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Bad Weather, Flight Delays or Cancelations and You

Bad Weather Flight Delays and Cancelations

So far, this has been a nasty year for weather: Lots of snow (remember the white stuff disrupting the Dallas Super Bowl festivities?) and lots of stormy weather.

Recently, FareCompare Editor Anne McDermott got caught up in some fairly run-of-the-mill storms at DFW that nonetheless disrupted her flight plans, but I’ll let her tell you about it – and how she coped:

“All I can say is, thank goodness I read Rick’s tips in Bad Weather Flight Delays and Canceled Flights: What to do Next because it really helped. I followed his suggestion to ‘multi-task’ by immediately getting on the phone as I also got in the long line at the American Airlines counter; the phone agent got me another flight so when I finally got to speak to the counter agent, I was all set. At least for the moment.”

“Unfortunately, the storms continued, and my back-up flight was canceled. The gate agent then got me on standby for another flight and I made sure I went to my newly assigned gate immediately because I knew that if I wasn’t present (or not close enough to hear them call my name for the flight), I’d be out of luck. As it turned out, there were plenty of people on the standby list who weren’t there when their names were called, but because I was, I was able to leap-frog over them and get a seat on the plane.”

“More great advice from Rick: I used a carryon bag – so I never worried about a checked-bag going astray in all the confusion.”

“By the way, I just want to add that every step of the way during this long day, the American Airline reps were just terrific – patient, calm and helpful; best of all, they constantly provided us delayed passengers with meaningful updates.”

This is Rick again, and I just want to remind all travelers out there that summer weather can be much worse than winter for flight delays and disruptions. If you’re always prepared, you’ll have a much easier time of it. And, as always, safe travels.

Airline Passengers Not the Only Ones Getting Trapped for Hours

airline passengers trapped

Every now and then, we hear about a planeload of passengers who get trapped on the tarmac for hours and hours – something that’s supposed to end as of April 29, when the DOT implements its new “three hour rule” (which some airlines are already asking for exemptions from).

But they’re not the only travelers who get caught up in such delays.

In Scotland this week, more than 100 passengers were stuck on their train after it ran into a non-negotiable snowdrift 20 mile south of Inverness.

To add insult to injury, a second “rescue train” bringing them food and blankets, also got stuck in the snow.

The passengers were trapped on the train for about seven hours before a third train came along to take them away. The original journey was only supposed to have lasted about three hours. Wonder if those folks will begin agitating for “Passenger Rail Rights”?

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Hail Storm – JetBlue Hit Hard at JFK

bird plane hail jetblue

At first, the pilots of the JetBlue flight heading for Long Beach figured they’d hit a flock of birds as they took off from JFK.

Birds can be dangerous – after all, that’s what forced Capt. Sully into the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing.

Turned out it wasn’t birds, though. It was hail – icy hard rocks that pelted the plane. According to the Los Angeles Times, it’s not clear if the hail did any “significant damage” – but hail can be destructive.

Just last week in Perth, Australia – the airport there was “thrown into chaos” after part of the roof collapsed at the Qantas terminal – thanks to heavy rain and hail.

Meanwhile, those JetBlue passengers were put on another plane and arrived in Long Beach just a couple of hours late.

Turbulence: Did an Airline Flight Attendant Just Go Flying Past?

Turbulence. It can occur on the best of flights, anytime of the year. And it can be a minor annoyance – or spill your drink all over your lap – or worse.

I delve into the subject in my latest weekly column for ABCNews.com and I learned a thing or two, including the following:

  • How many people are injured by turbulence each year? Answer: nearly 60 a year, in the U.S. alone.
  • Who are injured most frequently? Answer: flight attendants
  • Why do people get up to use the lavatory when the seat belt sign is on? Answer: take your pick between A.) cockiness or B.) cluelessness
  • What does “pancake batter” have to do with turbulence? Answer: read the column to find out

Read what a flight attendant has to say about turbulence (and she ought to know, since turbulence once left her knocked unconscious) and how something as simple as keeping your seat belt buckled can save untold misery.

Nightmare Virgin America Flight has Kind of Happy Ending

virgin america flight nightmare

Everyone called it a “nightmare” flightAOL News did, so did TV stations, although HuffPo opted for “flightmare”.

Whatever, it wasn’t pleasant. Yes, Virgin America left LAX on time Saturday, but circled JFK for a couple of hours while waiting for fierce winds to die down. It didn’t happen, so the plane headed to Upstate New York’s Stewart Airport in Newburgh to wait out the weather. That’s when the problems began.

Passengers say they were then kept waiting — on the plane — for seven hours. They were told they could get off, but then they couldn’t get back on again if the weather cleared. Some got off anyway - the rest shared rationed food — which reportedly worked out to “four potato chips and a half cup of water each.”

 Eventually, JetBlue stepped forward with a bus to take the passengers on the 80 mile drive to JFK.

Here’s what Virgin America did right: CEO David Cush started calling passengers to personally apologize, promised all a refund, and a $100 credit.

What about that new rule that “airlines-must-let-passengers-out-after-3-hours-on-the-plane”? It doesn’t go into effect until April 29.

Airport Delays in Northeast – Patience, Please

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: Delays,Storms,Weather | 0 comments

airport delays

If you’re flying in or out of the Northeast today, check out FlightStats or your airline before heading out.

We are seeing “excessive” delays in Boston (excessive = worst), but there are also significant delays at JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, Manchester, New Hampshire and to a lesser extent in Cleveland.

That area of the country got hit hard over the weekend with lashing rainstorms (some with hurricane-strength winds) and there were a lot of power outages – so – just be careful, okay?

Ryanair Strands Passengers on Wrong Island, Wrong Airport

March 10, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Passengers,Storms,Weather | 0 comments

ryanair wrong airport

This happened earlier this year, but has just now come to my attention:

Ryanair was flying vacationers to the Canary Islands – well, one Canary Island in particular – when a bad storm rolled in, so the plane diverted to another island. Then – it left. Stranding all 120 passengers.

One family had to fork over almost $600 for the hotel (apparently, lodgings are pretty pricey there), plus there was the cost of the ferry to get to the correct island.

Now, it’s true that if something like this occurs due to weather, the airline is not responsible for picking up the tab under European Union rules, but other airlines that ran into similar difficulty that day managed to put up their passengers.

What really burnt the toast of so many Ryanair passengers, though, was that there were no Ryanair personnel in sight at this strange airport, so there was no one to give them any sort of guidance at all.

Ryanair insists the passengers were given some sort of information on their options, but the passengers vehemently deny this. Well, as AirlineReporter blogger David Parker Brown says, flying on Ryanair is always a gamble, and adds, “The old saying ‘you get what you pay for,’ is quite accurate with Ryanair.”

It’s Snowing, Your Flight’s Been Canceled. How to Fill the Time?

February 26, 2010 | Posted in: Multimedia,Storms,Weather | 0 comments

Your plans are all messed up, thanks to the snow.

So what are you supposed to do with all this extra time on your hands?

Easy. Get on out there – and play.

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