United Airlines’ operations at Chicago O’Hare slowly coming back to life today

The massive snowstorm that hit Chicago and the Midwest this week has moved on, and operations are slowly returning to normal at O’Hare airport. I was reading some of the comments on United’s Facebook wall, and for the most part people posting there seem understanding of the situation. One person took a picture of her cell phone timer showing she had been on hold with United for more than an hour to get rebooked. Ouch! I had to call United yesterday, but luckily the 1K desk picked up within 10 minutes.

One thing United Airlines does extremely well in these situations is adding extra sections (additional flights) in markets with the greatest amount of stranded passengers. Last night, United flight 9799 (a Boeing 777) left the gate at San Francisco shortly after 1:00 am, and arrived at O’Hare this morning at 7:05am, marking one of the first United flights to land at ORD since Tuesday. Also, this morning’s bank of Los Angeles to Chicago fights are operating on schedule so far, and United threw in an extra flight number 9803 here at 9:40am on a 747 aircraft. Adding large planes for these additional flights allows United to clear the backlog of passengers much more quickly than, say, the Southwests of the skies.

I was incredibly lucky last month not to have any of my flights impacted by the frequent storms on the East Coast, and my upcoming flights are looking good, too. My next flight passes through Chicago and rolls me over the 25,000-mile elite qualifying mark, so I’ll be a quarter of the way to 1K status for 2012 within the week!

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