Phan: Can’t depend on flying out of Aspen |

Phan: Can’t depend on flying out of Aspen

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Feb. 16 can only be described as a perfect day.

There was not the slightest breeze in the air. My husband, Edward New, and I felt invigorated yet subdued departing Aspen after a few weeks of wonderful skiing. We felt relief that ideal weather conditions prevailed and would not give us departure issues on our homeward flights to Washington, D.C.

We arrived at the Aspen airport at about noon. Our United Express flight was scheduled to depart at 1:52 p.m. Our boarding passes stated we could commence boarding at 1:27. From this point onward, everything slowly unraveled.

Flight records should clearly indicate that we started boarding around 4 p.m. In fact, our flight did not pull away from the gate until 4:30. Due to incoming flights and being in a queue behind a caravan of a half-dozen private jets, we were not cleared for takeoff until shortly after 5.

We never had a chance to connect with our flight from Denver to Washington. We made our way to the customer service desk, and the lines were so long we realized we would have to overnight in Denver. The final indignity after waiting in line for over an hour was United Airlines’ complete lack of compassion from customer service. It was now after 7 p.m.

Not allowing my frustration to get in the way, I calmly asked the agent: “Can you offer us hotel compensation, as our departure from Aspen was not a weather-related delay?” “No, I’m very sorry. We can’t offer you a voucher because our computer indicates your flight was held back by the air control tower,” she responded. I showed her the series of texts we received indicating the contrary, and she would not budge: “We have to go by what is indicated in our system. You should address your complaint for compensation to Aspen airport.”

We have had very favorable flight experiences in other years with United Express. But to our dismay, the new flying standard now leans more on the side of inconsistency, disorganization, and mismanagement. We can no longer depend on United Express as a reliable airline and will choose a method of conveyance more amenable to reach our destination.

David Phan

Washington, D.C.