Freelance Blog + rants

How Delta (Nearly) Ruined My Trip

Warning: if you don’t like rants, then don’t read this entry…
It started out like any other cross-country flight, but somehow I could sense that things would go awry. I was flying home after visiting my parents (one of whom has been sick for awhile), so the last thing I needed was airplane drama. I told the flight attendants repeatedly that I was worried about making my connection and perhaps it wasn’t logical for me to sit in the far back of the aircraft with only 35 minutes until my next flight. They assured me I had plenty of time. Then we sat on the tarmac for awhile. And sat some more…
I called Delta’s customer service number to ask if my connecting flight was delayed. A very nice customer service rep named “Albert” told me it was running late and that in the event that I was unable to make my connection (the last flight of the evening, natch), Delta would make accommodations for the night. I thanked him and waited to deboard. We sat for an hour and eighteen minutes (the woman behind me timed it), so by the time I got off the plane, my flight to Boston had departed. I half thought about calling a friend from college to beg a spot on her futon, but the other passengers kept reassuring me that “Delta will take care of you” and “I’m sure they’ll put you up in a nice hotel.”
The person at my gate pointed me down a long hallway to get re-ticketed. The person at that desk had already gone home for the night (of course), but a nice janitor assured me that “Delta will take care of you” and lead me to the ticket counter, which turned out to be in the opposite direction. Well, unfortunately, Delta did NOT take care of me. They booked me on the 7am flight the following morning, and when I had the audacity to ask about overnight accommodations, they all but laughed in my face.
“But Albert said…” I stammered in disbelief.
Another customer service rep named “Lawrence” (no one in customer service has a last name so that no one can be held accountable for anything) told me it wasn’t the airline’s fault and therefore, they wouldn’t be making any hotel accommodations. Not for me, and not for the women who was seven months pregnant. We’d just have to tough it out in JFK airport for the night. He didn’t know, and didn’t want to discuss, "Albert" at Delta’s headquarters. Nor would he answer the question, "would you want your daughter to sleep here?"
I for one did not feel safe as a young, single woman sleeping in an abandoned airport terminal. (In fact, my family used to show up freakishly early for flights and I’d had nightmares about being that crazy homeless family wandering the airport; this was pre 9/11 of course.) So I thought, “I guess I better call my friend from college to beg a spot on her futon.” Seventy five dollars and an hour and a half later, I arrived on her doorstep sans deodorant, toothpaste or even a change of clothes, courtesy of luggage restrictions. She was a good sport about the last minute visit on a worknight and insisted that I sleep on her bed (for about two hours, then I had to go back to the airport).
My cab driver made fun of me for wasting money going to Manhattan. But I figured, “I have a futon, food and a friend downtown and if I stay at the airport, it’s dirty floors and, if I’m lucky, a stale bag of Sun Chips for dinner (all of the shops were closed and I didn’t have single bills for the vending machines).” You can guess which one seemed more appealing.
Hours of travel: twenty-two
Hours of sleep: two
Reconnecting with a friend during an impromptu sleepover: priceless
Still, I want my seventy-five bucks (and my beauty sleep) back!

art, book, life, money, musings on life, plan, and more:

How Delta (Nearly) Ruined My Trip + rants