Plan to Meet Brother on Plane Goes Awry

October 28, 2018

in Airport Stories

My flight on Delta was delayed by 26 minutes. The counter person generously upgraded me to the 12th row so I could make my connecting flight in SLC. I thought to myself, okay… we can do this, the layover is 1 hour. While on the flight, I noticed that the Flight Tracker showed our plane diverting up over the Great Lakes. I thought WTF? I was pleased to see the plane change directions more toward SLC.

However in SLC, the interior crew failed to allow those who had connecting flights to depart the plane first. I literally ran from Gate 4 to Gate 12. When I arrived at the gate, the counter person was coming out of the door from the plane ramp. I identified myself and said that I needed to get on that flight. I said that my brother was on that flight. He lied and stated, “I came to look for you and could not find you.” I immediately knew he was lying, and I confronted him. I told him that had he come from my gate, he would be out of breath like I was. He smirked at me. I took his photo with my phone.

I stood and watched a parked plane for about 5 to 7 minutes while I spoke to my brother inside the plane. They would not let him de-board, nor would they allow me on the plane. Reality set in: I was stranded in SLC and knew my brother would be stranded in MSO as both the car and hotel were in my name.

I went to the help desk, and the first customer service rep I saw sounded like he was on Xanax or something. No empathy whatsoever. He spoke in a slow monotone voice. My senses were heightened from the stress. I could hear every key stroke on his keyboard as he typed my name. Click – long pause – click – long pause – click – pause. He sounded like he was typing with either his elbow or one finger. While his supervisor was more helpful and professional, he could only offer a $100.00 check, which did not cover additional rooms and transportation.

Once I reunited with my brother and told him of my experience, and showed him the Delta counter person’s picture, my brother laughed out loud. He said that was the man he was speaking with before he closed the door. He said there was no way he came to your gate; he 100% lied to you!

Return Flight SLC to EWR: Once again, I found the Delta counter staff to be dishonest, and visibly displayed a fake smile that oozed with indignation. My impression is they are overworked, stressed out, and they simply no longer care about their customers. I can only assume this trickles down from management. The reality is, their behavior impacted my ability to enjoy what should have been a routine flight. Result: We are seriously considering dumping our SkyMiles credit card and looking for another airline to fly.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

CMR November 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Anytime you have connections under an hour, you are playing with fire. Small maintenance delays, re-routes in flight and ground delays can put you over the time you have to make your next flight. While it can be nice to not have to wait around at the airport for your next flight, you basically are hoping that everything goes smoothly and the weather works out both at the departure point and destination.

As for the gate agent, how the hell did you think he'd be able to find you? This guy has never seen or met you before, so how is he going to know what you look like? What probably happened is they made a PA announcement to page you and you were still on your original flight and didn't respond. Otherwise a random gate agent is just walking around and yelling your name in the terminal. Remember he's got a job to do to board your connecting flight first, not play Where's Waldo with one random passenger.

Finally, the customer service guys spend all day every day getting yelled at by upset passengers who want them to move mountains to make their vacations work. I am not one bit surprised that they aren't beacons of hope and joy when you come complaining about your missed connection.

Next time, schedule a little more time between Flights. And put your brother's name on the hotel too, so he can check in and get a cab from the airport.


BookBear November 9, 2018 at 9:57 am

Amen, Hallelujah! Anybody who expects airline connections to come off like clockwork is deluding himself. There are too many variables. I learned at a relatively tender age never to schedule anything for the same day that I’m travelling. because Murphy’s Law is a more powerful force than most people realize.


Bluiii January 23, 2019 at 10:06 am

Yes, tight connections are not always a good idea. But if these people would have been doing their job, this gentleman would have made his flight. I'm tired of you people making excuses for bad behavior of airline employees. Traveling is stressful and a rude airline employee only makes it worse. If they don't like their job, find another one.


Krista March 21, 2019 at 10:37 pm

They let people with connecting flights off first? I have not flown a lot. 4 international trips and 5 regional trips. I have never seen flight attendants have people with connecting flights get off the plane first. As soon as the seat belt sign is off people are up and crowding the isle. 8 of my flights were with Delta. I avoid having connecting flights in hub cities like SLC and I only book flights with 3 or 4 hours between. Thank goodness I did on some of them because switching airlines and having to go through security left me with getting to the next gate right before boarding started.


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