United frustrates Houston mayor

United blames spring break crowds

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Annise Parker is speaking out about the problems she said she's had with United Airlines. 

She said she was among a crowd who dealt with delays or cancellations over the last week since United's merger with Continental Airlines.

"I had a delay flying out earlier this week and a delay coming back," said Parker. "The gate agents were overwhelmed. There were a lot of angry, frustrated folks."

Parker said the worst came on her way back from San Francisco to Bush Intercontinental Airport.  She said she arrived at the airport early, but ended up waiting in a long line. 

After making it to the front and checking in her children, she said the deadline for check-in expired so she wasn't allowed to check herself in. 

"The not very helpful gate agent came up and said the person who is not checked in is just going to have to stay.  And I said, 'No, you don't understand.  I'm an adult traveling with two minors.  Who do you suggest stays behind?'"

Parker said the entire family was forced to wait six hours for another flight. 

After getting home, she sent this tweet: "Just landed from Spring break trip with girls. 1.5 hours late leaving Houston and 8 hours late coming back from SF. Great merger, United!"

The Charleton family said they missed their United flights out of Bush because of long check-in lines, and a technical glitch erroneously cancelled a return flight.

Another customer said he waited on the phone for two hours to make a reservation.

United representatives said spring break crowds are causing much of the back-up. 

As for the mayor's problems, an airline representative said weather issues also contributed to delays out of San Francisco.

Representatives also said passengers may be able to avoid some long lines by checking in online. 

However, they still encourage flyers to get to the airport early, leaving enough time to check bags, get through security and to make it to their gates.