As I said in a previous post, I arrived at 10pm the night before for my 6am flight. I was so stoked to get on my flight to Seattle to see my fams. I had a short layover in San Francisco, and when I boarded the plane realized I had an empty seat next to me and the guy in my row was really fun. It was was going to be a glorious flight.
Then the ominous voice of the pilot over the intercom crackles over vibrant chitter chatter of passengers. "Err. zzz... Chhhck.. Er.. zz. There are mechanical problems with the plane. We are looking in to it. Please stand by for an update. zzz chcchhhhk. zz." You could feel an overwhelming sigh muster through the cabin. The pilot back on the speaker... everyone needed to deboard the plane, pick up their checked luggage and rebook their flights.
A mad rush of frustrated travelers clammered through the terminal to baggage claim and ticket counters. I was thoroughly frustrated, fearing a middle seat squeezed between two "healthy" people. As I waited in line, I wondered if I'd get a free ticket. Finally it was my turn at the ticket counter and the agent was more than rude to my innocent questions. I tried my best to politely voice my concerns, including my frustration that I had been inconvenienced, but I could tell the more questions I asked Ms. Megan Tress, the more she grew annoyed with me.... (They kept telling me I wouldn't get compensated even though I knew I my original flight was more expensive than the one I was being put on, there wasn't anything I could do and I wasn't Premier Status. A bit annoying.) They said the airline wasn't going to refund me anything. Poop. However, I did get a new flight through Chicago... departing three hours after my original flight.
(side note: I really wasn't that upset... I was just REALLY tired. I hadn't slept since two nights before)
I rarely have problems with United, so when I reached the terminal of my new flight, I immediately wrote a polite, frustrated email explaining how I was inconvenienced (I chose my original flight because it flew directly to SFO so I could sleep for the six hours straight, SFO doesn't have as many delays as Chicago in my experience, it was mostly empty....). I asked politely if they could compensate me for my inconvenience.
Less that 24 hours later, United sent me a $200 voucher. (Mind you, my original round trip ticket was only $220).
Lesson: It never, never hurts to ask.
image from here.