My parents had a flight booked to Tampa on Wednesday, which turned out to be the only day of the winter when the weather shut down Bradley. Wouldn’t you know it.
At least the ‘rents found out their flight was canceled before they left home. Some people had it worse.
Their problem came when they tried to rebook the canceled trip. They called USAir over and over on Wednesday, but couldn’t get through. Then they got inventive. When the automated telephone system said to press 1 for a new reservation or 2 for an existing reservation, Mom pressed 1 and finally got a live person.
Sometimes there may not be enough agents to help people whose flights have been canceled in a major weather event, but there are usually enough to take new reservations – and some fresh money.
Anyway, the best USAir could do was a flight out Sunday – four days after the original departure date – and back on the Monday eight days later. Everything earlier was booked, and there was not a chance of endorsement to another airline – they were booked, too. (Searches on travel reservation sites confirmed that.)
It wrought some havoc with parental personal plans, but there just weren’t any other seats available. So the ‘rents took what they could get.
But they didn’t give up.
Early the next morning, they followed the same drill. Called USAir, pressed 1 and got an agent. That agent insisted that they could make no changes to their now-rebooked flights without paying a change fee. Then, rather mysteriously, the call was cut off.
They called back, got a different agent and got the return flight moved a day earlier at no charge. The agent couldn’t do anything about the outbound flight, but it was an improvement.
Lesson 1: Press 1.
Lesson 2: It’s easier to solve airline ticket problems when the agents aren’t harried.
Lesson 3: Keep asking until you get the right answer.