United Airlines has been getting a lot of flak in recent months justifiably; who can forget how they treated the doctor who they bumped and pulled off of one of their planes a few months ago? After working with one of their Portland Oregon airport agents, they are back in good graces with me.
When a company like United Airlines does a good thing above and beyond its duty to the customer, I think they should be commended.
No one ever imagined that Hurricane Harver was going to be the catastrophe it currently is in Houston. Had I known that, I would not have attended my Coffee Party USA Board Meeting in Portland Oregon. The hurricane was supposed to approach the Texas coast as a tropical storm. Instead, it grew into a Category 4 hurricane. Suffice it to say it scared the heck out of me especially since my wife was in the house in Kingwood which was bound to take a heavy hit. It was calming that her niece is spending the time with her.
I awoke this morning to the ominous message; FLIGHT CANCELLED. I immediately grabbed the United Airlines app and made a new reservation for that was supposed to get me into Houston twelve hours or so later. Then came the text message -- FLIGHT CANCELLED -- while en route with my Coffee Party USA colleagues to the airport.
All morning my daughter kept calling me from Washington, DC. "Dad, you cannot get to Houston," she said. "The airports will be closed. Go to San Diego and stay with tía until you can get back to Houston." I resisted because I wanted to get back home because I knew how bad things were back home. Well, finally, I was informed that they closed both Houston airports, Hobby and Bush Intercontinental Airport.
When I got to the Portland airport, the woman who attended me was very cordial. I explained that they cancelled all of my flights. She told me she could get me to Dallas. The reality is that there was no way for me to get from Dallas to Houston by car or since the bayou on Interstate 45 was under water.
I decided to try my daughter's advice. I asked the United Airlines attendant to route me through San Diego. The caveat was that I need to layover until they opened up Bush Intercontinental airport in Houston. She told me she did not think that she could do it. She asked a supervisor, and he said he did not believe it they could do it. She then looked up some waivers and could find none. She first said we could rebook for Wednesday. Of course, that meant staying in Portland for three days. One of my Coffee Party colleagues offered me a place in Portland, but I knew she had some meeting throughout the week she needed to take care of and I did not want to impose.
The United Airlines attendant then paused and asked me to wait a minute. She went into the back office and then returned. She said she thought she could get me to San Diego today, and back to Houston from San Diego on Wednesday on my same old reservations. She kept on trying different things in her reservation system and finally said, "I got it, Mr Willies." Suffice it to say I was smiling ear to ear. I called up my sister to let her know I was coming to San Diego and need a bed for a few days. I should be there real late tonight.
The thing is that Hurricane Harvey is a natural disaster and United Airlines could use that as cover to be less than generous. In this instant, they did not, and for that I commend them. They saved me quite a few dollars, and they did the right thing, something they were not compelled to do. Thank you, and I guess I will continue my membership with your credit card. The attendant did remember to tell me that this something they normally do not do and that she had never done it before.