Horrible Experience

 
Old Jul 24, 05, 9:07 am
  #1  
hg1
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Horrible Experience

A week ago today, my 17 year old son and his classmate had a flight booked to Cleveland from Wash.Dulles on Indep. Air. They had been in Wash. for 3 weeks on a program. Anyhow, my son's flight was scheduled to leave at 4:20 p.m. on July 17. They got to the airport, and was told the flight was cancelled due to inclement weather. There was a 9:15 p.m. flight out of Wash., but it was booked. IA rebooked them on an 8:30 a.m. flight on Mon. morning. They got to the airport at 7:30 a.m., and were told the flight was cancelled. There was a 10:30 a.m. flight, but it was oversold. The next flight was at 3:00 p.m. that day.
When I found out the 8:30 a.m. flight was cancelled, I spoke to a supervisor in the Wash. IA office. I spent 20 minutes demanding that my son be put on the 10:30 flight. Beryl (the supervisor) told me he couldn't do that since it was overbooked. I said, then bump someone from that flight. I argued that my son had already been inconvenienced by not being put on the 9:30 flight the day before, and then get to the airport the next day, only to find out the 8:30 a.m. flight was cancelled. I said it was ridiculous to force him to wait until the 3:00 flight on Monday, almost 24 hours later than his originally scheduled flight. I said why was it O.K. to inconvenience my son, and make him sit around at the airport almost 8 hours because IA refused to put him on the 10:30 flight. I said bump someone from the 10:30 a.m. flight to the 3:00 p.m. flight. Beryl wouldn't budge. After 20 minutes of me yelling at him, he tells me a seat "just opened up" on the 10:30 flight, and booked my son. I immediately called my son and told him that. He called back shortly thereafter to tell me that when he went to the boarding pass counter, the clerk told, " I see you are confirmed on this flight, but I have no seat for you!" At this point, I had to leave for work, since there was nothing further I could do. My son did finally arrive home on that 3:00 p.m. flight.
Long story short, I would NEVER EVER use IA again, nor would I advise anyone else whose flight gets cancelled to trust IA to book them on the next flight. By far, the worst experience I have ever encountered from an airline.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 9:14 am
  #2  
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Hi, and welcome to Flyertalk.

I"m sorry your son had a rotten experience -- he could've driven from D.C. to Cleveland in about eight hours -- but the standby-for-next-available-seat drill is standard on ANY airline. If your flight is cancelled, you are rebooked on the next AVAILABLE seat to your destination, not the next seat already occupied by another customer. The carrier won't bump customers with confirmed reservations on subsequent flights to get people like your son on their way, because now the airline has TWO unhappy customers instead of one.

If your son's flight had been on time and an earlier flight had been cancelled due to weather, how would you feel if your son were thrown off to accommodate people from the earlier trip?

You had an unfortunate experience, but if you are going to vow never to fly Indy again, you'd better not fly AA, UA, NW, AS, CO, DL, US, HP, etc. ever again either, because they all work that way.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 10:24 am
  #3  
hg1
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I agree that bumping another passenger to make room for my son would have made for 2 unhappy passengers. But by that logic, if the next 3 flights out of Was.Dulles had been overboooked, then my son would have been stuck there another day. I still maintain that NO airline should just keep rescheduling the already inconvenienced passenger until a seat on some flight opens up-however long that takes. Bumping a passenger from the 10:30 flight to a 3:00 p.m. flight the SAME DAY is a hell of a lot less inconvenient than bumping my son-or anyone-from 4:30 p.m. one day till 3:00 the next day, no matter how you look at it.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 12:51 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220
Hi, and welcome to Flyertalk.

I"m sorry your son had a rotten experience -- he could've driven from D.C. to Cleveland in about eight hours -- but the standby-for-next-available-seat drill is standard on ANY airline. If your flight is cancelled, you are rebooked on the next AVAILABLE seat to your destination, not the next seat already occupied by another customer. The carrier won't bump customers with confirmed reservations on subsequent flights to get people like your son on their way, because now the airline has TWO unhappy customers instead of one.

If your son's flight had been on time and an earlier flight had been cancelled due to weather, how would you feel if your son were thrown off to accommodate people from the earlier trip?

You had an unfortunate experience, but if you are going to vow never to fly Indy again, you'd better not fly AA, UA, NW, AS, CO, DL, US, HP, etc. ever again either, because they all work that way.
True, carriers such as AA, UA, NW, AS, CO, DL, etc., may work this way when it comes to the 'standby' seat drill --- BUT they will also route their passengers on the lines of other carriers. However, with I-Air being an LCC, I doubt they have the ability to do a FIM and fly the passenger on CO, who operates non-stop to CLE; UA may fly non-stop to CLE likewise, if not via ORD, NW via DTW, DL via CVG, etc.

If the carrier at a particular station won't do an FIM because of WX, one can also approach another carrier and see if the carrier will accept their ticket at face value among the legacy carriers - even if it is a non-refundable, "Valid UA Only", etc. Sometimes they can pull the e-ticket, but may need a hard-copy receipt -- other times, if you can get your e-ticket converted to paper, it'll be accepted at face value.

Another reason to avoid LCC's - I guess AirTran would be the one exception since they do issue/accept FIMs with the re-routing of passengers.

In closing, I've had my *** saved a few times because of re-routing among legacy carriers. The one which sticks out the most: A December snowstorm in NYC a bit over a year ago. I was flying on NW from SDF-DTW-JFK. I was meeting someone at JFK who was flying in LHR-JFK on British Airways. Once at DTW, NW cancelled all flights to all NYC airports. CO had a delayed flight to EWR, which eventually went. I got a FIM and was put on this Continental flight. The CO flight got me into Newark in heavy snow around 11pm, about the time my colleague's flight was due in at JFK. I took the AirTrain & NJTranit into NYC and picked up the Subway to JFK airport. This was just prior to the JFK AirTrain opening. I got onto the shuttle to terminal and I got a call on my mobile from my colleage saying "I just arrived, where are you?". A few minutes later the shuttle dropped me off at the BA terminal and we met up.

It turned out his BA flight did arrive on-time at 11:00pm, but they sat on the tarmac for almost 3 hours waiting for a gate because of the heavy snow. Shortly after, JFK, EWR, and LGA all closed for nearly two days.

If NWA did not do an FIM to Continental for me, I would have been stuck in Detroit. Most likely I would have flown back to SDF the next morning and my colleage which had flown in from London, he would have flown back to London just as the snowstorm was ending -- this would have resulted in two trips in vain. Legacy carriers have things like this in place to handle passengers during irregular operations.

SDF_Traveler

Last edited by SDF_Traveler; Jul 24, 05 at 12:53 pm
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Old Jul 24, 05, 5:14 pm
  #5  
 
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It was my understanding that one of DH's main selling points at the outset was that they did not overbook flights. Is it possible that the OP was told that the flights were full, in my experience, a different situation altogether?
Also, what happened to the classmate? Is s/he still at IAD?
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Old Jul 24, 05, 7:14 pm
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Heh,

Lady, if you were yelling at me for twenty straight minutes, I probably would have hung up on you. That's not really the way to get what you want. To be honest, it is LONG standing policy of any airline to screw a handful of customers over pretty good to "save" the many. That's right, don't expect *any* airline to inconvenience more passengers just to lessen the inconvenience to other pax. I've had days like that on other airlines, and you know what? IAir is gambling that the next time you buy a ticket, you will buy the cheapest ticket... theirs. That's how the airline game is played.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 7:20 pm
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Had that happen on US a couple a times from PHL-MCO. Go rebooked on a PHL-CLT-MCO flt. It was enough to make me angry, but not mad. My dad got a refund. That happened to me at age 13.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 9:26 pm
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Very sorry to hear about the difficulties your son, his classmate and you (in trying to find a solution to the situation) had to deal with last week. Unfortunately, July is a terrible month for weather-related delays and cancelations (worse than the winter months), but I'm glad he was able to get home.

To answer haruspex's question, Indepenence Air maintains the policy of not overbooking flights.


Cheers.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Cohiba
Very sorry to hear about the difficulties your son, his classmate and you (in trying to find a solution to the situation) had to deal with last week. Unfortunately, July is a terrible month for weather-related delays and cancelations (worse than the winter months), but I'm glad he was able to get home.

To answer haruspex's question, Indepenence Air maintains the policy of not overbooking flights.


Cheers.
I saw the DH COO on a recently flight (IAD-ORD) and he told me that the middle two weeks of july set a record in the airline industry for the most weather related delays. In all honesty there is nothing you can do about it. Especially because the airlines dont make the calls on weather to fly or not.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 11:21 pm
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Originally Posted by ClimbGuy
Especially because the airlines dont make the calls on weather to fly or not.
If the airlines don't, who does? During a significant weather event, the only thing the FAA/ATC does is issue restrictions due to capacity reasons. This may be either enroute capacity or airport capacity. This is what is commonly known as a "flow delay" or a "ground stop." If the weather is too bad to actually fly, it is the pilot and dispatcher who refuse the trip, not the FAA.
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Old Jul 25, 05, 1:28 am
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Well for the original poster, it is sorry to hear that your son and his classmates are being delayed in multiples times, but the weather in the east coast has been disastrous, and there is nothing you can do, and I disagree with the note that you expect Indy-air to bump someone off to accompany your son. that is not right at all... and has no logic. Also, flying LCC has its flip side and that is just one inconvenience that we need to live with as more cheaper fares have restrictions and LCCs are cheap because they don't interline with other carriers and when there is a weather delay, there is nothing much you can do about it.

DHAST, your arguement makes no sense, and when FAA is restricting the airspace, it makes airlines cancel a percentage of its flights. The airline has no control... also if a pilot feels that the weather is so bad that taking off and landing is dangerous, it is possibly for our own goods. Pilots make the professional call and there are cases in foreign countries where accidents happen, when pilots decide to take off or land in stormy situation, in which tragedies are resulted. When weather happens, it happens... there is nothing airlines can do... plus the airlines also lost money during these kinds of situations -- they forced to rebook passengers on next flights (lots of overtime by ground staff), and then there is the rescheduling of all the crews and aircraft, and when an airplane does not fly, the airlines technically lose revenues. So I don't follow your arguement and I believe that an airline's responsibility during weather is to provide up to date and accurate information, minimize the inconveniences, and to maintain good customer service even during stressful times. Unfortunately, weather and mother nature is something humans can never overcome and predict with 100% accuracy. This is an unfortunate situation, but at least the original poster's son arrived home safely. I honestly don't think if he flies UA or other legacy airlines will make his life easier. Indy-Air is possibly not too bad because it does not overbook its flight like other airlines.

Carfield
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Old Jul 25, 05, 8:10 am
  #12  
 
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ATC / Ground Stops / Flow Control / Etc

A number of factors can come into play that may cause an airline to cancel a flight. Currently it is 9:37am EDT as I obtain this information on Monday morning, and the ATC system already appears to be a mess.

For Louisville, Kentucky, United Express and American Eagle operate flights to Chicago O'Hare. This morning there is currently a traffic management program in effect at ORD, affecting flights from SDF:

Due to WEATHER/TSTMS, departure traffic destined to Chicago OHare International Airport, Chicago, IL (ORD) will not be allowed to depart until at or after 9:45 am EDT.

In this case, the delay isn't long, but no traffic may depart SDF for ORD until 9:45am. This will result in delays and if the weather persists, the delays could build up through the day.

Now let's say it's later in the evening and we're dealing with an IAD-CLE flight. If there is bad weather in the CLE area, a traffic management program of some type will be put in place such as the above may be in place. If there is bad weather at IAD, they may impose departure delays.

Let's use this morning at BOS as an example:

General Departure Delays: Due to TSTMS/MIT, traffic is experiencing Gate Hold and Taxi delays between 31 minutes and 45 minutes in length and increasing.

This basically states due to Thunderstorms, Miles in Trail (distance between aircraft has been increased) and departure delays exist between 31 minutes and 45 minutes an increasing.

For this example, let's say IAD has this departure program in effect with a Miles in Trail provision and CLE (instead of ORD) has a traffic management program in effect saying you cannot depart until xx:xx. The Independence Air FA's and Pilots are only allowed to work "x" numbers of day between rest. If it is apparent the delay will be prolonged and the employees willl go over, the airline will cancel the flight.

FWIW, let's look at LGA departures this morning, which will make BOS look like a minor problem:

General Departure Delays: Due to TSTMS, traffic is experiencing Gate Hold and Taxi delays between 2 hours and 16 minutes and 2 hours and 30 minutes in length and increasing.

When it starts backing up significantly with gate holds and taxi delays over 2 1/2 hours, airlines will have to cancel a percentage of flights. The FAA goes to the carrier and requests a 25% cutback, you work it out. In many cases, the carriers will focus on canceling some of their regional operations but they will get their "trunk" routes out along with their key international flights.

Oh, and while I am writing this, Chicago ORD has updated their ground stop time from SDF departing traffic to 10:30 EDT.

Due to WEATHER/TSTMS, departure traffic destined to Chicago OHare International Airport, Chicago, IL (ORD) will not be allowed to depart until at or after 10:30 am EDT.

If you're flying this morning around the great lakes and east coast, it may not be smooth sailing today.

Last, each Air Route Traffic Control Center, which has a code (ZOB for Cleveland Center) may limit traffic within their area when weather problems exist.

Best,

SDF_Traveler
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Old Jul 25, 05, 2:50 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by haruspex
It was my understanding that one of DH's main selling points at the outset was that they did not overbook flights. Is it possible that the OP was told that the flights were full, in my experience, a different situation altogether?
Also, what happened to the classmate? Is s/he still at IAD?
Although DH does not sell seats to the point of overbooking a flight can still become oversold. If you have a bad weather day at IAD with lots of missed connections and canceled flights DH will start to rebook passengers on later flights, including overbooking the stranded passengers in hopes of no-shows on the later flights. Although the flight was maybe sold for 45/50 it can quickly become oversold if they put 7 stranded pax on it to make it 52/50 hoping that two of the original pax become no-shows. It is in this manner that a flight can be overbooked even though DH did not sell it as such.
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Old Jul 25, 05, 3:03 pm
  #14  
hg1
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First of all Carfield, IA did not bump the classmate so he could accompany my son. If you read the original post, you would have seen that what happened was, the supervisor told me a seat opened up, and booked my son. When he went to get a boarding pass, the reservation clerk told him, my son had a confirmed reservation on the flight, BUT NO SEAT! Furthermore, in response to the other posts, what do you mean they don't overbook? Is there a difference betwwen oversold, and overbook, because that's exactly what the supervisor told me. Finally, its all well and good for those of you to defend IA's actions, but I wonder how many of you, if you had to go through what my son did-or anyone, would just calmly and very patiently have sat in the airport for 7 and a half hours, because, well, that's just how it works when the original flight from almost 24 hours earlier gets cancelled. Sorry, I don't buy that. By the way, the fare was not that cheap ( to rub salt in the wound). As for the classmate, he's still in the airport (just kidding).
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Old Jul 25, 05, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by SDF_Traveler
However, with I-Air being an LCC, I doubt they have the ability to do a FIM and fly the passenger on CO, who operates non-stop to CLE
During my trip from SFO-IAD (posted here earlier this month), I was told by a DH supervisor (I believe he was the IAD station manager) that DH was negotiating a contract with another LCC for re-routing in cases such as this. He hinted strongly at which LCC it would be, but since he seemed uncomfortable saying it outright, I won't, either.

Now, given the funny routings that many LCCs use, I don't know if re-routing on another LCC would save more time than just waiting for another available flight on DH... but it's a start.
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