Thursday, January 07, 2016

Last United Airlines Experiences from Kuwait

It seems to me that since United is pulling out of the GCC (last flight from Kuwait on January 13), perhapsee they have a different level of service on their remaining flights.  Just sayin...

December 18, 2015

Full flight, Kuwait to DC.  We were on the ground and the flight was delayed before boarding at the gate.  When the UA representatives finally made an announcement, they told us that the plane was short on fuel and that we would have to stop in Boston for refuelling.  Huh?  We're still on the tarmac.  There is no fuel in Kuwait?  What - have all the reserves dried up overnight?

I kept saying, "Please come to Boston.  She said NO!!!" (but we did anyways).  Chowdah, anyone?

Ok, so we flew (late) into Boston where we sat on the plane while they refueled.  Get this - the passengers who were actually flying to Boston on connecting flights from DC were NOT ALLOWED to get off the plane in Boston.  They had to continue on to DC where they had already lost their connecting flights.  Niiiiiiice.  Everyone on the plane was good-natured; probably because it was around Christmas.  Bahstin dudes waved hello to their moms and we were off to DC, a mere 5 hours late.

(We all received a $100 voucher.)

October 19, 2015

(I will share my letter to United.  I received 2000 frequent flier points for the inconvenience.)

I just had the scariest flight I’ve been on in my 20 years in Kuwait.  UA982 to Kuwait.  The pilot attempted to land in Kuwait during a lightning storm during high winds and heavy turbulence.  Many passengers got physically sick.  Several were crying, including elderly people. 

We were diverted to Bahrain where I am now (where the pilot made a heavy landing in good weather conditions).  We have been sitting here for the past 3 hours.  We were given limited  information on the plane.  We have been given zero information on the ground.  No announcements have been made. We don’t know if the flight will leave from here or if we will stay in hotels. 

To make matters worse, both civilians and military personnel are now being treated rudely by ground personnel.  The only bathrooms and food venues are at the end of the hall.  People who left the gate area are now having to wait behind ropes and not allowed back into a seating area where they might be comfortable – after both a long flight and delays.  No food vouchers have been provided.  The ground staff is rude and shouting at/arguing with at each other from one end of the hallway to another.   There is NO United representative available.

I certainly wouldn’t want to fly with United again if I were any of these people. Passengers – including US military personnel - have been treated like cattle after a very scary ordeal.  It isn’t right.  Everyone (194 returning to Kuwait) on that flight should receive an apology for being treated with zero compassion. 

Follow-on E-mail

As an addition to my earlier e-mail, we were on the ground in Bahrain for a total of 8 hours.  While there, I witnessed 8 loud/angry arguments- several involving (name) a United direct employee.  He lost his composure, shouted back, walked away.    The most interesting of those arguments was between (name) and the Bahraini police, who asked to see him and other members of staff present once the flight was en route to Kuwait.  The police were visibly angry (shouting) because passengers were not allowed into the gate area at the direction of United staff.  Which meant – once you left the gate area to either go to the bathroom or get food, you were not allowed back in;   It wasn’t a matter of a few minutes, but in some cases, 5 hours. 

Through this ordeal, no one gave out water or meal vouchers.  I asked another United staff member (and there were 200 people around so I didn’t get his name as no one had name tags) repeatedly for a hotel voucher (after 6 hours).  He responded that most of the hotels were full and he would “have to check.”  He then went on to assist other angry passengers.

No announcements were made.
No one checked on passengers to see if anyone had been hurt or required medical assistance after the heavy turbulence and a 1500 foot drop in altitude.
The captain made no apology.
No water was handed out.
No food vouchers.
No hotel vouchers/assistance.

It was horrible.  We took off after waiting for 8 hours with no assistance.  The original UA flight crew was exhausted.  The refresh crew (brought in on a Gulf Air flight from Kuwait) was pleasant and the ONLY time anyone apologized (and only for the “delay”) was the purser on the flight from Bahrain to Kuwait.

In all, I traveled for 25 hours from Washington DC to Kuwait.  

- end - 

Ok, I have got to say that United has been very good to me in all the years that they've been flying in/out of Kuwait and that I will truly miss their direct service into DC and their office staff here in Kuwait.  I flew Emirates (see below) on the return trip this time from DC to Kuwait.  The economy class seats are smaller - 17" compared to 19" on UA.  There is no "Economy Plus" on Emirates like there is on United (giving an additional 5" of space between you and the fat guy in front of you, reclining his seat).  But - Emirates business class kicks UA's business class' butt.  Way nicer - plus a Bvlgari (not Body Shop, UA!!!) toiletries set.  NICE TOUCH.

As my mom says, "Move home and you wouldn't have this problem."  True, but then I would be paying taxes and wouldn't be able to afford flying anywhere.  And if that Big Orange Turd gets into the White House, we'll all be paying $5 for gas again so I won't be able to drive.  Sigh.


sala6a said...

Oh dear!

Riaz Saleemi said...

I think paying taxes is much better than living without taxes

michelle hill said...

Your mom misses you, but you are still young and living the dream.