Why am I landing in Brussels instead of Paris? Not enough fuel

Written by admin on January 27, 2009 – 9:16 pm -

Dear powers that be:

I am writing to protest my recent trip between Washington/Dulles and Paris, France.

My United MileagePlus account was credited with one segment and 3,861 miles. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Because there wasn’t enough fuel on board due to weather conditions, we were forced to make an unscheduled stop in Brussels. Rather than landing 30 minutes early as the Captain announced upon take-off less than six hours before, we landed in Paris approximately two hours after our scheduled arrival time.

I recognize things are tight at United and another 1000 employees are being laid off. There will be additional cutbacks and times are tough.

But how much did that unscheduled stop cost? Weren’t there landing fees incurred with our Brussels visit? What did it cost to file an extra flight plan?

Rather than a non-stop Paris landing, the plane was forced to fly an extra leg. This dictates additional fuel, not to mention wear and tear on the plane and the passengers. And what about the turn-around time for the aircraft?

Was United forced to pay extra to the French workers who were responsible for the aircraft’s inspection and turn-around? I don’t know about the French aviation union but if it’s like other French unions, a rush job probably carries a premium.

The crew was angry and conveyed the feeling this wasn’t the first time they’d made an unscheduled stop. One mumbled the flight’s captain was none too happy.

It’s becoming clear that the potential of saving some money is more important than catering to those who have boarded the flight. The crew did its best to smile but was having a hellava time.

What would your reaction have been had you been on that flight? Can anyone calculate how much that unscheduled stop cost United? Is this the future of travel especially when it comes to US carriers?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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