Weather can really wreak havoc on flights and travel plans! Our 8:47pm flight from DFW to Fort Lauderdale that was supposed to land at 12:30 AM, was delayed due to severe weather that came through the metroplex. Two-ish hours on the tarmac, and the airline decided the planes should have a hail inspection. We headed back to the gate, but there was lightning in the area. When the storm moved on, and the ramp opened up, we waited at the gate for maintenance crew members. The pilot was advised the inspection would take over an hour, AAAANNNNDDDD that caused the flight crew to time out and the flight to be canceled. As a side note, the pilot was amazing and made many announcements to inform us about what was going on.
Stand in 2 “Lines”
We, and an entire airplane full of passengers, made a mad dash off the airplane and into the Customer Service lines. I also called the airline customer service on one cell phone and the travel insurance company from the other cell phone.
The travel insurance agent advised me of my policy benefits and put in a request for the Travel Assistance Team to call me and help me rebook, noting details like preferred airline, seats, airports, needed arrival time, etc. Got through to the airline rep while having barely moved in the physical line and was able to get rebooked to Miami by way of a delayed flight to Austin.
We moved to the new gate where I waited for a gate agent to issue new boarding passes and seat assignments. When I greeted her, I said, “Good morning!” as it was about 12:30am. Totally cracked her up! While I was waiting for the gate agent, I received the call back from the travel insurance Travel Assistance Team. She double checked my new reservation, confirmed everything, and offered to check in with me about an hour after the new flight was supposed to land to be sure everything went ok.
Departed DFW for Austin at 1:25am. Made it safely to Austin at 2:20am. Our flight to Miami is scheduled to depart at 5:40am. The good news is we should make it in plenty of time to board the cruise!
If you’ve stuck with me this far, here are my takeaways:
1. If you are going to fly, wear your patient pants! So many things are outside the control of the pilots, flight attendants, and gate agents. Be kind!
2. Download the airline app and enable notifications. This is one of the fastest ways to get flight updates.
3. Save the airline contact phone number in your phone! If things start to go sideways – GO AHEAD AND CALL! Get in the hold que!
4. If your flight is canceled or changed drastically, get in a physical line to speak to someone WHILE you are on hold, essentially standing in two lines at the same time. Work with the first person you get to speak to on a solution.
5. Buy travel insurance! Have the emergency phone number and your policy number in your phone (at least) and maybe on paper with you. We missed our prepaid hotel night due to a canceled flight due to inclement weather. I will be filling a claim for that expense.
6. BE KIND! Be kind to the people who showed up for work today but were unable to do their jobs because of circumstances outside of their control. Be kind to the customer service agents and phone reps who have the power and means to HELP you. Be kind because it is the right thing to do. Just. Be. Kind.