Delay-ja Vu

July 19, 2016

in Odds & Ends Stories

I don’t normally fly American Airlines – but I needed to get from Washington, DC, to Jackson, Wyoming, and they offered the best route for a reasonable price. I should have paid more for Delta. Worst part is, I kind of knew I should have paid more for Delta.

The trip was a very expensive, non-refundable vacation. There are very few flights in and out of Jackson Hole. And of course, non-stop wasn’t an option. So I allowed a two hour stopover in Dallas-Fort Worth on the way out. Of course, our flight was late. It turned out not to matter, because our flight from Dallas to Jackson was late too. Why? Because the equipment was stuck somewhere else. A very nervous hour later (if it had been canceled, we had no way of getting to Jackson that day), we finally got off the ground.

Jackson Hole is rather disliked by pilots. “Where’s the airport? Oh… there. In that valley.” After an approach that reminded me more of flying in my father-in-law’s two-seater than anything I’ve experienced in an airliner, we safely touched down. Phew!

But then we had to get back. Because of times and wanting to allow a good stopover, I’d chosen to fly back via Chicago. It was summer, so weather was unlikely to be an issue.

We got to Jackson Hole early because we were sharing transport with people on a slightly earlier flight. No big deal. Until the flight time clicked over to our flight being delayed to 3:50 pm. We immediately knew: We were screwed. Our flight out of Chicago was the last flight to National, and I’d allowed a 90 minute stopover – double the minimum for O’Hare. But of course, the flight was delayed two hours.

There was precisely one American employee in the terminal (not as bad as it seems – Jackson Hole is a SMALL airport). She gruffly told us we’d been rebooked for 8:30 am and that we had to get meal and airport vouchers in Chicago. At least they didn’t try to claim it was weather BS.

She did not put any of the people on the delayed flight on standby for the Dallas flight which left earlier, which might have got some of us home. Of course, this is the airline that won’t let pilots calculate their own weight and trim figures, so I rather suspect that any initiative she’d ever possessed had been squashed out of her.

So, resigned to spending the night in Chicago, and very glad the next day was a holiday and neither of us had to be back at work (well, I sort of did, but… I could work around it), we waited for our plane… which is when the delay-ja vu hit.

The delay was the incoming flight. The same incoming flight we’d been delayed on a week before! Except not as badly. Now, as it turned out, this time it was caused by equipment failure in Dallas (I have no clue what the previous delay was). Apparently, you don’t want to be on that flight! It’s jinxed!

So, we finally get to Chicago and elect to leave our luggage at the airport (we had no clean clothes anyway and thought this would keep American from losing it – amazingly, this worked). They gave us meal and hotel vouchers and told us, specifically, that we could use the dinner vouchers anywhere in the airport, “or at the hotel.” I think you know where this is going.

We finally got to our hotel – which, of course, was nowhere near the airport, and which had a shuttle that ran only on request (nope, American didn’t tell us that either) – only to see? The hotel had no restaurant! Yes, American told us we could use our meal vouchers at a *hotel that did not have a restaurant.*

Now, as it turned out, the hotel had a solution to this (which I’m guessing happened all the time) – they handed us a pizza menu. But… really? American? If you’re going to send stranded passengers to a hotel with no restaurant, tell them! We could have eaten at the airport and not waited over an hour for pizza (it was July 3 and the pizza place was extremely busy). Oh, and because of the hotel shuttle, we had to leave the hotel at 5 am. Thanks.

I can’t help but think that a bit of thought and creativity might have got us home sooner, but the real issue is American’s inability to tell people anything. How much does, “Oh, and the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, but they can get you pizza, or you can eat here” cost them to say?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Edwards July 31, 2016 at 6:10 pm

OMG or omygod! I know how you feel. I just recently experienced the same thing but we didn't get a hotel and had to sleep at the airport
No more American airlines. I'm coming back to you Delta!


Andrew Beagle January 8, 2017 at 11:55 am

Turn on your smartphone, would it kill you to do sone research yourselves?


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

Previous post:

Next post: