Thursday, February 25, 2016

Missed Connections part 2

I had to call my Aunt  Terri - to find out how late in the evening that she could pick me up. Then, after calling AA and being patiently on hold for 22 minutes, my call is dropped. I call again, and I am rebooked once more. I won't be getting into Gainesville until 10:30pm. But I'll be there! Hooray!!
Except by this time the severe weather had traveled further north - and my third flight was cancelled. I had now spent 6 + hours in the airport, waiting...
It was quite obvious to me that American could do nothing about the weather, other than take the precautions of keeping their passengers safe and cancelling flights.
My only hope then is to see if I can get an early flight out the next morning. The agent I finally talk to is very helpful, senses that this flight is very important to me and without asking, gets me the last seat on the 7:00am flight the next morning. Done. The weather is supposed to be clear, surely nothing will prevent me from getting to Gainesville by 10:30
Fortunately I live about 20+ minutes from Dulles - because I was never offered a hotel room for the night. My husband came and picked me up, and I spent the evening at home in Virginia - instead of with my new family in Florida.
Morning comes early, and I am on my way back to the airport. 
I get on the plane, and everything is on time. So much so, that we arrive in Charlotte 1/2 hour early! 
The pilot is told to wait, as soon as the assigned gate opens up, we'll be deplaning. The connecting flight the agent set up for me allowed just enough time for me to get off the plane and walk directly that gate. I presumed because he booked it - it would no big deal. 
But it was, because at 8:34 we were still sitting on the plane and no closer to being assigned a gate. I still had faith that AA knew what they were doing. But I guess not...
We deplaned using the stairs, luckily my suitcase was one of the earlier ones that was unloaded. I grabbed it, walked inside the terminal, went directly to the flight board. The Gainesville flight was in time and just a few gates down. 
Wow - I thought - it must be not very full - there was hardly anyone waiting.
Then as I wondered where the check in agents were, as well as all the passengers, I looked at the plane through the window once more - and the jets had started up. I don't fly very often, but this didn't look good. 
I grabbed a service employee and they went out to the tarmac. The plane was closed and I had indeed missed my connection - because my arriving flight was early? Are you serious AA? 
Next step. Do I cry? I couldn't believe this. No, not yet. I hold it together and go to customer service. The agent there incurred a bit of my wrath while I was simultaneously apologizing. There were 4 ridiculous, circuitous options for getting me to my final destination. I said I didn't care - just get me on the earliest one you can. 
Miami was the winner. They were boarding now, so she flagged down a cart for me and off we go. Upon reaching the escalator, an employee  grabbed my ticket, flagged down another cart on the upper level and off we went racing down the terminal. Finally there, I was one of the last passengers to get on the plane. We are approaching the airport now. In Miami. It is 11:30am
I should have been in Gainesville an hour ago- trying to piece together 56 years in my missing life. But instead, I am in Miami. 
Now I have lost TWO days, 24 precious hours of time with this new family I have. Who have taken time off from work - to spend with me. My aunt has been waiting for this day for 56 years, 2 months, and one week. The 2 days that I have now lost - are an eternity all because my flight from Dulles arrived early in Charlotte. 
I am slayed. 
A very sad American Airlines customer, 
Sincerely, Elizabeth Pickett

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