For our fligth UA1079 on 225 we arrive in the airport around three hours before the schedule departure time and at the check-in counter we have been informed that we need to have a negative Covid test in order to proceed with the trip to Newark (flight UA1079), even though we have shown a certificated for a complete vaccination. At that time the employee from United have checked the passport and for sure she has noticed also that we missed the ESTA, but she didn’t inform us at all. So, we did the Covid test and when we received the results, we went back to the check-in desk and after a long while the lady said that we should have also the ESTA which we didn’t have because like the Covid test no one inform us that it will be mandatory. Nevertheless, and once again we have proceed with the fulfil of the ESTA and we got it around 75 minutes prior to the flight departure, but when we arrive again in the check-in the employees from United simply said to us that the flight was already closed even knowing that for each of the missing process (Covid Test and ESTA) the employee from United counter was continuing referring to us to not be worried because we had enough time to handle both, which was in fact true because we did it and she knows perfectly that we were both in airport, and more, she lead us personally to the ESTA office. As referred, there was still 75 minutes for the departure, but they were simply inflexible to us because as we all know no company close the gate within 75 minutes in advance because it doesn’t make any sense, unless of course the plane is full and complete, which was not the case in theory because we still were at the counter, with a valid and paid ticket, with a valid and on time Covid Test and with a valid and on time ESTA fulfilled. Or in the meanwhile our tickets were sold to someone else? Or the flight was already overbooked? So, despite all demanding processes are accomplished we have been strongly informed that we have missed the flight and we start immediately looking for alternative solutions and the United responsible person in the airport said to us that we need to talk directly with Lufthansa in order to find an alternative flight because they were unable to work with the tickets and only Lufthansa can give the authorization to unblock them. As there was nobody in Lufthansa counter in San Jose airport, we start dialling to Lufthansa office and after more than 1 (one) hour waiting we were able together with the United responsible to explain what according to them needs to be done but after all the conversation and in a kind of “magic” the phone call was disconnected by Lufthansa. So, we have tried again for two more times from different phones, and it happens the same, meaning after explaining the situation and even begging to the operator not to hang-up the call for several times, Lufthansa office has simply disconnected the calls without solving the problem. You can of course the calls that were recorded for sure and please be informed that all of them occurred between 07:30 AM and 12:00 AM on May 22nd, Costa Rica local time. The numbers used was first the one from United and then 00351 91 747 1847 and 00351 96 609 5332 or one from Costa Rica 6445- 3145 I can’t recall for sure the one I used.
At the end of this painful process and even knowing that there will be another United flight to Newark 5 hours later at 12:20, United don’t wanted to place us on that flight with the strange argument that they don’t be able to place us on the flight simply because they were unable to manage the tickets , only Lufthansa could do it , and as explained, Lufthansa office “cut” all the calls before came up with a solution that fits us all and we were left alone to our own destiny. The behaviour both from Lufthansa and United in this process does not reflect the way Customer care should be handled and it was against all standards of what should be a commercial attitude towards clients.
Being considered a “No Show” from our side having everything ready for check-in 75 minutes in advance compared to the time schedule was not correct or fair and clearly shows a very low professional behaviour from the employees of Lufthansa and United since the first contact till the Supervisor. As you can understand the contact in the trip back for us was United even if the flight was operated by Lufthansa and also as you can easily understand, we as customers, do not know and of course we should not know who is responsible for what and United from the very beginning act if they have nothing to do with the problem, even having charged and collect the value for the trip, but refuses to find a way of helping us to solve the problem or at least to find the best solution.The second part of the trip (Newark – Lisbon LH7966) can´t be considered as a “Not show” simply because if we did not took the flight San Jose-Newark, how could we take the following and because we were both personally on United check-in counter and by phone advised Lufthansa several hours before the second flight (it is recorded) that we could not take the flight Newark-Lisbon !
Facing all the above listed issues and in order to come back home we were obliged to buy new tickets that cost us a total amount for 2 passengers of USD 2 618,75 (receipts attached), so, we do expect and strongly demand that Lufthansa will refund the additional costs we had with the trip that was refused to provide to us without a full and comprehensive explanation.