In 2006 I was very excited to visit my sister in London. It was my first trip to the United Kingdom, so I planned everything to be perfect, but I never planned for a terrible delay that partially ruined my travel experience to London. I had booked a flight from San Juan with one stop in New York. Due to the poorly managed delay, I never set foot in New York.
My plane departing to New York was supposed to depart at 7 a.m. in the morning. I was at the airport at 5 a.m. to check-in. I boarded the plane and after I while, I looked at my watch and I noticed that we had been in the plane for an hour without being able to depart. Suddenly, they started serving drinks before the plane departed which was really unusual. The captain started to apologize for the technical difficulties, and an hour later we had to get out of the plane.
We waited less than an hour in the terminal and we boarded the plane again, but same as before, nothing happened. Later, we were asked to go back to the terminal and wait there. Apparently the plane was broken and they could not fix it. The airline asked all passengers to go to a different terminal to take another plane; we all did, but we could not even board that other plane.
Long story short, I wasted an entire day at the airport because the airline did not do a good job in managing the situation and it took them near 8 hours to cancel our flight. Finally, I found a decent airline employee who put me on the next flight to Chicago around 6 pm, where I could take a connection to fly to London, but I had to stay overnight. He handed me a bunch of vouchers, one to eat something before boarding the plane, a voucher for the hotel, and another one for dinner. So, I flew to Chicago and when I got there, my luggage was missing. They said my luggage would meet me in London.
I got to London around 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. I knew my luggage wasn’t going to be there, so I went straight to report my missing luggage. They wouldn’t file a report until we waited for the entire luggage pieces to come out from the belt. I was very upset now because I had to take the train from the airport to Hendon station and I didn’t even know if the train was running as usual for being a holiday, and it was late. My luggage was brought to me three days later.
After all that mess, I managed to have a good time in London until it was time to come back. Since I didn’t take the flight to New York which was cancelled, the airline also cancelled my return flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. They put me on stand by and when I finally got to board the plane, they told me I was really lucky to get on that plane because it was really full.
The plane was chartered by a group of people who had special meal requests. They served everybody their meals except for me, and when I asked for mine, they said they needed to check if they had anything left.
I got to Miami and I was supposed to pick up my luggage, and guess what? It was missing again. Since I flew on standby, apparently the airline did not send it on time. To make matters worse, the system was down in Miami so I could not file a proper report; instead, they tore off a piece of paper with a handwritten 1-800 number on it. I was exhausted by now, took the piece of paper and kept moving to catch my next flight.
I finally got to Puerto Rico where I was able to file a report for my missing luggage. I went home to write a huge complaint letter to all the airlines involved in this trip. I did get some miles that were good for a roundtrip to New York in compensation for all the aggravation, but I still don’t think it was enough for everything that I went through due to their negligence and poor crisis management. My luggage was delivered two days later to my home.
After all that happened, I am grateful that the airline cancelled that first flight with technical failures, but I they did such a poor job in resolving the situation that it has been over six years and I can still call it my worst travel experience.