Monday, June 4, 2012

Virginia: Landing At The Lansdowne

We're just waking up at the Lansdowne Resort in Northern Virginia, after flying LHR-IAD on a later flight than originally planned. What happened?

After the water leak was fixed, the pilot said he was waiting for the repair to be approved by a senior inspector at United Headquarters in Chicago. That didn't happen in time, and the pilot announced that the flight crew had gone "illegal," that is they would exceed their maximum required time on duty if they flew the plane.

It was a full 767 and some passengers were unhappy since the same flight the previous day had also been canceled. Once we were off the plane, the gate agent instructed us to go through Immigration, pick up their bags, and meet outside. We were to be taken by bus to a hotel somewhere. Later in the day a UA representative would visit the hotel and tell us what had been scheduled for us. First Class and Global Services (highest revenue customers) were asked to wait for their own instructions but we weren't so off we went.

We were at the back of the crowd. As we reached a crucial intersection, we explained why we were there to one employee directing people, and she told us to re-clear security and talk to customer service.

We did that and ended up at the UA customer service counter near the Star Alliance Lounge, the spot we'd started from six hours earlier.

The agents first said we'd come to the wrong place but told us they would help us. They rebooked us on a flight leaving in a couple of hours - and still in Business! The employee couldn't help us much with the second leg. We retreated to the lounge, and Kathy got in touch with the UA Premier Line via Skype on our netbook. The first call was disconnected and she tried again. Brian left for the gate to doublecheck our seats as Kathy tried again. We met up at the gate and Kathy was able to report we were book IAD-SEA - in First! - for the following day.

We slept quite a bit during the flight and proceeded through Global Entry without a problem. We found our way to the UA ticket counter, where another friendly agent fixed us up with accommodation at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg. It's a long shuttle ride but not a bad place,and certainly not the dump we feared it might be.

Now it's back to the airport to catch our mid-day flight to Seattle. We also have a bit of compensation offered by United. We'll check the options later and accept it graciously.

We're sorry for the all of the people truly inconvenienced. Through luck rather than skill, we did all right.

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