Monday, July 13, 2009
I really dread traveling on an airplane these days. Today was a day of frustration that supported that dread!
I left my house at 7:00 AM to drive to the airport, park my car, check in my luggage, and go sit and wait by the gate for my 8:30 AM departure.
The first sign of trouble reared it's ugly head when the American Airlines gate agent told us at 8:10 AM that the maintenance crew had to look at the aircraft and there might be a slight delay.
8:40 AM, the maintenance crew has determined that there's a small fuel leak and it may need to be repaired, so expect further delays.
9:30 AM rolls around and we're told that another maintenance crew will have to drive in from a bigger city with replacement parts and it'd take them an hour and a half to two hours to get to our airport and then another couple of hours to actually repair the slight fuel leak. Apparently there are no back-up jets to replace our broken one.
I immediately started requesting a different flight, only to be told that pretty much all other flights were overbooked up, with one cancelled, until at least their 2:40 PM. So, I insisted that AA get me a flight out on a different airline.
The gate agent found me a flight on Delta Airlines, departing at 12:30 PM, arriving at my final destination of Ft. Walton Beach airport at 9 PM (with a layover in Atlanta). I wasn't thrilled with the change in plans, considering that I was supposed to arrive in Ft. Walton Beach at 4 PM, had all gone according to plan, but I took what I could get.
So, I had to exit security, get my checked bag from American Airlines baggage claim, go check in at the Delta ticket counter, go back through security, and wait about 2 hours to board the 12:30 PM flight. Thankfully that flight left on time.
When I got to Atlanta and went to the gate that the Departures/Arrivals monitors instructed me to go to, I found out that the outgoing flight was going to be delayed 30 minutes.
In the course of waiting, we were shuffled between 2 different gates before Delta finally settled on the one our plane would leave out of.
The delay ended up being 1 hour.
So, instead of arriving in Ft. Walton Beach, FL at 4 PM, I arrived at 10:15 PM! I traveled a total of 14 hours today (thanks to delayed flights and long layovers), from leaving my house to arriving at my hotel. 14 hours to travel within the United States! Incredible! I have been beyond frustrated the entire day!!!
And I'm astonished at how the airlines are nickel and dimming their customers! Delta was renting blankets for $3 (or maybe it was $5), selling headphones for $5, snacks and lunches for $5-$8, internet access in the air for $9 per flight, and movies could be purchased too. I'm not sure what those cost because I was so inundated with their sales pitch for everything else that I finally just tuned them out by listening to my iPod!
So, let's see. These days airline ticket prices are much higher than they were just a year ago, there are less flights to choose from, almost all flights are overbooked and if, Heaven forbid, your flight is cancelled, it takes an act of God to get onto another one (because all the other ones are overbooked and there's fewer flights to choose from). And once you actually make it on the overpriced seat that you paid for, you have to be prepared to shell out even more money for every cotton picking thing!
It's no wonder fewer people are traveling during this recession.
It's been a FRUSTRATING day to say the least!
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
Labels: business travel