No one ever wants to have a delayed flight or worse, a cancelled one, but sometimes it’s inevitable. That was the case for me recently while flying out for the weekend from Boston to Liverpool. It started early in the day and was relentless for the remainder of my trip.
I’m a believer of utilizing apps and the Internet to harness as much information as possible so I can avoid talking to someone on the phone or in person. While that might sound slightly antisocial, stick with me for a second. While everyone else is trying to get the information in person or on the phone, I can avoid the lines and long phone queues by researching the information all on my own.
How do I do that? First, I start with my number one and most dependable app, TripIt. I add my trip details to the app or online and like magic, when there’s any kind of an update, TripIt lets me know automatically. I also have all of the airline apps that I’ll be flying with and when there’s a change to my itinerary, or a cancelled or delayed flight, either the airline app or TripIt let me know.
Here’s my recent travel dilemma in a nutshell: I was flying from Boston to JFK (Delta) and then from JFK to Manchester (Virgin Atlantic) on May 25. Or so I thought. Around 9 am on May 20th I received notification from Delta saying my flight was cancelled. The rest of my morning was a blur as I tried to find an alternate way to New York. You know, the city that’s all of around 200 miles from me. I looked for alternate flights, shuttles, buses, trains, and rental cars, too. After speaking with Delta, they rebooked me on the 1 pm flight and I had my fingers crossed that I’d make it to New York as planned.
But life wasn’t going as planned and as you can see from my TripIt alerts and updates below, the 1 pm flight wasn’t going anywhere and fast. After getting pushed back repeatedly, I was waiting for the airline to alert me, but they didn’t offer any suggestions or advice.
That’s when I decided to open my Flight Aware app. Since I couldn’t get any answers from the airline or the airport, it was up to me to determine what was going on.
All I had to do was plug in the flight number I was tracking and I could see not only the status of my flight, but where the actual plane was at that exact moment in time.
Strangely enough, the plane arrived into Boston around 2 pm, but was never used for our flight. Instead, as you can see above, the flight never left Boston until after midnight. As for me, I gave up around 8 pm (after having rented a car and only got as far as the tunnel before turning around) and actually boarding a plane at 6 pm and being told more than an hour later to get off as the flight wasn’t going to go after all. At that time, I spoke with a ticket agent as the phone banks were backed up and saying it would be 2+ hours for a call back.
In the end, I never left on that day and ended up on a completely different flight and carrier the next day. But I didn’t feel completely hopeless throughout the process because I kept myself informed of what was going on and why. Yes, Boston Logan was saying it was due to traffic and closed runways at JFK and JFK was saying it was because of low ceilings and closed runways at Boston, but that was strangely enough, after the fact. From 9 am until 8 pm that day, I received no information from anyone as to why I was stuck at the airport less than one mile from where I live.I just wish that the airlines made communication a bigger priority because that's really all travelers want. Click To Tweet
If you’re able to arrange alternate transportation on your own due to a cancelled or delay flight, I say do it because it’s far easier for you to do it for yourself than for the airline to handle you and hundreds of other passengers. I just wish that the airlines made communication a bigger priority because that’s really all travelers want. Well, that and getting to their destination safely. On my return flight through JFK, I was once again delayed, but almost anticipated it and had my apps handy and ready to go.
The next time you have a delayed flight, don’t panic. Collect your information and get to work rebooking your flight because let’s face it, if you don’t do it, who will?