Today, Saturday, June 1, at 7:55 a.m., we arrived at the United Airlines check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, 55 minutes before our flight departed to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. When we attempted to check-in, we were told that the flight had closed, since we arrived less than 60 minutes prior to boarding. There were no flights to Punta Cana, and there was nothing that United Airlines could do to get us on a flight to Punta Cana. The flight the follow day to Punta Cana had no available seats; the next available flight to Punta Cana was in seven days, June 8. The only option that they gave us to was to fly to Newark later in the day, and take a flight to Santa Domingo, the next day, June 2. Santa Domingo is over three hours by bus to Punta Cana, but this was the closet airport with available flights, unless we wanted to wait till June 8. There was no offer to pay for our hotel in Newark, since it was our fault that we did not show up 2 hours in advance of the flight.
It was difficult to be at the counter 55 minutes before our plane took off and be told that we had missed the flight. Moreover, we were told that we had to travel for the next 36 hours to get to our destination, via Newark and via Santa Domingo. When we arrive in Santa Domingo, we can pay for a cab to Punta Cana, which is $150, one way, or we can take a bus. Looks like we will be taking a bus.
United Airline sucks because they oversold the flight, and they had to cut someone. We were the unlucky ones that got cut. Moreover, they did not offer to pay for our hotel or even give us a $10 food voucher for our trouble. We were on our own to get a hotel in Newark and to make arrangements to get from Santa Domingo to Punta Cana.
Needless to say, I will never give an airline an excuse to be cut from a flight. The rule is 60 minutes for international flights and 45 minutes for domestic flights. In fact, they are boarding 30 minutes in advance, and if you are not there at the boarding gate 30 minutes prior to departure, even for a domestic flight, you will likely be denied boarding. 2013 is a different world. Airlines are overselling seats, and the quality of the service is greatly diminished.