Thursday, April 5, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
: This is an airline story; unfortunately there was no way to make it a short story!
It has been 5 ½ months since we have vacationed at the beach house, quite a drought by our standards, but that is the new reality of living in Indianapolis. So we headed to the Indy airport Friday afternoon to catch a flight to Detroit and another one that would get us to Richmond at 6:40 p.m. It was a beautiful 75 degrees in Indy, but just a few hours to the north it was in the 30’s and a huge rain cell had parked itself over Detroit. The pilot backed out of the gate in Indy and promptly parked the plane on the tarmac for 90 minutes before taking off for Detroit. Once we landed in Detroit we found out our 5 p.m. flight was delayed until 6:50 p.m., so we grabbed a bite to eat and sat down to wait for our boarding announcement. Around 6:30 p.m. the screen at the gate magically changes from our flight to another one for Knoxville…you guessed it, the dreaded cancelled flight.
Due to the bad weather the Detroit airport was an absolute zoo. So Carolee and I go trucking down to gate C2 to get in line to discuss flight options with the Delta representative and there is one agent serving a line of 60-70 people…not good. So I start working the Delta 800# while Carolee stands in the massive line. After 10 minutes I get through to an agent, she puts me on hold to look for options, and when she returns she can’t hear me speaking so she hangs up. I call again and am disconnected after waiting on hold for 10 minutes. The third time I call I get a nice lady who tells me there are no flights out of Detroit for the next two days that will get me anywhere near Richmond. I’m willing to go to Raleigh, Norfolk, Charlottesville, etc…but no dice. She suggests that I check with someone at the airport (like they have a different reservation system) or that I take a refund for my ticket and figure how to get out of Detroit on my own (seriously!). So I ask for a supervisor. The supervisor gets on the phone and within two minutes miraculously finds two tickets in row 6 on the next flight to Richmond at 9:37 p.m. that night. I’m not sure what kind of magic juju she possessed, but I wasn’t complaining.
So we went to our gate for the new flight and I ask the gate agent what I need to do to make sure my bags are checked on the new flight. He tells me there is no problem, my bags will automatically move over to this flight and there is nothing for me to do. Like a fool I believe him. So we land in Richmond at 11:15 p.m. and our bags are nowhere to be found. The baggage agent looks our bag tags up in the system and says our bags are still in Detroit, but most likely will be coming in on the first flight in the morning, which arrives at noon. Our options are to come back in the morning or have them delivered to Buxton by FedEx, which means they won’t arrive until Tuesday evening. The bags have Carolee’s running gear (she’s in training for another ½ marathon) and my biking clothes and shoes. Decision time for us…we decide to drive 75 miles north (out of the way) to Charlottesville to stay with Melissa and stop by the Richmond airport the next morning on our way to Buxton to see if our bags have arrived. We arrive in Charlottesville at 1:30 a.m., have a nice Bodo’s breakfast the next morning and drive to the Richmond airport. Of course our bags haven’t arrived; the new baggage agent tells me they are still in Detroit but offers to have them sent through Atlanta to Norfolk (I wish I could get the FF miles of our bags!) where a driver will deliver them on Sunday. We sign up for that deal and temporarily point the car south towards Buxton.
Finally we are at the SkyMall shopping part of the story. On Friday night the Delta baggage agent (who was very nice, and by the way if the gate agents were 1/10 as nice as the baggage agents, Delta’s service would be off the charts) authorized us for up to $50/day per person for the inconvenience of not having our bags. We decided it was time to do some Skymall shopping on the ground and called our wonderful new daughter-in-law Mary, who grew up in Richmond, for tips on where to buy running and biking gear near the airport. Thanks to Mary, several hours later Carolee and I have new running and biking shoes, clothes, etc. that we are going to permanently store at the beach for the next time this happens. So thanks Delta (kind of, maybe, sort of…), we lost an entire day at the beach but have new clothes just like the emperor. Our bags showed up at 9 p.m. on Sunday night and the driver who delivered them was pissed (he got his car stuck in the sand and had to call a tow truck), but I’ll let him blog his own tale, I’ve rambled on long enough!