Flying un-United

United has just located Pat Hickey’s suitcase!
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People often ask me why I drive to as many road games as possible and I explain that it’s usually more reliable and convenient.

That opinion has been reinforced by my recent experiences on United Airlines.

When I arrived in Denver last night, the pilot congratulated himself for getting up to the gate 15 minutes early. As we departed from the plane, he thanked us for flying United. Forty-five minutes later, I discovered that my bag and I weren’t United. A computer check showed it as still sitting at Dulles Airport in Washington but I was assured that I will have it before I fly to Dallas tomorrow morning.

Last month, I flew United to Atlanta. Being a seasoned traveller, I know the first flight in the morning is usually the best bet in winter because the plane is there and ready to go. This time, they discovered that the plane which had been sitting on the tarmac for 10 hours had a mechanical problem. Since it was Thanksgiving, the mechanic had to be called in from home. The end result? A four-hour delay, a missed connection in Washington and Thanksgiving dinner at Five Boys Burgers (coming soon to Montreal) at Dulles Airport.  

I did get to Atlanta the same day which is better than my United flight to Atlanta last season On that occasion, I got as far as Washington only to be told that bad weather had closed the airport in Atlanta. A later check showed that United was the only airline which felt the conditions weren’t suitable.

Add the enhanced pat-down – mandatory when you’ve had two knee replacements – and you should understand why I’d rather hop in my car. It’s never lost my luggage.   

44 Comments

  1. jennifer1984 says:

    but what if you are going home for christmas for 2+ weeks? i needed 2 checked bags! luckily with all the problems i had, they tagged my baggage priority. nice to have them come down the baggage claim first for once in my life.

  2. Psycho29 says:

    Five Guys has been open in Vaudreuil for a few months now. As far as fast food goes…..AMAZING!

    Best burgers and fries…..A bit pricier than most…..but amazing!!!!

  3. New says:

    Man airplane travel is for the birds. Chubby old sports reporters are notorious for hijacking planes but extras from the movie Phantasm cruise on through. You really can’t drink because when you board you’d need to stand in line to use the can and there’s someone in there giving birth, providing you aren’t ground bound for a couple hours and seat tied anyway. No one can read seat numbers. You have to smile and explain that 14 is after 12 and this is 11. You get settled and the guy beside you needs to get into the overhead bin for something where the guy in 14 put his crap anyway. If you get an aisle seat they ram carts into your fingers. If you get a window seat you can see the gremlins tossing Hickey’s bags. If you’re in the middle you don’t get an arm rest and they make you watch a video confirming you have no chance of getting out if necessary. The stewarts and hostess always walk by and stare at your crotch, then tell your seat needs to be fully upright. You discover that your seat is broken so you pretend to sit fully upright.  Soon as the plane takes off the guy with the greasy dreds reclines his seat into your lap. Like you were his dentist or something. The guy on your left is fiddling with his shoe and lighter. You hope the dreds don’t catch his attention. The guy on your right is drooling on your shoulder.  You try and lean back on your broken seat but the lady behind you says “Excuse me!” in one of those irritating voices that just tells you she can make this flight even more miserable for you. When they land they won’t let you off but people still think it is faster to stand up and put their carry on in your face.  Then if  there’s a storm and you can’t disembark, they turn off the air, and you sit.  The staff treat you like cattle in a pen throughout, probably because you accept it.   Your bags don’t come onto the carousel till last, and if they do someone grabs them into a crowd of 250 people never to be seen again. The little pictures of bags to circle on the loss report don’t look anything like yours. When you get out of the terminal the only vehicle left is driven by someone who used to be a pilot so he circles the airport and city twice before landing at your hotel.  The phone in your room is blinking. Good news your bag is safe and sound right where you checked it in. When it arrives it smells of WD40 and glows in the dark.

    You pay for this.

     

  4. jennifer1984 says:

    same thing happened to me on Wednesday morning.

    after being told i would miss my connection (flying Air Canada) at night, they booked me on the first a.m. flight so i could make it to my mom’s on time. but the plane had been sitting for 6 hours overnight and surprise….. mechanical problems!! so my flight was cancelled.

     

    i hate flying. i would have drove but i was coming home early and my boyfriend will be driving to meet me at christmas in our hometown. we’ll drive home together. way to go flying.

  5. Chuck says:

    Traveler’s rule #1: never take anything (or enough) that you have to check. If you can’t carry it on, you’ve got too mch.

    Centre Hice: Sainte Flanelle, illustrated history: 1935-36

  6. Chuck says:

    I lived off of the Five Guys location in Arlington, VA (just outside of Washington) when I was visiting there. THE BEST burgers, hands down.

    Centre Hice: Sainte Flanelle, illustrated history: 1935-36

  7. NightRyder says:

    Why are you so anal about the complaints? If you don’t want to read them, don’t bloody read them.

  8. D Alcorn says:

    Peaches and Herb sang about this airline :  

    Dis-united and it feels so good …

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex

  9. t1tan5 says:

    Why are some people so anal about this post? If you don’t want to read it, don’t bloody read it! Anyways, US based airlines are absolutely horrible. There’s a reason that Air Canada (a terrible airline as well iMO) is the best airline in North America.

  10. sidhu says:

    The Habs I/O writers are taking a very liberal approach to what relates to the Habs and will be of interest to the readers. 

    The fact that a writer’s car was vandalized by Flyers fans, in my mind, falls within something that would be relevant and interesting, whereas a problem with an airline is stretching things a bit too far.

  11. Izzy says:

    sorry…dbl post

  12. Izzy says:

    last time I flew from mtl to LA my luggage was sent to Spain. I had just arrived for a two week gig wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Three suits, a blazer, several ties, dress pants, electric razor, toiletries, camera, reading glasses…..all in the hands of someone named Enrique in Barcelona. One month later back in Mtl, my insurance company coughed up 1500.00 for my loss ,as they hadnt been able to recover my bags.

     Eight months after that I receive a message from Air Canada that my luggage was at the airport….lol…two pairs of underwear, one shirt so gawdy that it wasnt worth stealing and two rolls of undeveloped film were inside.

     

    still hearing chuckles from the organisers of the conference I was working as I flip flopped 2 ties and two pair of dress pants each day for the two weeks.

  13. Izzy says:

    last time I flew from mtl to LA my luggage was sent to Spain. I had just arrived for a two week gig wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Three suits, a blazer, several ties, dress pants, electric razor, toiletries, camera, reading glasses…..all in the hands of someone named Enrique in Barcelona. One month later back in Mtl, my insurance company coughed up 1500.00 for my loss ,as they hadnt been able to recover my bags.

     Eight months after that I receive a message from Air Canada that my luggage was at the airport….lol…two pairs of underwear, one shirt so gawdy that it wasnt worth stealing and two rolls of undeveloped film were inside.

     

    still hearing chuckles from the organisers of the conference I was working as I flip flopped 2 ties and two pair of dress pants each day for the two weeks.

  14. madcap_habsfan says:

    Isn’t there any other airline you could fly? or is it pretty much the same deal across the board?

     

     

    -“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” Chuck Palahniuk

  15. Robert L says:

    I’m just wondering how many KM’s are on Pat’s ’96 Accord these days?

    Mine (a ’97) made it almost to 400,000 before she was put out of misery!

  16. tony d says:

    The only reason I fly is for the pat down. hey, ya gotta get it wherever you can.

  17. Framlingem says:

    Second that. My luggage did go awry once, but it worked out pretty well as it had gotten sent on ahead to my final destination and was hand-delivered by AC to my front door the day after I arrived. I can’t say enough good things about the AC staff in Halifax airport, either.

  18. Ace says:

    Air Canada is far from perfect, but no other airline in North America matches their level of service, getting passengers (with bags) to their destinations safely and on time.  We only aver see the complaints from people who fly once a year at $99.00 who are unfairly unrealistic in their expections…but for every one of them there’s 10000 guys like Dave who know they get the job done.

  19. Ace says:

    Hmm, “My brother-in-law is a West Jet pilot”…so there’s absolutely no chance of any bias in your comments…LOL (he said rolling his eyes).

  20. NightRyder says:

    I always ask for the patdown, even if they try to wave me through…

  21. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    It was my first time on Air Canada in years.  My brother-in-law is a West Jet pilot, so the wife and I get free passes.  I will never fly Air Canada again after my experience.

  22. MikeMcLaren says:

    Here’s where the Five Guys in Montreal will be.  Add it to your GPS now.  LOL

    468 Rue McGill
    Montreal, QB H2Y 2H4

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  23. The Beer Guy says:

    Please more info on The Five Boys Burger.

    You’re going to love my nuts!

  24. MikeMcLaren says:

    I have a feeling he’s talking about Five Guys ;)

    http://www.fiveguys.com/home.aspx

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  25. SensFanSpezza says:

    LOL!  Just came here to post that link.  Too funny.

  26. Ace says:

    2 thumbs way up on Dave Carroll’s fantastic trilogy, United Breaks Guitars!  Pat, you may want to pass this story on to Dave as he has United’s ear like no other customer in the history of airlines :-)

  27. Danno says:

    This reminds me. United Breaks Guitars

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  28. Ace says:

    I did the travel thing with another NHL team for a few months…trust me, the glamour is over rated.  It’s a tough grind flying to 40 different cities every season, but hats off to guys like Pat & Dave (and the rest) who do it to give us the latest greatest news on our team!

  29. habitual says:

    Pat, air travel sucks for all the reasons you mentioned and more.

     

    But, perspective my friend.  Not only will I trade you jobs (and I like mine), almost everyone on this site would.  Watching 82 Habs games a year plus playoffs ain’t exactly doing hard time.

     

  30. Duracell3 says:

    Being traded and being a UFA and signing elsewhere aren’t actually the same thing.

  31. NightRyder says:

    This morning, I changed things up and put my right sock on first.

    And don’t you hate it when you put a pair of socks in the dryer but you can only find one when it’s finished?

  32. TOEmastro says:

    It’s probably cheaper to buy gas too. Gives new meaning to Road Worrior

  33. NightRyder says:

    Some fine, in-depth hockey analysis. 

    Did you have your Metamucil with breakfast? Does it annoy you having to stand in line for Christmas shopping? Don’t you hate hidden fees on your credit card bill? Doesn’t it make you feel like a criminal when the insurance company grills you when you have something stolen from your car? Did you get your overseas mail off yet? When you’re going for surgery, don’t you hate the way the gown doesn’t do up at the back?

    This morning, I replaced a few Christmas light bulbs. I hate it when I overcook a baked potato. Sometimes, when I take a ferry, it’s a few minutes late. I hate how they clean the trays in the cafeteria with the same dirty cloth. How come whenever I’m the second guy in a left-turn lane, the dullard ahead of my always fails to see the extended-green arrow? Sometimes I like to watch the lady next-door walk out in her underthings to pick up her paper. Don’t you hate it when the cable goes out when you’re watching something interesting? Yesterday, I bought some stocking stuffers.  How come when I take my dogs for a walk, they always poop one more time after I’ve used up all the bags?

    C’mon Mr. Hickey, you’re not Andy Rooney (yet). I know it’s Sunday, but geez!!

  34. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    I bet you’re still pissed over the Ryder trade.

  35. notbigbird says:

    Great post: HIO with a human touch.

  36. NightRyder says:

    Yeah, I have to sit on the other side of that fence.

    Personal details about players that might affect their performance or show them in a more human light? Sure.

    Boring musings about a reporter? Nah.

    I like MMQB by Peter King, until he goes into the awful shyte about himself or his daughter’s softball. Barf.

    Some people like it though. To each his own.

  37. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    I had a similar nightmare with Air Canada in November, first they charge me $75 for my bag being a couple pounds overweight. Then my bag get’s lost somewhere between Montreal and Toronto. Then in TO I find my flight to Ft. Lauderdale has been cancelled.  They book me on a flight to Miami which is departing in a couple minutes, so I get to sprint down the concourse and just barely make it to board the plane.  Then in Miami I had to spend hours trying to figure out where my bag was and when I would recieve it.  I swore that day I would never fly Air Canada again.

  38. NightRyder says:

    I had oatmeal for breakfast.

    One spoonful of brown sugar.

    When I was done, I put the bowl and the spoon in the dishwasher.

  39. Dave Stubbs says:

    And Air Canada recently was named North America’s best airline. Never had a bad experience on our national carrier, and I’ll say this: the voice of Lis Soderberg on the recorded onboard safety instructions defies all description.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter: twitter.com/habsinsideout1

  40. MikeMcLaren says:

    I just figured Hickey made better money by expensing mileage and that’s why he drives everywhere.

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  41. thebigguy says:

    Five Guys Burger is so effin good!

  42. HugeHabsFan says:

    I’m going to have to check this place out.  There’s one right near one of our favorite shopping spots across the border.  We’ll have to make a point of it in the new year. Thanks Mike!

    ………..

    “Thank you Cammy for making my day even more amazing!”

    I STILL BELIEVE. I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE.

    Cammalleri: “I almost feel bad for a guy who plays an NHL career without experiencing what it’s like to be a Montreal Canadien”.

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