Last Sunday night, August 7th I was scheduled to return from a combination business and pleasure trip to Buffalo, New York. I had a 7:25 pm flight from Buffalo Airport to JFK and, even though I had been reading about mass flight cancellations, I didn’t expect it to happen to me on a short 52-minute flight.
I arrive at the Buffalo airport and it already shows “delayed” by 30 minutes on the board. I ask the Delta employee at the gate what is the reason for the delay and he says, “The weather from JFK airport, so the plane can’t leave JFK.”
Immediately, I called my parents and inquired about the Rockaway Beach weather, which was hot and sunny last Sunday night. A Delta supervisor then shows up and said, “The flight was cancelled, I’m going to give it to you straight, please come and get rebooked either through me or any other gate ticket attendant.”
I was 3rd in line and it turns out both couples ahead of me were heading onto vacations overseas, one to Paris and the other one to Iceland, both having to connect at JFK. There were no more Delta flights that night and we were ALL stuck in Buffalo for the evening. Both couples were going to miss their next morning JFK connection and one of the women was already crying as she left the counter because they had no way to change their trip or to get a refund.
When I got to the front of the line, I let the supervisor know that there is no way this is a weather issue! Look at Google JFK weather on my phone. It also costs about $150 per night for a decent hotel in Buffalo, so I asked her “who is paying for that?” She said, “there are no vouchers available for a Delta flight canceled by weather.”
At this point, it was clear that Delta was intentionally lying to save money on vouchers. She did tell me airlines are more likely to cancel smaller plane flights. I have known their “cancel and combine” policy, which combines 2 flights into 1 for more profitability. These are the airlines that received fat stimulus checks!
I decided to have a “kill her with kindness approach,” thanked her for her positivity, and asked to be rebooked for first class the next morning after she declined my voucher request. Her reply was, “That I can do!.” Basically, I got off easy missing only a half day of work and having to stay in Buffalo one more night. The 2 other couples are looking at losing many thousands of dollars and stress, which could have been avoided.
It is always better (and less expensive) to learn from the mistakes of others. Here are my 6 Tips for traveling in the new world of Covid-19:
I hope your summer is going well and you are catching up on traveling as I have. Heeding these 6 tips will decrease the risks of losing out on a wonderful vacation. Enjoy!