It’s 11PM and I’m sitting in seat 4D (First class) on a Delta/Northwest (why can’t they make up their mind already?) flight to Ft. Myers, FL. I am to attend a 1 ½ day conference with other marketing agency folks via the DMA’s Winter Executive Briefing. Sounds good right? Only I shouldn’t be here. In First Class that is – or on this particular flight.
You see I left my house at 7AM this morning and it is now 9PM the same night. It was snowing when I left (‘snow showers’ turned into 4 inches at my house I am told). A harrowing ride down the parkway made making the 9:49AM flight no sure thing. But I arrived at the airport at 8:50AM and breezed through security in about 8 minutes (I was really pleasantly surprised). The flight was supposedly delayed 20 minutes which did not seem too bad in view of the weather as it was still snowing at LaGuardia. And then it went straight downhill.
No less than three separate times the plane left the gate only to return for one reason or another. Finally after 3 hours they allowed us to get off the plane (the passenger bill of rights in action perhaps?) and we were immediately told once entering the gate area that the flight was in fact cancelled. Good thing I paid the $ 25 upgrade to an exit row seat in coach. My M.O. is to fly as cheap as possible. I got what I paid for apparently.
Since I have access to the Delta Sky Miles club I immediately walked in there where I learned that the next direct flight to Ft. Myers was at 8:30PM. But somehow the desk attendant was able to get me in First Class (I did not ask but gladly accepted). After a short flirt with flying to Detroit then to Ft. Myers that would had me arrive an hour earlier that became a moot point when it ‘disappeared’ according to the desk attendant. Flying another airline through Philadelphia got me in 2+ hours earlier but that airline was experiencing delays as well and I declined that option. Little did I know that the 8:30 did would be ‘delayed’ until 9:15. We actually boarded at 9:30 and then proceeded to sit at the gate until 11PM because the pilots were flying in from another city. Apparently La Guardia was using only one runway. A fact that was not reported until 11PM. Airline communications with passengers (i.e. CUSTOMERS) sucks wildly.
So I have spent more than 14 hours at the airport and finally (I hope) am going to get somewhere. I well realize that many people have much more horrific travel stories than this one. I have never slept in an airport although I have been delayed overnight more than once but always managed to get out to a hotel or head back home. The food choices at the Delta/Northwest terminal at LaGuardia are awful. Unless you like to eat at Chili’s, Burger King or Sbarro. Eating that stuff twice in one day is not a path to feeling good or good health in general.
Hard to believe that the best experience of the day was getting through security in 8 minutes. If this journey is its own reward the rest of the trip will have to be better. I wonder how?