Saturday Jan. 2nd US Air flight and airport...INSANE!
Well let me begin by saying that the US AIR staff in Aruba are really wonderful people but that is about all I can say with regards to our travel on Saturday home!
To start off, we had a flight Aruba to Philly at 4:30pm and made arrangements to get picked up and taken to the airport at 1 pm to ensure plenty of time to get through all the security check points. We inquired before left to see if the flight was leaving on time and it was, so off we went.
Arrived at the airport at 1:10pm and the airport was A ZOO!!!!!! People were standing in line outside the building to check in. Luckily, do to DH work travel we are star alliance gold so we could go to the "shorter" line. Waited and got to the front to check in and were then told the flight was leaving two hours late! Could have stayed at the beach a little longer but none the less, start the process of going through security...........
The line to get through the first check point where you show your passport (before you get to the Aruba Immigration person who takes your Aruba card you filled out upon entering the country) was all the way along the building to the area just past the actual building. As soon as you actually get through the immigration booth, the line started for security. Unbelievably long!! The rest is about the same, finally get to the other side after two hours of security. 4:30pm flight scheduled to now leave at 6:30pm. Boarding starts and everyone has bags inspected and a "pat down" to get onto the plane. We board very quickly as we are told we have ten minutes to board or the flight has to be cancelled. Everyone gets seated and door is shut and we are preparing to leave....finally! Announcement is made that the flight is being cancelled as the flight crew will be over their hours. We are told that buses will be waiting and we are all going to the Holiday Inn. Flight rescheduled for Sunday at 8:45am. Hmm, how did they arrange all this so fast?
I understand that this happens but the anger by everyone was a) having to go through the security again and b) why couldn't they have realized that with the original flight having a 2.5 hour delay that they would be over they flight allowance and just told everyone earlier. We wouldn't have had to wait in the airport for 6 hours for nothing!! We would had an extra 6 hours in Aruba rather than the airport. This is what common sense is all about.
Well for our family, it only gets better, we had a stay over in Philly to continue on our journey home the next morning, which obviously we weren't going to be able to do. That became a challenge for the ticket agents, not sure why and had trouble getting that done. Got through first round of security (much easier first thing in the morning) after being first in line and having to wait for about 30 minutes while they fiddled with our ticket only to pick up our bags to go through US Immigration to find they were ticketed incorrectly. Had to wait there for another 30 minutes while someone brought down new bag tags. We made it to the plane as they were getting ready to board. At this early hour, nothing in the airport was open to get breakfast nor was at the hotel or Dunkin Donuts across the street from the Holiday Inn and they weren't even serving the flight anything considering that people only got to their rooms at 9:30pm and had no time to prepare for bringing anything on the plane. By the time they got to row 12, they ran out of most of the food on the plane!
Made it home finally by 8pm (the flight in Philly was also delayed almost 2 hours) only to find out that one of our bags went missing and they can't find it as of now!!
I do understand that holiday travel and weather effects airlines as we travel at this time of year all the time but it is the way it was handled!
US AIR absolutely knew before we got on that plane that the flight crew would be over their hours. As we were embarking one of the flight attendants was heard commenting on why they were having us board as this flight was going to be cancelled!
Once the original flight did not leave Philadelphia until 12:30pm instead of 9:40am, US AIR knew this flight was going to be a "no go"! Tell people then and let them leave. With the fast information in the plane that buses were already at the airport, hotel arrangements made already, and the new flight time, the airline had to have made these arrangements hours ago. No one is a fool that they put that together in the 5 minutes they shut the door of the plane and made the announcement. That, to me, is the issue.
Wow Randi! So sorry you and your family and the other travlers had such a nightmare trying to get home. We are traveling to Aruba via Newark on January 12th and returning home on January 19th. I had told the car service we would drop the car off at the airport at 12 noon for the 3:00 or so flight back to NJ. Considering the experiences that you and the other travelers had at the Aruba airport, what time do you suggest for us to drop the car off? Anyone else that traveled to/ from Aruba recently have any suggestions?
I have learned that what we once referred to as "common sense" is no longer all that common.
Randi....so sorry you had such a rough trip home. I strongly agree that, despite the weather and the holiday rush, most of this was avoidable. You and your fellow passengers were all inconvenienced by corporate greed. They let you go through all that hassle at no expense to them, holding on to the slim hope that they could avoid the expense of your overnight stay. (They did pick up the tab, I hope).
In contrast, not that they are angels, American Airlines postponed (due to snow)our December 20, 4:30PM departure by 6:30 PM the day before, allowing us to enjoy a full extra day in the sun.
hopefully randi will keep us posted on when or if her missing piece of luggage is delivered.
i wish someone familiar with the flight crew hours would post how it is all figured out.
my son and his bride were "usair victims" on 12/24 and if it were not for getting a competent and kind supervisor on the phone i was able to get them on a flight on christmas day boston/charlotte/aruba instead of waiting til the 26th.
my complaint re: the airlines, is that they tend to not keep their agents well informed.......or the agents are just being told to "dummy up?"
then when it is weather related all bets are off and it is nothing but a nightmare.
certainly aa is not much better, but we too have had good luck with communications from them.
the jury is still out on jet blue as we have not flown them often enough to make an opinion.
i am ready to push "the button" buying trip insurance for my upcoming aruba trip.
i would never ever ever consider not having it for an international destination.
unsure if any kind of trip insurance would have helped randi and her family.
Just got a call and they found our bag and it has cleared canadian customs and I should get a call that they will arrange delivery!!
Apparently, if there is an issue with weight they will hold back bags. Again, too bad they don't tell people this!! Our connection was on a small plane and it was full and so was the following plane, many travelling from trips so there must have been a lot of luggage to transport.
The whole Saturday afternoon situation was DISGUSTING!! Yes, they paid for our hotel accomodations and gave us a voucher for dinner (which closed at 10pm and since we were last in line to get our room) at the buffet but we weren't able to get there in time. Breakfast at the HI starts at 7pm but promised coffee would be available in the lobby at our 6 am appointed departure time (no coffee provided) so no one could have breakfast....you get my point!
It was clear that US AIR was keeping us hostage until the last possible second to try and hope that flight could leave to save money. Reality was that plane was never going to leave and they knew that. Be decent about it and upfront. People would have been mad to get to the airport at 1pm to find out the flight was cancelled but at least they could have gone and spent the day doing something instead of sitting in that airport for 6 hours. Even at 3pm tell us the flight is cancelled. Just don't do what they did!
Apparently, the Sunday was better going through security than Saturday. As we all know Saturday is the busier of the two days, especially on this particular Saturday. The security measures, I have no problem with as you do what you have to do to be safe. Extra staff would have been helpful on such a busy travel day.
Randi, I am so sorry to hear you got "screwed" at the airport and by US AIr. I am glad to finally hear that the luggage is found and will be delivered. Bummer going to Holiday Inn.
Sounds like there was no excuse for what happened, NONE ! Shame on US AIR.