Last year when I flew to NYC, I flew Delta.
After the experience of STILL sitting on the ground
at my home airport,
a couple of hours after
I should have been on the ground at New York,
I opted for a different airline this year.
Lesson learned...flying is not what is used to be.
We started out great.
The first leg of my trip was to Charlotte.
Up in the air and on time!
I caught my connecting flight to La Guardia.
It looked like I would be there, on time at 3 PM.
Kate's company has summer hours,
so she would meet me at the airport.
About a hour into the flight
the captain announces major storms in the New York area
and that we had actually been circling for a while.
Since we were over Richmond and
we were almost out of fuel,
we would land, refuel, and hopefully
the storms would be cleared by the time
we landed in New York.
I have no problem with Richmond,
unless, I'm sitting there all afternoon and into the evening.
We had numerous updates:
**all three New York airports closed,
**AND some sort of major communication outage
in the northeast.
At 8 PM (remember, I should have been in NY at 3 PM),
we were told our flight was cancelled.
Our choices were:
1. Fly back to Charlotte, where there were no more flights
to NY that evening, BUT there were hotel rooms.
2. Fly to Pittsburgh, where there were no more flights
to NY that evening, BUT there were hotel rooms,
AND the airline was working on adding another flight
in the morning into La Guardia,
OR putting us on a bus into the city that night.
(By the way, because of a convention in Richmond,
there were no hotel rooms available,
so staying there was not an option.)
What to do?
I opted to fly on to Pittsburgh.
My logic was to keep moving north,
not to back tract.
Back in the air to Pittsburgh.
There were forty of us and
upon landing we were met by
an airline representative.
He had NO knowledge of
the possible extra morning flight,
or the possible bus into NY.
Instead we were given small cards
with an 800 number for rebooking our flight
and a slip of paper with an 800 number
for getting a hotel room.
(I'm going to date myself,
but I remember a time when
airlines did both these things for you.)
Around midnight I had finally booked a seat for myself
the next morning on a arriving flight into JFK at 10:30 AM.
Not too happy about that because I knew
it would take me much longer to get into the city,
and I was watching my weekend tick away.
But, I was very happy to have the seat.
Then I tried finding a room for the night.
It seems by that time, there no more rooms
at "trip interruption discounted rates", but I could
"try calling individual hotels" for a full price room.
Since it now well past midnight
and I had a 9:30 flight out in the morning,
and I was totally flustrated and disgusted,
I opted to stay at the airport,
with most of the other 40 passengers from the flight.
We WERE given pillows and blankets,
and bottled water.
(By that time nothing was open at the airport.
Many of us had not had a real meal since breakfast.)
Yea US Airways!
Next moring at 5 AM I discover my flight has been
"pushed back" a couple of hours.
Back to my 800 number and
in my nicest, most desperate and pleading voice,
explained to the rep my saga/situation.
She was able to rebook me onto a 8:30 flight into...
into LaGuardia !!!
Arrival time: 10:30 AM!!!
ONLY 19 and a half hours late
and a night on the Pittsburgh airport floor!!!
I understand weather happens,
communication failures happen,
planes have mechanical problems,
and a whole host of other things
can occur when you travel.
Therefore it seems, the airlines would be models for
handling unhappy customers.
(A tray of sandwiches at the Pittsburgh airport
would have gone a long way.)
No, not the case.
At any rate, NYC was fun,
and I had a great visit with Kate.
The icing on the cake was getting a recorded
phone message 15 minutes before heading to
the airport Monday morning for my return trip
that my flight had been cancelled...
If you're traveling this weekend,
have fun, travel safe, and don't forget to
pack your patience!