So I woke up this morning at 7AM with the expectation of a standard day of flights, complete with a short layover to add a little spice. When the self check-in machine asked me if I’d like to volunteer with a promise of travel vouchers on all three of my flights (a bit unusual), I thought it was interesting. I knew the call had come in when I heard the agent in the club say into the phone “and you’re at gate 5?”
No problem – sure thing. Give me the voucher, let’s re-route my luggage, it’s just a change from Minneapolis to Atlanta and I’m still arriving in Hong Kong at the same time. Easy choice.
I queued up for the flight, I keyed in the new flight numbers into my phone and as I was taking my seat, a terrible picture was painted. The flight from Atlanta to Tokyo had been delayed by 2.5 hours… putting me into Tokyo an hour and a half after my flight to Hong Kong was set to leave.
Hah. How lovely. A 30 minute flight later, I’m on the phone with Delta. I’m a Platinum member so I’ve got a fairly quick line into the reservations desk and they tend to fawn over me for some reason. The guy was super nice and as I walked from A concourse to F, we went through my options.
Delta didn’t have another flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong until 24 hours later. That wasn’t ideal. Let’s try something else.
Okay… because it’s our fault (mechanical issues) I can get you onto another carrier’s flight. We’ll send you to JFK and get you direct to Hong Kong via Cathay. Great! Let’s do it.
I walked back from E to A and head to the club. I walk up to the counter and hand them my outdated, but still valid as identification boarding card. He sees a note (or similar) that I will need new boarding passes. No problem, let’s do that now. Oh… that’s an unusual error. What does it mean? Hm… let’s call my help desk. Ohhhh… Cathay didn’t confirm your flight… they don’t have that seat. Let’s try another. Nope.
20 minutes later I’m booked for a flight tomorrow on American from Atlanta to Chicago, then direct to Hong Kong. I’ll arrive ~18 hours after when I was supposed to be there. I’ll be put in a hotel for the night and given some vouchers for food. I call back to the Platinum desk to inquire about my mileage. I’m told it will still be earned appropriately. I ask for more compensation, now that they’ve botched this so wonderfully. I have to call corporate customer service… that doesn’t open until Monday at 8AM.
Ugh. I’m drained. I spend the next 15 minutes sitting, texting everyone to let them know things have gone sideways and try to leverage the unusual opportunity to visit with friends in the city. I realize my luggage wasn’t accounted for. I return to the desk, she struggles with the system to try and re-route it again. It isn’t certain that the commands have gone through. I’ll have to track it tomorrow morning. The hope is that since there are notes about my harrowing experience, they won’t decide the luggage is … a force for evil, if you know what I mean. Thoughts drift through my head of Delta replacing my luggage…
I return to the club seating – the staff don’t dare try to tell me to leave, even though I’m technically not supposed to be there any more. They are pleased with my demeanor throughout the whole matter and she thanks me for it. It’s not difficult… there is no one person behind something this amazingly messy.
I hang out in the club for… I’m not sure how long. I fight with American and Cathay to get checked into my flight, to select seats, etc. I can’t check in with AA. I fret as to whether or not I’ve actually got a flight. Cathay requires me to call them to pay for a seat upgrade. They are closed. I finally go for food at the Sweetwater grill. It was good, the beer was nice. I sat next to an interesting gentleman that was a former sailor. We discussed free-diving in Guam and fights in Roppongi. His flight had also been delayed. It becomes clear that there is just a solid gremlin in the system today.
Eventually I decide to head for the hotel… it has to be more relaxing than being in the airport. First, though, I stop by the American check-in counter positioned, without exaggeration, at the farthest end of the terminal. With a bit of a confused look, they check me in without any hassle. Finally I feel as if I’m going to make it after all. I head for the parking lot where, after a 10 minute wait, the shuttle carries me to the hotel where I check in and assume a comfortable position on the bed where I spend a few hours reading.
So… tomorrow I’ll try again. Let’s hope this time it goes smoother.