Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Travel Tale - Another Mess-up by Another Airlines

Sometimes we wonder, why does it happen and specifically to me.  Something similar happened with me when I was traveling this time.  The ordeal began on Wednesday May 27, 2015 morning with a disturbed sleep that made me wake up at 4 AM EST just after roughly 3 or 4 hrs of sleep.  The day went by relatively smooth, but then the evening when I headed to the airport to catch my flight at 6, I was greeted with a 19 minutes delay announced at the kiosk at the Gate.  But that 19 minutes went up to almost 4 hrs and 30 minutes to actually board the flight and for the flight to take off.

They said the incoming aircraft is delayed and hence the delay, so I searched on Google for the Flight details and it said there was another flight with the same number (WHAT!!!) that was in air and that was delayed by few hours.  I thought may be that's why!!! But a fellow passenger then enlightened me that the aircraft for this flight was coming from Chicago and then I checked on the Mobile App of that airlines.  What I see that the aircraft which we were supposed to be boarding would be coming from Chicago then original that I thought coming from Fort Lauderdale. So, I thought, no worries let's wait a bit. That a bit (originally 19 Minutes) went to half an hour and then an hour and then an hour and half.  All the time the attendant kept on announcing that the aircraft is in the air and will be landing shortly, but due to the inclement weather it can't land and has been told to circle around Newark Airport.  I guess he forgot that the passengers can actually see through the Glass walls of the terminal where the flights were regularly taking off and landing too.  The movement was visible.

Then finally at around 8 they announced that we would board and the flight would take off at 8:20 almost 2 hrs 10 minutes later to the scheduled departure.  We were happy as they started boarding too.  But as every one settled in the seats, we could overhear Captain talking to someone (Through the PA (Public Announcement) System and heard something like "Taking off at 10:20" and yeah everyone was deplaned for another 2 hours.  Reason given - Inclement Weather!!!! When we could see flights taking off and landing at regular intervals.  For all the time other flights were taking off and landing at the Newark airport except for this one flight.

After moving back to the terminal, while talking to fellow passengers, I suddenly realized "There was another flight with same number which was airborne". So was that flight the reason for our flight to not take off? Was it that the two flights with same number would create security issues?  And I checked about that flight and was shocked that the same flight number is being used for Chicago - Fort Lauderdale - Newark - SFO.  Now that's quite alarming from overall security perspective too.  It can actually convey negative information to the friends and families.

The mess up was something that delayed all of us by 3.5+ and we finally reached SFO around 1:30 AM PST Thursday rather than Scheduled time of 9:47 PM PST and the First Officer was saying "We covered 30 minutes from the scheduled delay"....Well does he understand the loss that we had for those 4 hours 30 minutes that we were waiting for the aircraft...something totally unproductive hrs!!!

And certainly it was less of weather more of their own mismanagement and irregular practices!!!!!