A funny thing happened on the way to Atlanta

I had a great time here in Philadelphia, and felt a small pang of regret as I headed to the airport yesterday and everyone else was headed out on a tour of the city and a group dinner to follow. “That’s okay!” I thought to myself. “I am going HOME! I would much rather be home than be social with people, so that’s fine.” I said my goodbyes and packed up and headed to the airport around 4:00 for my 6:00 flight.

They’re doing construction at the Philadelphia airport. I don’t know what they’re doing, exactly, I just know that I feel more like a rat in a maze than usual, here, winding my way through the various blocked off passageways and passing the “pardon our dust!” signs. But eventually I smuggled all of my contraband through Security (this time, I was pulled aside to be patted down, but my HIGHLY DANGEROUS HAIR LOTION went by unnoticed), but in due time I made it to my gate.

Which was utterly mobbed.

I found a seat; I read my book; I checked my email. I don’t mind waiting. I texted back and forth with Otto a little bit, and then it looked like it was time to board.

Whenever I fly Delta I am regulated to Zone 4, a.k.a. steerage class, which means I have to both get on the plane last and then stick my feet through the hole in the floor and run really fast when it’s time to take off. BUT I DON’T MIND, because I am always cheerful when I am headed home! SO I waited in line forever, and eventually I was allowed to board the plane, and of course although there was no one yet sitting within three rows of my seat, the bin above it was completely full. So I spent some quality time wrestling my suitcase into an available spot, and then I sat down.

I put my purse underneath the seat in front of me. I fastened my seatbelt. I resumed reading my book.

And then the 12-year-old gate attendant walked onto the plane, grabbed the mic, and nervously announced that we’d just been delayed for an hour, and he was terribly sorry, but they were going to need everyone to get off the plane, please. Passengers needing to make tight connections could step up to the podium to discuss rebooking, and everyone else should please just be patient.

I undid my seatbelt. I grabbed my purse. I put my book away. I wrestled my suitcase down. I walked back out to the gate area, which was now inexplicably TWICE as full as it had been before. I texted Otto.

The gate attendant told us he’d update us every fifteen minutes. I went back to my book.

An hour later the pilot came out and told us that we should be hearing “any minute now” and then we’d probably be scheduled for wheels-up in about another hour.

I checked my watch. I’d left for the airport at 4, and it was now 7:30.

Half an hour later, they announced that the flight had officially been canceled, and directed us to go down to the main Delta counters to “make other arrangements.”

Turns out, “make other arrangements” is Deltaspeak for “have an agent blink at you and shrug and say ‘Well we’re really not obligated to do anything extra here because this was a weather issue.’”

Did I mention that the neighboring gate also had a Delta flight headed to Atlanta, scheduled for just 1/2 hour after my flight, and that one WASN’T canceled? Weather delay MY ASS.

The Delta automaton graciously scheduled me on a flight for this morning, but when I asked what I was supposed to do for the night she blinked a few more times and said “I guess you’ll need to find a place to stay.” When I suggested that perhaps the airline was responsible for that, she repeated that they bear no responsibility when it comes to delays due to weather.

It was perfectly clear here in Philly, by the way. And Otto reported the same in Atlanta. In fact, he popped up the weather radar to check; there were a few thunderstorms along the coast, but nothing huge. Again, I say, weather? Hmmmmmm.

I did the logical thing, at that point, which was to take my new boarding pass, snap at my husband on the phone, and go sit down to cry for a while.

Then I tried to call Susan, who I knew was out to dinner, and her phone was off. Fabulous. But! I knew Susan 1) would be coming back to the conference hotel eventually and 2) would probably let me crash in her room. So I walked around until I found my way out of the airport maze and took the shuttle back to the hotel.

I sat in a chair in the lobby and read my book and blew my nose (oh, did I mention about being sick? I’m sick, of course) and waited for everyone to get back. Susan, the world’s greatest friend, rushed in upon their return and patted me and assured me we’d get me all fixed up on her couch (thank goodness for suites, right?) and not to worry.

We got on the elevator. One of the other conference-goers looked at me and said “You look tired.”

I looked at my watch. It was after 10. “Well, I’ve been traveling for six hours,” I said. “Except only between here and the airport.” That wasn’t a real conversation-starter, if you can believe it.

This morning I got up at the asscrack of dawn and took the shuttle back to the airport, and found myself back at the SAME DAMN GATE as yesterday (the one at the end of the concourse, naturally, because I only ever fly out the gate that’s as FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE), and the monitor says the flight is on time, but I am not exhaling until the plane is in the air. Just sayin’.

These travel arrangements were made for me by the conference organizer, but I have to tell you that chances are EXCELLENT that I will never, ever fly Delta again.

(Of course, chances are also excellent that if I ever make it back to my house, I’ll never step foot out the door again. So.)

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51 Responses to “A funny thing happened on the way to Atlanta”

  1. 1
    Mom101 June 16, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    You do know that it was all retaliation for you trying to sneak hair lotion on the plane, right? I think you have some apologizing to do to your fellow passengers.

  2. 2
    Jean June 16, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Poor Mir. Happy landing in Atlanta!!

  3. 3
    Chuck June 16, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Yikes, that sucks. I’m glad you had a good friend to help you out there, since it sounds like Delta certainly didn’t. Sometimes when I hear a travel horror story it makes me embarrassed to work in the airline industry. Hope your trip today goes much more smoothly!

  4. 4
    Burgh Baby June 16, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    I’m sorry you got stuck on the wrong side of Pennsylvania. :-(

  5. 5
    daisy June 16, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    I was on a United flight back in March that had the same story. Well they canceled me while I was still at home, but said it was due to weather. BUT there were 3 other United flights going to the same destination as I was that hadn’t been canceled. Since I was still at home I called the main United customer service number and stayed on the phone with them (2 hours) until they put me on one of those flights. I was very polite but refused to get off the phone until they fixed the issue. I kept saying that over and over and over until she finally turned me over to a supervisor. He just had to hear me say it for about 15 minutes and he finally fixed the issue by bumping someone that had scheduled their trip after mine. Of course, Karma came after me and during my trip I had ill fitting shoes and ended up losing a toenail. So for the entire summer I have a very ugly pedicure.

    Airlines make it very difficult to enjoy a trip anymore.

  6. 6
    Megan June 16, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    Yeah. I always sort of trill, ‘but I LOVE traveling’ before a flight which then makes me feel I can’t stomp my feet when my luggage goes missing, the flight is delayed three hours and I’m stuck between the sweaty smelly man and the small grabby, runny nosed child, because, you know, I did ask for it.

    At least you have an Otto and a most appreciative furry person to be happy to see you when you finally get back!

  7. 7
    Rini June 16, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Delta is awful. Not only do they make you drive to the frickin’ airport to pay an unaccompanied minors fee (after happily accepting the ticket cost over the phone), they then “forget” that you paid it and charge the drop-off person AGAIN. While bodily hauling a crying 9-year-old through security while mom is stuck at the counter, I might add. *growl*

    (I’d have punched the guy. Just saying. He’d better be glad it was the OTHER mom at the counter that day…)

    (But I’m not bitter or anything.)

  8. 8
    Heather June 16, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    In Delta’s defense – they once put me up at a hotel for 45 minumtes so that I could take a shower prior to flying on a different airline – granted it was their fault I was flying on that airline but hey they found me a flight – but as I had to check in for that flight in an hour shuttling me to the hotel for the shower was awesome. Also, US Air loses luggage on non stops and tells me it was a routing issue. I think it is the person and how many times they have been yelled at – personally other than cleaning bathrooms at a rest area I can not think of a worst job than a customer service rep for an airline stationed in the airport.

    I am glad that you are on you way home.

    However if you fly in and our of Hartsfield – how do you avoid Delta?

  9. 9
    RuthWells June 16, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Oh, so sorry. Airlines suck.

  10. 10
    Heather June 16, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    In Delta’s defense – they once put me up at a hotel for 45 minutes so that I could take a shower prior to flying on a different airline – granted it was their fault I was flying on that airline but hey they found me a flight – but as I had to check in for that flight in an hour shuttling me to the hotel for the shower was awesome. Also, US Air loses luggage on non stops and tells me it was a routing issue. I think it is the person and how many times they have been yelled at – personally other than cleaning bathrooms at a rest area I can not think of a worst job than a customer service rep for an airline stationed in the airport.

    I am glad that you are on you way home.

    However if you fly in and our of Hartsfield – how do you avoid Delta?

  11. 11
    g~ June 16, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    I get caught with Hair Product of Doom *every.single.time*. Le sigh. Such is the life of being a frumpy suburban mom, I suppose.

  12. 12
    Kendra June 16, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    I was once in that situation but it was my husband and I flying and the kids were at home being babysat. They tried the same weather delay on me so it wasn’t their fault but I kept insisting that it was mechanical until they finally agreed and took responsibility and found flights to get us home or at least out of their hair so they could tell other customers that it was a weather problem. Glad you’re home!!

  13. 13
    Tiffany June 16, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    I’ve never had a problem with Delta, Now United is a royal pain in the butt most of the time And is the ONLY airline i have ever dealt with on getting vouchers redeemed requires either mailing them in or going to the airport ticket counter and they cannot be booked via phone or internet. I graciously took a bump with my kids last yr in denver (hey free tickets,its expensive to fly to the grandparents for the month,save me $$$$ for next yrs flight) to get them. We got into dfw late that night and by the time we got to our luggage it was locked up and no employees around to unlock them again,along with another family that had the same situation :( I will never buy another ticket on that airline again.
    I had to call to get our seats assigned and we couldnt sit is together umm im not having 2 of my kids sitting rows behind me since they are 8 and 9…..was told maybe they can fix it at the airport……ugh! ..my oldest has a broken toe and is in a boot so we are going to have to be sat in the handicapped seats for this thing because shes also in her Boston Brace for her scoliosis….Cant wait to call them back for this…..im pretty sure the lines again going to be ill have to wait for the airline at the airport to release the seats.

    flying sucks but its better than driving the thousand miles!

  14. 14
    Spinoff June 16, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    My son has flown Delta on three round-trip flights from the East Coast to the Midwest since Thanksgiving. So of the six here-to-theres and there to heres, he’s been delayed overnight four times. FOUR TIMES. And the total number of times Delta has put him up in a hotel? Zero. They did offer him a coupon for 10% off the overpriced nearby hotel, but fortunately, my husband is a Priceline Genius and got him a bed a lot cheaper. But Delta and your “weather”? I hiss at you.

  15. 15
    elz June 16, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Poor Mir. I felt so bad for you last night. I would definitely write a pissy letter to Delta and send a copy to the Passenger Advocacy Board (or whatever they are called). It might not do anything but make you feel better. If your flight is delayed again today, let them know in no uncertain terms that you intend to snot, cough, and germify their plan until they get you home.

  16. 16
    Karen June 16, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Ugh!!!!… woulda hated that! I have never had trouble with Delta, guess I’ve been lucky.

  17. 17
    Mandee June 16, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I’m sorry. I’m even sorrier to report that i live 20 miles south of the Atlanta airport and while we had big thunder and dark clouds, we had no rain. I’m also sorry to report that because the ATL is now your home airport, you’ll be hard pressed to never fly Delta again.

    I was headed to LGA on Airtran about a month ago. It rained for about 30 minutes at 3:30. My flight was at 6. The flight at 4 was canceled and my flight was delayed 3 hours. Meanwhile, all the Delta flights were taking off right on time. Such a pain in the rear.

    Welcome home, by the way! We thought you would enjoy some 200% humidity mixed with 100 degree temperatures!

  18. 18
    Beth R June 16, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Unfortunately, being as close to Atlanta as you are, I don’t think you’ll be able to avoid Delta. I can’t go home to my family without flying Delta (used to be Northwest – the customers lost on THAT “merger”).

    And as for my personal experiences with Delta? Let’s just say that I still start frothing at the mouth when I think about my first Canadian business trip almost 2 years ago.

  19. 19
    Lisa June 16, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    I have only flown Delta once and I am done with them. I was trying to get to Baton Rouge to see my cousin who lives halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. My flight was delayed so I would never make my connection to Baton Rouge. When re-booking I suggested New Orleans to avoid spending 5 hours in the Atlanta airport. When I got to the New Orleans gate the agent told me I wasn’t on the flight. I had some choice words for him (I said them NICELY) and I ended up on the flight to New Orleans. I had trouble getting home as well, but not as serious. But I figure if they can’t even get me to the right city and be nice about it I’m done with them. Hope you’re enjoying your reunion with Licorice:)

  20. 20
    Amy June 16, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    SEE?! I TOLD you the Philly airport was horrid! I blame PHL, not Delta. They always blame weather on gorgeous days. What? Is it too sunny? Maybe the skies are so lovely it’s distracting to the pilots.

  21. 21
    Annie Mouse June 16, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I blame Philly. I have had gross luck with them.

    And there is nothing decent to eat in that airport.

  22. 22
    Donna Brazas-Reynolds June 16, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I think it may be ATLANTA, not Delta.

    I recently came home from a week’s worth of work in ATL, and I was delayed up the ying yang, finally got out on the last flight back to Chicago. ALL my fellow travelers were magically sent earlier on standby. Hmmpf!

  23. 23
    JennyM June 16, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I’m not what you’d call a “frequent traveler” in the sense of flying every week, but I probably fly once a month or so for one reason or another. And Delta has me firmly over a barrel because I use Skymiles a lot. It is a colossal pain in the ass every time. Our theory is that ATL is cursed; we try to avoid flying in/out of or through it at all costs because without fail, if that airport is involved, we’re screwed. Delayed/cancelled flights, lost luggage, overbookings, noticeably surly/disinterested gate agents… and if you’re stuck in the airport for any length of time, the sensory assault of (a) CNN shrieking at you from every corner of the ceiling, (b) the BEEP… BEEP… BEEP… BEEP of the golf cart people-movers, (c) the completely unnecessary because we are already past security “liquids are not allowed past security” message loop, (d) that dippy “Hartsfield-Jackson, keepin’ it green” song, (e) the earnestly chipper efforts of the American Express kiosk-dwellers trying to waylay all passers-by into a credit card, and (f) the trash-compactor trash cans clanking and growling away — there’s no way to get away from any of it without forking over more cash to Delta to escape into the Crown Room. Fortunately, our “home” airport is a Delta joint, so unless it’s just *that much cheaper* to drive two hours to Atlanta, we’re usually able to work out a direct flight or a connection through one of their other hubs.

    Seriously, though — you know in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when the relatives arrive and the doorbell makes the “Doorbell of Doom” sound? That’s the sound we hear when we get rebooked through Atlanta.

  24. 24
    JXB June 16, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I think a tartly worded letter to the president of Delta about the shabby treatment and the fact that you do not believe it was truly a weather related dealy since another flight left without problems, should get you some compensation. Although, it may just be another flight on Delta.

  25. 25
    Alice June 16, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    I’ve had some shitty experiences with Delta, so I’m grumping in solidarity with you! FWIW, we’ve run into ‘weather’ delays that stem from the weather in a totally different part of the country – the plane they were using for our flight was coming from stormy Chicago, so it was irrelevant that Richmond and Sarasota were sunny and clear. Understandable, but ugh (and WHY they don’t share this info as a matter of course baffles me – it won’t get you where you need to be, but it would ameliorate the feeling of being lied to).

    Of course, nothing beats sitting on the tarmac for an hour, waiting to deplane, then missing our connection and not getting to see my MIL before she passed. This was after being pitched a credit card offer after discussing bereavement fares and arrangements on the phone as we sped to the airport. *That* is why Delta is on my shitlist, and why they’re not getting off of it for a while yet.

  26. 26
    Amalah June 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh, God. Susan’s couch, as in the same couch she also (so kindly!) allowed my diseased ass to sleep on earlier that day? If you come down with a stomach virus in a few days I will shrivel up and die from the guilt.

  27. 27
    Rachel June 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Yeah, UPS uses the “weather” excuse for their deliveries (or lack there of), too. I have twice sent a letter from Grand Forks, ND to Winnipeg, Manitoba via UPS overnight delivery. They route it through KY (don’t know why, when Winnipeg is a 2 hour drive from here, but whatever). The first time they claimed poor weather in KY for the delay, and I thought, “Ok, inconvenient but it happens”. The second time, they claimed bad weather in Winnipeg the day of delivery, and I checked the weather on the web. 70 degrees, partly cloudy, no wind… yeah I can see why they couldn’t deliver with that horrible weather. Also confirmed with the client (recipient of said letter) and weather in Winnipeg was fine that day.
    I hope you’re home soon!

  28. 28
    Heather June 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    It was storming here in Northern Atlanta for a couple of hours last night. That might have been the reason they limited flights? I don’t know.

  29. 29
    Javamom June 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    You poor thing. Your life is just one big adventure after another, isn’t it. I feel for you and at the same time I marvel that I can sit here in the comforts of my own air conditioned home and read up on other people’s lives which appear oh so much more exciting than mine.

    Hope you made it back in one piece.

  30. 30
    Tracy June 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    You are alot better sport than I would be. When I’m tried…I’m cranky. Well, actually, I’m a B…captial B. The lady behind the desk…well, she would be treating me to cocktails. I’m just sayin’. Get some rest…

  31. 31
    Amy June 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    My FIL was a pilot (for Northwest) and my BIL and SIL are flight attendants (for Delta). So I can give you the low down on why you had a weather issue that didn’t involve either city/airport involved in your travels. It’s because they only have a certain number of planes. So if the plane that is scheduled to arrive at your gate to take you to Atlanta hits weather issues at any point during it’s scheduled day its bound to domino until it becomes your problem. This happens all the time it doesn’t matter which airline. But it does sound like you got lousy customer service, although most airlines won’t do anything for you in weather related cancellations – because they can’t afford to.

    The best way to avoid flight headaches is to take the first flight of the day. The plane is parked there from the night before and it’s almost never delayed/canceled or late. Another is to go check a flight number’s stats. The same numbers are the same flights day in and day out, the planes take the same route with the same numbers pretty much daily. If you go to http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do you can see if a flight has a high percentage of delay/cancellation issues. If you do this when booking you avoid some of the worst routes/times.

    And another thing to consider when traveling is that even if you have an afternoon/evening flight and you have nothing to do or wouldn’t mind going home early then check for an earlier flight by the same carrier. Go to the airport/gate check-in and ask if they can get you on. They happily will fit you into any open seat if they can. Possibly even a first class seat at no charge (yay free drinks). Like in your case the previous flight was only a half hour earlier.

    Flying these days sucks, the airlines are trying so hard to save a buck that they leave no room for error. The only thing that sucks more is flying stand-by with a toddler.

    Makes home look prettttty darn good.

  32. 32
    Laura June 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    I have never, NEVER had a positive experience on a Delta flight. They are the worst.

  33. 33
    Charise June 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I have had three AWFUL experiences with Delta/Continental doing the same sort of thing – endless delays, cancelations (once, they canceled my flight 7 hours a head of time for “weather” and couldn’t get me on another flight til 28 hours later, when I was only going for a long weekend), rerouting me through ridiculous connections, lack of communication, etc. – and I now NEVER fly them. EVER. Three strikes and you. are. out.

  34. 34
    Janet June 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    I am reallly really super-dee-dooper sorry about this. Esp. since the other plane took off! But I don’t know what radar Otto was looking at last night, because our entire area was being pummeled by some crazy-ass thunderstorms throughout the evening — and they started in ATL before they moved east. Horrendous wind and rain and hail and lightning. 2.3 inches of rain in our fair city. Hugs!

  35. 35
    Katie in MA June 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Quick! Someone prank call Mir with an exciting business conference opportunity in….San Diego! Or someplace too nice to say no to, but quite a ways away. Or maybe not; she might esplode.

  36. 36
    Susan Getgood June 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    No worries Amy. Mir used the fold-away bed not the couch!!

  37. 37
    meghann June 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    I’m totally responding to the comments that say “The weather could have delayed the plane you were supposed to use elsewhere in the country!”

    Dude y’all, she was able to get ON the plane. (before then being de-planed) Unless she’s magic, or was on magic mushrooms at the time, that means the plane was THERE.

    And Mir, this entire post is why we just drive everywhere. It does lead to some Griswold moments, but at least we feel more control, at not at the hands of the merciless airline gods.

  38. 38
    Heather June 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Well hopefully Delta will learn to treat better a blogger with a large and vocal audience ;)

  39. 39
    Lucinda June 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    I hate Delta with a purple passion. Their customer service is a complete joke. I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience.

  40. 40
    Courtney June 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I was at the philly airport this morning for a 6:10am flight. I would always get weather delays with US air. This morning as always now I flew Southwest. We got into Florida ten minutes early. I think the construction has to do with the fact that there are more security lines than there used to be, it used to be so much worse.

  41. 41
    Melissa C June 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Hmmm…I’m flying to Philly on Monday. I’m so…excited? No, that’s not the word I’m looking for…

  42. 42
    Lisa R. June 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    Sheesh, that’s 2 out of 4 bloggers who ended up having a Very Bad Day after presenting at our conference! I think it might be me. And Jen’s toddler got sick while she was gone. Bora, however, appeared to make it through unscathed; he was still raring to go when I had to say uncle at the bar after the dinner.

  43. 43
    Saskia June 17, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Funny, I have problems with United all the time (these days, I schedule my transatlantic flights to go through Chicago because they tend to overbook planes there and I can grab a free ticket voucher for giving up my seat and taking a later plane. Score!) but Delta once majorly saved my ass. I was flying from Amsterdam to California, then from California to Nashville the next day (don’t ask – it made sense at the time). United cancelled my flight in Amsterdam, told me I could wait 72 hours to get on the next one, or I’d have to arrange my own flight. I couldn’t wait 72 hours since that would mean missing my plane to Nashville..so I wandered around Amsterdam airport asking all the airlines if they could please please let me fly with them. (I was around 16 and looked really pitiful, I think). Delta’s the one that had mercy and arranged for me to fly out the next day and yelled at United for making me do this myself…(it was a very interesting flight. I flew from Amsterdam to Frankfurt, then back over Amsterdam to New York, then from New York to California.) But nothing but praise for those particular Delta reps, they were wonderful!

    Glad you got home safely (at least, I’m assuming you did.)

  44. 44
    Mom, again June 17, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    on the plus side, you were passing through the Atlanta Airport at the same time that my daughters were hanging out there on layover between Charlotte and Los Angeles (Yes! Atlanta is between NC and CA! Atlanta is between everything south of the Mason Dixon line and anywhere else in the world!). So, you could have talked with them! They could have taken pictures with you, because you are a famous blogger!

    Their flight went OK, except when I was picking up the daughter that lives with me (the other one + husband was being picked up by his mom) traffic through LAX was even worse than usual. A celebrity’s car had broken down and she was waiting for the tow truck. According to my daughter, the celebrity was actually hiding behind a column just inside the door and her looks-almost-like-her younger sister was standing by the car, absorbing the fan attention. As if your car breaking down in the passenger pick up zone wasn’t bad enough, what with the airport police barely letting anyone stop long enough for passengers to actually get in the car, much less just sit there waiting for a tow. To be in that nightmare situation and then have people wanting to come up and chat and have their picture taken with you, like you are just there to entertain them? Ick. Aren’t you glad YOU arent that kind of famous?

  45. 45
    M June 17, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    I flew US Air from Atlanta through Philly home to Buffalo at the end of April. NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!

    We circled the Philly airport for an hour because there was “flight congestion” – too many planes in the air. Of course I missed my connection, all remaining flights out were full. And I was traveling alone with my 8-month old daughter. I remained calm and collected my boarding pass for the next afternoon and looked over the hotel discount voucher. It wasn’t for a free hotel room, but at least it would get me a decent rate.

    Then I asked how I could retrieve my luggage because I had checked the car seat (at the time I thought this was a brilliant move because I wouldn’t have to lug it through the Philly airport when I made my connection and I wouldn’t need it until I got home anyway) and I needed more formula and diapers from my checked bag. The gate agent said I could not have my bags, I’m sorry what?, she said we can’t retrieve your bags because there are only a few people working down there right now and it would take hours to find your bags. But they just came off that plane, like 15 minutes ago. Sorry we can’t get them.

    Now I started to cry. I need my bags, I can’t go to the hotel without a car seat and while I did plan ahead and have extra diapers and formula, I didn’t pack enough in my carry-on for an entire extra day!! Oh and since you told me (and all the other passengers) to come to this ticket counter on the outside of security for “faster” service, I can’t even wander the airport shops (which are closing as we speak) in search of baby stuff.

    I put on my best, “I know this isn’t your fault gate lady but so help me you will fix this now” face and lawyer voice and told her exactly what she was going to do. I ended up booked – for free – into a nice Marriott in the airport complex and their shuttle would pick me up (I’d just keep my daughter in her Baby Bjorn and hold on tight). I called the hotel the very nice desk agent said just get to the hotel and she would help me with everything else. An amazing concierge went to the grocery store to buy me diapers and formula at 11pm. I was exhausted, but saved.

    I HATE HATE HATE the Philly airport and will do whatever possible to never go there again.

  46. 46
    jen June 17, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    The Philly airport is awful. The parking is terrible. They frequently dump passengers in a different terminal than their luggage. Flights booked on United are serviced through US Airways, so the numbers don’t match on the screens. It’s crazy.

  47. 47
    myboyzach June 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Delta, my most favorite airline. I’ve had similar incidents with this lovely airline My favorite was the day I was suppose to go to Atlanta. 6am flight, in Atlanta at 7am, to office by 8am. By 2pm I was back home having flown 160 miles round trip. Not to Atlanta. When I tried to call the boss to explain, my coworkers just laughed and laughed. I love the line “we guarantee we’ll get you there, but we don’t guarantee when’

  48. 48
    Kelly June 18, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    We end up flying AirTran most of the time now and so far so good – in ATL there really aren’t many choices unless you want to drive to Birmingham for SOuthwest.

    My only AirTran complaint is that in order to best be able to travel with our family, we packed a big suitcase to check (it was free to check one bag each on our tickets) along with the car seats, weighed it even to make sure it was below 50lbs – but hey guess what – it was an inch bigger than the height + length+ width rule… $50 extra each way. So either we pack in smaller bags and pay to check extra bags, or we pack in a big bag and pack because its too big…. we will be buying a bag that fits that rule with an inch to spare.

  49. 49
    Jerseygirl June 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    I am so sorry! That stinks. Glad you’re finally home now!

  50. 50
    Jennifer June 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I was stuck in that mess, too! Except I was trying to get from Orange County, CA to Ft. Lauderdale. It took me 25 hours. First there was the circling around Atlanta for over an hour. Then there was the three hours sitting on the tarmac in Memphis, where they rerouted us. Then there was the missed connection and the overnight in the Atlanta airport. Then there was the morning flight to FLL, delayed for 1.5 hours because …. who knows. I made it to FLL 15 minutes before the end of my dad’s surgery. On the way back, my flight was only delayed two hours.

    But there really was a weather issue. The tornado alarm even went off at the Atlanta airport, and they closed it down twice that day. That other plane that took off probably got diverted to somewhere like Memphis or Charlotte before it got there. And if Atlanta goes down, every other Delta flight is completely screwed, because all roads lead there. It’s the same with the other hubs. Someone remind me why the hub system is so good, again?

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