Oh Delta airlines, where does this humble Purple Gypsy begin.
A flight, some of us love it and some of us hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to actually flying. I am indeed a nervous flyer, I get very anxious on planes and just the idea of being locked in a tin can that makes me at the mercy of someone else that may or may not be having a good day (not slighting pilots here I appreciate they do such a tough job), my dogs are even trained to help me with that anxiety (and others). I have learned to cope with flights, though, because I want to see the world and these days that generally means flying.
Don’t get me wrong, I get whimsical and picture hopping on a large cruise liner (sometimes it’s a yacht ,depends on the day) and sailing the ocean to see the world. Dancing the night away with a handsome man and praying no one yells “Iceberg, straight ahead!” while I am sleeping. I love steamer trunks and the idea of dressing in my best to wave to my loved ones as I set off on my grand tour. I take a carriage back and forth to the docks as well just because, of course. Alas of course, this is not a way many travel these days. Even steerage is hella expensive and flying is the faster and generally cheaper way to go. So overcome one must!
As my Gypsy snapshots from instagram have shown I was winging my way around England and Italy in May & June. I am going to be making posts about the trip now that I have finally kicked myself in the rear end about my blogging and set myself a plan, can see more about it on Birth of a Notion if you want to. I need to catch up on my diary too, ha what can I say I have been busy doing so many things other things have ended up falling down. I struggle with finding balance sometimes, I am a work in progress like most of us.
So I feel it is best to start this story where you would start any good story of course, at the beginning. It was a lovely hot day in Tucson (what else is new) and after pulling an all nighter to make sure I was sorted with my shop and then last minute packing it was off I went. For this particular trip I had been adventurous and took advantage of an Expedia Bargain Fare. This meant I paid a lower price and did not have any say in my layovers, or even the times of my flight. Adventure right? Believe it or not the flight times were very reasonable and really there was no big issue with the ticket experience. I might even do the bargain fare again sometime, but the biggest downside is that you don’t get to pick the airline.
There is the rub in this little story.
I was given flights from Virgin Atlantic. I have heard decent enough things about Virgin and was not too worried about it, until I looked closer my domestic flight. Of course there was going to be a layover, heck I was surprised to only have one. My domestic flight was Delta and of course after a little research that I had not bothered to do before (dumb my fault), Virgin and Delta are bed buddies these days.
I have had issues with delta before. I have found the staff rude, flights oversold and a number of other problems. I know many other people have also had issues with Delta from celebrities (who seem to have problems with lots of airlines) to just the everyday traveler. It really does seem to have gotten worse in the recent years. I decided even though I was not very happy about it, a small, relatively short from TUS to ATL domestic flight shouldn’t be a problem. Just a little hop, skip and a jump, a little sitting about and then off I was going to England.
Boy was I ever wrong.
At first everything seemed very well and no big deal. Then when we tried to land in Atlanta it turns out we couldn’t do so. There were a few different stories told about why we couldn’t. One was a thunderstorm and that seemed to be the one they stuck with the most. So alright let us go with that one. Then we don’t have enough fuel to circle so we had to be diverted.
Did you just say I am on a plane that doesn’t have enough fuel to make a little circle? A plane that like two hours ago was on terra firma and I mean, isn’t that when you should FUEL the plane? Yeah to say my anxiety went through the roof would be an understatement, I mean come on. I remained silent and obedient in my seat, because I am paranoid about being one of “those” passengers. We land safely (Thank the Gods) in Alabama and there we sit. First, it should only be about 20 minutes, then 45….. 4 hours later we had been given more fuel and were in line to take off again. Yes, 4 hours later. I get it the little regional place we landed was not equipped to deal with the influx they got I do get that. 4 extra hours sitting on a plane on the tarmac though, is enough to test even a saint and I am no saint.
By the time we finally got to Atlanta, where they made all sorts of promises about connecting flights. I had missed my original connecting flight. I had also by 10 minutes missed the last flight going to London for the evening. Weary Gypsy slowly made her way to customer service to see what would be done.
That is where things really went sour.
I did not miss my flight because I wasn’t paying attention.
I did not miss my flight because I was late.
I did not miss my flight because of anything at all that I did.
I missed my flight because Delta had me locked in one of their planes on the tarmac in Alabama. Customer service, however, acted like it was my fault. I was not the only one getting that treatment either and my heart goes out to my fellow travelers that day who were stranded. I won’t go into all the long details as this post is already getting a little bit long. Let us just say that it took over 2 hours to get them to do anything at all.
One staffer just told me to go sleep on the floor and wait for a flight the next evening.
One staffer said it was my fault, so they really couldn’t do anything.
Another made me call someone on a red phone that didn’t do me any good, they said someone at the airline had to help me.
When I was finally able to get someone to help me and rebook the flight it wasn’t until 7pm the next day. When it came to where I could stay for the night I was given a “voucher” to make my overnight at a local hotel cost $99. It wasn’t until well after I got to England I looked things up and found out I could have paid $79 without the stupid voucher. Interesting how that worked. Check out time of course was no later than 11, so it was back to the airport the next morning for a long long wait time and sitting around for my flight.
Atlanta is of course the home of Coke.
So I couldn’t find a single Pepsi anywhere. For me that was a special slice of Hades.
At least I had my special Wonder Woman water bottle to keep my hydrated and I can still come up with star dates. Not sure if that is a useful talent?
I did manage to chat with a few nice people along the way though. I met one Virgin staff member that morning who was very kind and helpful. The desk that day didn’t even open until 2 hours after I got to the airport. He took pity on me and made sure I got checked in so I could go on through security and sit until my evening flight. He was also super kind several hours later and upgraded me to a little more leg room seat for my flight to London.
So thank you super kind guy from Virgin Atlantic in Atlanta I am sorry I really should have gotten your name. This weary Gypsy was still in such a tizzy it slipped my mind.
This was my view for a large part of the day. I am very glad I had crochet and some technology or this Gypsy would have been bored and having an anxiety attack. Having anxiety is not great fun when things go wrong during traveling. The key was not to let it win though and I didn’t allow it to.
Finally after what seemed to be forever (yes I am being a tiny bit dramatic here) the plane was boarded. I will say the extra leg room was pretty nice!
The details of the plane ride and the landing however, will be saved for the next post. I hope you have enjoyed my little story of how my trip started and well my anti delta post. As if them doing some BSL banning against service dogs wasn’t bad enough (hello not legal). Someone really needs to give them a few customer service lessons.