A few days ago I was flying from Orange County (SNA) to Sacramento (SMF) through San Francisco (SFO) on United Airlines. My flight was scheduled for 8:00a. I arrived at the airport around 6:45a only to find out that my flight to SFO was delayed about 50 minutes. This would mean that I would miss my connection to SMF. The delay was due to air traffic control issues and probably fog or weather in San Francisco, so it was possible that my connection would be delayed too. So I just went with the flow. When I got to the United Club, the agent told me that the delay was worse and that I would miss my connection as it wasn't delayed yet. She said that the 7:00a flight to SFO was delayed and she could try to get me on that one. There weren't any seats, but she would continue to monitor it. At about 7:30a she called my name and I went up to the counter. I had a seat and the flight was scheduled to leave at 8:00a. So I left the club and went to the gate. That flight was United Express and so the gate was all the way at the end at Gate 1. When I got to the gate there was no indication that they were boarding the plane any time soon despite the 8:00a departure time. I sat around for a few minutes until about 8:00a and they said that we weren't going to leave until 9:00a. I still would've been fine because by this point my connecting flight was delayed. I was getting flight status updates from United and Tripit.
I remained in the gate area because I didn't want to walk all the way back to the United Club. Besides the gate area was not crowded and it was nice and relaxing. About 10 minutes later, I received a status update and my connecting flight to Sacramento was flat out cancelled. I already knew from when I checked in that the next connecting flight left San Francisco at 4:30p. So I end up walking back to the United Club to see what my options were. The agent told me that indeed the next connecting flight was at 4:30p, which would mean I would spend half the morning at the Orange County airport and then almost the rest of the day at SFO. No thanks. It got worse. There were no seats on that connecting flight and the next flight she could get me on didn't leave SFO until 7:30p, which would mean I would arrive in Sacramento around 12 hours from that point. Hell no. I could drive myself and get there well before dinner. So I asked them to cancel my ticket and refund my money so I could go home and drive myself. They issued a refund and I went home. I got a LYFT home and put my luggage in my car, cancelled my rental car in Sacramento, and got on the road. It was such a mess and such a stupid situation, I'm glad I didn't stick around and try to make it work. I could've flown to Tokyo in the time period they were quoting me. Ridiculous. I was only flying 400 miles away.
I ended up tweeting this experience to @United and they responded to me. Actually they almost always respond to my tweets. They said to submit a customer care issue through the website. So I did that once I got to Sacramento and over the weekend they sent me an airline credit for $75. I guess that covers my LYFT home and my gas money one way. It's better than nothing. I only ended up buying the United ticket in the first place with the connecting flight because it was a lot cheaper than the non-stop Southwest flight. So I guess there is a lesson to be learned somewhere in all of this.