A group of United Airlines passengers were promised that their connecting flight would be held for them. But when they got there, they were told they couldn’t get on the plane. One passenger was left wondering: Who’s fault is it anyway?
Connecting flights, while annoying, are unavoidable in certain situations. When you have to take one, you do your best to find a layover sweet spot. You don’t want to wait so long for the connection that you get irritated, but you don’t want the layover to be so short that you’ll miss it if your original fight is even a bit delayed.
Well, TikTok user and United Airlines customer Becca (@templetontravels) and several fellow passengers thought their one-hour buffer time would have been enough to get them to their connection and out of Denver. They were even promised by the crew that they’d make it. But that’s not how things turned out.
“I need someone who’s a flight attendant or works for an airline to explain to me what should have happened in this situation,” Becca said.
Becca explained that she is traveling out of Iowa in the midst of a snowstorm, and the flight attendants for her departure were in a car accident on their way to the airport.
Thankfully, they were all OK, but the accident delayed the flight by an hour because they didn’t have enough attendants to staff it. The hour delay completely cut into the one-hour delay Becca had to make her connection in Denver.
But the flight crew assured those with connections that they were doing everything possible to help them make their connection. When they landed, a person on the intercom announced that they’d been in contact with the connecting flights, and doors were being held for the people coming off that plane. Even the flight app said the flight was delayed “as we wait for several passengers to make their connections.”
About 35 people with connecting flights were let off the plane first, and they sprinted across the airport to the gate. But when they got there, the gate agent was firm—the door was closed, and none of them were getting on.
@templetontravels Flight crew question! Was there ever a chance we were making out connection? . . #unitedairlines #unitedairlinestiktok #missedflight #denverairport #flightattendanttiktok ♬ original sound – Templeton Travels
When Becca explained the situation, the gate agent said that the other flight attendants shouldn’t have told the group that the plane was being held for them because “that’s not something we really do.”
But it is something they do. It’s even on the company website.
While there’s no way to know for sure what happened, United does have a system that allows them to hold the plane if passengers are in danger of missing their connection. It’s called the Connection Saver tool, and it “lets us know you might miss your connection so we can see if we can hold your connecting flight.”
“If they knew we weren’t going to make it, why did they give us the hope that the plane was waiting for us?” Becca asked.
She was confused about whether her original flight attendants dropped the ball with a false promise or if the message didn’t reach the next plane.
“Who’s right and who’s wrong? Like, did we ever even have a chance?” Becca asked.
The video has more than 600,000 views and over 1,800 comments. Most people said they knew from experience or form actually working in an airport that flights regularly get held for people with connections.
“I worked for United for 7 years and we absolutely held planes for registered passengers, especially if the delay was due to an airline reason,” the top comment read.
“If the app said the flight was being held, somebody talked to somebody. The new gate agent either had an attitude or wasn’t told,” a person said.
“I’ve learned that gate agents do whatever the hell they want. If they have somewhere to be, they’re shutting that door,” another wrote.
However, one person wrote, “The person who booked an hour layover only assumed a small risk – go look in the mirror.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Becca for comment via Instagram direct message and to United via email.