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Last week, I saw a post over at One Mile at a Time of a lady going on a rant at the gate of her flight. I’ve included the video below (NSFW language)
When the original video came out last week, not much was known about this lady’s situation. Reading the (many) comments on the original One Mile at a Time post, you see a lot of differing opinions, along with the dregs of the Internet, which is what most comments on popular articles are 🙂
A few days ago I saw a followup in the Daily Mail UK, which put a bit more context into the situation. The lady and her 2 daughters were flying from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Miami in order to embark on a Disney cruise. The inbound flight was diverted from New York and landed in Philadelphia (which is why you see her mention Philadelphia in the video) and didn’t end up leaving until 12 hours later.
While I don’t excuse the language or the rant, I can totally empathize with being in a stressful situation and watching a “trip of a lifetime” vanishing before your eyes.
So I thought I’d talk about a couple of things that YOU can do if you’ve got a trip of a lifetime
Dealing with transit delays
I am not as frequent a traveler as some, but I have been in a few situations with transit delays
- Our flight back from Reno to Chicago was delayed several hours. While this didn’t cause us any transit problems (as we were ending in Chicago), I believe the stress and exhaustion were contributing factors into a fellow passenger eventually telling my wife and I that we were “the type of people that shouldn’t have children”
- Our Amtrak train from Chicago to Denver got stuck behind a derailed freight train, causing a 13 hour delay into Denver. So instead of getting in to Denver at 7 AM, we didn’t get in until 8 PM. Our rental car place closed at 6 :-(. This delay was more complicated due to the fact that we were on a train with no Internet, but we were able to work things out by phone. Eventually I got over $1100 in Amtrak compensation for the delay, which helped fund over half of our next Amtrak trip!
- On a recent flight to Dublin on Aer Lingus business class, we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours until our flight was CANCELED. At midnight local time, we were left scrambling without many options left to us. (SEE: 3 mistakes I made when my flight was canceled)
How to not put YOURSELF in this situation
Transit delays are going to happen, so I thought I’d share a few helpful tips you can do to a) minimize the chances of them happening to you and b) quickly resolve the issue if it DOES happen to you
- If you’re going on a “trip of a lifetime”, consider trip insurance. I am not a huge fan of travel insurance in most cases, but this would be the one type of trip where I’d consider it. Trip insurance probably would have been a minuscule fraction of the overall cost of this Disney Cruise
- If you’ve got a cruise or other type of big flight (think huge first class international flight), and you need a connecting flight to your destination, fly in the night before. As it turns out, this particular lady did exactly that. Her cruise was scheduled to depart at 5 p.m. and she and her daughters were trying to fly on a 9pm flight the night before. So even with the 12 hour delay, according to ABC News, the lady and her family DID make their cruise. The 12 hour delay was annoying and stressful but not devastating. Had they tried to fly to Miami the morning of, that same 12 hour delay would have been catastrophic.
- If you can’t fly the night before, consider flying earlier in the day. We talked a little bit about that the other day when we wondered whether an earlier flight or a later flight was better
- If you’re in a situation where your flight is delayed, be proactive! Don’t rely on the gate agent. While many gate agents are helpful and do the best they can, their #1 priority is NOT you. Consider calling customer service on the phone, reaching out to the airline on Twitter, or if you have lounge access, try there. Even if you don’t have access or have to buy a day pass, that may be better than relying on a 100 person line at the gate.
Again, we don’t know the full story in this particular case. They already were flying the night before, and they certainly may have done everything right and just got caught up in the moment. Since they ended up making their cruise, I hope they’re taking a bit of no-Internet downtime to chill out and relax!
Readers: Any other good tips to minimize the impact of travel related delays?