Last week, I had to take a business trip to Dayton, OH. As usual, we were flying on American Airlines. Our flight left Tucson about 15 minutes prior to American grounding their entire fleet of MD-80s. We were informed of this action upon our arrival in Chicago O’Hare airport.
There was a lot of groans from folks on connecting flights and most definitely a very long line at the rebooking terminal. Luckily, our flight to Dayton was on a regional jet and unaffected by the grounding. We were able to get to Dayton with no issues. And with American’s initial belief they would start flying normally again by the end of the next day, we weren’t too worried since we would be in Dayton for a couple of days.
However, when we checked our Thursday flights on Wednesday evening, they had already been canceled. One of the guys got on the phone to the American Advantage desk to try to get some new flights. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get through after several hours. I decided to give it a try and got through on my first try which didn’t do much to please my colleague. After 30+ minutes on the phone with the rep, the best flight he could get us on was a Delta flight from Dayton to Chicago to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Tucson. What a nightmare!
Since we had fully refundable fares, we knew would could cancel and try ourselves to get on somewhere else. A quick call to Southwest Airlines got us a flight from Columbus, OH to Phoenix. This would mean about a 1 hour drive from Dayton to Columbus and then a 90 minute drive from Phoenix to Tucson. We snatched up the tickets and headed home.
All in all, it worked out pretty well. Between the driving and the single flight, our travel time was about 90 minutes longer than the original AA itinerary. Of course, we had to drive 2 and 1/2 hours but we got home the day we were supposed to. Plus, I wasn’t driving! 😎
Despite all this, American will continue to be my airline of choice for many reasons….