27 and a PhD

Home » Me » Traveling nightmares, or why is United Airlines against me? – part 3

Traveling nightmares, or why is United Airlines against me? – part 3

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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Fast forward to Xmas day of 2008. I made the same terrible mistake of booking my flight back home with UA. Only this time they kept the door open (not just for me I suspect, as several other passengers came after me, including a UA flight attendant). I barely made it, again with the excuse of bad weather (this time at IAD) and they almost left me stranded. There were no apologies from the employees for getting us out the door late again (the same situation that happened above miraculously happened yet again 3 years to the day of my first UA nightmare) The only reason I booked the flight was because there was a 1.5hr layover between my flights, which I thought was enough to keep me covered and ensure that I would make it on time to my next flight and the next trip was not only more expensive, but I thought, even more inconvenient than UA’s flight home. At my home base airport, once I noticed that the plane was not going to be on time, I tried talking to one of the employees at the gate. I told her about my previous experience and that I was sure the plane would not make it on time and I’d again lose my flight. She replied that they’d make everything they could to get us out on time, but this was out of her hands and unless I did make it in to IAD late they would not do a thing for me other than wait and see (I get this and why they can’t rebook you just like that, but when you’ve been through something similar once, you just expect the worst and do not want to re-live it). Once I made it to the plane I was crying uncontrollably as I could not believe it had happened again, even with more layover time. On a side note, if you’ve been to IAD you know how traveler unfriendly that airport is. Not only is it an eyesore, the layout of the airport is most inconvenient. You have to get on those shuttles that look like war tanks and pray that the driver will be on time so that you can rush out the door and attempt to get to your gate, much like I did.

As if this was not enough, now that I live in Canada and use the DTW airport as my home airport they just keep screwing it up to the finest of their abilities. Seriously United, what the f&^% is going on? On July of 2010 I was scheduled to get to DTW at 9:45pm. My day started at 12:51pm, when my plane was to leave for IAD. I had 3 flights with around 45 minutes of layover each. It was scheduled to be a marathon, but I was ready to take it on, and I was also ready to “deal” with UA and their fine way of screwing up my plans. The passengers were in and set at 12:51 pm, then it took 10 minutes to close the door of the plane, and then we were sitting at the start of the runway for what seemed like an eternity (25-30 minutes, actually). While this is happening I’m looking at my watch and thinking that my luck can’t be this bad. I know I’m going to lose my connection at IAD to ORD, I just know it. Also, there are no updates as to why we’re just sitting there, having other planes, big and small, fly all around us while we’re just doing nothing. When the captain finally spoke he said 2 things: 1) that we were about to leave and 2) that the company was aware of the delay and they’d have customer service representatives meet us at the door in Dulles to see who could and couldn’t make it to their connections. Nothing about why we got behind schedule, nothing about bad weather, a missing piece of the plane, or something along those lines. Nada. Cero. Nothing. And it irks me to no end. They plane personnel has changed the speech (to saying things like “the company is aware” and blah, blah, blah) but still, that is of no consolation when you know that you will most likely miss a flight due to unknown reasons. Reasons that this good-for-nothing company according to me, enjoys to no end.

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1 Comment

  1. […] – Started recovering from the post-vacation funk and talked about how United Airlines is THE suckiest airline ever! Wrote about the overproduction of PhDs. Also, this marked the beginning of my second year as a […]

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