Chapter 3: UAL

Los Angeles Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
My United Airlines flight out of LAX should be boarding, but it isn’t.  I sit and wait at the gate while a girl behind me breaks up with her boyfriend over her cell phone. They takw their time, and it’s painful.

I notice a tall, attractive blonde in line talking to the agent. She wants to know what’s going on and if it will affect our connections.  She doesn’t believe what the agent is telling her.  

With UAL you can never trust what you’re being told, and as the minutes slip into hours you find out that now it’s too late.  

She and her conversation are more interesting than the girl behind me who is still breaking up with her boyfriend by phone. “You go girl” I think and wonder if I’ll make my connection in Chicago.

Not all UAL employees are unwilling to help.  One time a UAL stewardess gave me a bottle of cheap champagne and two $20 UAL certificates.  

I was sitting in a middle seat when she poked me in the eye with the corner of a brochure.  The passenger by the window, the intended recipient, turned out to be a doctor and sent me to look at my eye. The bathroom mirror confirmed that my eye was as red as it should be white.

The stewardess saw me on the way back to the seat. That’s when she gave me the bottle of cheap champagne and gift certificates.

UAL got a letter from me and I heard from their lawyers.  They demanded medical reports that I didn’t have and without which they wouldn’t discuss the matter.  My eye was improving and I didn’t want a legal battle with a major airline, so I let the matter drop.  I gave the cheap champagne away and never used the gift certificates.

The flight took off only 35 minutes late, so with almost 90 minutes layover in Chicago I breathed easy.  

When I fly I catch up on my reading, filling my laptop case with magazines, which I read and leave on the plane. My bag gets lighter which makes me happy.  I read Times, Forbes and Rolling Stone.  Out of magazines, I begin reading the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Volume 1. I’m on Chapter Two when we land in Chicago at 8:05 PM CST.  

At 8:10 I study the big display to find most departing flights on time, except my flight to Dane County Regional Airport - delayed an hour.  My gut tells me the delay will get worse; to rent a car and drive two hours to Madison.  I tell my gut not to be so negative.

But as I make my way to Gate F11 I wonder how much it would cost to switch my Dollar Rent-a-car reservation to Chicago, with a Madison drop-off.

I reach gate F11 at 8:15, and it’s a zoo. I take a seat, and a young brunette to my right shares the news that the delay is weather related.  Knowing that most flights are on time, my UAL-o-meter is on hyper-alert. I dial 411 and connect with Dollar reservations.  

Dollar informs me of a $300 “drop-off fee" to leave a Chicago rental in Madison.  I respectfully decline and call Budget, a number I already have in my phone.  

They offer me the same wretched deal.
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