Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Travelling Blues- Christmas Edition

My family traveled back to Michigan for the holidays, but it was not an easy trip. We were on 5 different flights, and something went wrong on every single one.

Our first leg from Albuquerque to Minneapolis took off on time and even landed- in Albuquerque. Mechanical problems killed the flight, and we were re-booked to go through Atlanta and then to Detroit the next morning. Give Delta credit: they gave us hotel and meal vouchers, then sent out apology letters and 10,000 bonus miles before we had a chance to complain.

The next morning, our plane had to de-ice. This takes a long time in ABQ. We landed in Atlanta 15 minutes before our next flight, which is when you are required to be on board so they can close the aircraft doors. We sprinted from terminal to terminal and then to our gate to find a large crowd. The flight had boarded, but onto the wrong type of plane! They had to clear the plane, find the correct one, and re-board. This gaffe allowed us to make our flight, which was a relief. Bonus surprise: our luggage made it, too.

The trip home had its share of fail, too: it took an hour to load the baggage after the doors had been shut. Another sprint found us on the next flight alright, but this time our baggage didn't make it. Delta told us it would arrive between 11 AM and 11 PM the next day. It showed up at midnight (note: the delivery company was a seperate entity contracted by Delta.)

It is both easy and tough to place all of the blame on Delta. Easy because the scapegoating feels right, but tough to pin them down completely. It was the worst time of year to fly, the flights were exceptionally crowded, and a bit of snowy weather in ABQ didn't help. We never had to argue to get flights changed or luggage delivered. In a way, these hangups were to be expected. On the other hand, when there are five consecutive screw ups, ranging from minor to major, you have to wonder if the experience is anomalous or systemic.

Anyone else have recent bad experiences? Opinions on the matter? I would love to hear them all.

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