This morning, I was booked on Delta flight 4179, the 7:55 AM run from Reagan National on the banks of the Potomac river in Virginia. It was scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis at 9:44 AM, giving me plenty of time to get to the NDIA symposium and start covering the really cool things here. Well, that didn’t exactly happen.
The plane arrived at the gate with an undiagnosed mechanical problem. It happens, and I’m fairly certain that passengers are much happier to arrive late than to be late on arrival. And by “late” I mean “dead.” The issue we ran into (and which caused much consternation) was a complete and utter lack of communication on the part of Delta.
At first, the flight was simply “delayed indefinitely.” Which was fine, as I needed to hit the head before we left anyway. By the time I got back to the gate the attendant had announced that all passengers on the flight would need to re-book and that the flight was cancelled. There were no other flights to Indianapolis until later that night, so I hopped on the “customer service” line to try and re-route me through some other airport.
A very nice woman was a few places in front of me in line, and insisted that she needed to be in Indianapolis immediately. I was in the same boat (as I’m pretty sure RF would skin me alive if I spent all his cheddar and then didn’t even get there), so I listened in. She eventually decided to cancel her entire trip, as there were no other flights available.
How is this relevant to this website? As she turned around, I saw the FNH logo on her shirt. She was apparently one of the employees of FNH USA in Virginia, heading out for the show as well. But she would never get there.
I made it. I’m sitting in an AWESOME hotel room in Indianapolis, NDIA badge around my neck. How did I get here when she and her corporate credit card couldn’t? About 20 minutes after she cancelled her trip and left the airport, another traveler tapped me on the shoulder as I was explaining to the agent that I needed a new flight. They pointed across the concourse to another gate which was announcing that they were boarding my flight, the one that was “cancelled.” There were no airport-wide announcements, no one with a megaphone, not even a guy on a soapbox to let us know that the flight was being transferred to another airplane.
The gate was indeed the right flight, and took those of us who had yet to cancel our tickets to Indianapolis, landing only an hour behind schedule. On what was an oversold flight, only 1/3 of the seats had people in them. And none of them worked for FNH.
Next time I’m taking the train…