Booked on Wrong Flight and other Burdens

August 20, 2016

in Odds & Ends Stories

Ever since I started flying, I always seemed to deal with delays and cancellations. There could be a drought in my home city of Baltimore for two weeks leading up to my departure, but the day of it, there would be a massive thunderstorm that delays all flights. It’s like I was cursed. But never have I experienced something like I did a few months back.

I was flying home to Baltimore after seeing family in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I was flying from Grand Forks to Baltimore with Delta, with a 50 minute stopover in Minneapolis/St Paul. We were to depart Grand Forks at 3:30 and land in Minneapolis at 4:40 before continuing to Baltimore at 5:45.

We got to the airport in Grand Forks two hours before my departure. It was a cloudy afternoon. We boarded the plane on time at 3:00. The captain told us we’d be pushing back shortly. All of the sudden, everybody’s cell phones began to buzz. There was a tornado warning in effect until 4:00. The captain told us that we would be able to depart when the tornado warning went away. Luckily, it went away at 3:50, but simultaneously, it began to pour. A thunderstorm warning went into effect until 4:30, delaying us once more. The storm was very heavy, and lasted until 5:00. We departed at 5:10 and landed in Minneapolis at 6:00. At this point, I had missed my connection to Baltimore and had been placed on the 8:30PM flight.

Seven-thirty came around, and Delta gave us an announcement that our flight to Baltimore was coming in from Milwaukee, and weather in Milwaukee has delayed the flight. It will land at 9:30 and our flight will depart at 10:15. We waited at the gate, and the plane from Milwaukee finally arrived at 10:00. Right after they deplaned the Milwaukee flight, the same ominous buzzing of phones occurred at the gate, and throughout the airport. A tornado warning was in effect until 11:00. The same brutal storm that rocked North Dakota six hours earlier had gained strength and was now hitting Minneapolis.

This time, we were directed into small tornado safety areas, which were small staircases located around the airport. We were stuck there until 11:20PM. However, the thunderstorms were still in the area until 12:30AM. At 12:45, we boarded the plane. However, since all of the flights at busy Minneapolis were grounded for the last three hours, tons of planes had to take off at the same time. We sat on the plane for an absurd 90 minutes. At 2:20AM, the crew informed us that they had timed out and the flight had cancelled.

Passengers on our flight, along with hundreds and hundreds of other frazzled passengers, were sent to the Delta check-in desk where THREE Delta representatives dealt with the cancelled customers. I kid you not, we stood in that line for three and a half hours. The sun had risen before we got to the front of the line. At 6:30AM we reached the front. Half asleep, I sternly told the representative to put us on the next open flight to Baltimore. I was expecting few openings until late the following evening because of all of today’s cancellations. The representative was clearly new, and was being monitored by a supervisor. Today’s date was July 12. To my surprise, the Delta employee put me on a flight that I thought was going to leave at 3:15PM that day. I thought nothing of it, and went to my hotel to get a bit of sleep.

At 12:00PM I left the hotel for the airport. In the shuttle bus, something on my reservation caught my attention. It showed that the 3:15 flight I was booked on departed AUGUST 12, not JULY 12! The Delta representative had put me on the wrong flight. Horrified, I went to a different representative upon arrival in Minneapolis. The representative told me that she apologized for the inconvenience, but the miscommunication was MY fault, and I would have to pay for my own ticket! I put up a fight, but the busy representative wouldn’t budge.

So far none of my problems have been my fault. That was about to change. Fed up with Delta, I went to the only other airline that flies into Baltimore – Spirit. Never again. Spirit had great fares, so I was content with booking with them (since I knew that I would get my Delta money back after writing some stern letters to their corporate staff). However they routed me that evening through Chicago where I only had a 40 minute layover. The flight to Chicago was supposed to leave at 6:30PM. The plane was that the gate by 5:45, but for some reason, with no announcements, we didn’t start boarding until 6:50. We took off 1 hour and 20 minutes late for no reason other than Spirit’s lack of organization and lack of care for punctuality.

We landed an hour late and I got to my gate for Baltimore right after the gate attendant shut the door. I talked to the gate attendant about getting us on the next flight to Baltimore and she put us on the flight at 8:00AM the next morning. The conversation lasted about 25 minutes. When I had my flight set, I looked to see the plane STILL attached to the jet bridge at the gate. Why she couldn’t let me on, I don’t understand. But whatever.

The next morning I got to ORD at 6:00AM. At 7:30, Spirit informed us that our flight had been delayed five hours because of weather in Baltimore! What? I checked my weather app and there is NO RAIN IN THE FORECAST ALL DAY. We left Chicago at 1:20PM and got to Baltimore at 4:40PM, 44 hours after we had scheduled to land. Insane. That definitely ruined my trust in Delta. Next year, I’ll fly United to North Dakota. I will never fly Spirit again. And I will try to refrain from flying summer afternoons. By the way, I got Delta to give me a full refund and a $750 flight voucher for the inconvenience. So I guess I will be flying Delta again.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

weyoun7 August 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Wow, crazy story…but I do like the small victory at the end

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Airline employee August 22, 2016 at 4:19 am

FYI. Once the doors are closed the load has been called in. To let even one more passenger and whatever bags on the plane means re running the entire load through a system which could (unlikely) result in the ground crew having to move the load below around causing a delay more inconvenient than rebooking a single passenger onto a new flight.

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Tsuyoshi Wu January 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I love Delta. I have a Delta hat

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we@sel January 28, 2017 at 9:20 am

Man,if Delta and Spirit was bad for ya; you’re in luck. You are gonna love UA πŸ™‚ My suggestion for ya is to try Amtrak.

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we@sel January 28, 2017 at 9:21 am

PS: I did see your flight path, and trust me, Amtrak will be faster /wink

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