Vietnam/Cambodia – Travel Doesn’t Always Go Smoothly

The winter weather is wrecking havoc on the airlines this weekend, especially United, who’s hub in Chicago is a mess.  Of course, my first flight today was LEX – ORD.  I discovered it had cancelled last night only when I went on-line to check in.

I will not belabor the implosion that United is experiencing right now with supporting their agents and customers.  For the past 20 hours, it has not even been possible to get in the queue for their phone system – it simply tells you that they are too busy and to call back or that they are experiencing technical difficulties.

Last night I sent a direct tweet to try and get help and had a response from them this morning that said the earliest they could rebook me to SFO would be on January 9th and that I should contact US Airways for the balance of the trip.

I did talk to a great agent at US Air this morning but she would not have been able to reissue anything even if she could have found a solution as the problem is squarely in United’s court.

I came to the airport early this morning expecting a huge line of customers at the United counter but only had one person in front of me.  Luckily, there were a few superstar agents at the counter to help.  The first option was to rebook the flight to Chicago on the 11:55 a.m. American Airlines flight that was still scheduled to operate.

It still had me going through Chicago O’Hare, which felt a bit like playing Russian Roulette today, but had the benefit of getting me back on schedule with my other flights, assuming that nothing more got cancelled.

Alas, it was too good to be true and I found out the AA flight was cancelled when I arrived back at the airport a couple of hours later.  Luckily, my superstar agents were still on duty and I was their rock star when I was able to give them a couple of options of how I could be rebooked based on my research on the iPad.

The solution is not perfect but will be departing tomorrow to Houston, spending the night there, and then going Houston to Tokyo Narita to Hanoi, arriving on Wednesday night.  So, I lose a day and a half in Hanoi but get back on track from there.  Oh, and they got me on business class for the two long legs.  I don’t think the business cabin on these United operated flight will be as nice as the EVA flights I had booked, but not much choice here.

I’ll need to book a hotel in Houston for tomorrow night and let my hotel in Hanoi know I will be a day late, but not end of the world.  The key lessons are to stay calm, remain flexible, check your flights 24 hours in advance, and have some possible solutions for the customer service agents when you finally get a chance to talk with them.

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One Response to Vietnam/Cambodia – Travel Doesn’t Always Go Smoothly

  1. Bob Serenson says:

    Sounds like you are getting back on track! Happy travels!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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