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-   -   suggestions on what to do when traffic accident causes a missed flight? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta-air-lines-skymiles/1851460-suggestions-what-do-when-traffic-accident-causes-missed-flight.html)

slidergirl Jul 3, 17 12:49 pm

suggestions on what to do when traffic accident causes a missed flight?
 
I want to be able to give out good information to some of my hotel guests in the future...

Last night, one of my guests took a private sedan from the hotel down to the airport for a flight. He left 3 hours prior to his flight (a 45 minute drive, so 2 hours for airport procedures, possible traffic). Well, there was a tanker truck accident (with subsequent truck on fire) that shut down the highway for hours. All traffic was stuck - it was in a canyon and no exits or way to turn around (the East lanes are set higher up on the hillside than the West lanes). Traffic was back up for over 5 miles. His father asked me if there was anything we could do. I told him to right away call Delta and say the son was stuck and to ask about the "flat tire rule" and get him rescheduled for today. He did that - after being on the famous "no status" phone line for over an hour. Agent said "sorry, not our problem, your fault." I told him to HUCA - he did and this time (after another hour of wait time), was told the son MIGHT be able to get partial credit to use for a flight tomorrow, but then the phone call was dropped. He called again (after another wait) and was now told that, since the son has now missed boarding time, he was out of luck. I had the dad tell the son to get on Twitter and contact @Delta for help. I'll find out when I get to work today how it turned out.

For future times, what is the best thing I can tell a guest if something beyond their control is going to cause them to miss their flight? What good "official" verbiage can they invoke to help their situation? It's hard for some when they are away from home and feel just lost.

thanks in advance for any suggestions.

elevatorgeek Jul 3, 17 12:51 pm

There is an unwritten rule called the "Flat Tire Rule" where they will usually place you on standby for the next flight out based on the circumstances.

wrp96 Jul 3, 17 12:59 pm

In a flat tire situation, if calling doesn't work, try Twitter as well, and if all else fails still get to the airport as soon as possible. The airport agents usually have a lot more leeway (and awareness) of local issues than someone on a phone sitting on the other side of the country. I've had times where the phone agents couldn't do anything so I went to the airport and the agents there went out of their way to find me a solution - even once getting together with the airline next door to help me get where I needed as all the later flights were oversold.

As said above, the flat tire rule is unofficial. You have to approach it as if you are asking for help, not demanding they do something they aren't required to do.

fpmurphy Jul 3, 17 1:22 pm


Originally Posted by wrp96 (Post 28515524)
As said above, the flat tire rule is unofficial. You have to approach it as if you are asking for help, not demanding they do something they aren't required to do.

+1 In this case, going to the airport as soon as you can is the best advise.

ashill Jul 3, 17 3:09 pm


Originally Posted by elevatorgeek (Post 28515485)

Originally Posted by slidergirl (Post 28515469)
I told him to right away call Delta and say the son was stuck and to ask about the "flat tire rule"

There is an unwritten rule called the "Flat Tire Rule" where they will usually place you on standby for the next flight out based on the circumstances.


Originally Posted by wrp96 (Post 28515524)

Originally Posted by slidergirl (Post 28515469)
I had the dad tell the son to get on Twitter and contact @Delta for help.

try Twitter as well

Gotta say, it's more helpful if posters actually skim the post instead of suggesting that the OP try what the OP said she already tried.


Originally Posted by wrp96 (Post 28515524)
and if all else fails still get to the airport as soon as possible. The airport agents usually have a lot more leeway (and awareness) of local issues than someone on a phone sitting on the other side of the country. I've had times where the phone agents couldn't do anything so I went to the airport and the agents there went out of their way to find me a solution - even once getting together with the airline next door to help me get where I needed as all the later flights were oversold.

As said above, the flat tire rule is unofficial. You have to approach it as if you are asking for help, not demanding they do something they aren't required to do.

This is much more helpful, I think.

LondonElite Jul 3, 17 3:24 pm

There's no secret. Just be nice.

miraclebear2003 Jul 3, 17 4:32 pm

In most cases DL has been helpful in various situations, though status does probably helps, especially since I assume they can see your "file".

Almost had this happen about 10 years ago as our rental car got totaled less than a mile from the airport. But AVIS was there so quickly and got us to the airport and through the paperwork quickly so that we still made the flight. I do think DL had a backup for us.

There was a time that I was being driven to DTW to catch a flight on Thanksgiving Eve and the Interstate totally shut down. By the time we were able to call they almost yelled at us for not calling earlier. I didn't fly at all at that time and so all they would do is let me buy an expensive FC ticket to fly home Thanksgiving morning. Oh, why didn't I call earlier? This was the early 70s and for some reason nobody had a cell phone with them.

keeton Jul 3, 17 5:22 pm


Originally Posted by miraclebear2003 (Post 28516280)
There was a time that I was being driven to DTW to catch a flight on Thanksgiving Eve and the Interstate totally shut down. By the time we were able to call they almost yelled at us for not calling earlier. I didn't fly at all at that time and so all they would do is let me buy an expensive FC ticket to fly home Thanksgiving morning. Oh, why didn't I call earlier? This was the early 70s and for some reason nobody had a cell phone with them.

40+ years ago. there was no FF program to bestow status and tickets (even the rare discounted ones) were as good as cash toward future flights/refunds. This is not relevant to the OP's situation.

LoganFlyer Jul 3, 17 6:24 pm


Originally Posted by fpmurphy (Post 28515585)
In this case, going to the airport as soon as you can is the best advise.

This. Certainly nothing wrong with trying to call first, but airport agents tend to have more leeway in missed flight situations. Especially in a case like this where the agent, who probably lives in the local area, might know about the highway closure and be more sympathetic.

kxc262 Jul 3, 17 7:19 pm

Missed a flight at MCI last year since the bus/shuttle took to long to get to the lot. Was flying UA with no status. Got to the gate and agent said she was paging me for the past 15 mins. She rebooked me on the next flight without any issues. I got to the gate and saw the jetway still docked at the plane. She also told me about the flat tire rule. Seats were all standby though.

Another instance, I got to SLC too late - it took me 30 mins to return a car with Avis. SLC front desk agents were very helpful and rebooked me for the next flight out the following day.

Like others have said, go to the airport as there is much more flexibility there than what phone agents can do.

MrAndy1369 Jul 3, 17 9:11 pm

Agreed with everyone. Your best bet is in person with the TA.

canadiancow Jul 3, 17 10:41 pm

First, I want to say that I agree. Airport agents can do things that phone/res agents cannot.

That being said, while I understand this incident isn't the passenger's fault, it certainly isn't DL's fault either.

I've been in a similar situation on UA (inbound was a separate PNR, delayed, missed last flight of the night), and I was EXTREMELY grateful that they rebooked me on a flight the next morning. But I was fully prepared to buy a walk-up fare, even though "it wasn't my fault".

slidergirl Jul 4, 17 12:28 am

I just got back from work. Thanks for the replies. At least I know I on the right track with my suggestions while he was stuck in the traffic. I didn't think about trying to find the local DL number. I'll try to find and keep it at the desk!

The backup in the canyon was hours and no way to turn around or go elsewhere. He was lucky he at least had cell service as there are some known gaps in coverage through the canyon. There were no more flights to his destination nor even in the same direction for any kind of overnight connection, so he ended up coming back to the hotel once traffic started moving. Dad bought him a new ticket for a morning flight and decided to work on credit for the missed one.

Kevin AA Jul 4, 17 1:40 am

What airport? What canyon?

slidergirl Jul 4, 17 11:30 am


Originally Posted by Kevin AA (Post 28517462)
What airport? What canyon?

Not necessary information: how to talk to DL about missing a flight due to an hours-long traffic closure is pretty general and applicable to anyone, on the way to any airport. but, since you're nosey:

SLC. Only a daypack as carryon... Semi-truck crash and fire in Parleys Canyon, Interstate 80. Closed the road for over 4 hours. Traffic backed up all the way back up the canyon. No way to turn around/move. Guest departed hotel before the crash - crash happened while he was enroute. Please don't say they could have turned around or something else. I had friends who live down in SLC stuck in the same jam and couldn't get home for hours.


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