I had a rough first trip on United Airlines this week, with a creeping flight delay leading to a rather comical number of gate changes within a short time period that resembled a game of musical chairs. Tis the season for musical gates…
A Game Of Musical Gates In Denver Courtesy Of United Express
I took a day trip to Colorado Springs this week to visit an old friend and almost declared a trip in vain thanks to the unreliable operations of CommutAir (now rebranded as CommuteAir) on behalf of United Express.
United used to operate a nonstop SkyWest service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Colorado Springs (COS), but it has been cut due to the regional jet pilot shortage. Even when the service ran, however, the late departure from LAX and early departure from COS meant I usually connected from Denver (DEN) anyway. When I go to COS, I like to make it a day trip. That means the first flight out from LAX to DEN (a 5:20 am departure) and the last light back (8:20 pm). With well-timed connections, that gives me about six hours in COS.
But this week, there seemed to be one issue after another with my connection from DEN to COS. First, a delayed-arrival, then a mechanical issue, then a mechanical issue with the replacement aircraft.
By the time we finally left, two hours late, I was about ready to give up on the trip and fly somewhere else. But perhaps the most comical part of it was the gate changes from B55 to B82 and then back to B57.
United sends out updates via text messages. Take a look:
It felt like a game of musical chairs; a game of elimination involving players, chairs, and music. Honestly, walking back and forth felt a bit like Airplane!
But I made it! Finally…
Flight delays happen. Hopefully the fairly aggravating “creeping” delay on my first United trip of the year is not an omen of things to come. In any case, while mainline operations are superb, you’ve got to be patient right now when traveling on regionals.
A points blogger has gone to visit a friend in Colorado Springs. Wonder who that could be .
Where is the photo caption? How are we supposed to know what this means? Is this blog not ADA accessible? Racism!
Use your imagination.
Tried that. I’m low IQ.
I love the poorly educated!!!
We’re the best.
Matthew, do you know if LAX-NRT is getting canceled on March 25th (which is when they start LAX-HND)? I thought the plan was to fly both of them and offer 2 daily flights to Tokyo from LAX, but now it appears only LAX-HND is on the schedule after March 25.
The weird thing is is I am booked on NRT-LAX on March 30, and it does not show canceled or schedule change on my app. I called United and asked and the first agent said yes it is canceled you need to switch to HND, so I said I’ll call back once I figure it out. Then when I called back the next agent was very confused and said it wasn’t canceled.
So I am very confused with what is going on here. Really hoping this route isn’t canceled! If you could provide any insight that would be much appreciated!
@Matthew just got the email from United I was hoping wasn’t going to come…
LAX-NRT is suspended indefinitely in favor of LAX-HND. I guess there isn’t enough demand to support 2 Tokyo flights from LAX. Seems strange that if American can do 2 United can’t.
Looks like both NRT and HND are on the schedule as of Oct 29 but that’s just a placeholder schedule so who knows if we will ever see both operate. Super disappointed!
I did not hear back from United media folks (yet). Feel free to forward me email and I will cover it tomorrow.
I sadly believe the same thing will happen to the second-daily LHR flight…(BOS-LHR looks in danger too)
I think we need FRA and would be great to see something bold like CDG, though DL/AF do have a lot of capacity on route plus connecting flights…
@Matthew not sure how to upload images in the comments so added it to imgur: https://imgur.com/a/E0TIEL7
What really annoys me the most in the situation is that they rebooked me on NRT-SFO-LAX instead of just rebooking me on HND-LAX.
Funny enough, both LAX-HND and LAX-NRT were originally going to be starting on March 3, so I was originally booked on LAX-HND on the way out and NRT-LAX on the way home. A month or so back they pushed LAX-HND back to March 25, so I had to move to LAX-NRT, and now I am having to move to HND-LAX on the way home.
And I totally agree with you about the second daily LAX-LHR, I am really worried about that as well. I think it would have made much more sense to add FRA or MUC as then you can really access all of Europe via that flight. I have expressed my frustration of the lack of a UA flight to FRA or MUC to my United business rep. They say the LH flight covers it, but it is not the same as a flight on UA metal, I can’t use my PlusPoints as easily and it is just a pain.
Also, not sure if you noticed, but LAX-MEL is getting reduced to 3x weekly from daily on March 25 for the summer season. Looks like it then goes back to daily next winter starting Oct 28. This change isn’t as big of a deal for me, because firstly they are still serving it year round, and second before the pandemic it was daily from LAX-MEL and 3x weekly from SFO, now it is just the other way around, which does make more sense. Just hope there aren’t further cuts.
I think these changes really do make me question what the future is of United at LAX.
Oh no! That would be very unfortunate if this route was canceled. Very strange timing too, I have been hearing Tokyo is going to have a record spring and summer from US travelers.
Despise regional jet interiors.. I cannot stand 1-2 seating. Lack of symmetry drives me crazy
Lolllllll!!! Me too. I want to stab that type of configuration.
Matthew, did you get a chance to enjoy the new United Club Fly lounge? I was able to pop in last December and really liked it.
Yes, many times now. Love this lounge. Review coming.
Best airline in the solar system.
My son used to fly as a flight attendant with CommutAir. Sounds like nothing has changed with their operation – other than where they fly (they were largely EWR based operations when he flew for them).
Now you feel my pain on flying through DEN twice a month. Dealing with United and Denver airport is a total disaster.
I never saw an explanation of a flight being “less delayed”. Did they expect a round of applause as you boarded?
This is my main frustration with United. Mainline is fine, but the regionals (especially commuteAir) are so much worse. And with one of my bases being in a small Colorado town… United fails most of the time compared to AA using Skywest.
I would like to love United and my 1K status, but commuteAir has turned me over to AA, and frankly, the FAs are happier on AA Flights… surprisingly.
The worst gate change I’ve experienced was at DCA. Four changes in 45 minutes during Xmas crush. Each gate change drew a larger crowds as more folks arrived for the flight . More like musical chairs while folks gazing at their chiming cell phones running from one side of the terminal to other. Something out of a Mel Brooks movie.
LOL – my family always replays that Airplane! scene when there’s a gate change…
My worst one was a morning flight from DFW to STL on AA some years ago. I’d overslept as it was and was in serious danger of missing the flight, which was supposed to depart from Terminal A. I get there just as boarding was supposed to start. Literally as I’m running into the building from my car, I now see on the monitors that it’s departing from Terminal C (this was before the days of the app and text notifications). After getting to C and running full sprint to the gate, I see that the gate has changed AGAIN back to Terminal A. Thank goodness before I started running again, I ran into the flight crew who said they were headed back to A because of a plane swap. Needless to say, after getting to STL, I was very grateful that the client I was coming to meet had arranged for a big BBQ lunch…
This is what United wanted back in 2020 when they kicked us to the curb and backing C5. You get what you pay for. Not saying we didn’t have operational either but 20+ years flying that jet vs c5 having only flown it for few years…
Out of curiosity, why didn’t you just fly to DIA and rent a car to go down to Colorado Springs? It’s just over an hour to get there.
This isn’t Live and Let’s Drive!