Sunday, May 9, 2010 was shaping up to be an excellent end to my honeymoon. My wife and I had spent a week in Disney World and were looking forward to getting home. Our flight was set and we were waiting by the gate. All of the hard work had been done — going through security, getting frisked electronically, and finding the right gate. All we had to do was wait until the time for boarding and go home — or so we thought.

About an hour before boarding, there was an announcement made over the intercom saying that the flight was canceled and that we would have to go to a special area of the airport to schedule a later flight. We went over to the appropriate area and waited in a long line where we eventually secured a telephone. I was on hold for what seemed like an even longer period of time before getting someone.

I explained what had happened (though I suspect they were aware of it) and asked for a flight later going to any airport in the New York City / Newark / Philadelphia area. The person put me on hold again and I was pleased when they came back only to hear the words that I did not want to hear — that the earliest flight they could get for me was the following morning.

I replied that this was unacceptable and that I needed to be at my job the following morning, and again repeated that I was willing to fly to a number of different airports. The person looked again and was unable to find any flights. Meanwhile, I had loaded up a low cost ticket searching web site on my phone and was looking for flights that way. The person came back and told me that she had found nothing.

“How is it,” I asked, “that I was able to find tickets on my phone and you were unable to find any tickets with your computer system that is directly connected to ticketing?” She was unable to answer the question. She said that the only thing that they could do for me was to refund the money that had been paid for the ticket and so that was the option that I had to choose.

Delta failed me on several levels, as well as every other passenger on the flight. If they had to cancel the flight because of the weather — the purported reason that they canceled the flight — they should have created a new flight later on in the day for those of us who had our flight canceled.

Since they clearly weren’t capable of doing that, they should have done the next best thing and booked me a flight with a different airline. That would have been the right thing to do seeing as they had pulled the rug from under me and left me without any flights that would get me to where I needed to go. Instead, I had to buy a ticket on Jet Blue — which turned out to be its own ordeal.

7 Comments

  1. Gordon!

    Welcome to WordPress.com, my friend! It’s so good to get you back in the publication saddle after a long, and unwanted, layoff we faced in the move here from Movable Type.

    I appreciate your story and I love it that you were able to solve your own problem. Big congrats on the honeymoon!

    Will you tell us what happened on the Jet Blue flight?

    Now that the major airlines are joining forces with each other, we will all face less flight options soon and I think you bumped straight into the face of the new tarmac fines — and instead of risking the flight against the weather — Delta just up and cut you off:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-27/passengers-face-scrapped-flights-as-airlines-dodge-tarmac-fines.html

    1. The Jet Blue flight was beautiful. Flying to the same area and yet only got delayed by about an hour. 🙂 Paying for it was another matter. (I’m writing that now!)

    1. Great question! We are huge Disney fans and went to DisneyLand about once a year when we lived in Seattle. I told Elizabeth that she had to go to Disney World to appreciate its vastness and of course took up my mother’s offer when she made it. 🙂