Weather & Maintenance Misery

May 28, 2016

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

May 21, 2016. American Airlines flight 2568 from DFW to Charlotte was overbooked by one seat. They offered a $300 voucher to take a flight departing one hour later. I (and many others) would later deeply regret not taking that offer.

The flight departed on time at 3:35pm. I had a close connecting flight from Charlotte to Charleston, only 45 minutes. As the time approached for landing, we began to circle. Finally the pilot explained that due to bad weather in Charlotte, we were being diverted to Greenville/Spartanburg, SC. We landed about 8:30. First serious weather delay for me; I stay calm. Call my son who was meeting me in Charleston; tell him to get a hotel and I’ll check in later.

The pilot reported that 7 planes were diverted to GSP and we were seventh in line to be refueled. And we also needed a maintenance check due to a couple of bird strikes. No problem, maintenance crew was on site and he expected we would take off around 10:00pm for the return to Charlotte.

We watched as other planes were refueled and departed. At 10:00pm the pilot keyed the mic and I thought “ready to take off.” Not so fast – the pilot said the maintenance crew had left and he had to call them and tell them to come back. Oops! They would be back in about 20 minutes.

Next report is at 11:00pm when the pilot said maintenance had just got there and oh, BTW, there was a problem with refueling that also needed to be checked. Now people are starting to grumble and complain.

The midnight report was the news we were expecting. Pilot reports the problem will not be fixed soon and the crew will time out at 1:00am. But he can’t cancel the flight; that call will not be made until 1:00am. So we had to wait another hour on the plane before they let us off.

The next adventure is the wait is at the gate for hotel vouchers and rebooking. They had two gate agents to handle about 70 people. I was near the end of the line. I got my hotel voucher at 3:00am.

The next wait is at the transportation desk. I waited 20 minutes for a shuttle to the hotel. The driver warned us, “Your wait isn’t over, there is a line at the hotel.” Yes, American sent all the passengers to the same hotel. I arrived at 3:35am (exactly 12 hours after departing from Dallas).

At 4:15am the hotel clerk announced “The hotel is full; I don’t have any more rooms.” Five other passengers and I were stranded. Some went back to the airport, some of us stayed in the hotel lobby. At 6:00am I saw 3 people check out. I asked the clerk to get one of those rooms cleaned for me. At 7:00am I laid down for 2.5 hours, showered, and my son (who drove from Charleston) picked me up around 10:30am.

No response from AA to my complaint email (no surprise there!).

– Becky G.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

prp May 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Welcome the world of Airport/Airline hell……..


Becky Gatlin May 30, 2016 at 10:08 am

I can add another P.S. To this story—the gate agent cancelled my flight home. I had to call later and get it rebooked. That flight is in 3 days, I really hope I have nothing more to add to this saga, (BG)


Zombie May 31, 2016 at 9:55 am

I can see why AA canceled the return flight — you didn't "complete" the outbound flight.


Becky May 31, 2016 at 10:07 am

Zombie–I explained to the gate agent that I was only cancelling the Charlette to Charleston leg. She assured me the return, Charleston to DFW was not cancelled. I was very specific, she even gave me the return flight number and time. But it was 3:00am. . . (BG)


RedHead0186 June 8, 2016 at 1:34 pm

If you don't take both/all legs of the 'outgoing' flight, they'll cancel your return flight by default. It almost happened to my family once; we wanted to fly from Green Bay to Detroit. It was a lot cheaper to fly GRB to DTW and then to take a connection to Flint than to just fly direct GRB to DTW. My mom asked the ticketing agent if we could just take the GRB to DTW leg and not get on the plane to Flint and she was told that if we did that they'd cancel our return flight. Something to do with terrorism (at least that's what she told my mom, this was years ago now). So I'm not surprised your return flight was canceled since you didn't complete the 'outgoing,' though the gate agent should've been able to explain that to you.


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