Flight delays and all day commutes

Most of last week was spent in New York at various offices around the city. My final day was supposed to be spent at an office in Newark. Friday morning I packed, spent a little time talking to my sister, then headed out to Newark.

I say this like it’s an easy thing. It wasn’t—two cabs and a train took almost two hours to get me to that office. I was relieved when I finally arrived around 11, with hours of work before I had to leave for the airport. My flight home was scheduled out of Newark at 5:30, and leaving at 3:30 should have been plenty of commute time.NY skyline

Unfortunately, right at noon I got a notification from American Airlines that my flight from Newark to Dallas had been cancelled. As one should always do when hearing their flight is cancelled, I immediately called Aadvantage Customer Service. The only flight with any seats was a US Airways flight leaving at 3:30, from La Guardia.

La Guardia? No! I just spent two hours getting to the Newark office, and had been there less than an hour. If I wanted to make it home that day, it meant I had to leave immediately. The office was only a few minutes from Newark (incredibly convenient for my originally scheduled evening flight) but over an hour, with no traffic, from La Guardia. (Pictured: The NYC skyline from New Jersey)

The admin quickly called a cab while I gathered all of my things. The cab pulled up and we sped off. Since it was barely after noon, there was minimal traffic and we got to the airport in good time. Once I got through security, I ate lunch and then waited. And waited. As you probably expected, the flight was delayed. We boarded half an hour late, and then had to sit on the runway for over an hour due to air traffic congestion. It certainly wasn’t the most wasted day I’ve ever had, but there is something so frustrating about spending an entire day commuting back and forth with almost no productivity. Don’t ever let anyone tell you business travel isn’t glamorous!

Truth be told, I am lucky in a lot of respects. Lucky that I found a flight, lucky my employer will pay for an hour-long cab ride if necessary, and lucky I didn’t have to spend the night at the airport. But the delays from all of these winter storms are so hard to deal with!

My best advice: if you ever find out your flight is cancelled, immediately call customer service. The earlier you call, the better chance you will have to get on another flight. In fact, I recommend that you sign up for text or email alerts from the airline so that you know right away if there are any issues. If you are already at the airport, call while you walk over to the gate agent line—this gives you two potential avenues for help.

Readers, have you had any cancellations or delays due to weather this year?

Comments

  1. +1 on ffi. I know that you folks who live in hub cities like to use your hub airlines, but for those of us in the NE who travel a lot, I think we tend to stick with whatever airline has the most options to the cities where we are going. So even though several airlines fly DC to Atlanta, for example, I stick with Delta because I know I have more options with them. To Miami it’s always American (even though I hate American), for the same reason.
    Have we had any delays/cancellations because of weather? HA! I was always something of a weather junkie, but now I am obsessed. I plan my travel around the weather. We heard that Atlanta was going to get hit again this week, so we postponed that meeting and I headed to Miami instead. We heard that DC was going to get hit hard Wed eve, so I made sure to get back before the storm. Sometimes you can’t help getting stuck, but so far I have vigilant and lucky.

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