Trying to get to California

So, the flight plan was to go AirNZ to Sydney, Australia.  Switch to a United flight (got a business class ticket because it’s like a 14 hour flight) in Sydney to San Francisco.  One would think that going business class, United would have similar service levels to other airlines…  Nope.  After boarding, the first thing that the head flight attendant says is… “Listen up everyone, we are really short staffed on this flight, so, don’t hit the call button too often”.   I couldn’t believe how rude, curt, and uncivilized this person was in her message.  So, we finally are taxiing onto the runway… then, we stop.  After a few minutes, the captain comes on the PA and states “that there is a warning light” and we have to go back to the jetway.  There we spend the next 3.5 hours sitting in this aircraft, a Boeing 777er, while the techs try to sort it out.  They keep re-booting the aircrafts systems (everything would shut down, all power and lights and climate control).  I believe it took 37 minutes to re-boot this POS.  However, they were not able to make this warning light go away (turns out it was a fuel pump error message).  So, then, they tell us that we have to de-board, but they don’t tell us where to go.  In other words, do we go to the terminal and wait, or are we going to the United counter?  Well, the head flight attendant (in all her stupidity) starts yelling at the economy passengers.  Yelling!!  Telling them that the business and United global passengers must exit first.  She was so rude to those people, truly treated them like dirt.  I, and several other business passengers, were appalled!!  Then, she turns around and starts yelling at us, to let the Globals leave first.  But she couldn’t identify any Global passengers.  So, disorganized.  I couldn’t believe how shitty this airline was in treating its customers.  She doesn’t belong in the air, in my opinion.  So, we were on our way to the United counter, thinking they would tell us which flight to go on… however, we gotta enter Australia.  It wasn’t my intention to enter Australia, hence, I never got a Visa…

I don’t have a Visa.  The immigration officer goes, “what?”.  I state that I was in transit only from NZ, and only switching aircraft, but the shitty aircraft broke down on your runway.  She kinda chuckles, and turns around and asks the supervisor what to do.  Apparently, this type of thing hasn’t happened in a while.  So, all the other passengers who were boarding were from Australia, or were visiting Australia, hence they either had an Australian passport or a Visa already.  So, after a couple of minutes another supervisor comes by and asks me the same questions.  I told her it wasn’t my intention to enter Australia, but the United folks were now telling us that we would have to stay the night in Sydney.  All the immigration people were really nice, she asked me if I would trust her with my passport for 15 minutes while she walked back to the main immigration area to stamp my a visa.  I said no problem.  She returned in that time and gave me my passport back with a visa stamp.  They were nice folks, to not walk me around the whole airport to just get a stamp…  Next, I had to get the luggage (which includes the bike case).  What a pain in the …  Then I finally get to the United counter, which has no United employees; only airport staff were manning the desks.  They handed you a piece of paper (according to your seat class).  the paper said take a bus to your assigned hotel, mine was a Marriott.  There was one United employee, and she kept saying she didn’t know anything and to call the phone number listed on the piece of paper handed to us.  They didn’t tell us which bus to take, which was another adventure in itself.  Anyhow, after a few hours I finally get to the Marriott.  On the way, were were all trying this phone number, and it was “not a functioning number”.  WTF.  So, I call United reservations in the US to get information on which flight i am supposed to take.  She informs me that the other flight and the flights for the following day are full.  I asked if they were sending another aircraft to get the passengers to San Fran.  She replies that there were no 777er available for that route, and that there was a Delta flight.  I said ok on the delta flight, but then she tells me its a economy seat.  No way .  i asked if I would get a refund, she stated that I would have to go to their “feedback” website to ask for a refund.  At that point i knew that United was not going to do anything fro us.  I didn’t take that Delta flight.  Get to the Marriott, and the concierge (a really helpful guy), got me and another passenger a landline to the same 800 number.  This was a few hours after my initial call.  This time I wasn’t going to settle for an economy ticket.  I couldn’t believe that United was not taking any responsibility for this situation, and calling us directly to make other arrangements.  we, the passengers, had to do everything.  Anyhow, I finally argued my point until they go me a Delta flight business class, but to Los Angeles.  Fuck.  Then, a United flight to San FRan, economy.  MF.  That was the only option, so I went with it.

Next morning, no bus to pick us up.  They lied.  Took a cab to the airport to find the Delta counter to turn in my bike case and luggage.  Turns out, it wasn’t Delta.  the tick was sold through Delta, but was a Virgin Australia flight.  They were so nice at the counter; it was a polar opposite to the horrible United service level.  I walked by the United counter at 08:53am, and many of the passengers of my original flight were in line.  However, there were no United employees there.  All counters were closed.  Unbelievable.  They had 60-80 people in line, and not one employee to tell these people anything.  Amazing service for Virgin Australia.  Flight was great; highly recommend them.  Get to LAX, get my luggage and bike case.  Walk half way around the airport.  Try to check in my luggage outside, and get a mouthful from a United employee. that I have to check in inside.   At this point, I instruckt the man to call me “sir” and get me a supervisor.  However, this baggage handler sees that this is about to break free, just tells the guy to print the tags and he would take care of the rest.  Finally, one United employee who gives a shit.  Get to San FRan, get my rental, get to my accommodation.  Next day I ship the bkike case and mountain bike back home via shipmybike.com.  great service, and quite reasonable.  Get the Tahoe the following day (big thanks to Big Jim)!!  In it was my road bike, and we went for a ride.  San FRan is a cool place to ride.  I really enjoyed my couple of days there.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA back home to the US.  In California!!

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