|July 21, 2010 - continued
Please bear with me... my blog is now a way behind schedule. I'll do my best to catch up. This entry was written on my
flight from San Diego to Houston (on my way to Cleveland).
July 21 - continued
When I last checked in, I was killing time at the Minneapolis airport waiting for my 5:15 p.m. connection to St. Louis. I
tried, unsuccessfully, to get on both the 1:15 or the 3:15 flights, but they were both oversold. So I knew I had a seat on
the 5:15 as originally scheduled.
Around 4:00 p.m. I made my way to the gate and the sign read, ”St. Louis - 5:15 p.m. – On time”. With a 2 hour flight
ahead, I made my way toward the restroom for a pre-flight pit stop.
On the C concourse of the airport they had ample family assistance restrooms. These are single-seat restrooms
designed for parents with children, disabled passengers, or other folk who need a little extra room and some privacy.
They have always come in handy for me and I go out of my way to track one down. My fight was at gate F2, and I set
forth down the F concourse in search of the restroom that I finally found next to gate F8. I was doing my business inside
when I heard the P.A. announcement that a flight to New York had moved to gate F2. “Wait a minute”, I thought. “That is
my gate”. So I hurried up back to the gate that now listed the New York flight. I got in line to talk with the gate agent
when I overheard another passenger say that our St. Louis flight had been cancelled.
We were instructed to go to the Delta service center across from the gate and scan our boarding pass. After your scan a
slew of coupons spewed forth giving vouchers for free food (a whopping $6.00), a free night's stay at an airport motel,
and free transportation to/from the hotel. In other words, Delta stranded us in Minneapolis for the night.
The scene was pure chaos. Delta never announced the flight cancellation over the P.A. system so that we stranded
passengers learned of the dilemma from each other. Meanwhile you had a crowd ready to board the New York flight and
we were all meshed together.
I finally spoke with a customer representative at the service center… and, in his defense, the guy was being bombarded
from passengers on all sides. He then said, “Well, I’m still new here and I don’t know…?” That’s when I started my
meltdown and blurted out, “No. That’s not acceptable. If you can’t help us, find us someone who can.” He then
explained that he was unable to make any flight changes, and that we needed to talk to a Delta rep.
Everyone pulled out their cell phones and started dialing. I waited for one of the courtesy phones and waited somewhat
impatiently for help. The agent explained that the flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. This was a totally
acceptable situation - but it was never announced at the terminal. The only other Delta flight that day was at 7:00 p.m.
and it was oversold with an extensive stand-by list. The only other Delta option was a 7:00 a.m. flight that would land in
St. Louis at 8:30 a.m. I was scheduled tlo be at the FOX TV srtatiin at 8:45 a.m. so this option was unacceptable. She
checked other airlines but stil couldn’t getl me on any flight that night. Since she was unable to rectify the situation I
asked to speak with a supervisor. So she transferred me to Dave.
Dave was sympathetic to m situation and put me on hold while he tried to find a solution. At this point I had been on the
courtesy phoned for nearly 15 minutes while other stranded passengers waited for their turn. Dave came back and told
me to hang on… he was trying to find something. I was waiting patiently when all of a sudden….. beeeeeeep. The dial
tone. I was disconnected. It was the style of phone that has the buttons ion the receiver] and I must have accidentally hit
something and hung up.
I quickly called back and got another representative on the phone. I explained that I needed to bed transferred back to
Dave the supervisor.
“I’m sorry sir”, the woman replied, “We don’t have any supervisors in this call center.” You can imagine my surprise and
exasperation when I heard this. I shifted into my “I’m getting tired of this runaround mode and started getting quite
snippy. Well, the rep started giving it right back to me. “I’m sorry sir, “but there’s nothing more I can do to help you.”
“Then who can I talk to that can help me?”
She told me that I needed to talk with a red coat supervisor at the airport. This person has the authority to make
changes. So I thanked her for her help, hung up the phone, went over to the ”I’m still new” guy and asked to speak to a
red coat supervisor. He pointed me to the guy who was loading the New York flight. He was “the guy”. So I pushed my
way (luggage in tow) through the New York crowd and blurted out, “Are you the red coat supervisor?” He was, indeed,
but he was swamped with the NY flight and told me to go to the service center at gate F8 To talk with another supervisor.
So I weaved my way back through the crowd – Excuse me. Excuse me. Pardon me. Coming through. Excuse me.
When I finally cleared the crowd I hoofed it back down to gat eF8 – right next to the companion restroom where I had
been just a few moments ago. This service center was peaceful and serene compared to the chaos further down the
concourse. An agent named Tim listened to my now exasperated tale of woe. He took my boarding pass and told me to
wait while he checked out my options.
A few minutes later we walked to another gate where he turned me over to her Apple (yes, that was name) who was the
supervisor for the area. I explained my situation and gave each of them one of my baseball cards. Apple told me to have
a seat and they would try to get me on the 7:00 p.m. flight – the last flight of the day – to St. Louis. After a while she
handed me my old boarding pass, told me to go to gate F2 – departure gate for the St. Louis flight, and told me to
introduce myself Chi (another gate agent).
When I finally made it to the gate and to the front of the line I met Chi, who, after I introduced myself, reached behind the
counter and handed me a boarding pass. I said thank you, quickly snagged the boarding pass, and sat down to keep a
low profile. There were a lot of familiar faces in the area, and most of them were probably on the standby list. I’m not
sure how/why I leapfrogged to the top of the list, but I wasn’t complaining.
Before I knew it I was finally on board and we took off for St. Louis. I said an extra prayer that night for Ted and Apple
and the kindness they bestowed on me. It’s just a shame that the other Delta agents I worked with weren’t as thoughtful.
Once in St. Louis I bypassed the taxi stand and headed for the Metrolink (subway) station. When I made my motel
reservation, the clerk recommended the subway as an economical transportation alternative. This subway stop is the far
west end of the line that travels east through downtown St. Louis and across the Mississippi River into Illinois. I got off
at the Convention Center exit and walked about 6 blocks to my motel. The only problem was that I walked through
Laclede’s Landing, a historical section of town. It was rustic, complete with brick sidewalks. Great for walking on, but
not when you’re pulling a loaded down luggage cart behind you. I eventually ended up walking in the street, as the
ambience made the use of the sidewalk impossible.
So I made it to St. Louis. It was long and exasperating day, but I survived and lived to pitch another day.