Hi and welcome to the last segment of this series where I fly B6 and was expecting a smooth flight. As it turned out, this particular segment turned out to be a problematic one due to a flight cancellation.
Originally this flight was supposed to be B6 2589 LAS-SFO Dept. 11:08 - Arriv. 12:47. When I arrived at LAS and tried to check-in using the kiosk, a "flight cancelled" message came on the screen and I got in line to be assisted by an agent at the ticket counter.
When the agent looked up the flight information she advised me that passengers were protected on a new flight that will depart at the same time from LAS and arrive in OAK instead. I inquired if there was any way to endorse my ticket to UA for a flight to SFO and she told me that it couldn't be done. She then checks me in and tells me that for some reason my reservation did not transfer to the new flight but a few seconds later she issued me my boarding pass. I thank her and go to the gate. Then I noticed that there is no "TSA Pre-check" on the card and upon further inspection I realized that I was given a wrong boarding pass. I immediately returned to the counter and the agent apologized and reissued the correct one with my name.
Security was very quick and once I reached my gate I decided to grab something to eat from one of the fast food restaurants. The flight was scheduled to depart at 11:08 but eventually an announcement was made at the gate that it was delayed and as soon as it arrived and passengers disembarked they would begin the boarding process. Later on the agents announced that if our destination was SFO, an agent in OAK will meet us by the baggage claim carousel and provide us with transportation to SFO. Eventually the dept. time was pushed to 11:18. The plane arrived and the agents started the boarding process by enforcing priorities. Passengers on wheelchairs and families, along with military personnel were invited to board first, followed by B6's elite members and then by rows of 5's starting from the back to the front. They were professional but very strict when it came to carry-ons making sure that some passenger's bag will fit into the luggage container to make sure that they were within limits. I have never seen any other airline do that until now. The guy in front of me threw a tantrum when his luggage did not fit into the measurement box but the agents did not back up and finally he had to give up his bag to be tagged. I was asked to place my bag in the box but thankfully it fit easily so I was allowed to board with it.
I boarded the plane and a FA quickly said hi as I walked towards my seat. Seat pitch is very good on B6 and the minimum is 34" or 86.36 cm.
Individual IFE with limited programs.
We waited for a long time and finally an agent came and reiterated the message that those who wanted to go to SFO should meet the agent by baggage claim 4. The door closed and we finally departed at 12:38 instead of 11:18. As far as I could tell there were a couple of empty seats, especially in the "Even More Space" section.
Service started with the FA asking for people's beverage preference and then delivering it with a bottle of water.
This was followed by free snacks. Today's choices were Skeeter's chocolate chip cookies and Cheez It crackers.
I thought that the service aboard was very good and well timed. Soon we arrived in OAK and touched down at 13:58. Everybody headed down to the baggage claim area and a few minutes later an agent informed to us that a bus is being sent to take us to SFO. A lot of people waited outside by the curb and a few decided to take the metro (BART). About 30 min. later there was still no bus and the agent returned to let us know that the bus might be held in traffic and didn't know exactly when it was going to arrive. Then another 30 min. passed and finally a station manager decided to send passengers via taxi to SFO. She pulled out a company credit card and was charged something like USD 120 or EUR 110.50 for the ride across the bridge. Some passengers asked if they could dropped anywhere else but they couldn't deviate from the final destination which is SFO due to liability issues. I was one of the first ones to grab a cab along with 3 other passengers and we arrived at SFO by 15:30.
Las Vegas - LAS
Oakland - OAK
The handling of this mess was not ideal starting with the cancellation of the flight on the day of dept. and not being protected on the new flight. On top of that I was given the wrong boarding pass and it's a good thing that I noticed it just when I was walking away from the counter. The fiasco with the transportation in OAK could have been managed differently and B6 should have requested a bus to be waiting for us when we arrived in OAK.
Throughout this whole ordeal the agents were professional and did the best they could under the circumstances, but unfortunately it was disorderly and showed a total lack of organization. It was reactive instead of proactive. Things happen and sometimes it is out of our control. However, a good company should always anticipate foreseeable problems and have a plan in place to deal with them. I don't blame the front line employees who no doubt were stretched beyond their limits with this problem, but management should have stepped up and done a better job of ensuring that all passengers were taken care of. Some families were traveling with children and it is disgraceful that they had to wait for so long to get into their final destination.
I flew B6 many years ago and really liked this airline. I thought that they were really special in offering more value to passengers like extra room and snacks for free. Most reviews about this airline are positive. In this particular instance, B6 disappointed me greatly with how they handled this irregular operation. The service aboard is still as good as I remember it and of all the major U.S. carriers they still provide the extras that competitors charge, but the ground service was a big fail.
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