A United Airlines passenger says she had to buy new clothes at Target after her flight was delayed 13 hours and arrived without her luggage

·3 min read
A United Airlines plane flying
A United passenger eventually secured a seat 13 hours after her original flight was cancelled, according to reports.Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty
  • A passenger had to sleep in an airport cot after her flight was delayed, then cancelled in May.

  • Laura Waring had to buy clothes at Target after her luggage was left off her flight, per The Guardian.

  • It's a microcosm of the challenges faced by passengers amid a turbulent period for global aviation.

A sales coordinator was forced to buy new clothes and drive two hours to her destination, after her luggage was left off a United airlines flight that departed 13 hours she had been due to travel.

The saga is a microcosm of the wider challenges faced by passengers amid a turbulent period for global aviation, as airlines rejig their summer schedules to counter staff shortages, economic pressures, and pent-up consumer demand.

Laura Waring, 47, of Budd Lake New Jersey, was originally scheduled to fly from Newark to San Diego on Friday May 20 to help organize her employer's conference the following Monday, she told The Guardian.

After Waring's flight was initially delayed, then canceled, she had slept for 45 minutes on a cot in the airport, according to The Guardian.

When the executive sales coordinator eventually secured a United Airlines flight 13 hours later, her luggage didn't make it aboard, per The Guardian. The flight was traveling to Los Angeles, meaning that she had to drive two hours to her original destination of San Diego, the outlet also reported. When her bag eventually arrived, she said the handle was broken.

Waring told The Guardian she has receipts and hopes the airlines will reimburse her.

United Airlines and Waring are yet to respond to Insider's request for further comment, which were made outside of standard working hours.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing shortages within the aviation industry

With planes grounded, airlines laid off thousands of aircrew, baggage handlers, and airport staff, who have been slow to return to their jobs in the same numbers as before. Absences due to resurgent COVID-19 rates haven't helped.

The Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that the number of pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers fell from 84,520 in May 2019, to 81,310 in May 2021.

That coupled with the economic stress of inflation and, increased fuel cost caused by the war in Ukraine, has led to thousands of flights being delayed or canceled globally. It has also caused the cost of air fares to rise.

EasyJet, the regional British carrier, announced on Friday it would cancel as many as 40 flights a day during June in order to avoid disruption. Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, will cull 900 routes in July.

On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was lifting the requirement for all passengers flying into the US to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. The move was welcomed by industry bosses and is widely expected to boost air travel.

 

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