[United CEO Blames Their Meltdown On Climate Change] How I Navigated The Joys Of Flying During Summer 2023’s First Aviation System Meltdown

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Update, 7/13: While United CEO Scott Kirby previously blamed the FAA, weather, congestion, and Canada for the meltdown, Mr. Kirby tells Politico that he also blames climate change for this summer’s woes.

I flew on a United flight from Orlando to Cleveland earlier this week that had 57 passengers moved onto it in order to connect to Newark due to multiple flight cancellations on nonstop flights between Orlando and Newark. 

There’s no word on why climate change seems to be targeting United more than other airlines this summer. 

Originally posted on 7/3:

Last Monday, my cousin got married in front of 770 in Crown Heights, NY. While paid tickets between Cleveland and NYC are often a fortune, you can usually get a great deal with miles.

I found my mother and grandfather first class tickets on Delta to JFK using 17.5K Virgin Atlantic miles the day before the wedding and 7.5K BA Avios tickets home from LaGuardia the day after the wedding.

I like having backup travel options, so I used 7K United miles for a flight on Monday to Newark and 8K AA miles for a flight on Monday to JFK.

I always track the planes of relatives’ flights and started getting nervous when I saw the Delta flight circling Pennsylvania, once, twice, three times. Planes only carry so much fuel, so I knew that if they couldn’t get clearance to land in JFK, they would be diverted. And sure enough, I noticed that the destination had changed to Rochester, NY.


My long-standing advice is to print boarding passes and not rely only on mobile boarding passes. That way, you have redundancy in case of an issue with the app or if airline systems go down and can only accommodate people with paper boarding passes. Sometimes on an international connection, an airline might assume you’ll misconnect and delete your boarding pass, though if you have a paper boarding pass, you can still clear security. A screenshot can help mitigate some of those issues, though not for a dead battery. And it’s always frustrating to stand behind someone fumbling with their phone and adjusting their brightness and size settings to get it to scan, never mind the times that it gets dropped in the process.

At any rate, my mother listened to my advice, and it paid off. Only people with paper boarding passes were allowed to deplane in Rochester. Passengers with mobile boarding passes had to remain on the plane. She was one of the lucky ones allowed off the plane.

With the FAA showing a ground stop at JFK, they were stuck for the time being. They did attempt to board and takeoff again when the ground stop was supposed to be lifted, but when that was extended they deboarded again.


In the meantime, I noticed my aunt’s Southwest flight from Chicago to LaGuardia had started circling Pennsylvania. She was on a bigger plane, but by the time it hit 7 circles, I knew it was game over.

Luckily, she was diverted to Islip, so she could just split an Uber with other passengers to Brooklyn, right?

Nope. Anyone that checked a bag had to remain onboard while they waited for the ground stop in LaGuardia to be lifted. That’s another of my travel rules, never check a bag if you can avoid it!

Finally, the LaGuardia ground stop lifted, and she was able to take the Long Island Expressway, which has surprisingly little traffic at 4,000 feet in the sky.



The ground stop in JFK was finally lifted at 7:45 pm, but it took over an hour for the flight to get clearance to take off to JFK. It landed at 10 pm, some 10 hours after the original departure time from Cleveland.


For perspective, El Al flight 4 left around that time from JFK and arrived in Tel Aviv at 9:10 pm ET, but all my mother and grandfather had accomplished in that time was getting to JFK.


But hey, it beat the alternate option that I found, taking a Megabus to NYC at 2am:


My turn for fun came on Monday.

I’ve flown on over 1,000 flights but have managed to avoid being diverted on any of them. Would that streak continue?

I boarded the American flight in Cleveland bound for JFK, where JJ was planning on flying on JetBlue from Fort Lauderdale.

After taxiing and waiting 45 minutes, the pilot said we had received a new route and would have to return to the gate for more fuel and then wait in line again for a takeoff slot.

I figured I’d try to bail on this flight and switch to United, but then the pilot said that upon further review, we would have enough fuel and would not return to the gate.
* Recalculating *
* Recalculating *

After another 30-minute wait, the pilot said that upon even more review, we would need more fuel. Was it amateur hour at American?

* Recalculating *
* Recalculating *

Back at the gate, they opened the doors, but the flight attendant announced that anyone deboarding would not be able to get back onto the plane.


Do I bet on American or United to get me to the wedding that afternoon?

I waited for a few minutes, and then United posted a 2 hour delay to Newark, which made the decision easy. I’d be sticking with American.

We refueled quickly and received clearance to take off at 1:45pm.

Chaikel was watching the events unfold in real time at the Chaikel Travel headquarters:


Though Yehuda57 made a timely edit:


Why all the fuel drama?

On a normal day, the flight to JFK looks like this:


But we took the scenic route instead, making for the most time I’ve spent in the air from Cleveland to New York. Luckily I got upgraded thanks to my AA status.


I did bet on the right horse, though, United wound up canceling the flight I had booked to Newark.

And I was able to pull up just in time to hear JJ emcee under the chuppah, so all’s well that ends well.

I can’t remember the last time all 6 of my band of brothers have been in one place, but hey, 5 out of 6 ain’t bad!


It was close to the end of the wedding when people’s plans started unraveling.

Several people at the wedding came over to me to ask for help with canceled flight rebooking, and I offered some suggestions. But soon after that, wholesale cancellations were made for the next day.

I was booked on a mileage flight from Newark to Orlando via Cleveland the next morning to take my son to summer camp, though that was canceled. That was OK as he still had a friend and his father on that flight, and I had a backup flight that I booked with British Airways Avios on American the next night.

I do have to give United credit to my wife, my friend on that flight, and United flight attendant Laura for celebrating Rafi’s 12th birthday on that flight to Orlando though.

Via DansDeals Instagram Stories:


My cousin was on that canceled Newark-Cleveland flight as well but had no backup flight. United was fully booked until Friday, so she decided to rent a car and drive home. That was lucky as rental cars in the city soon sold out.

I decided to hang onto my United flight rather than redepositing it for miles, as it would be worth its weight in gold for me. That’s because United offers an awesome next flight guarantee to Global Services members when they have a canceled flight. Even if a flight is sold out, as long as there’s an empty seat on the seat map, they can get onto that flight. I was planning on flying American home but kept that United reservation active in case I needed it.

American canceled my brothers’ morning flight back home to Cleveland, so they drove home Tuesday morning with our cousin.

I was booked on American to fly home with my mother and grandfather Tuesday night, but as we were about to head out for the day we were informed that our flight home had been canceled.

The next available flight wouldn’t be until Friday, and by then, there were no flights left that day on United:


But United was able to rebook me to Cleveland at 6:40 am on Wednesday, despite all flights being sold out until Friday.

JJ had fun documenting it in our Instagram Stories:




But could I still find a way home on Tuesday?

I turned to DDF admin and Cleveland based travel agent Chaikel and his Chaikel Travels team, and they worked some magic to hold a seat on American in first class for me from JFK to Cleveland at 5:25pm, though that seat wasn’t for sale anywhere else.

With that held reservation, I called American to ask if they could use that seat to get me home.

That got a lot of pushback.

I was booked via British Airways, so they first said to call them. I pushed back on that as American had canceled my flight.

Then they said I was ticketed in coach and they couldn’t rebook me in first, but I noted how the system had automatically rebooked me in first class on Friday, preserving my original upgrade.

Then they said you can’t get upgraded when booked via British Airways. I guess they don’t read DansDeals.

But finally, they said as the system had mistakenly upgraded me, they would honor my first class rebooking, however, there was no way to use that seat. The best they could do would be to cancel the held reservation and try to grab it in my original reservation before it was taken by somebody else. Sure enough, that worked, and I was rebooked from JFK.


We had a delicious lunch at Abaita, home to some of the best upscale kosher dairy food in the world.

JJ did a profile on them via our Instagram stories you can check out here.

The wood fired mushroom pizza is mouth-wateringly delicious:


And the artichoke pizza will take you right back to Italy, where the head chef hails from.


I don’t care for olives, but the Tunisian Olives with labneh and a garlic confit are just bursting with flavor and are very addictive.


The Arancini on the other hand has a far more mild flavor and seems like it’s missing something in comparison.


The wood burning oven-fired lasagna is just phenomenal.

The Black Fettuccine with roasted wood ear mushrooms is the stuff that dreams are made of.


And the Green Paparedelle is yet another amazing pasta dish:


We went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel, where I try to visit whenever I’m in NYC and then I went to JFK to catch my flight. But just as I walked into the terminal, I got the message that my flight was canceled.



The app rebooked me in economy at 11 am the next day. I waited in the priority line at JFK once I was there, but the agent said the cancellations were all due to weather, so they wouldn’t pay for any hotels or other costs, though credit card protections do cover those. She also couldn’t get me on an earlier flight or my mother or grandfather on an earlier flight than Friday.

The weather in New York had been perfectly clear, but that didn’t stop the airlines from blaming everything on the weather and Air Traffic Control to avoid paying anything.

In the meantime, both of JJ’s flight to Fort Lauderdale and my Aunt’s flight to Chicago were canceled and rebooked for Friday.

The Chaikel Travel team managed to find some options for JJ out of JFK at 11 pm and Newark at 2 am, so with nothing else to do in the meantime, we went to Mike’s Bistro for dinner.

Most of our recent dining in NYC has been at Tabernacle and Barnea, which are typically incredible experiences and are 2 of my favorite restaurants in the world. But it’s been many years since we were at Mike’s, so we decided to try that out this time.

They have eliminated tipping by hiking their prices to fairly eye-watering levels. It’s an interesting approach, though it was rather hard to get water refills, so I’m not convinced that it works?

Mike’s legendary corn soup is still perfection in a bowl:


It’s tough to find top-notch kosher ramen, especially now that Narutto Bowl has closed, but this Ramen dish had the perfect level of umami flavor:


The lamb dumplings are good, but the sauce is probably the highlight of this dish:


Crispy Eggplant and meatball, the eggplant is quite good, though the meatball is very ordinary:


The highlight here is still the Duck Gnocchi, which is out of this world:


JJ ordered the French Onion Veal Chop, which he found to be rather bland, but improved once he requested the house veal sauce for it:


I had the short rib, which I’ve loved in the past, but this time it tasted much more like cholent meat than I remembered from years past. That’s unfortunate.


But the yam fritters were just as delicious as I remembered them:


As we were finishing our entrees, JJ was notified that his 11pm JetBlue flight from JFK had been canceled.

I went to check on his United flight at 2am from Newark and saw it was “reverse delayed” to 9:45pm!

Worse yet, JJ had just posted on an Instagram reel that airlines can reverse delay flights and to be ready for that at the airport, but without knowing which airport to go to, he was in between JFK and Newark Airport in Manhattan.

Could he make it to Newark to catch a flight at 9:45pm? Probably not, but we hustled out to try anyway.

He made it to the gate at 9:45pm, but as I suspected, the flight was delayed again. In the end, he flew the rare red-eye to Miami, departing at 12:40am and arriving at 3:23am. But at least his flight took off!


I spend the night at the unmemorable Renaissance Newark Airport.

Did I ever mention I much I despise wall-mounted toiletries? It’s even more fun when you go in the shower only to find the shampoo isn’t even there!


I took the 5:15am shuttle to Newark on Wednesday morning and made a quick stop at the new United Club, which, even before 6am had a massive line for customer assistance, though not nearly as long as the line in the terminal.

At the gate, the agent announced that our plane was over-fueled and we were waiting for them to take fuel out of the plane.

Well, that’s a new one out of the airline excuse handbook that I hadn’t heard before, so points for creativity!

Over 60 people on the flight were routed via Cleveland in order to catch a connecting flight to Fort Lauderdale. Luckily for them, the same plane would be continuing on to Fort Lauderdale.

Eventually, our refueler did show up:


But then I got a notification that our flight was now awaiting a new crew.

I noticed that United now had first class seats for sale on the next flight, so I booked it and called United to see if they could cancel that seat and protect me on it on my existing award reservation in case my current flight was delayed further. Flight protection is something United offers to their top-tier elites, so the agent did that for me.

Note to parents, this is what happens when you give your male son the middle initial A:


The flight was indeed delayed further, so I went over to the gate for the 8:40am flight, which was a mess with no agent present.

United seemed woefully understaffed during their meltdown.

Worse yet, United had deleted my 8:40am backup flight from my reservation, so it was back on the phone with customer service.



When I went to board I was still on hold and the agent there said she had no record of me on the flight and directed me to her supervisor. She told me that there was no way to get me on the flight and the system was locked out an hour prior to departure. Luckily, the phone agent was able to get me onto the flight and generate a boarding pass for me, as it was too late for me to check-in on my phone and clearly the gate agents were not going to be my ally.

Indeed, the Newark supervisor was livid when she saw me boarding, muttering how they were not supposed to be doing that. Alas, I wound up in a middle seat in coach due to that fiasco. But yes, I made it home and survived to tell the tale. 😀


The 737 Max8 had United’s new entertainment system with Bluetooth audio, which was very easy to use and a pleasure to ditch the wire. I can’t wait for this to roll out onto more planes and airlines.


I kept checking for alternate flight options for other people still stuck in NYC.

My Aunt’s canceled Delta flight to Chicago meant she was scheduled to fly on Friday to Chicago via Boston, where she would have to change to a United flight.

That sounded crazy and after much refreshing of Google Flights, I eventually found 1 seat on a Delta flight from LaGuardia to Milwaukee on Thursday. I bought that for her for $700 and called Delta to see if they would be able to cancel the new reservation and grab that seat for her to use instead of the Friday connecting flight.

It took the agent several minutes to grasp what I was asking for, but then said that they couldn’t change the destination from Chicago to Milwaukee. I was livid. They had her waiting in NYC for days and couldn’t switch her destination airport by 67 miles? I asked for a supervisor and explained what I was asking for again and got approval for the switch, but she warned that she might lose the Milwaukee seat in the process of canceling it.

I gave the go-ahead to take the risk and it took far too long, but after nearly an hour she completed that switch and my Aunt went right to LaGuardia.

While she had a confirmed ticket, Delta didn’t have a seat assignment for her and the website listed her as a standby passenger. I typically fly American and United, so that was a surprise to me, but Delta confirmed that she would get a seat assignment at the gate.

But when she got to the gate they were asking for 6 volunteers to get bumped. I found it surprising that Delta would sell a seat on a flight that was that oversold. I told my Aunt that if they didn’t find volunteers that they would be liable to pay 4 times her $215 ticket price in cash, so not to take any offers for less than that.

Bidding started at $200 and she asked me if she should take $500. I said to offer $1,000 and a confirmed seat on the next flight to Chicago. The agent said to wait and see and sure enough, the bidding went up to $1,000 and she received that and a confirmed Comfort+ seat to Chicago 2 hours later. The $1,000 wasn’t cash, but could be used for Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Delta, Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, Starbucks, or many other gift cards.

On her flight to Chicago they once again needed volunteers to get bumped, and started the bidding at $200. She told some people that were considering it to wait for better offers, which they did and were quite pleased as the bidding reached $800.

Alas, this time they weren’t willing to offer a confirmed seat on their later Chicago flight that day, so she passed on the rolling bump compensation and was happy to be reunited with her family some 2 days after she was supposed to be home. Back in my single days I remember getting rolling bumped off over half a dozen flights in a row from Chicago to Cleveland before I had to get home for Shabbos the next day.

My Mother and Grandfather enjoyed their extended vacation in NYC together and finally got home Friday morning.

United CEO Scott Kirby told employees that he blamed the FAA for the delays, though he made sure to note that he wasn’t specifically blaming the current administration:

Kirby himself took a private jet from Teterboro to Denver on Wednesday to go to his vacation home there when his airline couldn’t get him there. It was a tone-deaf move that angered employees and customers alike. The captain of the ship was there when they hit the iceberg and was abandoning ship to find another carrier to take him on vacation?

He has since apologized for the move, though this may prove damaging for him in the long-term.

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg shot back that United was significantly worse than other airlines this week:


Kirby later shared an update on LinkedIn with details of what went wrong and what United is doing so that it doesn’t face a repeat of last week.

DDF members shared some experiences of their travels this week. Joel’s flight from Newark was delayed and the pilot announced that kids could come sit in the cockpit while they waited. Pretty cool!

His flights wound up getting canceled by United on Monday and Tuesday.

Zevi16’s flight was delayed 15 hours before getting canceled.

MeirS was supposed to leave Newark on Sunday, but was stuck there until Wednesday.

A friend told me that their Spirit flight from Detroit to NYC was canceled and the next flight that had space for his whole family wasn’t for 2 weeks!

Another friend’s kids were supposed to take Spirit from NYC to Detroit for summer camp, but wound up having to charter a bus for them and their friends to make it to camp.

And many more DansDeals readers were affected as well.

When you are in an irregular operation situation like this, just grab whatever you can and keep working to improve on it. Availability changes from minute to minute, so just keep checking for what pops up.

At one point, JJ was prepared to take an Amtrak to Boston to catch a flight from there. The main thing to do in these meltdowns is keep moving!

If the airline app won’t let you change to a flight that you see for sale, book the flight if your airline has a 24 hour cancellation policy, and work with the airline to cancel and grab that seat for your itinerary with a canceled or delayed flight.

Avoid checking baggage if at all possible.

And bring a paper boarding pass with you!

Airlines have overscheduled their flights and are understaffed. The FAA and Air Traffic Controllers are woefully understaffed. Hubs have been cut, so when issues arise, there isn’t enough slack to make up for it. These are long-term problems that won’t be fixed anytime soon.

Good luck out there during the peak summer travel season!

Were you affected by the meltdown?

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122 Comments On "[United CEO Blames Their Meltdown On Climate Change] How I Navigated The Joys Of Flying During Summer 2023’s First Aviation System Meltdown"

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Wow my head is spinning. How on earth do you actually remember all these details, do you keep a running diary?:)


It’s a trip report!


Wow what a post!

Really enjoyed that!

Great work!


Love your dedication and determination but this accentuates that there must to be a better way for humans to get from point A to point B. The system isn’t working.


Coming soon …


so cool to travel but maybe not


Oy what a mess.
It’s really mean of airlines to keep people stranded for days and not even offer to reimburse hotels and food


Doniel. You are one of the greatest people that ever lived.


wow!! far out


Was also at a chasuna last Monday at 770 (RSMR daughter). Had we known…


dont all airlines have a 24 hours cancellation policy?


I think the story you wrote took longer to write than the actual delays!

I used my Frontier Go Wild pass to book a free flight from Trenton, NJ to Vegas last Monday right before Armageddon hit the NYC area. On time. I had to book a one way to Atlanta, and another one way to Las Vegas. They didn’t offer TTN-LAS as a single ticket. Doesn’t one night in Vegas and then I booked a one way to San Diego on Tuesday night to meet my son who drove down from LA, and to watch Israel play the United States in the World Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday night. Got a red eye back to Atlanta Wednesday night and since the New York area was impossible to get to, I managed a one way to Philadelphia from Atlanta on Thursday morning, and then took the train back up to North Jersey. Frontier had an on time flight to LaGuardia from Atlanta Thursday morning but it wasn’t included in the Go Wild pass, I assume because it was full. Once in Philly, Amtrak’s rates were way too high, so I took the local SEPTA train from Philly airport to Trenton and changed in Trenton for the New Jersey transit express train heading to New York. Total for those trains was under $30.

Note to Go Wild passholders: Frontier has stopped all service to SWF (Newburgh) as of this week. They have a very limited amount of flights to LaGuardia and they don’t serve Newark, White Plains or JFK. Your best bet is to use Islip or Trenton for Frontier flights. Also, they don’t always offer one-stop flights on their site so you’d have to look for two one ways on your own and make your connection. The free flights come out to between $10 and $15 per segment, so a domestic connecting flight can be as much as $30 one way. Finally, Frontier only lists the Go Wild fares on their website and not in their app, so be aware of that.

They’re now offering a $299 fall and winter pass that’s valid from September to the end of February, but there are blackout dates. They’re very strict about the size of the personal item you can bring on board and they will not hesitate to charge you for a carry-on if the personal item is too large. It’s 50/50 whether they stop you.

By the way, I hope you enjoyed the wood fired pizza at Abaita. The mayor is trying to ban wood and coal pizza ovens so it might have been the last time you got to try it.


A little off topic, but with all the writeups about the craziness with last week’s flight, gotta mention the United flight this past M”S from TLV to EWR that returned for emergency landing with broken window.

The pilot is a frum guy who everyone loves. He skates and maneuvers on the ice as fast as he does at 38k. We once asked him with all the automation in the airplanes, what do pilots do the whole flight, and he said most of the time they are tracking weather data for other flights to know when to fly above or below turbulence. Most of the actual flying the plane is automated. He actually davens and learns daf yomi on most flights (and United uses him to fly all over the world, not just to TLV). But he said that you need an experienced pilot when something goes wrong. Chasdei Hashem he was there to be the good shaliach to land everyone safely


Whats the difference between chaikals original and Yehudas edit ?


Looking forward to the post update when Chase Sapphire Reserve travel insurance reimburses you for the Abaita and Mike’s Bistro meals.


I was wondering what is your Internet and VPN provider for International trips? I have to travel overseas and work at the same time. Thank you.


I live in Detroit, but travel to NY for business. Every time my return flight from New York to Detroit is on a Thursday evening, I book a rental car as soon as I book a flight. This way, if (or should I say when) the flight from LGA is cancelled, I can still get home for Shabbos.

Friends don\'t let friends fly spirit

“A friend told me that their Spirit flight from Detroit to NYC was canceled and the next flight that had space for his whole family wasn’t for 2 weeks!”



I suggest reading some of the JetBlue stories if you think that’s bad


Do you see this happening again on this scale this summer? Do you think United will be better prepared?


Wow! @Dan when was the last time you flew coach before this?

Dan\'s the Man

“Anyone that checked a bag had to remain onboard while they waited for the ground stop in LaGuardia to be lifted. That’s another of my travel rules, never check a bag if you can avoid it!”

Did they actually check to see if the person had a checked back or not? If not and I had a wedding to make and had everything I needed in my carryon (although I realize that might not have been the case) I would have just walked off the plane and worry about the luggage later.


It’s only a 7-hour drive to Cleveland from NYC… Seems like Dan spent more time traveling between airports than that! (Although car rentals were probably gone.)


I was zocheh to be at that wedding without any of the travel fiascos 🙂


Why was a wedding taking place outside of 770?


I find that Philly is much more reliable if you need to reach NYC


Loved this paper.

And the cherry on top, sitting in the sandwich of economy sans family.

Continental, you are sorely missed.


Flew to Newark from fll on Sunday with Jetblue, beautiful terminal A, had a ticket back to fll from Newark Tuesday afternoon, as the morning wore on we got delay after delay notices. We finally decided to just head to the airport. Check in for Mosaic at Newark terminal A is really nice its own little lounge room. We checked in our bags and then waited in the lounge room for a bit to charge our phones and relax on the couches. They have a dedicated tsa pre check line from the lounge through security which is also a nice touch. Once we got to our gate we hung out pretty comfortably. They changed the gate so eventually we headed to the new gate. Once there they said they were deplaning and then they would start the boarding process. Eventually after about two hours they canceled the flight. We immediately went into the jetblue app to chat with an agent who said they rebooked us for the next morning out of Jfk for 6:30 am. We couldn’t find any local hotels available for the night with bonvoy points so we booked two rooms at the towneplace suites in park slope on points. At 4 am we woke up the family and took a Lyft to jfk. When we got to the mosaic desk to check in the agent told us he couldn’t find our itinerary. The agent on the jetblue app had booked us for July 28 not June 28! We were stranded at jfk with no available flights till Sunday since we were traveling as a family of 5. That meant an extra four days. Jetblue wasn’t willing to compensate for anything. Thank gd we made it home on Sunday but what an ordeal and no compensation for all the cabs, meals, hotel rooms, extra clothing and missed work.


Dan, what a story. I just wanted to say that whenever I read these kinds of posts from you it always strikes me how you stay positive and solution focused and there’s no negative victim vibes even though such situations can be super frustrating to say the least!


My daughter missed her Sunday flight with JetBlue out jfk and got rebooked the next day out of Newark. She really had Mazal.


Is that ramen on the menu at Mike’s?

Fan Feels

“My long-standing advice is to print boarding passes and not rely only on mobile boarding passes”
Do you use any portable travel printer for this?
If yes, can you share a link.
I remember taking family members to JFK during covid, I shlepped in my loyal Brother office printer and sprawled up shop next to an outlet in the terminal to produce PDF results for everyone…. (Adobe founder died shortly after…)


Dan, what laptop is that?

CLE Rocks

I was stranded united in ORD and was interviewed on Chicago ABC7 . Thankfully I made it home the next morning on standby


I flew United ORD-DEN-ORD on Tuesday. Airports were jammed. On my flight out to DEN five minutes before scheduled departure a woman gets on the PA to say our pilot hadn’t shown up. She was a United pilot and had been catching the flight as a passenger to fly a different plane once we reached DEN. She was certified for this plane and had them swap her out for the MIA pilot and we took off only ten minutes late.


You are the only person who can go through this disaster and make it sound like the greatest, most exciting experience you ever had! (I mean this in a positive way.) I was literally waiting for more!


Do we think this insanity will continue to, say, random weeks in August?


But at the end of the day – WHAT caused this meltdown? Was it just the non-existent bad weather? Was it the first system overload of the Summer? A combination of both? Or is this the first real Summer post Covid where everyone is traveling and airlines are still short staffed after firing so many personnel? I still don’t understand what exactly happened that thousands of flights were cancelled.


“Then they said you can’t get upgraded when booked via British Airways. I guess they don’t read DansDeals.”

This is the line of the year!!


What means umami taste?


“the Long Island Expressway, which has surprisingly little traffic at 4,000 feet in the sky.” Huh? The LIRR flies the sky?

Texas Totty

Dan, can I be your aunt? I have a bunch of trips planned this summer.


LoL #Blessed


I was stuck in Scottland for 17 hours where I missed my connection to brussles after a 3 hour delay on a United flight from Newark.


Dan youre an abselote legend. I love to travel, and reading these writeups of yours is so enjoyable. Its always exhillerating reading it and seeing whats coming next!! You rock the house!


Great post! Do you forfeit the miles on those backup flights you don’t end up taking?


Wow, a lot to learn.. please provide the post how to book Virgin points with delta flights, because on virgin site it doesn’t seem they have it available


What a nightmare! Imagine the stress of us hot blooded humans! Luckily my travel plans on that weekend were cancelled or I’d never stop hearing from my wife that this whole mess was all my fault!


Looks like part 2 of this is happening now. A client of mine was connecting from TLV to FLL via EWR. TLV flight was delayed resulting in missed connection with no other flights to MIA, FLL or PBI till Thursday!
Luckily, tonight’s flight to PBI was delayed by 2 hours and I managed to get United to rebook her on it. Their new live disruption assistance is actually quite helpful.


Part 2: the flight to PBI got canceled due to crew shortage. I used the live chat agent to send hotel vouchers (despite the desk agent saying they’re out of them), and rebook on American (via CLT) since no flights were available on UA to FLL. After they rebooked, I noticed a direct UA flight open up and quickly got a chat agent to grab it.
Hopefully not to be continued…


Is United totally dis-intouch with the situation or have they just gone complete AI?

Submitted a refund request online for my cancelled outbound flight, for which they had no alternative options untill two days later, just received this response back:
We appreciate your patience while our team reviewed your refund request. We found that the ticket you purchased is nonrefundable, and because your travel doesn’t fit into one of our eligible refund options, we’re unable to refund your ticket. Please review our eligible refund options for nonrefundable tickets below:

A significant schedule change of more than 2 hours from the original departure/arrival time
A flight cancellation where no re-accommodation options were available
A ticket covered by our 24-hour flexible booking policy

We know that unforeseen life events can affect travel plans. If you requested a refund for an unplanned event, such as a death or serious illness of a traveler or immediate family member, and forgot to add documentation, you may resubmit your request. You can find qualifying unplanned events on our policy page (under Tickets, select Refund request for nonrefundable tickets unplanned event). Please include the pertinent information in the Details box and attach supporting documents to the refund request form so our team members can determine if you qualify for a refund.

Please remember, you can still use the value of your ticket for future travel with these flexible options:

Rebook your travel now and use the value of your original ticket toward a new trip. Change fees may apply.
Cancel your existing travel and keep the value as a future flight credit that can be used on United or our partner airlines. Change fees may apply.
Many of our existing tickets are eligible for change fee waivers and extended validity for 24 months from ticket purchase date. View the eligible options for your ticket here.

Book with confidence with our no change fee policy on most Economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S. or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean effective August 30, 2020.
Thank you for your understanding and for choosing to fly United.


United Refunds




Dan, did you actually pay at Mike’s or did you use miles? 😉
just had 2 questions- why did they only let those with a paper boarding pass to deplane? Also how reliable is it to book and be able to cancel within 24 hours if the flight is within 7 days (or that day for that matter?)


Incredible. Just curios, in situations like these is it not worth just getting into a rental and driving to Chicago or Cleveland? True it cost money and fuel… but sounds like some of these “new itineraries” are very costly.


MOST important line “ Abaita, home to some of the best upscale kosher dairy food in the world”…NOW WERE TALKING!

Reb yid

How exactly did this beat the Megabus option?


I’m exhausted just reading this. Happy birthday Rafi!


The one thing I am still left wondering… seeing as I have never been, do I go out to Mike’s?


Would you be able to do a rundown of what would be covered under a CCs insurance. Is there a forum link where it is discussed?


What was I thinking reading this entire post on a fast day? Now my head is spinning even more…I’m going to bed until the end of the fast, but I bet I’ll have dreams that my bed is cancelled.


“Only people with paper boarding passes were allowed to deplane in Rochester.”
Why is this?


Flew united ewr to tlv last week with 6 kids including a toddler took the 11:00pm flight and got delayed till 10 am an hour prior to departure. Went home and flew red eye with kids that were awake and we planned to have them asleep. It now seems like it could’ve been alot worse. What kind of compensation should I expect? I got a note thanking me for being a united 1k but had no idea what that even meant…..


Leftists and corporatists are obsessed with using climate change as a pretext for grabbing more money and power. See: ESG


“There’s no word on why climate change seems to be targeting United more than other airlines this summer.”

Oh, it’s very selective.

Texas Totty

I flew United today EWR-ORD. Stuck on the tarmac in a boiling hot metal tube for almost 2 hours. And of course, they go nuts about wearing a seatbelt even though we were standing still. Every few minutes the pilot gets on and says something about just 20 more minutes due to weather. Seriously? It was 92 and sunny! I checked the radar and there was no bad weather in the vicinity. To be fair, he never said bad weather, just weather. This way they don’t need to give us anything.


I love all these details. How long did it take you to write this? Do you take notes as it happens or you remember it all


In Singapore about to leave. I was here for work for one month. The there was EWR-NRT-SIN United and ANA. TThe United flight to NRT was pretty mihc on time June 28th but the two days before they cancelled it both times. My return flight was to SFO then EWR. They cancelled the one to SFO due to the plan leaving SFO had a technical and had to return. I was looking for options and had saw some flights on ANA and called my company travel when United booked me on Lufthansa going SIN-FRA-JFK. It seems internationally to Europe and Asia Lufthansa and ANA are both bailing out United right now.