Air Force One Screws Up Travel Plans

September 12, 2012

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

I was flying from Boston to Billings, MT via Detroit and Denver (the only way to get a decent fare was to have two stops). The Boston-Detroit leg was uneventful, and I wandered around the Detroit airport looking for a way to pass the time on my two-hour layover. I then heard an announcement over the PA system that Air Force One was in the area and no flights could take off or land at the airport until it left. Well, that ended up being a little over two hours before my Detroit to Denver flight could take off.

I was still holding out some hope that I’d make my connection but knew it was likely that I wouldn’t. Sure enough, we landed in Denver and despite practically sprinting to the gate I missed my flight. Did I mention that this was the last flight of the day to Billings?

After standing in a rather long line I was able to get a seat on the first plane the next day, which meant I got to camp out in the airport for the night (repeated announcements about unattended baggage are NOT conducive to a decent night’s sleep, even if one is lucky enough to find a spot to sleep out of the general flow of people) rather than get a hotel room and risk not getting back to the airport in time. It appears that the seat I got was literally the last one on the flight… it was the window seat (right next to the lav) in the very last row of a CRJ, next to a woman who was quite obese. At that point I was just so glad to be on my way that I didn’t mind the crappy seat as much as I normally would, and thankfully the lady next to me was pleasant (we chatted most of the trip).

Does anyone else think Air Force One needs to be a little more considerate than to screw up the travel plans of thousands of citizens?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

First Class September 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

Next time don’t be so cheap. How about that?


Kate September 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I'm surprised the airport didn't know Air Force One was going to be landing there. Seems like that would have to be arranged ahead of time . . .


Unown October 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

If you watch Airport 24/7 Miami, the Miami airport security manager says they are not told for security reasons up until AF1 is about to land.


Frank September 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm


I once got stuck on a taxi way at JFK for about 30 minutes before take off, because of a POTUS flight. Another time, spent about an hour circling Manila airport, because the Philippine president happened to be flying in.
Most inconsiderate.

On the other hand, in New Zealand, I was once on this domestic flight. Just before the air-bridge was pulled away for the plane to leave, the prime minister (the last lady one) got on with a few of her staff (none of whom looked like body guards). No fuss. No big expense for the tax payer. No reluctance, on her part, to muck it with the ordinary people.


Steph October 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Is anyone else surprised that they announced to an entire airport that air force one was the reason for the delay? I would have thought that’d be a security no-no. Kinda makes me doubt the story….:


John McIntosh October 20, 2012 at 7:45 pm

In this day of video-conferencing and internet communication I think POTUS should stay in Washington DC. He’s told federal employees to use these methods why doesn’t he?? What’s sauce for the goose is ….


Guest December 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Just be glad you weren't in Cleveland the day before the Election. They had Romney's Jet, Ryan's Jet then Air Force two land within 20 minutes of each other.


Guest December 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm

That's a huge security No-No in itself. Glad the Red Chinese or Putin wasn't trigger happy at that moment.


Connieb December 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm

AF1 normally doesn't land at DTW, however a smaller defense strip called willow run nearby does. I suspect they needed to clear all airspace for its arrival, stay and departure.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: