Maybe the inauguration wasn’t such a good idea after all…
United Airlines has a serious problem with its intra-terminal bus transport system at Newark Liberty. Long story short, we missed our connection to Washington National this morning because of the snail pace at which the bus was able to transport customers from Terminal C to Terminal A. I’ll lay out the details later, but in no way can we be faulted for missing this flight…
A customer service agent empathized with us, telling us that the bus is a “chronic problem” that “must be addressed by United”. But her only solution was no solution – an afternoon flight would frustrate the very purpose of our trip: to attend the Trump inauguration.
She suggested that we take a train or rent a car, submit the receipt to United, and we would be fully compensated. While I can almost inevitably bet that I will have trouble collecting reimbursement, John and I did not have time to verify our PNR was properly documented.
Time was ticking and we had to act fast: either we scrap the trip and go home (or go to London, John suggested) or make one last desperate attempt to make it.
Early Amtrak trains were sold out and the only one that could potentially get us to Washington in time was $397/each. Sorry, but I won’t take a chance on compensation for a sum that big. Rental cars also were not cheap – over $200 for a one-way rental.
Uber to DC?
John suggested Uber. My response: are you paying? I figured it would also be $400+ and that would just not be worthwhile. I also figured traffic would be horrendous in Washington and a car would be too difficult to navigate, whether we were driving or being driven.
But John opened up the Uber app and we found that Uber X was a $235 flat rate to Washington, DC. When you factor in the fuel and tolls, that was cheaper than renting a car. Moments later we ordered an Uber and hustled out to the curb to meet it.
A Black Chevy Suburban pulled up. John, did you order Uber Black? No, Uber-X. The driver, good-natured Nigel, explained that sometimes demand for Uber Black is low so he also does Uber-X.
So we are on our way to DC in a comfortable Suburban, hoping that we can navigate around the road blocks and get into our hotel in time to drop off bags and return to the Capitol before noon.
I will post live updates on Twitter and recount the whole story later today, hopefully *after*we have attended the swearing in ceremony.