I have taken United Arlines (UA) flights from St. Louis to Shanghai couple times. This one is probablly most adventurous. The main problem was caused by the weather in Chicago. I thought this newly created ORD to PVG routes by UA and AA would benifit people in the Midwest: save one stop, for instance, if we take Northwest, we will have to stop twice, at Detroit/Minneapolis and Tokyo. But on March 2nd Chicago got wind and light snow. The flight from STL to ORD got delayed for about 3 hours. When I looked at the TV screen after I got to Chicago at 10:30, I could not find the 10:15 ORD PVG flight. So I waited patiently in a “200 miles long” line at the United customer service. This “200 miles” is quoting a lady lined after me. I also called the United hot line on the phone, all I got was the computer response. I guess there were so many delays and cancellations, and UA don’t have enough people to take the calls.
At 12:15 finanlly I got my chance talking to customer service. The lady told me the only thing she can do is to book me on next day flight. Spend my one day vacation on snowy and windy Chicago? I asked her if I could try the ORD to Beijing flight at 12:42 PM. She said I could try the luck at gate but warned the flight is “very full”. I took the shuttle and went to the gate C18. They told me “the flight is full”. I saw some people are on the “standby”. Because my original flight is to Shanghai I was not even on the waiting list. But I waited. My oppertunity comes at the last minute. One male agent told me he could put me on the standby for the next day to Shanghai, I said I could not accept that. Then the lady agent told she can book me today. I got the boarding pass; the door at the gate is already closed. I was the last one to board the Boeing 747 plane 🙂
The whole adventure did not end up here. I got another problem when boarding the CA (Air China, Guo Hang) plane from Beijing to Shanghai, the gate agent told me they need some paper work besides the boarding pass issued in Chicago. They need the paper work for reimbursement purpose, i.e., got money from United Airline. Oh, well, eventually the CA ground supervisor talked to United guys in the airport, settled the paper work for me, and gave me a seat on a later flight departs at 7:30.
Now I am waiting patiently for my checked luggages. I was told one (out of two) will arrive today.