By Art Menius
Concourse C, LaGuardia Airport, 5:32 AM July 18, 2017
Ann Coulter got her $30 back from Delta. Ann Coulter didn’t get the seat she paid Delta for, and she got her $30 back. We didn’t get the flight, including the seats, we paid Delta for, and we got to spend the night pretending to sleep in different parts of LaGuardia Airport. We didn’t get $30 back.
Ann Coulter got her $30 back from Delta. She had a Twitter fit, insulting Delta, its employees, and at least one fellow traveler. We did as advised, didn’t insult anyone, and went through a hassle dealing with rerouting our checked bag, then had to go back in through security. Eventually, after considerable effort by two Delta staffers, we received boarding passes for our rebooked flights the next morning, slept on the floor near C17, got rudely kicked out and sent back to baggage claim, then directed up to ticketing to rest in a wheel chair and on a baggage cart. At 4:15 AM we shuffled back through security yet again, and up to hang out near C15 the remaining two hours until our automatically rebooked flight started boarding.
We ended up there because our route home from a week in Prince Edward Island was Halifax to Toronto and then Toronto to LaGuardia on Delta’s Canadian partner WestJet leading to an 8:30 Monday night Delta flight home to RDU. Wicked weather delays meant that our flight from Toronto left around two hours late. We still had a chance to make our connection even then, but the monitor reported that our flight to Raleigh had been cancelled.
Finally coming upon a gate agent who wasn’t besieged with people, we learned that we had been automatically rebooked on a 7:15 AM Tuesday flight not directly to Raleigh but via Detroit. She explained that we needed to rush down to WestJet baggage to get our bag rerouted. Only with the help of an airport employee were we even able to find a WestJet baggage agent who rerouted our bag only when Becky insisted at first resistance, and I at the second. She seemed to accomplish what she said was impossible in less than a minute.
The large number of weather related cancellations meant that all the airport area hotels were booked, leaving us to fend for ourselves in LaGuardia without any guidance on the rules, where things are, or anything else. No fun ensued.
The weather delay does not obligate Delta or any airline to billet passengers the way it would with mechanical issues or overbooking. Good customer service and simply decency does obligate them, however, to provide stranded travelers with some assistance or at least information. Gate C21 was able to get three wheelchair handlers stat. Why couldn’t those of us coming off the Toronto flight be greeted, as the WestJet flight attendant said would be the case, by Delta representatives who would let us know the status of our connecting flights, explain our options, let us know what crashing at the airport entailed – we were fortunate heretofore to be ignorant of this aspect of human endeavor – and perhaps do more to help us find a room than to direct us to the Port Authority desk in baggage claim.
After paying several hundred dollars is it too much to ask to be treated decently during a very stressful and confusing experience filled with various unsatisfactory options. I’m just saying that Ann Coulter got her $30 back for behaving badly after not getting the right seat while we got to sleep on floors and in wheelchairs for having 14 hours added to our trip. We did get a text at 4:17 AM telling us the flight we would be on. I guess that is something.