Travel hassles. So far, three years of chasing music had gone off without a hitch. I’d book a flight, get flight insurance, board it early, zip over to my destination, and enjoy. Thanks to the people of American Airlines (and sometimes Delta and JetBlue Airways), it has been smooth sailing.
…yes, I’m sure you can figure out where this is going. And if you have me on Facebook, you can pretty much figure out what happened.
The interesting bit is, I’m signed up de facto for text and email alerts for any flight I book. Bear this in mind as I walk you through what took place.
My cab was scheduled for 11am. It arrived, I tossed in The Suitcase, got in, zipped over to LaGuardia and its American Airlines terminal. Reason I take American from LaGuardia is simple: they have yet to treat me with any sort of discourtesy over there, and handle my luggage just fine. There’s an Au Bon Pain cafe in the terminal, which serves awesome asiago bagels and French Vanilla coffee. So I enjoy the pre-flight wait wholly and unabashedly. And, I won’t lie, I was looking forward to it today.
I climb out of the cab, walk over to curbside check-in, and the agent says to me, “You have to go inside. Your flight is cancelled.”
I check my cell phone. No alerts. My email. No alerts either. So basically, I arrived to find a grounded plane. Whooooops.
O-kay. So I get inside, and that’s when I tossed up the Facebook post about potentially finding a different LGA-MIA flight. But the line moves fast, and I’m seen by an agent, who tells me that the next outbound to Miami is at about 5:50.
“What are my alternatives?” I ask.
“I can get you on a 4:00 flight,” the agent says. “But it’s from Newark.”
Wha-huh? Nothing against New Jersey, but to schlep from Queens with a 50-odd-pound piece of luggage to Newark International Airport (which, from what I gather off reviews and travel sites, is a royal clusterfuck) was not something I had in mind. My original plan was to land in Miami at about 6:00pm, check in, and have a nice dinner at the Bayside Mall Chili’s, where I’m an annual regular. To end up there at whatever o’clock, worn out from traveling to hell and back, wasn’t my cup of tea.
“Is there anything at all from JFK?” I ask.
“Yes…but it’s almost booked up…and it’s another airline,” says the agent, “but it leaves at 3:10pm.”
By this time, I was willing to take (gulp) United Airlines, if it meant that I would leave New York on the ground within the next couple of hours.
The agent promptly booked me, and produced a taxi voucher. And – surprise!!! – it’s a Delta Airlines flight. Delta = onboard Internet. So effectively, I get the taxi to JFK, and a rebooking on what I know would’ve been a more expensive flight had I booked it myself, for no additional charge.
At JFK, an even bigger surprise: no bag fee. Even though I know my bag is over limit. Turns out, its overlimit is by about 3-4 pounds, and the agents there didn’t charge me for it.
Total time between cancelled flight, rebooking, jumping into taxi? 5 minutes. Time between airports, checking in, security, and cup of Dunkin’s finest? 15 minutes. I kid you not, security line at Delta was empty.
Need I say it? I love Delta Airlines. Yes, they’re exorbitantly expensive compared to some other flights, but I learned my lesson with this little adventure: Delta + JFK = one happy writing bon vivant. Just have to book it early, to get the best pricing.
So, hard part’s over. And of course, that little drop in my stomach as the plane takes off, leaving NYC and work-related stress behind it was worth any price and any wait.
(and yes, this is coming to you from about 37,000 feet in the air)
So far, all’s well. Buzz by Four80East in my ears, writing ideas in my head, and the plane being somewhere over Raleigh at the moment… I think I can consider myself on vacation now. :)
I’ll update very sporadically from the cruise. Still not sure if I’ll be doing the writeup like last year, but if I will, you’ll know it.
Much love, from me to you,