Personal Blog

So I Missed My Plane Now What?

12 Aug

For those of you that follow me on twitter you have probably heard enough about my "stranded in ____ airport" or "Yet another plane delay in ____" type postings.  We have all been there, you did everything you can do and now you are stuck in some random airport and you don't have any way to actually get back home.  Now, I'm not sure how many times this has happened to me in the past 3-4 years, but I know it has been at least 10 times and in this post I'll show you some helpful tips that I've found over the years.  Keep in mind most of these comments are specific to Delta as they are the primary airline that I fly.

Gate Agents are Helpless

One of the first things I learned with regards to air travel is that most gate agents are truly helpless when you are looking for a rebooking.  SO if you are at the gate and just missed that outgoing plane, you are most likely better off using a different resource to help get you booked through.  Calling the 1-800 number for the frequent flyer program or looking for one of the "rebooking stations" that are common in larger airports will most likely net you faster, and more helpful results.

On a number of occasions I've worked with Gate Agents that have told me there was no way to get home that day, yet a single phone call and I was home 4 hours later that afternoon. 

Social Networking Is Your Friend

So why do I complain to twitter every time I get stranded somewhere?  Do I want to broadcast to the people raiding my house while I'm gone that they have a few more hours?  No, Delta and most of the other major airlines have employees on staff that have a single purpose of monitoring and helping people that mention something about the airline on Twitter.  For example you can tweet to @DeltaAssist and get help with things quickly.

Now the nice thing about this is they seem to be very "interested" in your issue when you go about things this way, for example my post "Stranded yet again by @Delta's lack of maintenance" resulted in a prompt reply via twitter and re-booking within 15 minutes of my post.  I'm being 100% honest in my post and they are trying to put on that customer service hat to look good.  Sure it may be scamming the system a bit, but it gets you resl results and if you are like me any time not spent in an airport is good time!

Sometimes You are Just Out of Luck

One of the other key things to remember is that there are times that no matter who you are and no matter how hard you complain you will just not be able to get home.  These are the worst times and amazingly with over 55 airplane segments under my belt in the last 18 months it has only happened to me once.  Taking my advice in an earlier post to be sure that you never have that "last flight" of the day is an important part of keeping yourself from being bit by this.

However, if you do find yourself stranded overnight remember that the airline will in most cases provide you with a hotel room and food for the evening so you can return the next morning and try to make your way to you destination.  If this does happen, keeping your cool and just going with it will help everyone out, no yelling screaming or other nonsense will make you get home for the evening if there are no other flights.

I hope that these few tips have been helpful, feel free to share your tips and tricks for dealing with airline delays below!

 

tags: Travel
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