New Year’s Eve Disaster

November 12, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

While reading this story, please keep in mind that this was the 1st time I had been on a plane by myself AND it was New Year’s Eve.

It was a snowy night when I was headed down to Raleigh/Durham Airport from the Providence, RI Airport. I got to the Providence airport on time and happily sat and waited for my 7:30pm flight. I was excited to meet up with my boyfriend in NC and I thought nothing could kill this happy feeling. I was wrong.

We boarded the plane on time, but because of de-icing, we didn’t end up taking off until an hour later. The entire flight, the attendant was reassuring us over a scratchy speaker that we would make it to the DC Airport at 9:30pm. There was one point where she read off a list of very important gate information. She read through this list just one time and at the pace of a jack rabbit. But regardless, we landed an hour later than originally scheduled, but it didn’t matter much because I had an hour and a half layover anyway, so I figured I would be right on time.

We get to the DC Airport at 9:30pm after some crazy turbulence (My flight was to take off at 9:45). By the time I get off this plane it’s about 9:40. Not knowing where to go, I just happen to notice a group of fellow Raleigh/Durham travelers asking an attendant where their gate was. He proceeded (in a rude manner) to tell us that we had to take the shuttle bus across the runway and then get to gate E2. One traveler asked if there was any way he could call them to tell them that there were 6 of us that are trying to make that flight. He said “no.”

The 6 of us start sprinting with our luggage in tow to the shuttle bus. We make it onto the bus and relax for a minute trying to catch our breath. When we get off, we start running again, dodging other travelers, trying to find the correct gate. We must have ran a good mile just to get to gate E. There were people staring and at one point I could hear a little child ask his mother what we were doing. With 6 of us sprinting, we probably looked like there was someone after us.

We finally get to the gate, no more than 5 minutes have passed at this point, and we try to give the attendant our tickets to get onto the plane. She says “No, you’re too late.” Mind you, it’s about 9:45pm at this point and the plane was most definitely still sitting there loading luggage. The 6 of us, obviously very angry, ran to the customer service desk. The large, rude man sitting behind the desk proceeds to tell us that we can’t board the plane and that we have to wait for a flight at 8:26am the next day (New Year’s Day). My first thoughts were, “there is no way I’m spending New Year’s Eve staying in a random DC hotel room by myself.” I had been looking forward to this trip for weeks and my boyfriend made the 2 hour trip to the Raleigh/Durham airport just to pick me up that night. We started asking him if they were going to pay for our hotel rooms because missing our flight was certainly not OUR fault. He said, “no.” And then he starts checking some of our ID’s (no idea why) and then he gets a phone call. He calmly puts down the phone and says, “Go back to your gate, they’re going to let you on.” We run all the way back to gate E where we throw our tickets at the attendant and run outside to the plane. By the time the 6 of us got on the plane, we just took any open seat we could find. Just about everyone on that plane was staring in shock. I’m still in shock we made it onto that flight that night.

After an entire night of highs and lows on New Year’s Eve, this was DEFINITELY the worst group of flights I’ve EVER been on. I’ll be sure to AVOID the DC airport from now on.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

N759 November 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Dulles or Reagan? Although Reagan is certainly more convenient if DC is your final destination, I would layover in Dulles if you have the chance. Much calmer.

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Demotage November 13, 2009 at 5:51 am

Sounds more like Dulles – with the shuttles between terminals going across runways (they go across taxiways, not runways, but that's a minor misconception). The story sounds like a fairly standard Dulles in the winter-time tale. I'm glad you made it in time for New Year's with your boyfriend.

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DSD November 15, 2009 at 6:50 am

That does not sound like a fun evening. I am a little surprised that the gate agent wasn't a little more accomodating being that it was a late flight and New Years Eve. She must have been grumpy about another NYE, just her and the cats. At least you made it to see your boyfirend in the end.

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theblackdog November 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Definitely sounds like Dulles, this is why I avoid that airport like the plague and go through BWI instead.

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Kirsten June 26, 2011 at 8:09 am

You ran a mile and only five minutes had passed? All six of you must be world class athletes.

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xxx March 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

5 minute mile isnt very impressive although you have to be in pretty good shape

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Beth February 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

Helps to know where you land… Reagan doesn't have shuttle buses between gates.

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