Missed flights and other bad travel stories

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SpaceAce's picture
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Missed flights and other bad travel stories

We recently experienced our first missed flight ever! sad What's your worst travel story from a Disney trip?

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Brad's picture
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I always seem to have trouble returning, which is better than getting there I suppose. The worst time was when there were storms in DFW and all kinds of flights were cancelled. I talked to the TA and she agreed to send me to NYC instead of DFW, since my girlfriend lived there. What she didn't tell me is that my plane for that trip was coming from DFW, so I hadn't really helped myself.

I wound up spending 12 hours in MCO and go to NYC basically at dawn the next day and still had to eventually find a way to get back to DFW.

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Bum-Mer. As I recall I've only had one real bad experience, and like Brad with was thanks to a TA. As I recall, I was flying from Nashville to Ontario (Cali). The TA had me making connections at two of the three busiest airports in the country at the time (DFW and O'hare)...gee, thanks for that. Both connections allowed me barely enough time to get to the next plane. At one of the two, the connecting flight was clear on the other end of the airport in a totally different concourse. Not only did I have like twelve minutes to get to the next flight in a different zip code, I had to carry my bags, AND the moving sidewalks (I like to call them walkalators) were not working and I had to weave in and out of construction barriers. It was greeeat...just greeeaat.

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Since we usually go to WDW in the winter we have had our flights cancelled twice. Both times it was on our flight home FROM Disney so we didn't mind anywhere near as much as if it would have been TO the World. Both times we knew there were storms at home so we called the airlines and they said our flights were on so we went to the airport and were there when our flights were cancelled. Here's what I did and it may prove useful for others. We walked in the airport to the Disney store in the airport and told them that our flight had been cancelled and we were stuck there. They called Disney reservations for us from their phones in the store and we took the phone and talked to them and they said that our rooms had not been given out yet and that we could have them back for another couple of days. I would imagine since we could not leave, Fla. others from New England could not leave there so they had some room cancellations and thus some vacant rooms available for us on short notice. We then went to Mears shuttle to WDW (not M.E.) and took that back to Disney for a couple of extra days.

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Way to make lemonade VL!

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VL - Did they keep the room rate the same? Our biggest problem with that plan would be if we lost our AP discount.

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dsoup wrote:
VL - Did they keep the room rate the same? Our biggest problem with that plan would be if we lost our AP discount.

Yes as a matter of fact the price per night was the same. Once we had the exact same room and the other time it was actually a better view room for the same rate. If that happened to us now I think I would try to see if instead of the Mears shuttle (they Charge) I could get on as a last minute freeloader on Magical Express. No harm in trying.

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Vettelover wrote:
dsoup wrote:
VL - Did they keep the room rate the same? Our biggest problem with that plan would be if we lost our AP discount.

Yes as a matter of fact the price per night was the same. Once we had the exact same room and the other time it was actually a better view room for the same rate. If that happened to us now I think I would try to see if instead of the Mears shuttle (they Charge) I could get on as a last minute freeloader on Magical Express. No harm in trying.

I wouldn't see why you oculdn't take the DME. Of course not having the luggage handy when your stay is probably less than 24 hours could be dicey.

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Not a Disney trip but...

A few years ago on one of our trips to Greece, we had booked flights and accomodation separately instead of booking them as a package like most Brits do when they travel to that part of the world. When we went to check in for our return flight, the reps from the package tour companies were 'managing' the lines and prevented us from checking in straight away, telling us we had to check in last (definately not normal procedure, but airport security seemed to be backing them).
With about 15 people left, they suddenly closed the deak and announced that the flight was full. They don't normally overbook the return flights on this route, so there's no way it should have been full.

We mananged to find a rep for the booking agent we'd used for the flights, who put us in a taxi to their office in the next town and called ahead to to say we needed rebooking. When we got there, someone ran out of the office to say get back to the airport as quickly as possible, there had been a mistake and there was now room on our original flight. Then followed the maddest taxi ride I have ever had, which earned the driver a good tip.

Back at the airport we were checked in and ushered through security and passport control in double quick time and almost straight onto the plane which had already begun boarding. It had been a very stressfull hour or so, but we were glad to be finally sat on the plane and no-one was going to move us.

It was at that point that the pilot announced over the PA system that he was very sorry for the problems some passengers had checking in (much to the confusion of most of the other passengers who knew nothing about it). It transpired that the airport check-in staff had used the wrong seating plan for the plane despite the fact that that exact aircraft had flown in and out of that airport twice a week for the entire summer.
The cabin crew then had to shuffle a few people round to make sure that children weren't sat next to emergency exits.

To say we were relieved when the plane finally took off is more than a bit of an understatement. For a while I considered making a complaint to the airline, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth it as the problem wasn't their fault and the flight crew had been polite and helpful.
We never did find out how they ended up with the wrong seating plan at check-in or how the problem was discovered.

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dsoup's picture
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I would have been irate Tony. Especially the part where the tour agents decide that they can just order the line. I guess I don't know all the circumstances. You also have to figure part of it is Greece. I mean have you seen how they run their public finances? laugh

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The tour reps were British. I think they knew there was a problem and were trying to look after their own customers to the detriment of independant travellers like ourselves. When they have a man in uniform with a gun stood by them you tend not to want to argue for too long, especially when he doesn't speak much English.

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Tony wrote:
The tour reps were British. I think they knew there was a problem and were trying to look after their own customers to the detriment of independant travellers like ourselves. When they have a man in uniform with a gun stood by them you tend not to want to argue for too long, especially when he doesn't speak much English.

No doubt. Although I wonder if he even knew what he was endorsing.

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Tony, do the tour reps have any actual relationship to the airline? Or would it be like me going down to the airport and telling everyone no one could get on the plane until my grandma had her ticket?

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It depends on the company. The larger tour operators will have their own aircraft so the reps are working for a different branch of the same company, in this case a number of smaller tour operators without thier own aircraft had chartered the flight.
In both cases the airline will sell excess seats directly to the public, which is how we'd bought ours.

Because two or three tour operators are responsible for 90% of the seats on the plane they throw their weight around, plus they are at the airport all the time, know the airport officials and have a better grasp of the local language than most travellers. It isn't quite the same as holding everyone else up for Grandma unless you happen to be a VERY big customer or the airline

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Tony wrote:


Because two or three tour operators are responsible for 90% of the seats on the plane they throw their weight around, plus they are at the airport all the time, know the airport officials and have a better grasp of the local language than most travellers.

I had no idea that's how it worked. Is that the case for several different countries?

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It would seem to be the case for many of southern Europe's smaller airports where the majority of travellers are on package holidays.
The smaller airports in popular holiday locations aren't fully open all year round and flights from many countries stop over the winter. The reps from the package tour operators often fill in as airport check-in staff a couple of days a week as well as looking after guests in the resorts.

Bigger airports that are open all year round have regular staff so incidents like this are less likely to happen.

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Wow that all sounds like something I'd expect in South America or something more than Europe. I guess these are really small airports in remote locations. Are there larger ones nearby that can service the same general area when those smaller ones are closed?

(Sorry about all the dumb questions, it's just really interesting to me. I wouldn't mind visiting someplace like that, especially after your awesome pictures.)

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The pictures I posted recently were the Greek island of Zakynthos. Last time we went there the airport was typical of those I describe above. It took them over 10 years to build the new terminal half of which is aparently closed for 5 months of the year!

Most of the smaller Greek islands are the same so the only alternative during the winter season is to fly from the Greek mainland as there are hardly any international flights direct to them. During the summer they can handle upward of 10 or 15 international flights a day.
Larger islands have full time airports (Crete has two iirc), but still see a huge swing in the number of flights between seasons.
I gather a similar arrangement can be found across most of the mediteranean islands that are popular with European tourists during the summer.

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According to the ever-reliable Internet, the population of Zakynthos is about 40,000 people. I suppose that if you only have that many people for a good portion of the year and you're on an island where you can't be reached except by plane or boat it makes sense that you'd wind up with weird air travel conditions.

The cyclical nature of the visitors must create a lot of strange effects in the area.

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Tony, that sounds so stressful and frustrating! That's why I avoid planes! I'm glad it worked out for you in the end! I can only imagine how worth it this was once you got to Greece though. It looks so beautiful!

My worst Disney travel experince had nothing to do with traveling there but "traveling" room to room! In '95 we stayed at POFQ...just Port Orleans then! We checked in and went to the park. When we came back that night the bed was soaked and there was cielling chips on it. Leak! So, we moved rooms. Keep in mind we have connecting rooms because there were five of us. They gave us new rooms and keys and we looked at the numbers....The rooms were on different floors! My mom complained to the desk, how can they split a family? They said it was July and they were busy. The another cast member interjected and said the problem would be fixed. So we moved rooms...again! We staayed there for 9 days without issues!

Second to that "bad" travel experinece was our Trip to San Diego. A golf cart crashed into our hotel, The Handlery, and set it on fire. We were up at Knottsberry farms for the day and our fam. couldn't reach us, so they thought we were injured or missing in the fire.

(My family attracts disasters, in case you didn't see the pattern...and there are plenty more of them!)

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ChipnDaleFan wrote:
Tony, that sounds so stressful and frustrating! That's why I avoid planes! I'm glad it worked out for you in the end! I can only imagine how worth it this was once you got to Greece though. It looks so beautiful!

My worst Disney travel experince had nothing to do with traveling there but "traveling" room to room! In '95 we stayed at POFQ...just Port Orleans then! We checked in and went to the park. When we came back that night the bed was soaked and there was cielling chips on it. Leak! So, we moved rooms. Keep in mind we have connecting rooms because there were five of us. They gave us new rooms and keys and we looked at the numbers....The rooms were on different floors! My mom complained to the desk, how can they split a family? They said it was July and they were busy. The another cast member interjected and said the problem would be fixed. So we moved rooms...again! We staayed there for 9 days without issues!

Second to that "bad" travel experinece was our Trip to San Diego. A golf cart crashed into our hotel, The Handlery, and set it on fire. We were up at Knottsberry farms for the day and our fam. couldn't reach us, so they thought we were injured or missing in the fire.

(My family attracts disasters, in case you didn't see the pattern...and there are plenty more of them!)

I think I might put "hotel on fire" as my number one issue! laugh

Do you not fly at all? Or just not when you can avoid it?

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Our room wasn't effected by the fire. luckily. So it wasn't really that bad for us. We just moved to another hotel.

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Ha! Soaking wet bed and fire in the hotel -- horrible! And to think you had to come home, exhausted, from theme parks to find both of those situations. Ugh!

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