Flying Follies

Flight Cancelled Due to Weather

Following our own advice, we booked our flights to arrive in Athens a few days before our cruise.
What is that saying about the best laid plans?
We used Delta Frequent Flyer miles to book this trip and our scheduled departure from Albany was around 4:30.
We had a lot of work to get done before heading to the airport so we were occupied right until the last minute.
I shut down the computer and then thought that I should check on the flight, but we were already running late, so hurried out the door.

We did online check-in, but had bags to check and didn’t have access to a printer so needed to go to the counter anyway for boarding passes and to check the luggage. When we inserted our credit card into the machine, we got a message that said that there was an irregularity with our flight and we should see somebody at the counter. The irregularity turned out to be a cancellation due to the weather. The agent had no alternative flights for us. I asked if there was anything going out of Atlanta, Detroit, Charlotte, Cincinnati or anywhere else. He told us that there were no alternatives and since it was a weather delay that they would not cover the cost of getting to JFK from Albany.

We had a few hours, but were unsure that we would make it to JFK in time for our flight. We found it rather strange that the flight leaving from JFK was still on schedule; guess that meant that only incoming flights were having issues. Very strange indeed especially since flights to Newark had also been cancelled and flights into LaGuardia were delayed three hours.

We called our daughter right back to fetch us and I called Delta. We had been told that we were scheduled on a flight tomorrow. Yes, a 6:00am flight so that we could catch our 9:30pm connection. After the events of today, maybe that was a good idea. But, when I spoke with this other agent, he informed me that the flights to Paris and on to Athens were still scheduled for today. How they could change just the first flight without considering the connecting flights seems unbelievable. The agent realized this predicament and then came up with some flights – both of them having at least an 8 hour layover between. We would get to Athens on Saturday night at 10:30 pm, in effect depriving us of our one full day in Athens. I spent at least half an hour on the phone with this agent as we all sat outside a Panera which has free wi-fi. We headed home where I again got online to see what schedules Air France, our carrier to Paris, had on offer. I was not happy to see that there was an 11:30ish flight this same evening. We could have made it to JFK in time for that.

I called Delta again, this time using the dedicated SkyMiles number, which was busy twice when I tried calling them from the Panera parking lot. I reached Diane, a very helpful agent, who asked me if I had been confused by the itinerary because she herself was. I had only written down what the first agent told me and hadn’t checked in on the internet. It seems that we were booked on several different flights. The first agent told me that we could take a 10:40 flight on Friday, but somehow, we were put back on the 6:00am flight with a 9:30pm connection. Diane thought that odd and more strange when she saw that we would then have another 8 hour layover. She said that she would see what she could do with me and put me on hold for a few minutes. Now, I must admit that the first parking lot agent also conversed with a supervisor who said that only that horrendous schedule was available.

Diane Our Hero

When Diane came back she mentioned leaving at 3:50 pm, but what she was talking of was a flight to Athens leaving from JFK at that time. This flight was non-stop to Athens and would get us in at a respectable 8:30am, 14 hours earlier than the replacement itinerary. We were already crying over our missed time in Athens and starting to wonder if we would even make it in time for the cruise. When would be the next time that we got to Athens? Yes, we know that Rick Steves says that two days is enough in Athens, but we are meeting some fellow CouchSurfers and meeting up with our son and his friends who are touring there. Diane was like some angel who understands the pain of flight hell. We are now happy campers, but hoping that our flight tomorrow isn’t cancelled. After all, it is raining and forecast to rain again tomorrow.

Insurance Benefits
We have travel insurance offered as a benefit from a group that I belong to. It seemed like a good buy and I thought that it was adequate to protect us in case of events like today, so I called the company to see if they would have covered the cost of a rental car had we decided to risk driving to JFK. Surprisingly, this would not be covered. But, our flight was cancelled. Doesn’t matter. Their coverage, which I see nowhere in my policy, but will have to look more thoroughly, says that if the airline offers replacement flights that no claims will be paid. But what if the new flights make us miss the cruise? Too bad. Insurance won’t cover that either. Huh? It would cover a car rental if the flight had been delayed more than 6 hours and no alternate flights were booked. Is there a conspiracy between insurance companies and the airlines? Our first new flights were absolutely horrid, but there was nothing that we could do about it. And now that I hear that if this caused us to miss the cruise that we would receive no compensation, I need to check on other insurance.

In the future, I will be looking at insurance policies in depth and posting my findings. We felt secure knowing that we had insurance coverage and didn’t worry about flight delays or other problems. Talk about the ultimate in a false sense of security.

One Last Check
Be sure to update your profile with the airline that you are flying. Add in your phone number to receive updates regarding your flight. Our info was over 5 years old, so Delta would have reached a disconnected number or somebody else if they had tried contacting us; our new info is on Delta’s site now.

Sail Away

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