Our last day of the NYC leg was good and bad.
We got up, packed, got ourselves to the Lower East Side where we ate at the famous Katz´s deli. Hubby ate a whole pastrami sandwich and then felt sick for about 4 hours. I ate a heavenly bowl of matzoh ball soup and half a brisket sandwich and was in paradise.
Then we walked back towards our hotel, got in a fight, sulked, walked to Penn Station with all our crapola, and were hot and crowded but got ourselves to Newark.
Next was the United Airlines fiasco. Seriously, it was one of the worst experiences I have had with an airline. And I have traveled on Christmas Eve with Luftansa, with lots of delays that made me run around Schipol with a gazillion pounds of carry on baggage, only to find out that they had lost my bags in a sea of 17000 diverted bags at Frankfurt with all the presents in it.
So, what made it so bad?
Well, something happened to our seat assignments. We booked our tickets through a travel agent, so they should have been seriously legit, right? Well, we had no seat assignments when we checked and Hubby called them the night before trying to fix it. I could hear the United lady through the phone talking in circles, refusing to do anything. What was the offense? They booked our 22 month old in a middle seat between two strangers. I was behind her, and Hubby was behind me. All in middle seats. We said that surely it must be against their policy to issue a seat to a toddler between two strangers. Nope!
So, we decided to arrive at the airport early to speak with the check-in agents. They told us they couldn’t do anything. Usually I am the “good cop” when Hubby and I interact with people, but I was livid. The agent told us that this happens “all the time”, and then when we were outraged about THAT, these poor families all the time with toddlers sitting away from them, said that we “must be very lucky that this never happens, or lying.” She said we could “probably count on the goodness of strangers” to get Kiddo next to us. We told her we didn’t want to accept the boarding passes as they were, and she just stood there.
On we went to security. We could have tried to access the lounge because Hubby travels a lot with work and has a gold card, but instead we went to the gate to try to get it sorted. No one there, but a few other passengers with problems who hoped to talk with an agent. Finally, Hubby spoke with someone, and after a half an hour, decided just to pay to upgrade. We did. The flight itself was nice, obviously, since we were in first class! But it was just an unbelievably frustrating situation. Poor customer service + a poor system that really doesn’t allow the agents to fix things on the ground = bad news for United customers!