The story of my trip home continues today … we are now in the plane about to divert and land in Bangor Maine because of the high winds in Halifax. It is now 24 hours after my original flight was to land in Halifax and I am still in the United States!
We all landed and the staff came on the plane to tell us our baggage (for those who actually got theirs as several were missing items) would be down and that we were to come inside and figure out options for getting us to Halifax.
It became very clear very shortly that no one was getting answers anytime soon. Opportunity quickly turned to confusion for all.
No one it appeared could mark us passengers off the plane which meant no one could rebook us and settle out how, and more importantly when, we would get home. As much as the ground crew was trying to help they were being clocked by the very company that they work for. The message to the passengers (even via the 1-800 number for customer service and the agents in the airport) was – “I can’t help you until they mark you off the plane and Dispatch will not do it.”
Some started looking for options as many had been delayed a day already like me. A few took rental cars (but only so many had Canadian Plates that could go across the border and they ran out fast.) Some went to a hotel to wait it out and some of us tried to get the Delta agents to take some responsibility to help us get home.
Not one to wait around, I did manage to find a bus company who would consider taking us all home (at our own cost) but they needed a second driver and could not get one til morning. That’s when another gentleman who had been in touch with a taxi company – Brad’s Cab (FABULOUS SERVICE) – managed to finagle two cabs that would fit 9 people and they would drive us home all night to the Halifax airport. The cost $800 per cab – but for the 7 of the 9 who had already been delayed 30 hours at this point, it was a viable option.
Done with Delta and their none existent service; I took a cab spot with 3 others. We took off at 10:45 at night and made it home to Halifax 9 hours later. Peter, our cab driver was fabulous and he safely managed top bring us home through some bad wind and rain weather.
Of course I continued the Six Degrees of Separation game with my Cab Buddies:
Mike (my ‘plane friend’ who went to the same high school as I did), Glen (who as it turns out is from my Dad’s hometown in Yarmouth, NS and and also taught at the high school Mike and I went to – though a few years after we had graduated) and Jacqueline, a student coming home for Christmas (Her Uncle turns out to be one of the Trailer Park Boys – a TV show that was filmed here in Halifax). At a pit stop we also found out one of the gentlemen in the other cab also went to the same high school as well!
Truly… the cab ride home was the best part of the entire experience.
If I had to be stranded in a cab with four strangers for the better part of a day – it was a great mix of people to be with. We had lots of laughs during the trip, got in some sleep here and there and I really enjoyed the trip home. That was my opportunity from the entire experience – meeting some new folks who have added to my connections in life! I hope to stay in touch with them all. My ride home had so much more value because of the energy of the people in our cab.
Mike and I shared the inevitable “Do you remember this teacher” stories (remember the 2 burgers, 2 fries and skim milk, Mike?). Jacqueline kept making us laugh with her acronyms: DELTA – Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport and FORD – Found On Road Dead (Peter’s cab was a Ford!) and Glen was adept at keeping Peter talking so we all felt he was awake and alert driving us!
As for Delta, I am still trying to get an explanation as to why they are not clear on how they help people (or don’t) in such situations – but no answers are not an answer at all. I will stop hounding them once they have answered my questions. A few simple ones:
- Why are your policies not clear for all staff to carry out?When we arrived in Halifax, it seemed from the staff there that they would have taken different action.
- Why do people that do send in a complaint get differing levels of refunds/support (Stranded in Washington I received a special hotel rate for the night, many did not and then the next day some received meal vouchers in the airport while others did not; some received a $100 credit towards another flight and others only $50) Surely a large corporation such as Delta has a clear policy and procedures guideline.
It was quite an experience as as Mike noted: Delta not landing in Halifax = 800 dollars; Enjoying an 8 hour cab with new friends = Priceless.
And as I mentioned yesterday you should always be at the ready to: Look and reach for opportunities as they will tend to lead to more opportunity.
Opportunities come everyday, be willing to recognize them and grab on for the ride – even if the ride does cost $800!
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