Thebastidge: Back in Baghdad
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    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Back in Baghdad

    So, this is the end of the blog hiatus for a while. I was pretty tired of geeking out online when I left Iraq, but now that I'm back in Baghdad blogging looms large in my entertainment options again.

    First I have negative press for United Airlines. I left thursday morning. I can't believe how badly they screwed up on the way here. On top of that, they just outright lied to get out of paying for my hotel. I left P-town and arrived in Chicago right on time, to find blue skies and fair temperatures. However, to my surprise and consternation, I find my flight is delayed by over an hour and some other flight is taking up the gate I'm supposed to depart from. Then a second plane takes that gate before I get to leave.

    So I go stand in line at customer ervice, because I will clearly miss my connecting flight to Kuwait if I don't leave earlier. over 90 minutes of standing in line later, I'm next up at the counter and final boarding call for my flight is announced. I ran to the gate and almost didn't get on the plane- they'd given my spot away and now *I* was on standby for the flight I was already booked for! They squeezed me in- (I was very irate at this point and not being shy about it.) so I got to Dulles 25 minutes after my connecting flight to Kuwait had already left. Then I stood in line at (so-called_ customer service again for another 2 hours and 45 minutes, only to be told that weather had caused my delay and therefore I was not due compensation for a hotel, and by the way, there are no more flights to Kuwait for 2 days. This screwed me doubly because it caused me to miss the connecting Mil Air flight I was booked on and now I had to go on standby to get from Kuwait to Iraq.

    When I attempted to escalate the problem, United very conveniently told me that there is no 24-hour telephone number I could call, I ould have to send an email through the website. Apparently, they can't be bothered with customer complaints.

    Throughout the process, United personnel were scarce and couldn't be bothered much to stir themselves. I can almost sympathize, given the LARGE volumes of pissed-off people they had managed to create through their incompetence, that the front line employees would have frazzled tempers and tired attitudes. However, there's a root reason for all those pissed-off people and it lies squarely on the airline's mismanagement.

    United claims it was weather that delayed me; but I had clear skies the entire length of my trip. They CHOSE to expedite other flights that were already late over my flight which could have been on time, and then they lied to me about whay it happened, and stuck me in Washington DC for two days with no compensatory effort. I'll be telling people about United's poor service for months, at a minimum.

    when I finally left Dulles, late Saturday night, it was a 12 hour flight into Kuwait, and then off to the Air base nearby. Since I missed my military flight from Kuwait, I had to go on standby and go to the passenger terminal every hour or so to see if I could get on the next one leaving, which finally happened around 4:30 am. got into BIAP and had a few hours to kill until I could get transportation to the IZ, but I finally made it in early in the morning on Tuesday.

    That pretty much catches me up to my first day of work.

    2 Comments:

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dude, if you were stuck in DC, you should have called! I would have certainly put you up for a while. Well, should it happen again, let me know!

    ~Mike

    10:03 AM  

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