Rant about United Airlines! Abandoned... Pissed.

Trihonda

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OK, venting here, but also curious if anyone else experienced any recent issues with United Airlines?

TLDR: United abandoned us in the Dominican Republic, then refused to assist in getting us home. Now they are refusing to refund us for the ticket they canceled (when we had to purchase new tickets home out of pocket).

Situation:

On 3/14 we (two families-8ppl total) flew non-stop from Chicago to Punta Cana on United. We flew out before this really blew up. There were cautions about travel, but the Dominican Republic was a very low threat country. The situation escalated quickly, on 3/18, our return flight was ceremoniously canceled by United (for "runway obstruction" issues). We soon discovered that the DR had restricted all incoming travelers to the DR, and was only allowing return flights. later on 3/18 or earlier on 3/19 (I believe) is when the return home order/warning was issued by the State Department. There were still flights going back to the US, but not from United. Tons of travelers were suddenly rushing to get out of the country, and those suddenly abandoned by United, were attempting to book the few remaining flights home (which were all likely full to begin with).

We contacted United, and the earliest they could fly us out was May 6... ? Six weeks? We requested they assist in rebooking with another airline for us. After all, they brought us into the DR, and they had a loose responsibility to get us back home, right? Apparently not. They explained they were not going to be able to assist in booking other flights, and suggested we work with other airlines on our own to arrange return travel??? While other airlines were flying in empty planes to evacuate people, United just canceled all flights and then refused to assist with getting us back home! They did this to 100's of travelers (if not more). We scrambled and did find return flights, but it required we pay for an extra hotel night, and had to pay for the last minute flights out of pocket. An international pandemic crisis, with travelers being evacuated as fast as possible, and United just steps away and says "you're on your own?"... The f&ck?

The remainder of the trip was stressful (not relaxing). We were in constant fear the US would close the boarder and/or the new flight would get canceled. The resort we were staying at scaled back all services, and we essentially stayed in/around our rooms and freaked the eff out... We continually tried to get earlier flights, to no avail.

Upon returning home, we waited a few days to allow some calm to return after the travel orders and such. On Friday, we spend 3 hours on the phone with Cheap Caribbean (who booked the trip). They informed us to contact United to obtain a refund. We confirmed each round trip tix (x4) was $820 (half of which was canceled by United). We then contacted United, and after spending 2 hours on the phone with them, they informed us they had no idea what the ticket breakdown was for the return flight, and they had no way to process a refund, since it was booked in bulk by Cheap Caribbean. Yes, I spoke with supervisors, etc... They directed us back to Cheap Caribbean... Holy Hell!!!! I tried my best to remain calm (it wasn't the phone agent's fault, after all), but this is ridiculous. The DOT regulations require an airline to refund a tix if they cancel it... Apparently they're doing this to a LOT of people, and aren't giving anyone a refund...? Seriously?

News Story About United Not Refunding

We figure our options are to pray United will adhere to DOT regulations and issue a refund? Or we do a claim on our credit card used to book the trip, claiming they failed to provide the services paid for? Not sure the time-limits on something like that?

Ultimately, I mainly happy we got back safely, and we're all healthy. But the $1500 worth of out-of-pocket expenses caused by United, and their dismissive actions in this seriously rub me the wrong way.
 

moose

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I'm no expert on how to get your money back but $1500 to get the four of you home with an extra hotel stay and food during a global pandemic? You got off cheap brother. I hope you can stick it to United.

Also you left on Mar. 14 thinking shit hadn't broken out? No wonder USA is fucked. Our schools were closed on Mar. 12. Didn't the NBA shut down on Mar. 12 also?
 
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ThinkingFold

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I despise United. However, they are the employers preferred airline so fly with them often. :(

Highlights include.....

- stuck at an airport without my luggage for 3 days
- being kicked out of first class to a middle seat on a 10 hour flight
- having my flight changed without being told and only to find out upon arriving at the airport that my new flight already left

So yeah, hearing United treated someone poorly is not even the slightest bit shocking to me. They will never make it up to you and never change.
 

DrStrange

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Welcome home. You won the most important prize (we hope). Getting your money back is secondary.

Best of luck with your health. Please seriously consider self isolation for 14 days.

I'd start with a credit card charge back. It is your best leverage in cases where multiple parties are each pointing towards the other parties.

There is likely fine print in your travel contract. Also, legislation limits liability. More so for international travel. But even with this in mind, you might consider a small claims court action. The rules are greatly relaxed, you can represent yourself or find cheap local legal representation. United and Cheap Caribbean will be facing a relatively significant cost of responding and may find it cheaper to settle.

Remember you have several causes of action. United / Cheap Caribbean should refund your money for the cancelled flight. And the costs you incurred are a separate issue. Could be you will find remedies for both causes. Do not sign a general waiver until you are well past the threshold for showing symptoms.

If you end up sick . . . . you will have a far more serious claim against all the parties and should be getting highly skilled representation, likely on a contingency basis. Not as much for mild cases but perhaps quite a lot for death, disability or just your medical bills. Don't rely on random people on the internet if someone gets sick. Call a real lawyer and find out your options.

DrStrange
 

Trihonda

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I'm no expert on how to get your money back but $1500 to get the four of you home with an extra hotel stay and food during a global pandemic? You got off cheap brother.

Also you left on Mar. 14 thinking shit hadn't broken out? No wonder USA is fucked. Our schools were closed on Mar. 12.

Actually, our travel started on the 13th. Wasn't intending this to be a dissection of our decision making, because in hindsight we'd have skipped the trip (and been out the non-refundable $7,000). The situation evolved, and still remains to be seen how this compares to other "pandemics" and "flu strains". It's bad, for sure.. but time will tell (praying it turns out for the best).

It seems like an easy call NOW, but we made the decision based on what we knew when we left over two weeks ago... We knew there were concerns, but honestly, I've been through so many flare-ups with virus/pandemics and other disasters, that all turned out to be nothing of this magnitude (that started out the same way). When we were about to leave, we also talked to several knowledgeable doctor/nurse friends, who all downplayed the issue, said "wash hands, cover your cough, use good hygiene", and advised us to travel-away. Coupled with the place we were traveling to was much safer (infection-wise) and still is (this wasn't some spring-break beach crammed with college students).

That was why we traveled. And when we learned of the escalation, we did our best to follow the advisories and cut our trip short and return. We just couldn't...

Best of luck with your health. Please seriously consider self isolation for 14 days.

All great advice sir, as always. And yes, we absolutely went into immediate self quarantine for 14 days.
 

moose

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It's brutal that most of the US airlines bailed on picking up their passengers because they were too cheap to fly into countries empty.
 

Payback

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It's brutal that most of the US airlines bailed on picking up their passengers because they were too cheap to fly into countries empty.

Keep in mind they are the same companies that were asking for bailouts within a few days. They couldn't afford it, however shitty it was.

@Trihonda sorry to hear things went this poorly, but it's unfortunately a part of travel, especially international. No doubt it sucks when it happens and I would be on the phone with United and working my way up the chain till I got something. My folks frequently fly United and everytime something goes wrong they get a credit. My mom is a bloodhound in these circumstances.

What credit card did you put this on? That would be the next step to getting a resolution.
 

Trihonda

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It's brutal that most of the US airlines bailed on picking up their passengers because they were too cheap to fly into countries empty.

actually most continued to fly. Mainly United bailed...
 

upNdown

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An attorney friend of mine recently posted that he just discovered that Pandemics are not covered by travel insurance. Obviously that shouldn't get United off the hook, becuase insuranace aside, you didn't cancel, they did. But I just mention it becuase who knows what could be hidden in the fine print of your ticket.
Still, it seems pretty clear that you paid for a service that you didn't receive, so you shoud be entitled to a partial refund, if not damages. I'd start with your own credit card, as others have suggested, and see what that gets you. (And I'd also finish with that. Life is too short.)
 

ReallyGoodUsername

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An attorney friend of mine recently posted that he just discovered that Pandemics are not covered by travel insurance. Obviously that shouldn't get United off the hook, becuase insuranace aside, you didn't cancel, they did. But I just mention it becuase who knows what could be hidden in the fine print of your ticket.
Still, it seems pretty clear that you paid for a service that you didn't receive, so you shoud be entitled to a partial refund, if not damages. I'd start with your own credit card, as others have suggested, and see what that gets you. (And I'd also finish with that. Life is too short.)
Yep same thing my gf discovered when she went to get her money back for a flight she bought insurance for. Nope sorry, not covered unless you get the virus, here’s some credit that expire later this year and we’ll keep your money for the insurance coverage thanks! It’s a scam unless you’re expecting to use it 1 out of every 10 flights which I don’t know anyone whose ever used it more than once and they fly 20 times a year.
 

upNdown

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The situation evolved, and still remains to be seen how this compares to other "pandemics" and "flu strains". It's bad, for sure.. but time will tell (praying it turns out for the best).
Maybe stop denying, bro. Say it with me - "I was wrong, this is a deadly, devastating pandemic, I pray for all of us."
 

Sambukan

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Iam sorry for your experience. I made a similar experience with an other airline. I also booked through a travel agency. Airline told us that we werent their customer, we needed to contact the travel agency, for a flight back (which was closed because of holidays and no emergency phone). I hope you will get your money back. The only thing i learned when this happened to me: always booking through the airlines and/or hotels directly and not tvrough a travel agency. Never had any issues after that, even whenmy flight got cancelled another time, the airline was able and willing to help as we were their customers this time..
 

tabletalker7

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I don't want to defend United (granted I haven't flown anywhere in about 20 years but even back then United sucked) but he did his transaction with Cheap Caribbean? Wouldn't his dispute and refund be due from the people he paid money to? Don't get me wrong Cheap Caribbean should recoup those looses from United but as far as this individual goes, he did not do business with United so why should United give him anything?

Now that I got that out of the way, I would be talking to an attorney about suing Cheap Caribbean for a refund on half the round trip ticket, the expense of obtaining your own flight home, and any and every single last expense you had because of this. Cheap Caribbean sold you a vacation that they in turn did not provide. That case should be a slam dunk.
 

Señor Tony

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Travel insurance fully covered my recently cancelled trip abroad but only because I booked the flights, hotels etc and paid for the cover before covid-19 was a "known" event.
 

dimperdoo

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i'm also having an issue with united refusing to refund my tickets. was flying to have an operation where i could afford it since i have no insurance. it was cancelled due to the pandemic & i contacted united only to get the routine about issuing a credit. they were waiving the rescheduling fee due to the pandemic.

that's not enough. it's abysmal for them to stick to their guns on these policies. i understand that there are bigger issues at stake & really, that's my contention. they are socially obligated to act in good faith where we as individuals are displaced due to this crisis.
 

DoubleEagle

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i'm also having an issue with united refusing to refund my tickets. was flying to have an operation where i could afford it since i have no insurance. it was cancelled due to the pandemic & i contacted united only to get the routine about issuing a credit. they were waiving the rescheduling fee due to the pandemic.

that's not enough. it's abysmal for them to stick to their guns on these policies. i understand that there are bigger issues at stake & really, that's my contention. they are socially obligated to act in good faith where we as individuals are displaced due to this crisis.
If your flight was canceled they are required by DOT regulations to provide a refund. Insist on it.
 

pedrofisk

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United has a truly horrific corporate culture predicated on viewing the customer as a mark. I am a frequent flyer and have been screwed over by every airline at one point or another but United is a special kind of evil. You may have a real case.

 

nitzilla

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Once United did this, I realized they could get away with whatever the fuck they want.......and it don’t matter bro.... :tdown:

3BD7256E-0A62-4172-89AA-EE812FD094AC.jpeg
 

Jeff

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We are the recipient of United issues as well...

My son had a spring break trip scheduled to LA...didn't go, has a credit for future flights. $600 good for 1 year.
My wife and I had trip to Tampa area, UNITED cancelled last week (we wouldn't have gone, of course), $1,800 credit for future flights good for 1 year.

I fully expect that united will go bankrupt and renege on all those credits before the situation will get better enough for us to use them.

At least we didn't get stuck in the D.R. during a freaking global pandemic. I'm seriously considering disputing the charges with our credit card to see if I can get out of these expenses (especially the flights that UNITED cancelled), although I'm not optimistic.
 

Frogzilla

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The cancellation, the not being able to book you, all that I want to give United a break on. Covid has really screwed them up. However, not refunding you is completely unacceptable and in my book, theft. Thanks for sharing. I have flown my last United flight if this is how they treat customers
 

SixSpeedFury

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ALL airlines are doing this, not just United. I was set to travel next month to Canada for my brother's bachelor's party. Canada shut its borders and Delta canceled our flights. I was like cool, that's understandable. I call in to request refund, they give me the runaround and tell me that they don't do refunds for pandemics. I say how do you NOT do refunds if YOU were the ones that cancelled our flights? They were like, sorry, here's credit instead valid for a year FROM DATE OF PURCHASE. Mind you, I bought these flights in late February. I'm fighting saying to the supervisor that you and I don't know how long this is going to last, so what good is credit? I get a snarky take it or leave it response. Granted, it isn't as bad as @Trihonda's, but the audacity of them denying refunds to customers while at the same time crying out for bailouts is just ridiculous.

If your flight was canceled they are required by DOT regulations to provide a refund. Insist on it.
Mind you, I brought this up to the supervisor, and he had a snarky and condescending attitude with his retort: "oh, you actually read the rules and regulations huh?" I'm going through my bank now to see if I can get refunded through them. Fuck those leeches.
 
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DoubleEagle

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Am I Entitled to a Refund?
When the airline is at fault:

Passengers are often entitled to a refund of the ticket price and associated fees when the airline is at fault.

  • Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to be rebooked on a new flight on that airline.
 

Frogzilla

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ALL airlines are doing this, not just United. I was set to travel next month to Canada for my brother's bachelor's party. Canada shut its borders and Delta canceled our flights. I was like cool, that's understandable. I call in to request refund, they give me the runaround and tell me that they don't do refunds for pandemics. I say how do you NOT do refunds if YOU were the ones that cancelled our flights? They were like, sorry, here's credit instead valid for a year FROM DATE OF PURCHASE. Mind you, I bought these flights in late February. I'm fighting saying to the supervisor that you and I don't know how long this is going to last, so what good is credit? I get a snarky take it or leave it response. Granted, it isn't as bad as @Trihonda's, but the audacity of them denying refunds to customers while at the same time crying out for bailouts is just ridiculous.


Mind you, I brought this up to the supervisor, and he had a snarky and condescending attitude with his retort: "oh, you actually read the rules and regulations huh?" I'm going through my bank now to see if I can get refunded through them. Fuck those leeches.
My favorite customer service is Southwest...any word on if they are denying refunds too?
 

SixSpeedFury

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Am I Entitled to a Refund?
When the airline is at fault:

Passengers are often entitled to a refund of the ticket price and associated fees when the airline is at fault.

  • Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to be rebooked on a new flight on that airline.
You would think that they would honor that....

My favorite customer service is Southwest...any word on if they are denying refunds too?
Not sure about them, but so far there has been complaints about the big 4 (United, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue) reneging.
 

DJ_Fett

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My favorite customer service is Southwest...any word on if they are denying refunds too?

Different situation but we have Southwest flights to Denver in August. We understand the trip is unlikely to happen, but the prices dropped a LOT. We called, they offered a credit at first but eventually refunded the difference.
 

Tarheel4Life

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Anyone that flew after March 10th, and flew United, was rolling the dice. I travel to the West Coast very frequently and the airlines that fly most frequently from my locale are Delta, United, and Frontier. I don’t care if the flights were free or if they were paying me to fly - I won’t take United or Frontier. If you put a gun to my head, and said pick one, I’d sigh and squeeze into a Frontier seat.

I’d just write it off as bad investment and save yourselves the headaches regarding United. If you try to get your credit card involved, they will typically ultimately find for United.

United is the worrrrrrrrst.
 

RainmanTrail

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Glad you made it home safely. I love the DR. Punta Cana is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. If not THE most.

But I have zero sympathy for anyone as tone deaf as it takes to have made this post below on March 11th, then flew their family on an international vacation, with friends, 3 days later, only to get stranded by international travel restrictions and airline issues. You say this was "before everything blew up", but as multiple people tried to tell you before, no it most certainly was not. My family had already been in quarantine for 2 full weeks by that time. Maybe next time you'll listen when everyone else is telling you that this is series.

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/covid-19-corona-virous-and-your-home-game.53913/post-1027440
 

Mojo1312

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My sympathies go out to you.
Glad you made it home safely. I love the DR. Punta Cana is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. If not THE most.

But I have zero sympathy for anyone as tone deaf as it takes to have made this post below on March 11th, then flew their family on an international vacation, with friends, 3 days later, only to get stranded by international travel restrictions and airline issues. You say this was "before everything blew up", but as multiple people tried to tell you before, no it most certainly was not. My family had already been in quarantine for 2 full weeks by that time. Maybe next time you'll listen when everyone else is telling you that this is series.

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/covid-19-corona-virous-and-your-home-game.53913/post-1027440

Post #4 ^^ Then read post #5 https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/covid-19-corona-virous-and-your-home-game.53913/post-1027441
 
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