I flew out of Chicago yesterday.
Waited in long line. Bought a ticket on 11:30 flight to Hartford (at this point I am "checked in" and they know I’m there … Of course, buying a last minute ticket means I am a selectee for additional security … I nervously keep an eye on the clock … I get through security, all is well … I keep an eye on the clock, stop and buy a newspaper.
I arrive at the gate a 11:23
… and the plane was already pulling back from the gate !!!
Gate agents offer no compassion … "they paged you" she says … I say "SO WHAT, IT ISN’T 11:30 YET" … Gate agent looks down and walks away telling me I need to be rebooked on next flight …
So in my next 2 and a half hours I observe.
They went through the same ritual at 4 other flights I observed … Always treating the poor souls who showed up in time — but after the plane pulled away — with the same s-itty attitude. I saw 8 people in the same predicament … many to whom the treatment was clearly catastrophic.
Along the way someone tells me that the last line on the Departures screen it says in gray letters on the color screen "Please be on board 10 minutes before departure" … and that is why it is okay to leave paying customers behind in this manner.
I am a multi-million mile flyer … with almost no experience with United. I have never seen this before. And, in UAL’s case it is their goal.
I can’t even believe this is legal.