Greetings from Landsdowne, Maryland!
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Greetings from Landsdowne, Maryland!

I left Chicago yesterday at 1 pm, on my way to Rome via IAD, Dulles airport in Maryland. We were delayed about an hour due to technical issues and thus lost our spot in line for takeoff, so an additional wait was added. We took off about 2;30, instead of the scheduled 1:12 pm. Bad weather in Dulles forced our United flight to land in Pittsburgh as we did not have enough fuel to keep circling in a holding pattern.

The intent in Pittsburgh was to refuel and continue on to IAD when weather allowed, The captain a terrific person with (fortunately) a great sense of humor - notified us that the plane had been refueled but the machine that would tow us out of the gate was servicing another aircraft that had been forced to land due to weather. After yet another wait, the captain came on the intercom and said, Ladies and gentlemen, I have some news for you and believe me, I could not make this up. The tow machine has arrived BUT now storms are coming here and there is a threat of lightening so we cannot be towed and take off!

In fact, it had begun to rain. Im not sure but I think it was around 8 pm when we finally took off, arriving at IAD at 9. During this entire adventure we had a special kind of in-flight entertainment. The crew was fabulous. No meals had been scheduled but they gave us water and cookies, listened as people talked and had a few stories of their own to tell. About 7 pm I jokingly asked Melanie if she had a good Cabernet.and seconds later I received a paper cup with wine from Business Class! By the time we had taken off, it seemed as if passengers were on a family reunion, talking, laughing, patiently waiting as issues resolved themselveslike we had a choice! As we left, Melanie, one of the flight attendants, said, to great laughter, Thanks for visiting Pittsburgh!

She had also explained earlier that with their tickets, passengers have a contract with United and it was Uniteds duty to get us to IAD. If someone got off the plane in Pittsburgh and wanted to proceed on their own, permission would have to be given by th captain and in that case, that contract would be null and void. However, if the passenger wanted their suitcase, United would be obliged to pull it from the hold. Only one young man spent considerable time on his phone to make his own plans but he did stay on the plane to IAD. His luggage will arrive on the Rome flight many of will leave on today.

Applause greeted our departure and arrival in IAD. What most astonished me and many passengers was the fact that, upon our arrival at the gate, all of us with further travel had been rebooked to our final destination and many of us were handed a voucher fort the hotel and meals. We simply had to state our name and turn in our boarding pass for the original flight in exchange for a new boarding pass and the vouchers. United had prepared all of this while we were in Pittsburgh and then en route to D.C.

And that is why I am in Maryland at the very beautiful Landsowne Resort!

I have to check out in 15 minutes and get the shuttle to the airport so will close for now.

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