A funny thing happened at the airport this morning (insert sarcasm). We checked in for our 6:30 a.m. commuter flight from SAN to LAX and as the clock turned to 6:00 a.m., we still weren’t boarding. We waited. Nothing.
Finally, a staff member announced that our flight attendant failed to show up. Commuter flights are on regional jets that are staffed by only one flight attendant. Apparently, she has spent the night in a local hotel that crew members usually stay in. Once her she became tardy, American Airlines had the hotel check her room. There was no sign of her or her belongings. As we found out later—our commuter terminal is quite small so you can hear people talk—she simply overslept in another room (insert whatever you like here).
The repercussions of one missing person impacted probably hundreds of people, including us, and I can’t even imagine how much this event cost the airline.
As you can imagine, nothing moved quickly and by the time they officially cancelled the flight (well after departure time), it was too late for us to rent a car.
Passengers with flights around noon, were put on a shuttle bus. Luckily, it’s Sunday so morning traffic to LAX shouldn’t be an issue (though driving up there at any time is still risky business). The rest of us were re-routed. Aggravation levels here are pretty epic.
So, instead of flying on a beautiful Cathay Pacific plane from LAX to HKG, I have to fly American Airlines SAN-LAX-NRT. At least they were able to get us on a Cathay Pacific flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. We’ll arrive 6.5 hours late and the almost midnight arrival to the hotel will likely throw off our plans the following day because we’ll need to sleep later.
Our new commuter flight is overbooked now so the airline is frantically offering $250 flight vouchers to people who aren’t in a hurry. There aren’t another volunteers so they just announced that, basically, someone is going to get bumped off the flight because it’s exceeding acceptable weight limits.
The end of this story remains to be seen as it applies to us. We’re at LAX right now and they are unable to assigns us seats in business class (where we are booked) because the flight is oversold. And because we have no seats on this flight, they’re unable to assign seats on our NRT-HKG Cathay Pacific flight. Unassigned seats are especially aggravating when flying with kids.
I was offered 2000 miles or a $50 per person American Airlines flight credit as compensation on the spot, which I declined. I’m not going to get into how I paid extra to fly Cathay Pacific and could have just flown Japan Airlines to Tokyo and then Hong Kong if I wanted to connect in Tokyo, skipping an extra connection. I’ll follow up with them later because the amount I’m out of pocket plus aggravation is substantially higher than that.
Anyway, domestic air travel can be aggravating these days but I’ve never been on a flight cancelled because a crew member didn’t show. Have you?