A series of unfortunate travel events

I had an unusually high number of travel bugs today. However, much to my surprise, I did reach my destination.

  1. My inbound flight was delayed about 40 minutes. No big deal for a Sunday evening flight.
  2. After we boarded – about an hour late – the flight attendant announced that we had to transfer to a new plane due to technical problems. An even bigger deal, because switching hardware always creates more latency.
  3. We had to wait for the new plane to land, drive, disembark and clean, which took about 45 minutes.
  4. Not long before we were ready to push off, the pilot announced that he was going to “time out”. (The FAA limits the number of “duty hours” a pilot can fly in a given day.) The pilot said he asked to leave early so he wouldn’t exceed his hours. But no luck. I was sure he was going to cancel the flight. But to my great surprise, the pilot announced that there was a “Standby” pilot on duty at the airport, who could take over the flight. About 30 minutes later, a new pilot boards. In the end, we finally took off about 2.5 hours late. Kudos to United for having enough flexibility in hardware (new plane) and personnel (standby pilot) to avoid flight cancellations.
  5. While in the air, I received an email from Avis—they couldn’t hold my reserved car for more than two hours, so the reservation was closed. Now I would have to go to the rental desk when I land, instead of going to my reserved seat number. And there is no guarantee that someone will actually be at the table after 1 am. Avis may even have sold out of cars! Fortunately, the manager was still on duty, and I got the car right away. However, Avis should not have canceled the reservation. I included my flight number in the log, and Avis should have been able to track that my flight was delayed.
  6. Driving to the hotel and one last mistake for the night. Marriott’s reservation system was down. Bonvoyed! There were about 5 people in the lobby, thinking around. Interestingly, there were four of them on my flight – one of them was my companion! Finally, the system comes back online. I get to my room at 2:30 am

I am shocked, shocked that despite all these mistakes I reached my destination, there was a free car and I entered my room. So many things had gone wrong and I was sure I was going to spend the night at home in Houston. My advice: never panic, stay calm and don’t realize there are no trips have to be taken.

Anyway, two conversations tomorrow, a mistake today. Stay with us!

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