I had to come back from Ireland, and so I booked my flight and limo trip the week prior to my leaving date. With the sale of Irish airlines Aer Lingus to the UK, various airline routes changed. We routinely used the Dublin to Philly to Akron Canton circuit.
However, for the past few years, we have consistently had difficulties with one leg of this journey: the Philly to Akron Canton run.
Now I do realize that everyone experiences flight delays. Delays are now a standard PART of air travel. However, I would venture to say, a consistent flight problem with the same pattern of events over and over again is not due to usual flight difficulties.
The Perfect Storm
First, on this particular trip, I traveled alone and had to make my way to the airport for a 10 am flight. Wexford is two and a half hours from the airport, and so the limo company advised I had to leave at 5 am to arrive at the airport within the recommended three hours preboard time frame.
Needless to say, I got there with plenty of time to kill before my flight took off. The flight to Philly took just under seven hours.
Next, I sat in the bulkhead seat, the front seat of the section. In this seat, there is no one in front of you. With just the open space from my seat to the wall, my carry on luggage had to go in the overhead compartments. I had two large carry-ons that the flight attendant placed in the overheads.
Now I have no access to my laptop to work or read. Originally I planned to catch up on my lost sleep. Now, I am very short – 5 ft 2 in tall. Because I did not have a seat in front of me, I did not have any luggage on which to rest my short legs under the seat in front of me. I needed to be able to support my stubby little legs to curl on the side on the plane wall to sleep. You guessed it; I did not sleep on that flight.
Thirdly, I know I had a long layover in Philly. I had planned to walk around and perhaps get a glass of wine and dinner in the food court. Unfortunately, my Rheumatoid Arthritis flared….so no long walk for me. I stayed at the gate, which, of course, was at the far end of the terminal.
The Second Flight
Next, the flight from Philly to Akron had already been delayed two times before I ever landed in Philly. Ar e you ready for this? I sat in that end terminal and got not one, not two, but FIVE NOTICES of flight delays. My plane was supposed to leave at around 6 pm. By midnight, the hardened businessmen were foaming at the mouth. Calls were made, the staff knew nothing, but the plane WAS coming. My hip and bum were killing me!!!
At midnight they got a plane, and as we began to board, there was a sudden stop to the proceeding. The pilot came out to tell us that while they did get that plane, the flight attendant had maxed out the hours she was allowed to fly. Apparently, you cannot fly without a flight attendant, and there wasn’t any available….why you ask…maybe because it was now 1:30 in the bleeping morning! The staff told us we would be put up in a hotel for the night.
I was soooo exhausted. I fell sound asleep in a strange hotel and a strange bed as soon as my head hit that pillow. A first for me!!
Lastly, wait for it!… John or I have taken that trip from Philly to Akron many times over the years: yup, I said years; and it had NEVER been on time. But it has never been THAT late before, nor has it ever been canceled on either of us. However, I finally learned my lesson. I will never fly that route again.
Finally, in for a penny, in for a pound. I have to say that our interactions with the airline’s staff bear mentioning. In Ireland, I found the staff to be firm but polite and civil. I wish I could say this regarding the airline’s staff at the Philly airport. As soon as you approached the staff, they seemed to take on a defensive air. And the best defense is a strong offense. When we had a question or asked for clarification, we were scolded, ignored, or treated so rudely as to come close to verbal assault. I am not exaggerating here.
After doing some research, I found that a specific flight is 99% late and delayed. I also found this recent complaint listed on the consumer affairs website, so I understand and share these sentiments!
“Worse worse worse worse airline. The bunch of thieves is running the business. Worse customer service, worse planes, lazy employees, corrupted managers, corrupted curbside employees, please take out the ##### from your company name. And make it $$$ Airlines. Worse experience using your airline, I won’t even recommend your airline to my enemy. This is how bad you guys are. Please go out of business already.”
While the staff was polite and accommodating at my local airport Akron/Canton. I was surprised to find that the staffer who took me to the baggage area kept standing about and talking. Insisting he would help me get my luggage off the carousel IF I wished. He was just waiting around for a tip. No other staffer at any of the airlines was so blatant in looking for a tip for merely doing their assigned job.
Wrapping Up the Flight from Hell
So that is the end of my flight from hell story. Hopefully, air travel is out of the picture for a while. This has caused me to pause and has made me reflect on how people treat other people. Sometimes people in authority need to be schooled in how to approach others. Many times, I feel just being truthfully and polite can deescalate a nasty situation. This experience has made me think and to be more aware of how I treat others. I will definitely strive to be more polite and aware of others.
I wish all your holiday travelers a much better experience and a happy, loving visit with your friends and loved ones.
Happy to be back. As the year closes out, I will be making some significant changes to my website and blog. Please stay with me and feel free to let me know what you would like to see on the blog.
Happy holidays guys. Talk soon
Take good care