United Airlines Saga: Flight Cancelled, then Rebooked, then New Flight Cancelled

Good afternoon everyone.  My friend Jim sent me the following story about his recent United Airlines cancelled, then rebooked, then cancelled flight.  He has a few questions about his experience, so if you know the answers, please leave a comment below.

The Story

  • Flight was delayed due to late inbound flight.
  • Flight was delayed again because no crew was available.
  • After boarding the flight, the pilot told us we had too much fuel, and it would take 30 minutes to burn the additional fuel.
  • It took over 90 minutes to burn the additional fuel.

Image source: https://travelsort.com/united-compensation-for-flight-delays-and-delayed-baggage/

  • Passenger complained to flight attendant that it was too freaking hot on the plane at 12:50am on 2/5.
  • Flight attendant told the pilots about the complaint at 12:52am on 2/5.
  • Pilot continued to burn fuel for another 45 minutes.
  • Plane returned to the gate.
  • Police came on board to escort the passenger off the plane who complained about the plane being too freaking hot.
  • By this point, the crew had worked too many hours, and the flight was cancelled at 1:45am on 2/5.
  • Passengers exited the plane and went to the gate for hotel and food vouchers.
  • United Blue Jacket William (supervisor) worked at the gate on 2/5 from 1:45am to 2:30am and told everyone the flight would be rescheduled for the morning.
  • I and many passengers requested flight confirmations, but the Blue Jacket William told everyone not to worry, there would be a United flight from Chicago (ORD) to Peoria (PIA) in the morning.
  • When I got to the hotel, I called United and I was booked on a 5:23pm flight from ORD to PIA on 2/5.  I told United we were promised by Blue Jacket William that we would be on a morning flight, but that did not happen.
  • United canceled all afternoon/evening flights from ORD to Central Illinois (where PIA is located) on 2/5.
  • United put me on an American Airlines flight from ORD to PIA which departed at 8:14pm on 2/5.
  • American Airlines flight arrived in PIA on 2/5 after 9:30pm.

Chicago to Peoria, IL (Great Circle Mapper). Image source: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=ord-pia

The Questions

  • Why didn’t United use another plane and crew to avoid significant delays?
  • Why did United put too much fuel on a plane before departing?
  • Why did the United pilot continue to burn fuel for 45 minutes knowing that we are going to return to the gate to have the passenger escorted off the plane for complaining the plane was too freaking hot?
  • Why did United give our flight two pilots and a flight attendant that were close to working too many hours for the day?
  • Why did United’s supervisor Blue Jacket William lie to us and tell us that we would be rebooked on a morning United ORD to PIA flight?
  • Why did United not rebook passengers right after we got off the plane?
  • Why did United cancel all of their evening flights from ORD to Central Illinois (PIA, CMI & SPI), when American Airlines flew all of their evening flights from ORD to Cental Illinois (BMI, PIA & CMI)?

Before Jim files a formal complaint with the DOT (Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75 U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590), he wanted to give United Airlines an opportunity to make this right.  How did United respond? None of his questions were answered, he was simply given 6,250 United miles. United wasted an entire day for him at Chicago O’Hare, so he came to the conclusion “it is what it is”, there is nothing more that United can do for him.

What do you think?  Do you have any answers for Jim?

5 thoughts on “United Airlines Saga: Flight Cancelled, then Rebooked, then New Flight Cancelled

  1. rjb

    Lesson # 1 United sucks. Don’t fly United.
    Lesson # 2 Don’t believe anything United says. “Actions speak louder than words” -Oscar Munoz
    Lesson # 3 It’s 165 miles from ORD to Peoria ~2.5 hours. Why would you wait in Chicago for a day? Find someone else on your plane who want to go to Peoria and rent a car.

    OP sound like someone who wants everything handed to him. Just get it done.

  2. ctbarron

    #3 above. Good lord just drive at that point. No, he shouldn’t have to do that (UA should operate more effectively) but…

  3. AlohaDaveKennedy

    United breaks guitars – it was unreasonable to expect that they wouldn’t break promises, too.

  4. Hv

    I did remember once in a time, United cancelled one of my express flight. One passenger suggested to gate agent about providing ground transportation (4 hour drive). The gate agent indeed chartered a bus for all of us that willing to ride.


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