Today was supposed to be an easy travel day. Apparently such a thing is not possible. Just a quick hop from LaGuardia to Raleigh-Durham International Airport on American Airlines (technically American Eagle). It would involve a new line (LGA-RDU) and a new aircraft type for me (Embraer E-135). And it wasn’t even so early a departure that I’d have to wake up ridiculously early to get to the airport. An easy travel day indeed.
And then I tried to actually execute on it.
I should have known that there would be problems when it took me longer than it should have to catch a cab to the airport this morning. Or when I was in line to clear security and realized I was trying to get to the wrong secure area, meaning no access to the Admirals Club for a breakfast snack or photos for my lounge guide. Or when I ran in to irrationally slow TSA screening at the correct terminal. But I kept my high hopes right up until I got to the gate about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure and witnessed this:
That cannot be good.
Turns out that the flight was canceled. I have no idea why. I heard someone mention a mechanical issue but I have no idea if that’s accurate or not. With the weather (overcast and low ceilings) it wouldn’t surprise me if the flight was just scratched because it was easy to accommodate the passengers. Either way, I was now late for work in Raleigh.
The AA website was useless, displaying no updated information other than that my reservation had changed. No details about rebooking options or the fact that I had actually already been rebooked as I would later discover.
The AA 800 number was only slightly better. It informed me that I still had my original reservation and made no note of the canceled flight. It also mentioned a second flight but it was nearly impossible to get out of the IVR tree to get to an agent. After about 10 minutes I was finally queued to an agent with an estimated wait time of 16 minutes. Not getting much better.
Realizing that both the line at the counter and the phone were pretty much lost causes I briefly considered going back out to the ticket counter. As I walked in that direction I happened upon another gate that had a couple agents doing a whole lot of nothing while waiting for the flight they were working to be ready to board. About 90 seconds later I had my boarding pass in hand for the next flight out, only about 75 minutes later than the originally scheduled flight.
I have no idea why I got protected on that flight and other passengers didn’t. The gate agent (who did a yeoman’s job handling the upset customers) suggested to another passenger that it was based on status and fare paid. I had neither of those going for me (no status and a ~$130 one-way fare) but, whatever the reason, it worked. The only real problem (as much as it can be considered such) is that the new flight was on a Canadair CRJ-700 rather than the E35. I’m still missing the E35 from my collection.
Truly an uneventful flight other than the lack of apple juice in the beverage cart and a quick 1:10 later I was on the ground at the sparkling new terminal in RDU. Seriously a beautiful airport terminal, though very long to go from one end to the other and I can see how planes could get stacked up with the limited taxi-way area on the inside alley. But, still, really a pretty facility.
Just another day on the road, living the dream.
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