Monday, October 1, 2007

Airline Flight Times and Schedules

We recently took a three day vacation and were affected by weather over one thousand miles away from where we were. The vacation was picture perfect right up until we checked our baggage at the local airport for our return flight home. My husband and I had different flight confirmation numbers due to an oversight. It did not affect us on our flight out west, but returning home was a nightmare from the start. We checked our bags and were told (because we had our flight confirmation numbers) to proceed to the short cut ticket computer terminal inside instead of having to wait in the very long lines at the ticket counters. My husband entered the required information with his flight confirmation number and did the same for me. Our tickets did not come out of the slot near the bottom of the terminal as did the couple's tickets we were traveling with, who had just used the machine before us. An airline clerk entered the information for us and placed the tickets in my husband's hand.
We proceeded to the security check point where more than a hundred people three deep were pressing forward. While waiting to get through security, we noticed on our tickets that my husband's flight number was printed on his ticket, but mine had the word canceled where the flight number should have been. When we got through security we headed straight to the boarding pass counter at the terminal listed on our flight tickets. There, we were informed that indeed my flight had been canceled. My husband explained that he was on the same flight, and we had just had them printed out downstairs. The clerk looked at his ticket and told us that his flight had been canceled also. We explained that there were four of us traveling together. She told us that the whole flight had been canceled by the flight carrier at the destination point we were traveling to. We are not world travelers, so this situation put us at the clerk's mercy, and pitifully we asked what to do. She said she would do her best to get us on another flight (with the same carrier)to the destination point, but that our seats may not be together. We were to catch a plane in the other airport to take us on home. She got both couple's seats, two in front of the next plane, and two in the back.
We were very happy right up until we found out, after two hours into the flight, that the airport we were flying into had closed all flights landing and departing due to a terrible storm there. A short time later our captain informed us that due to lack of fuel, we may have to fly to another airport if ours did not open the runways soon to land. More than a quarter of those on our flight were foreign travelers from Amsterdam, and had less than one hour to catch their connecting flight. We finally were told by the captain that we would land in twenty minutes with clearance from the tower to come in third instead of thirteenth of the planes stacked over the airport in less than 1/2 mile visibility weather. When our plane landed and the doors opened, we all allowed the Amsterdam travelers off the plane first. We then found that we had a four hour delay due to all the flights trying to get in and out from hours of bad weather before we arrived.
If you travel, pay very close attention to the weather conditions between all destinations of your flight path on the day you are traveling. Ask if there have been any changes in flights you are taking when you arrive early at the airport. Keep a close eye on the flight monitors, as they constantly update information on any changes while you are waiting for take off. Make sure that the same confirmation number is used when flying as a couple or in a group. That way, where one goes, there go the others!

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