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Thursday, May 2, 2013

It pays to be 1K

I was so excited at the end of last year to reach 1K status on United, knowing that I was probably going to be doing a lot of flying between here and Doha for school.  And I haven't regretted getting the complimentary upgrades to First for many of the flights I've been on.

But I was thankful to have the status after a recent issue flying back from a short trip to Miami, where I ran into a delayed flight, missed connections, and a forced overnight in Denver.

Frustration #1: Flight pushed back "early".  Now, to clarify, the flight had already been delayed by 30 minutes to a specified time, but when a time is set, what are the rules?  Can you just leave ahead of the time listed?  In my case, deciding to leave 10 minutes before the stated time meant I missed my connection.  And forced an overnight in Denver.  When I asked the gate agents about it (after pounding on the door to try and get their attention), they were extremely flippant and offered no help.  "You'll just have to wait" was the response.  How terrible.  When I pointed out that it left 'early', all they said was that it had already been delayed - but then, the next question was if I had been on a delayed Dulles flight.  When I said no, it was "too bad".  Since when do other flight delay locations matter???

Frustration #2: Staying the overnight. United, please understand that it's NOT helpful to post a sign with the 800 number for hotel options just outside of the customer service area saying "call and you will be able to get a room".  Instead, it was really "do you have a code?  If not, too bad - you need to get one" which is code for "you need to stand in a line 3 miles long and wait".  After being in the 45 minute line, though, I was glad to have waited since my 1K status afforded me a free hotel night (a big thank you to my agent for checking with a supervisor).  I wasn't happy about missing, but happy I didn't have to pay for gate agent stupidity.

The moral of the story is that if you have an option to fly enough to get airline status, get it.  You will not regret the perks when you are in a delayed or cancelled flight situation and need assistance with hotels or rebooking.

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