Travel Issues while 28 weeks pregnant

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Jun 15, 2018
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My husband and I were traveling back to DFW from Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday, June 10th on United and unfortunately, due to delays were forced to stay over in Chicago for the night.
The first leg of our trip (GRR to ORD) was delayed multiple times due to "flights coming in from Chicago." The airlines did a great job of texting us the time updates however, we were noticing our layover time was getting shorter and shorter. As we were finally boarding the flight, those after Group 2 were told we had to gate check our bags for weight and balance purposes. We both had carry ons (because of the connection and the chances of not receiving your bag). The gate agent made me check my bag but allowed my husband to carry his on because it would fit under the seat. I explained that we had a connection we were most likely not making in Chicago and I had items in my bag I would need due to the fact I am 28 weeks pregnant. I was assured, if we miss our connection and get "stuck" I'd get my bag in Chicago.....
Fast forward to us landing in Chicago and the one flight not delayed that evening was the one from ORD to DFW so we missed our connection. We were automatically booked on a 12:47pm flight the next day. There were 3 flights before this flight but we were told they were fully booked and we had no option of even going standby and they would not put us on a different airline. We also were told that if we chose to get a hotel, it was on our own dime. Being 28 weeks pregnant, I was absolutely going to need to sleep in a bed, not an airport chair. After booking a last minute hotel room online from the airport terminal, we went to the baggage claim help desk to retrieve my bag as directed by the United Customer Service. I was told that due to the many many delays, all baggage retrievals stopped at 5pm that day (it was 9pm at this point) and I would see my bag at my final destination the next day. I explained that I was told I would get it that evening as I was forced to gate check it (there was so much open overhead space on the flight by the way) and that I was 28 weeks pregnant and needed my medication from the bag. I was told the following statement "There are 15,000 bags in a hanger right now, we are not going to go get yours. Is there anything else you need, there are other customers to help." I was in shock the lack of courtesy and customer service.
My husband and I went to our hotel and I began messaging United Customer Service via facebook. The rep admitted this was a concern and recommended I ask for a supervisor and if they couldn't help to let her know. I explained that I was at my hotel at this point and can she call or lets assume the supervisor couldn't assist based on the interaction with the desk agent (and the 2 other agents at the desk at the time). The online rep said I would need to go back to the airport because she couldn't assist. (it was almost 11pm at this point) and I was not able to take transportation back to the airport after a long day of traveling already. We made our flight the next day and got the bag, however I had nothing other than what was on my body and none of my medication. We also were forced to each take a full day off work due to the flight time of the rebooked flight. This interferes with my maternity leave time off and the time my husband will be able to stay home with me and the baby.

I don't expect everyone to cater to me because I am pregnant, however United Airlines made the situation much worse and put added stress, exhaustion on me. As well as keeping me from medication. Can I get compensation for our extra travel expenses and missed time off work?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#2
This was a most uncomfortable ordeal, Kelli. With those layers of delays, I'm not surprised that you were unable to retrieve your bag at O'Hare. The cascade effect of cancellations is really tough on travellers. I'm glad to hear you were able to find a hotel.

We unfortunately get posts like yours regularly about gate-checked bags. It's vital that a traveller carry a small bag (like a little nylon bag with handles that folds into nothing) so you can safeguard important objects before you gate check. The airlines are masters at telling you that "someone else will take care of you" just to move you along. Do you know the cause of your original delay? If it was something under United's control, you may be able to receive some compensation.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#3
We’re you booked on one ticket if multiple tickets? Usually if the flights are ine one PNR and the first flight was delayed for something the airline could control, they would put you up in hotel for the night. If you are on separate tickets different story. If the delays were due to weather- no such luck, the airlines don’t have to provide a hotel.

Did you have Travel insurance? That would have reimbursed you for the hotel.

If you have to gate check a bag you need to take anything out of it you need, like prescriptions, electronics, etc. NEVER let them take a bag with those things in it- step aside and pull those things out.,
 
Likes: Tanya
Mar 17, 2015
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No compensation for the missed work, it was weather, it is travel, life happens. I don’t think you have a strong case for the bag, as highly frustrating as that is. I am not sure what you are out due to the baggage being held. If you have receipts for necessities, you may be able to wrangle some compensation for those. Also, since flight was delayed due to weather, the airline is not responsible for hotel costs. Check your credit card the trip was booked with to see if you have some travel insurance. You can also try using the company contacts to write and ask for some compensation, but you don’t have a strong case, maybe some miles...
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I am sorry the travel was so unpleasant.

June 10th there were a lot of delays at ORD because of thunderstorms and visibility. Air traffic control put limits on take offs and departures. According to reports there were delays up to an hour and a half.

Airlines are allowed to limit passengers and baggage for weights and balances — this is a serious issue. Bad weights and balances have been the cause of several plane crashes — and numerous fatalities. This is not a question of lack of space in the overheads. This is about where the center of gravity is and adjusting that for weather conditions and structural limitations of an aircraft Air Midwest crash, the teterboro NJ crash, the death of Aaliyah the singer — weights and balances contributed to all these accidents— . the video of the Boeing 747 cargo flight stalling mid air and crashing after take off from Bagram airforce base is horrifying — there was too much cargo, it broke lose and damaged part of the plane and it crashed.

Did you ask to take the medication out of the bag before gate checking it? I took a flight on the 14th and there was an announcement to take medications and computers out of gate checked bags, and there were several people who had to do that.

Did you pay for any additional medication?

Unfortunately as it was truly weather and air traffic control the airline is not obligated to pay for hotel.

Do check with your credit card to see if they cover the hotel.

There is no reimbursement for lost wages, especially when it is weather and air traffic control.
 
Dec 26, 2014
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#6
I tell my family members (that do not fly often and thus are always in the later groups to board a plane) to slip a small folding tote bag in the outer pocked of their carry-on luggage. That way if they are told they have to gate check they have something to repack whatever they are taking out that is small enough to fit under the seat. You can usually find these on kiosks at airport shops as well as online. They are handy for those extra items you tend to pickup when traveling also.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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#7
I tell my family members (that do not fly often and thus are always in the later groups to board a plane) to slip a small folding tote bag in the outer pocked of their carry-on luggage. That way if they are told they have to gate check they have something to repack whatever they are taking out that is small enough to fit under the seat. You can usually find these on kiosks at airport shops as well as online. They are handy for those extra items you tend to pickup when traveling also.
Excellent. You can even put the absolute essentials in a smaller bag within the carryon so all you have to do is reach in and grab it and take it on the plane with you.