I’m a wee bit pissed. My last 4+ trips have been nothing but nightmares, as far as the getting there part goes. I have no idea if this has been brought about by the issues the travel industry has faced in the last couple of years, but it has become too commonplace in my travel experience to not be “the norm” now. This time around, the first leg was marred by JFK having “issues”, which delayed my flight by 2 hours, just enough to miss my connection. The positive, was that Delta rerouted me to a direct flight to Paris and I only arrived 2 hours late. The negative, I got another toiletry bag to add to my growing collection (they couldn’t remove my bag from my original flight and load it onto the reroute).
The way back? Started off decently, was upgraded by Air France to the upstairs deck of the jumbo jet (assuming business class), where there were hot male attendants, larger seats and no one sitting next to me. Arrived at JFK 20 minutes late, but no biggie as they gave me a quick pass for the re-entry line. All’s going well….until my bag is one of the last ones off the plane. I applaud Air France for their fore-thought, given their penchant for being “fashionably late” that they might think to put bags with connections in a section that gets unloaded first. But apparently, being fashionably late is more important than efficient. Which leads me to the actual problem…
My flight was with Delta, my reservation number and flight numbers were Delta. I go to check my bag onto my next flight….Sorry! You need to go to the long Air France line to check your bags through. But wait! They require and hour to get your bags to your Delta connecting flight, so you can’t board unless you can carry your bag through security. What? You have unapproved liquids in your checked bags? Sorry!
They offered to transport me to LaGuardia, where I might have made the last flight out, which would have stranded me at the Atlanta Airport (gotta love MARTA). So, instead, they put me up at a slightly better hotel than Montreal, with an alarm clock set an hour ahead and walls so thin my neighbors kept me up an additional hour with their family movie full of explosions (my flight is still 1.5 hours away and I was up at 4.30).
IF, I have time this afternoon, a phone call will be made to Delta customer service, because that buck passing was bullshit. The Delta guy who passed me off to Air France was smiling at my negative commentary on the whole thing and I should have slammed Delta for the buck passing and gotten his name. All of this shit is ridiculous and there was no reason for the buck passing. I was a Delta patron on a flight being operated by Air France, not an Air France patron.
I honestly don’t know if this is just the universe saying that I shouldn’t travel, or if the industry is just ensuring they don’t get my money. I’m really not keen on it anymore.
There’s been a rather large increase in the number of “missed connection” shenanigans with air travel over the past couple of years, mostly, I think, due to narrower windows for connecting flights. A couple of years ago, 90 minutes was a customary layover for a domestic flight, and two hours for international. I am generally happy with connections in the 3-4 hour range: I get to recharge some gizmos, find a hot meal and a beer that isn’t bouncing, pee in a bathroom that’s big enough to turn around in, and have margin to account for some weather delays and mechanical fussing. Recently, Continental originally gave me a 45 minute connection window for a trip to Mexico, which lead to a phone call and a phone agent somewhere agreeing that this was ludicrous and rebooking the first flight for the prior evening. (I had to find and buy the hotel room, but at least the SINGLE FLIGHT that they had to my destination at 9:30 AM the following day was not missed.)