My original flight was supposed to be 5529 to Colorado Springs. I was there by 4 pm waiting after flying in from San Diego on a connecting flight.
I was manifested in checked in for the flight all the way to COS. The flight was scheduled for 5:05pm and at 4:48 the sign was not updated to show the flight from the gate, and there was no posted time. I had to ask a gate agent at a nearby gate to even find out if the flight was still going. That gate agent from another gate went over and updated the sign at about 4:52 to show a delayed departure time of 5:20.
The flight was delayed twice; once to 5:20, then again to 5:34. I remained in the area waiting for boarding. I received only one notification e-mail about the flight being delayed at 5:09 saying it was delayed until 5:34. There were only around 10 people waiting on the flight so it was a very empty flight.
I watched the people disembark from the plane when it arrived late, around They were disembarking from around 5:10- 5:18. I got a phone call from my wife while I was watching the people disembark, at around 5:15. While I was speaking with her about the delay and my anticipated arrival time, apparently they began boarding for my flight. I did not hear any calls for me and when I turned back around, the gate was closed.
It was 5:26 on my phone. I went up to the gate and knocked on the closed door. There were no gate agents at any gates near me. I watched the time ticking away so I ran down to another gate agent and asked them to call.
They did and said the door was closed and there was nothing they could do. It was about 5:29 at this point. I asked them to call again and ask if they would please reopen and told him I had over $500 in live corals in my checked bag, and I needed to get on the flight with my bag. He said he wouldn't call again.
I asked him three times, and when he finally called again, he just asked if the door was closed, he didn't ask if they would wait for me. It was the last flight of the night to Colorado Springs. They could have held the almost empty flight. They didn't call for me by name.
They basically hurried the boarding and left within minutes without making any attempt to ensure all waiting passengers were boarded. I was right there. I've flown for over 30 years on just about every domestic carrier and most South American carriers and I've never had such abrupt and callous service. I went to the United Customer service agent and told her what happened.
She said "United Express never calls for passengers by name. You should have been there". Her total lack of customer service skills was immediately apparent when she admitted they don't try to ensure all passengers are boarded, but then quickly blamed me. The slightest amount of training should have given her the skillet be empathetic, even if there was nothing she could do.
I categorize this experience as the biggest customer service fail I have ever experienced in flights to every state in the United States (every state at least twice except for Minnesota where I've only flown once). The gate signage was not updated within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. The e-mail notification of delayed departure missed the first delay, only showed the second delay and arrived less than 30 minutes before departure time. The boarding time was obviously hurried see the gate agent and crew could split early, and they left me hanging.
The other gate agent was not helpful, not empathetic, and didn't even simply ask over the radio if they would accommodate me. The Customer service agent told me about the poor service from United Express, but was still not empathetic. My bag was sent on a plane without me. I was put on a later flight to Denver, almost 80 miles from my destination and I had to spend $200 for a ride in the snow to my home.
I got a notification telling me my bag would be arriving in Denver, but it arrived in Colorado Springs. Luckily my wife was able to go out in the blizzard and after getting my son to push her to get the car unstuck to get out of our street, she was able to get the bag for me in Colorado Springs and put the $500 worth of live corals into warm water. In short, I was neglected, and nobody game a ***. I wasted over two hours, $200 dollars, and my wife had to risk her safety getting onto dangerous roads in our car to get my bag.
I couldn't be more dissatisfied with my experience with this trip. The first gate agent, who was late showing up and updating the signage could have prevented every bit of this. They could have made an announcement looking for me. They could have remained at the door instead of closing it and running off immediately.
The last flight of the night could have been held briefly. The second agent could have simply asked if they would open the gate for me. The plane had not pushed back yet!. The customer service agent probably shouldn't have said United Express never calls for manifested and checked in passengers before closing the gate.
She should have shown a slight amount of empathy.
The simplest things make a huge difference when someone's day has just been thrown into disarray - for whatever reason. I am completely unhappy with the terrible service I received.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.