jss1113's recent travel woes have inspired me to recount my own recent "adventure", though his turned out to be worse. Last August, I found and booked an incredibly cheap fare on Delta for my annual trip to my Mom's for Christmas (I'm in Seattle, she's in NE PA). In November, I got a call that my itinerary was being changed; this was fine, I actually liked my new flights slightly better, though I now had very short layovers (<45m each way; eek!), and was going through Atlanta instead of Cincinnati (so, less time, more miles). The trip out was unremarkable. The trip back, however,...
I got to PHL around 3:45 for my 5pm flight. Later than I'd have liked, but still enough time. Very short lines (for Christmastime, that is), and I sit down at the gate around 4:20, and wait. 4:45 rolls around, and we haven't started boarding. 'K. A few minutes later, and we get an announcement that our flight will be delayed, and they'll let us know when they have more info. 10 minutes later, and they have more info. When our flight (which was coming from SLC) landed, the pilot's windshield cracked. Yeah. If they could find a replacement at Philly, it would only take 2 hours, but if they had to fly one in, it would take an additional 4 to 6 hours. Awesome. Needless to say, I was not going to make my connecting flight.
Having learned lessons from travel veteran friends, I got right on my cell phone to get rebooked. I was told by the Delta agent that since I'd received my boarding pass, I'd have to get someone at the airport to help me. Guh? I figured it was maybe more security pantomime fallout from 9/11. There was already quite the line in front of our gate agents, and I knew that US Air had a very nice nonstop to SEA that would take off in ~45 minutes (it's the flight I usually get), so I casually went over to the neighboring gate to see if he could help. He called right over, but even the standby list for that flight was full, so no joy. There was no other way back to Seattle that night, so he said I should go out past security to the main desk rather than an interminable wait for my original gate agent.
I was not the only one from my flight there, and we all had the same story: "I need to be rebooked." "You need to use those phones over there to do that." "We did, they said they couldn't, and that we need to talk to you." "What?!?" Yeah, that was neat.
Apparently the girl who was rebooking me was new, because it took 45 minutes to find me another way to Seattle. My new flight left at 6am the next morning (aieee!), and went through Cincinnati, and got me into Seattle before noon. Fine. I get my hotel and meal vouchers (a big $14 for two meals), and I'm off for a tiny bit of sleep. Fortunately, all these years, I've been following the routine of "always pack medication and a day's clothing in your carry-on", again on advice from others. It paid off this time, let me tell you. Unfortunately, none of my friends or family were available for an impromptu visit. I did have a bunch of Lush products with me, though, so I had a nice relaxing bubble bath to put me to bed.
Get up the next morning, check out, and go to the airport. At the main check-in counter I look at the departures screen, and.... Damn! My morning flight is delayed 90 minutes, so again I'll miss my connection. This is actually the first time I got upset at all. I call Delta again, and the woman rebooks me (for those of you counting along, this is my 4th itinerary) onto an 11am flight through SLC that puts me in SEA around 4pm, but she'll upgrade me to first class. *sigh* Fine, catch the shuttle back to the hotel, convince the manager to let me check back in to my room for a few hours, and take a quick nap.
This time I decide to be smart: I'll check the departure status before I leave the hotel. Huh, that's strange, when I enter the flight number, it's not departing from PHL. I must have written it down wrong. I'll enter the departing city and time. No such flight. WTF?!? I'VE BEEN BOOKED ONTO A NON-EXISTENT FLIGHT! Now I'm angry. The agent on the phone finally finds me another flight that leaves around 4, and gets me into Seattle about 25 hours after my original (well, 2nd) itinerary. She bizarrely contends that she can't upgrade me to first class over the phone, but assures me there are plenty of seats available, and the airport agents will be able to upgrade me. I calm down, get to the airport, and try to get rebooked again (5th time!). Oh, so sorry, that first class section is completely full. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Gah! I'm given 3 drink vouchers for my trouble. I'm fed up. I ask for a manager, and am told she's in a meeting, and I say I'll wait ("where else am I going to go?!?"). I finally get to see her, and to top this all off, I'm told that she can't upgrade me and won't give me anything else because she "doesn't have to." Yes, that's right, she DOESN'T HAVE TO.
I do eventually get to Seattle 25 hours late.
So, yeah, NEVER FLYING DELTA AGAIN.