Travel Woes: Avoid Connecting Flights

A friend of mine and a serious global traveler had the trip that almost turned her off air travel all together–and she’s a former pilot.

These are the details that I remember from what she recently told me about her return trip from Iceland to Columbus, Ohio. Her nightmare started at JFK airport.

Thunderstorms had paralyzed flights, thus hers to Columbus was canceled. But, feeling optimistic , she thought she might be able to hook up with a Jet Blue flight and headed to the Jet Blue terminal. No luck there either. In her quest for a flight, she left the security area of her terminal and couldn’t get back in. Then she looked for another terminal where she could park herself for the night since all airport hotels were booked. No such luck there either. That one closed for cleaning and she was kicked out to the curb again. After another bout of terminal hopping, she found a chair where she could settle in for the rest of the night.

The next day she was able to book a hotel room since finding a flight wasn’t happening. Booked solid. She arrived in Columbus on Friday, almost two days after she was supposed to have arrived.

At 4 AM Saturday morning she received a call from the luggage courier who couldn’t find her house. Before dawn she was reunited with her belongings.

If you haven’t noticed, she didn’t get any help from the airline except for the rebooking of her flight on the next available flight two days later. The airline wasn’t obligated to do more. The delay was caused by weather.

The flights were full because all flights are full these days. In her words, this summer is a mess. If one thing goes wrong, the whole system slides into chaos.

She also didn’t have a cell phone. Since she was traveling internationally, she left hers at home. Also, there wasn’t any information to be found on where to get hotels outside of the airport.

Her bit of advice after this fiasco was, whenever possible, fly direct and fly early in the day. Connections mean trouble and flying late in the day means there is no wiggle room when flights get delayed. Here is an article by Sharyn Alden that gives some other tips for avoiding air travel woes.