Lounge in Terminal 5. ORD terminal changes are outside security, so I rescanned. All four security lines led to full body scanners (the one where you stand between two blue boxes) and I politely said “I’m not going through that!” The TSO was polite, thorough and complete – he briefly brushed up against ‘resistance’. I then spotted that there is no food in T5 and decided not to leave because I would have to be rescanned.

Terminal 5 does have lounges – Star Alliance (and Virgin Atlantic) are in the SAS Business Lounge. Self-serve alcohol and beer (Carlsberg Export, Sam Adams and Miller Lite) with sliced bread, smoked cheese and sliced turkey plus sliced red and green peppers and pickles. I made a couple of sandwiches. Free wifi worked well. Plenty of chairs and power outlets (as well as three Mac desktops), so what was left of my layover passed quickly.

And then the fun begins! Boarding for the 18:00 PM departure started at 16:45. They called Upper Class and I was prepared so I was the first passenger to board. A left turn and down to seat 3K on this A340. Upper Class is an angled seat (with personal IFE) that converts to a 180-degree lie flat bed. Three seats across with two on the left separated from the one on the right by a three-foot wall. Extremely polite (and very attractive) flight attendant offered me a pre-departure champagne that I allowed to be refilled once. On reaching altitude, I asked her to help me convert the seat (including the “mattress” and duvet from the overhead bin). I slept for about four hours (through dinner) and woke at 5AM. It was still too soon for breakfast, so I sat at the bar (yes, there’s a three-seat bar!), drinking sparkling water and chatting with the flight attendant for a bit before heading back to my seat. I chose the “Full English” breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and tomato, served with a toasted croissant) with two cups of excellent coffee.

If I wasn’t planning on going to work immediately after arriving, I might have chosen to partake more of the champagne or tasted the “guest” vodka and mixed drinks. The amenity kit included a shoe bag, eye mask, ear plugs, flight socks, toothbrush and toothpaste. I was also offered a sleep suit (like a track suit) but declined.

Great smooth landing at Heathrow and Economy passengers were held so that the Upper Class passengers were allowed to deplane first. The usual mile-long hike to border security. The non-EU citizens queue was backed up and looked like at least an hour. The EU citizen line moved faster and only took 15 minutes. I had no checked baggage (in fact, I traveled with only my backpack) so I was on to the Heathrow Express train to Paddington moments later.

Summary: United’s flights were comfortable and unremarkable. The seat in Economy Plus was good, but there was no power outlet. Food was good and there were sufficient drink and water services during the long flight, full can on the regional jets. Grade: B. The Virgin Atlantic flight was top notch. Absolutely excellent, but possibly influenced by Upper Class service and a superior flight attendant. I can’t imagine paying three times or more than the regular fare for Upper Class but two times in miles was quite reasonable. Grade: A+ with extra credit.

Notes: Seat Guru’s review of the VS configuration is correct. You want to sit in the middle of the section, away from the bar (chatty passengers and clinking glasses) and away from the lavatories. I’d also recommend the right side seats with one across as there is less foot traffic compared to the left side which has two across.

Total Trip Cost: $ 173.20 and 80,000 miles
Actual Airfare: $ 0.00
Actual Miles Flown: 8949
Yield: $ 0.019 per mile
Taxes & Fees: $ 173.20, 100.00% of ticket price

XNA-ATL-ORD-CVG-XNA on Delta 7-9 Apr 2011 by Bruce

by Bruce K.

Thu., Apr. 7
DL5083 dep XNA 07:10 arr ATL 09:59
DL1677 dep ATL 10:50 arr ORD 12:00

Planned return:
Fri., Apr 8
DL1977 dep ORD 18:05 arr ATL 21:10
DL5059 dep ATL 22:05 arr XNA 22:57

Actual IRROPS return:
Sat., Apr. 9
DL3225 dep ORD 06:05 arr CVG 08:26
DL6264 dep CVG 09:30 arr XNA 10:22

A last-minute trip for a personal appointment, I would not have chosen this particular itinerary or carrier. I did look online and it was the cheapest fare – AA and UA direct would have been $300 more because it was inside of 24 hours. I was concerned that 51 and 55 minutes might not be enough time to change planes in Atlanta. But it wasn’t up to me – the client travel agency did the booking. At least I was able to credit it to my SkyMiles account, where I have no elite status.

Thursday morning, the taxi to the airport dropped me off at 06:25. XNA is still a sweet little airport with a minimal TSA presence. Magnetometers but no full body scanners. Yet. My stuff and I went through without issue.

Boarding was an “all” call at 06:55 and we pushed back on time. This was a Mesaba-operated CRJ-200 and the seat was a small fit. Beverage service was a half-can and a choice of cookies (Biscoffs), peanuts (dry-roasted) or pretzels. We landed on time in Atlanta and pulled up to our gate at the end of the D terminal. I made it to the gate at A in 15 minutes, which gave me enough time for a coffee.

The O’Hare flight was called on time. One passenger tried to board ahead of his zone and was turned back. My seat was behind the exit row, a window. Another small seat, I really don’t like the MD-88! We pushed back on time, but sat at the end of the taxiway for ten minutes before the Captain announced that we were being held by O’Hare for flow control. He said he was on with the Delta dispatch office to find out if we would go back to the gate or would wait and that it could be as much as 90 minutes. It ended up being 40 minutes of penalty box before we headed to the runway. Arrival was 46 minutes late.

For the return, I dropped off the rental car at O’Hare at 14:30 (the appointment finished earlier than I expected) and the shuttle dropped me off at terminal 2. While eating cheese cubes in a full RCC, my phone rang at 14:53 to inform me that my 18:05 departure was canceled. I called Delta. A pleasant operator (Southern accent) informed me that I had been protected to the soonest available – the next morning. I headed to the gate, but there was no one there. At the nearby SkyClub, where the club angel was able to print a “distressed traveler” coupon and I headed to the Marriott Courtyard.

Saturday morning, 4:00 wake-up call and their shuttle dropped me off at 4:55. A long line of sailors was arriving at the same time to access the USO. All clutching their manila folders and huge duffel bags. And all so young!

Security at Terminal 2 was slow, taking 20 minutes. They switched the line at the last minute, pointing us to the imaging machines. The woman ahead of me opted out and insisted on a private screening. She gathered up her stuff and was led elsewhere. I also opted out, but let them do it there. I was pleasant and smiled so no hassle and no attitude from anyone. The pat down was 90% thorough, narrating what he was doing as he did his thing. I was able to keep an eye on my buckets of stuff on the belt. He did not “meet resistance” and I was cleared.

From this point, everything was standard. Boarding on time by zone, small seat on the CRJ-900 with a wide-hipped seatmate. On time into CVG, where I transited from one end of Terminal B to the other. The gate agent called our flight early, where the 11 of us boarded the CRJ-200. Everyone had a row to themselves. Full can beverage service with peanuts. We landed 20 minutes early into XNA where my taxi driver was waiting for me.

Summary: I was on three different aircraft (2 x CRJ-200, MD-88 and CRJ-900) and all had very small seats, though they were all clean with a noticeable lack of duct tape. Pleasant gate agents and flight attendants. The IRROPS was handled as smoothly as I’ve ever experienced. I was very pleased that the pilot came out of the flight deck to welcome passengers after each of the four flights (where I thanked the ATL-ORD for keeping us updated). Overall grade: B-. I think CO’s planes have bigger seats.

XNA now offers free wi-fi, but ATL, ORD and CVG still do not.

Total Trip Cost: $ 875.47
Actual Airfare: $ 774.58
Actual Miles Flown: 2021
Yield: $ 0.383 per mile
Taxes & Fees: $ 100.89, 11.52% of ticket price

**Beth’s note:  I checked and the CRJ-200 seat width is comparable to those of other domestic carriers that use that aircraft.  However, the MD-88 seats are narrower than those of American.**

UA: LHR-IAD-DEN-XNA. Nope, it’s LGW-AMS-ORD-XNA! 24-Dec-2010

Contributed by my friend Bruce!

I bought the ticket with UA, so I’m putting this in the UA trip reports, even though the majority of the headache belongs with BA (British Airways) and BAA (British Airport Authority). It’s a long trip report because of that headache. I booked this ticket in October.

My typical practice is that as I get closer to the departure – even weeks or days in advance – I check the seat arrangements to try to snag a better seat. So imagine my surprise when on Monday, 48 hours prior to departure, I was unable to see my seat assignment. A call to UA determined the cause – the flight had been canceled due to weather. (Weather? It snowed the day before yesterday and hasn’t snowed since. They can’t clear the runways in two days? Apparently not and there are some inquiries going on. For starters, the chief of Heathrow isn’t getting his 2010 bonus.) The agent took about 40 minutes to rebook me on an alternative itinerary, but the soonest option she could find was two days later. Most of the 40 minutes was spent trying to reach someone at BA to get me to an airport where I could pick up an alternate UA flight. Instead of 22-Dec LHR-IAD-DEN-XNA, it’s now 24-Dec LHR-AMS-ORD-XNA, an arrival delay of around about 40 hours. And I continued trying to select better seats on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday morning, I went to the UA website to check in. It referred me to BA’s site to check in for that segment. The BA site said “please call” so I did. The agent said that in order to free up possible seats to handle the backlog, a process had canceled all seats that did not have a valid ticket. Uh, what? BA428 is now fully booked with a wait list. There’s a later flight, but I would misconnect for AMS-ORD. He said he would keep trying to get me on 428. I offered Gatwick and he was able to book me on BA8111 at 06:20 and said I was all set.

After we disconnected, I went back to the website to try to check-in. The website still says “please call” so again, I did. This second agent gave me a new PNR and said I could check in with that. I tried, it accepted my passport info. And then it says again, “please call” so again I did. This time, the agent says that that they still don’t have a UA ticket number and I should call UA. Another long call and they added the ticket number to the BA record. That generated an automated email from BA with the update. I went back to BA.com, still unable to check-in. Another 45 minute phone call – “you need to check in at the airport.”

It’s now 2pm. Rather than wait until morning and risk a last minute problem, I decided the best option was to just go to the airport. Now. A 90-minute train to Gatwick, a 5-minute shuttle from the South to the North terminal, an uncooperative kiosk and finally a very nice ticket agent with the thickest Irish brogue tried to get my boarding pass. She made a quick call, hit a few buttons on her computer, checked my passport and Shazam! A BP for my flight the next day. All of that adventure and I’m not even on the plane yet! It took four calls totaling 3 or more hours plus a visit to the airport.

I spent the night at the nearby Marriott Courtyard and woke to my alarm at 3:30, catching the 4:03 shuttle (£2.50) to the airport. Security was a breeze, no “random selection” this time. A few of the screeners were decked in holiday gear, so I complimented the BP checking guy on his Santa hat and the supervisor for his battery-powered light string that he had draped over himself.

The BP says “Club Europe” and I tried to access the club, but it wasn’t open at 04:30. Instead, I got a coffee at Caffe Nero.

Gatwick, like some airports, does not offer free wi-fi. Annoying. They also don’t post gates until 20 minutes before boarding, so everyone’s waiting and wandering in the main concourse. At 5:40 (for 6:20 scheduled boarding), off we go. My BP was again compared to my ID here to enter gate area. Boarding was a general call and gate rush, but I was prepared and was therefore 2nd on board. My seat was 9F on the 737-436. About 85% of the seats were filled though only 2 of 12 in F. I saw the flight attendant collect coats there and it seemed like all the luggage made it on board.

At the time the doors were due to close, the First Officer says that we’re still waiting on four passengers who hadn’t arrived yet and they had checked luggage. We waited until 10 minutes past departure before they arrived out of breath and hustled back to one of the last rows in the plane. Push back, taxi and we were wheels up at 6:48. Beverage service with awful coffee and a ham sandwich with a small tub of orange juice. Rubbish pick up. No IFE. We landed AMS about 25 minutes late.

I’ve been to Amsterdam Schiphol a couple of times now, but only to start or end a journey and never to transfer. It seemed to me rather neatly divided up and segregated by alliance. BA and OneWorld in terminal 1, Air France and Delta in the center areas and Continental/United with the Star Alliance folks in the third terminal. Let me tell you, it’s a major long walk from one end of the terminal to the other! I walked past a Santa Claus shouting “Ho-Ho-Ho” and giving gifts to kids. Finally at the “Transfer 9” desk, the agent prints me a new boarding pass, puts it in a Gold envelope and says that I’ve been upgraded, the lounge is number 43 and have a Merry Christmas! Hoo-ah!

At the Servisair contract lounge, I learned that my President’s Club membership wouldn’t have gotten me into the club, but my Business BP did. The typical European spread (though not as much as MUC). Self service spirits and mixers, puff pastries and some sweet things. For the holidays, AMS is offering free wi-fi, for 30 minutes twice. Nice touch. This was good, because even the club doesn’t offer free wi-fi.

With all the walking back and forth, I only have a half hour in the club before I head to my flight. Security at the gate area, where my luggage was xrayed. AMS has the millimeter wave scanners, but it’s still okay to opt-out as I saw one woman do it. So I stepped up and did the same. Oddly, the screeners were not wearing latex gloves. The patdown (after passing through the regular magnetometer) was somewhat thorough but not excessive. I did not feel violated at the guy did not “meet resistance” though the rest of my body was checked. I am confident that it would have been possible to get through security with “stuff” without going to extremes.

Into the gate area, they boarded F and Business before elites. I was on board with my luggage stowed and my first glass of sparkling wine in hand while the rest of the aircraft was boarding. When the doors closed, four business seats were unfilled. I was in 9H but 9G was empty. These two on the 767 is a rear-facing seat with a full 180 degree recline. I had no problem stretching all the way out, but I simply couldn’t sleep. Instead, about 50 on-demand movies, plus TV and other entertainment. (I think they were on a loop in coach.) I watched Takers, Expendables, Killers, some 30 Rock and finally I plugged in my laptop and cleaned up some mail that would sync later. The power outlet was US-only and I had to pull down my suitcase from the overhead to get my US power plug!

Food and service were excellent. Top notch. Full can with a large lime wedge and a bowl of warm nuts that was refilled twice. Salad (I chose the balsamic vinaigrette over the peppercorn), “sliced Bresaola beef, Milano salami, bocconcini and cucumber salad” to start. For the main, I chose the filet. Extremely tender and easy to cut with the knife and fork. Lyonnaise potatoes and glazed carrots. Yummy. I cleaned my plate. For dessert, the cheese plate was okay. Throughout, the flight attendant kept refilling my wine glass – a delicious rich 2007 Côtes du Rhône. I probably had most of the bottle. When I was sufficiently stuffed and rather drunk, I stopped the wine but the flight attendants continued refilling my water glass to a rather obsessive degree.

Landing at ORD was on time, into light snow/sleet. No trouble at immigration with an officer who seemed quite bored and only asked the rote questions before stamping my passport. No checked luggage, I took the AirTrain to F and found a closet-sized RCC. I used the free wi-fi pass for my iPhone, drank half a Bud Light (ick!) and ate some veggies and cubed cheese before heading to my gate.

RJ boarding without a jetbridge, we had to cross 100 yards of apron in the driving snow. Thankfully, I hadn’t packed my coat because the boarding door and the galley service door stayed open for a good 20 minutes. Freezing! A normal ERJ-145, up, across and down for an hour or so. Brief beverage service with a half can and we landed at XNA eight minutes late with dry ground and cold wind. A brief wait for the gate checked bags and hooray, home for Christmas!

Summary: I’m extremely displeased with Heathrow airport. They handled this snow extremely poorly and someone needs to be canned. They get an F minus and I’m glad that Gatwick gets credit for transporting me properly on this trip. I’m also very unhappy with BA’s handling of my ticketing situation. They get a C-. UA also acted poorly as I did not get a notification of my cancellation and they did not handle the BA segment correctly. If I had not taken action, I might not have gotten out in time to get home for Christmas Eve. I would also give them a C, but they score some extra credit for the unexpected upgrade and therefore finish with a B+.