These days each time I embark upon a trip, my memories of the worst travel experience surface and my anxiety rises. About 3 years ago, on a sunny June morning, my family of four embarked on a trip from Philadelphia, PA to San Diego California. We gave ourselves an ample 1.5 hour travel time prior to our flight only to arrive to a long line and a painfully slow process through TSA check point. We ran through the airport terminal only to arrive at gate and see our carrier sitting at the tarmac with the doors shut tight. There were 7 of us at the desk and the Agent got on the phone with the pilot begging that the doors be open to let us on, being as the take off time was still a few minutes away. The pilot made the final decision to leave us behind. W agreed to fly standby to San Diego via Chicago. After handing us our tickets, the agent remarked that ALL the upcoming flights going to Chicago O’hare were overbooked and our chances of actually flying standby were “slim to none”. This comment coupled with the news reports highlighting the inclement weather in Chicago, gave me the clear indication that we were in store for one of our worst travel experiences.
I decided to call the 800 number. AHA! The agent on the phone identified that there was a later flight identical to the one that was originally booked, flying to San Diego, via Los Angeles that evening. We got a ticket agent who was able to book us on this later flight. We spent the entire day at the airport, never venturing far from our gate. Although we had now been booked on the later flight, we were still called as standby on the last flight going to Chicago! When we informed the agent that we were confirmed for a later flight, we were told that she did not see that on the system…could this travel nightmare get any worse? Don’t ask. I promptly called the 800 number again and was assured that yes, we were confirmed for that flight. When the time came, we got on our flight and arrived at LAX in the wee hours of the morning; only to be shocked at the revelation that our worse travel experience continued. Our connection flight, the….final…flight that to San Diego…was canceled.