A Travellerspoint blog

Day 19

San Francisco to Banff via Calgary

snow -24 °C
View California, Alberta & British Columbia on petty1912's travel map.

I have not had on good experience on this trip when flying on an American Airline. Today was the crunch point of this trip as far as stress goes. Three days beforehand and the previous day I had confirmed our booking. We woke early and headed to the airport in the pouring rain. And it WAS pouring. Check in was busy and after not being able to identify where we were to line up, we caught a break and someone helped us get checked in and our luggage paid for.

While we were waiting in the departure lounge we noticed that we had all been assigned seats except for Sam. We went to a counter to ask what this meant and we were told that the seats were closed and that while were had indeed paid for five tickets our group had only been assigned 4 seats. The airline asks people to volunteer to give up their seat and they are compensated for doing so. There were three other people/groups in the same situation.

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It is here that I will name the airline - United Airlines.

While I can sympathise that the holiday season is a peak time for them, they failed to provide a level of service that even they would have appreciated if they were in our shoes. They did not open the counter prior to departure in our lounge, they sent one lady who opened the boarding counter and promptly ignored anyone who asked her questions and announced that everyone with a boarding pass was to board the plane. No other staff member turned up, so this lady was left to deal with us by herself. She did that by pretending we weren't there.

The main gripe here is that the airline did not ask anyone to give up their seats, so that option wasn't offered to anyone. Paul and I decided to split up and we lined up at separate counters. As luck would have it we got the only available seat in First Class and the others missed out. We were all very emotional with one woman really giving it to United in being so disgusting in the treatment of their customers. I felt so bad to leave them behind and yet very relieved that one of us wasn't going to be left behind. I will never, ever fly with them again.

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So the flight left about 25 minutes late but we arrived in Calgary almost on time. Customs and Immigration was hassle free and it was a pretty easy task finding our bus to Banff. Outside the city was blanketed in snow and it was cold. DAMN COLD. A very frosty . I have never been in weather so cold. When we collected our luggage it was freezing, we would later find out why.

The drive to Banff took just over 90 minutes. It was very comfortable in the heated bus and without any incident. Once we were in our rooms, the second slap of the day revealed itself in that all of our bags except for Pauls was wet, like the contents inside. Most of it soaking! The swearing and cursing of United Airlines continued unabated into the night and after an hour of hand washing, our rooms resembled Chinatown.

We had arrived and that was the main thing. Tomorrow we wake up in a winter wonderland and what a great thing that will be.

Posted by petty1912 22:18 Archived in Canada

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