Saturday, July 28, 2007

What a Start!!

My primary topic today was going to be the irony of our first hotel. Those of you who knew me at the time may remember when I was traveling for Theta Chi and my car was stolen in New Jersey. That was at a Holiday Inn near the Newark airport. When I pulled into the parking lot of the Doubletree (our first hotel), I thought it looked very familiar. The lobby was very different but I asked the guest clerk and she confirmed it had been a Holiday Inn!! I was back at the scene of the crime over 14 years later!!

The real story for today is my dad's flight. He was supposed to leave Minot at 11:00 but his flight was delayed because last night's flight into Minot did not get in until 3:00. That meant the crew was not allowed to fly until 1:00pm today. Fortunately my dad had a 3 hour layover in Minneapolis so he still had time. It turned out to be a glimpse of what he would exerience later.

His flight out of Minneapolis was delayed about 20 minutes so it would be a little later than its 7:00 arrival time. I checked the status later in the afternoon and it was now scheduled for 7:30. I got the airport about 7:30 and decided to drive around the terminal in hopes he could just meet me at baggage claim. By 7:45 I had not heard from him so I decided to park and go in.

When I got in, I found out the flight had been delayed until 8:05. That seemed odd since the flight was already on the way. How could it be delayed so much while in flight? I did some shopping (I can't tell you what I got since my kids are reading this as well) and then checked the board again. Now it was delayed to 8:15. What was going on?!? I decided to wait rather than go find the Northwest ticket counter. About 8:30, the board was updated to say the flight was now cancelled. How can a flight that in route suddenly become cancelled? My heart sank as I thought of a plane crash.

The Northwest ticket counter was stacked about 20 people deep for each line so I knew I would not get an answer from them. I went to baggage claim to see if the "lost luggage lady" would know what was happening. Just as I got back down there she announced the flight had been re-routed to Detroit due to thunderstorms in the area. That didn't sound right since the skies were clear over the airport. She also mentioned they would be in Detroit by 9:00 so I realized the weather must have been somewhere between Detroit and Newark.

I then decided to take my rental car back and just take the shuttle to the hotel. The rental drop off went fine but the tram that goes between the terminals and parking lot was out of service for about 25 minutes so I had to wait for it. When I finally got to the hotel shuttle center, the Doubletree was not listed as one of the hotels. I walked outside to the pick-up area and the Doubletree van pulled up. I later learned the airport had removed them from the list of hotels for some reason, but they do run a shuttle every 20 minutes. I finally made it back to the hotel about 9:45.

Back to my dad. He waited in line to get re-booked and found out the earliest he could leave was Sunday afternoon. There was not one flight into any of the 3 New York airports with an open seat. I encouraged him to talk to the agent again and mention the word "code sharing". It's an agreement between the airlines to move passengers to different airlines if there are issues exactly like this. If he used the word "code share" it would make the agent think he knew was he was talking about. He also found out the airlines alotment of hotels was sold out so he would have to find his own hotel. He did find someone who was renting a car and driving through the night but he decided he didn't want to do that.

They were told to go to baggage claim to get their luggage so everyone waited there. After awhile, another Northwest person came out and let everyone know luggage from cancelled flights would NOT be pulled and would instead be sent ahead to the destination. Apparently they could fly luggage but not passengers to Newark!!

He did get a hotel room and a voucher from Northwest to get reimbursed up to $125. That was the first bit of good news. When he got to the room he called Northwest directly and they were able to find him the only available seat on a flight getting in around noon tomorrow. It was probably just good timing that a previously reserved seat became available.

I'm not sure yet how we will hook up tomorrow. We are supposed to leave the hotel at 9:00 to tour Southern Manhattan in the morning. We then take the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty at noon. When we get back to Manhattan, we will leave for the Mets game. It supposed to rain off and on tomorrow so hopefully we don't get rained out. I will either wait for him to get on the SOL ferry or meet up with him after that tour. I'm just glad he will be able to make it! I was finally able to eat dinner about 11:30 tonight.

I have been very impressed with the Jay Buckley folks so far. They greeted me in the lobby of the hotel tonight. I then met our escorts, Jim and Sue Olson, who took me back to the Buckley Store. I was given my credentials with name tag as well as a packet of information. In the packet were tokens to purchase Jay Buckley merchandise. I had enough to get a nice pull over, polo shirt, and visor. Since my dad wasn't here yet, I got him a few items as well. I got to meet Jay and talk to him a little about his business. He definitely loves what he does (I would to!). There are going to be 7 or 8 of the tours going through here this weekend and I got to meet a couple others from other trips.

I apologize for the long first post but it was one of those days! Hopefully the others won't be this long. Northwest is not really high on my list right now but they will get him here tomorrow(hopefully). I did figure out how to get pictures downloaded and posted quickly so I will be doing that starting maybe Sunday night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow !! What a start !! Hope it only gets better and you and your Dad have a wonderful trip together.

Cheryl H.