The Gate Agent From Hell

June 17, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

My husband and I were taking a short vacation to Tempe, AZ to watch Oakland A’s Baseball Spring Training. We had to drive from Modesto, CA to Oakland, CA, about a 60 mile distance to the airport. We allowed ourselves 2 hours for the trip, and as it would happen, there was a car accident on the freeway. After sitting in traffic for an hour, we got to the airport about 25 minutes before our plane was to depart.

When we arrived at the airport, we found out the entire parking area was under construction, so we were detoured to an adjacent parking area that seemed like a mile away. My husband dropped me off with our luggage at the terminal and while he parked and ran, I endeavored to check in our baggage.

There had to be at least 300 people in the serpentine line leading to our ticket agent. Realizing that we wouldn’t make our flight if I waited patiently in line, I also knew I couldn’t just butt into the front of the line. After locating my husband, we decided that I would go to the boarding gate to explain our situation, while my husband tried to locate a representative of our airline to do the same. He faired much better than I did.

With my ticket in hand, I found our gate, and explained to the attendants that my husband was attempting to check in our luggage, and that he would be there within a few minutes. We were with a chartered group, and the plane had already boarded. In the meantime, my husband had found a very accommodating agent with the airline, who quickly checked in our luggage and even gave him a little ride in a cart up to our gate. However, I had made contact with the agent from hell.

She notified me that there was no way we were making it onto the plane. The plane’s door was still open and connected to the terminal. The agent assisting my husband even called the gate to say that they would be there in just a sec, and she told him we were not making it onto the plane. I saw the cart carrying my husband come speeding up to our gate, and with our baggage now checked in, we stood there with tickets in hand, and were not allowed to enter the plane. Ironically, another passenger was allowed to enter as we watched. And guess what! We did not make it onto the plane, even though the male attendant pleaded with the female attendant.

So we waited standby for 2 more flights before we finally made it on to a flight. When arriving in Phoenix, we couldn’t find our luggage, which had apparently made it onto the flight we missed. After filling out reports and looking through hundreds of unclaimed bags for 4 hours, we finally got our rental car and made it to our hotel. We notified the hotel staff that we had lost our luggage, and to let us know if the airline called with any information. After opening the door to our room, there was our luggage! A friend of ours on the original flight recognized our bags and had them transported to the hotel.

After 13 hours, we could now enjoy our 2 day vacation. Needless to say, I promised that day never to fly that particular airline, and I have kept that promise after 12 years. I’d rather drive.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nacho June 5, 2009 at 4:18 am

You have a very good friend, and had a very terrible attendant. I probably would have barged my way on board, but in situations like that, I'm not much for tact.


blah June 5, 2009 at 10:52 am

Sounds like you should have left earlier


theblackdog June 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

Which airline was this? I want to avoid them


PTH July 19, 2009 at 7:07 pm

You are not much for brains either, Nacho.


Larry Ingenthrol January 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Reminds me of the Horizon gate agents in Helena, MT.


MackIsDumb March 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

blah, sounds like you are a gate attendant


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