Mar 29 2011

The airlines, they are a changin’

I have always had respect for the sort of proletariat, common sense way Southwest Airlines does business. That is why it is so unusual to recount this kind of a story.

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those hop, skip and a jump kind of business trips through Florida that make me thankful that I don’t check luggage.

I was flying to Pensacola. First leg stops in Atlanta (ugh) and no sooner do I get off the plane than my phone buzzes me with a text that my flight to Pensacola has been canceled. They have been kind enough to book me on another flight…12 hours from now! This pretty much blows the whole day and blows up two appointments. They have me on standby for the next several flights as well so I tear to the next gate with hope in my heart.

I, of course, arrive to a gate with 19 people already in front of me on standby. I guess this is why my friend says that Delta stands for Doesn’t Ever Leave the Airport. So I call and cancel the back half of the flight, rent a car and drive for 5 hours. At least I make one of my appointments, and since I have my luggage I can actually do so!

The next day I get dropped at the Panama City Beach airport for an evening flight to Orlando. A private pilot emergency lands on the ONLY runway there and proceeds to lock up the hydraulics. They can’t move the plane and they have to send a truck an hour away to get the proper tow bar. After an hour the circling planes give up and go back to their destinations.

All flights cancelled. Rebooked for the next morning. No rental cars left. I complain at the help desk they point me at Southwest. Southwest says talk to the airport. Isn’t blame recirculation fun!

There is not a single rental car left at this airport, and it is in the middle of NOWHERE. $60 cab drive away, and $60 cab drive back 6 hours later. At least I got to hear the surf.

And really…two cancelled flights in two days on two airlines? How is THAT for odds?

There was no offer of help or compensation from either party. Very like an airport, but very unlike Southwest.

So a couple of days later I get an email with an apology and a deposit of credits to my frequent flyer account. Not from Southwest…from DELTA! I realize the only reason that any of this came to anyone’s attention was because of the refund that was issued to my account. I realize it was a form email, but I have come to expect so little of Delta and so much of Southwest that this whole process rocked my little travel world.

Whatever is an opinionated little travel blogger to do?

I guess I need to examine my preconceptions again…and book some more travel on Delta.

1 comment

  1. MAT

    They love to fly and it shows!

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