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Shanghai'ed by UA for Three Days

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shanghaied-by-ua-for-three-daysI'm Pretty Sure We've All Had it Happen.  Our Flight is Delayed.

Our flight is not leaving on time or not leaving at all.  And recently things got a little out of hand, so to speak when a United Airlines flight out of Shanghai, China got delayed - for three days.  The flight, which takes about 13 hours and was supposed to transport 225 people to Newark, New Jersey did not get to its destination until after three days.  And to make matters worse, the passengers seemed to turn on the flight crew in such a way that, depending on the pilot, could have gotten them kicked off entirely.

Of course, frustration is natural when we think we are getting to a certain place at a certain time.  We have every detail planned out when we return, go back to work, etc.  But the frustration level of the United Airline passengers in Shanghai reached such a boiling point that a ticket agent was assaulted and a protest was organized.

United Airlines Passenger Revolt

  • United Flight 87 was cancelled twice because the aircraft, a Boeing 777 needed maintenance.  The third delay was announced because the flight crew had been in the air too long.  As each announcement of a delay was relayed, passengers got more and more agitated to the point that a fist fight ensued.  An airport employee was pulled by his tie across the counter and slapped repeatedly by three angry passengers, according to an onlooker.  Thankfully, other passengers pulled the three people off the counter agent.

  • After the first cancellation, the passengers were put up in hotels.  The second cancellation was because the aircraft needed a replacement generator.  And since the generator had to be shipped from the United States, the part did not make it to China in time for the flight to leave as planned.  The passengers were assured that they would fly out on Friday even if other travelers on flights had to be "bumped."
  • The captain then announced that the original plane was fixed, but at another gate.  And a Chinese passenger refused to leave for the new gate, attempting to organize a "mini" revolt to keep newly arrived passengers from getting on the fixed plane. 

When all was said and done the passengers were taken to the other gate and boarded the plane, only to find that the flight crew had exceeded their hours.  They were told to disembark, yet some passengers refused. 

United Airlines is offering financial compensation for the passengers' expenses and offering full refunds with a $1,000 voucher off future travel.

Parting Thoughts on Delayed Flights

How would you handle a situation like this?  Obviously it's extremely frustrating but the crew has no control over the situation.  When we insist upon getting on a plane that needs maintenance just to return home, that is about as irrational as beating up the airline employee.  And I don't know about you, but I don't want an exhausted pilot flying a plane.  Talk about having a bad work day...

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