If you travel, every now and again, you’re going to miss your connecting flight, and yesterday, my number was up!
I was headed home from an anniversary party in Ohio, and the Delta flight to Atlanta was late arriving to the Akron-Canton airport. We were due to leave at 5:59 p.m., and I was at an itty-bitty concourse bar having a burger and a drink. The bartender knew about the delay first — we were set back to 7:00.
I looked at my watch, then my boarding pass. I was still good — I never fly through Atlanta with less than a two hour layover.
The group at the bar was fine and companionable until an old woman walked up sporting a USA Drinking Team shirt. It was evident this team member had been training hard earlier in the day. Her speech was slurred and she was loud.
I finished my supper, paid my tab, and headed for the gate — the drunk’s voice seeming to go up another few decibels.
I felt sorry for the person who’d soon be shut up on a plane next to her. Thank god Team USA was heading to Detroit, not Atlanta, and her flight was on time.
When I took a seat at Gate 5, the Delta agent announced our flight time was pushed back to 7:42. That was it — we’d hit no-go. I wasn’t going to make the Houston flight.
Here’s where you have a decision point as a passenger. Re-book yourself now and find a hotel, or wait until you miss the connection and stand in line with everyone else to do the same thing — with fewer seat options. I chose now, no line, and an earlier bedtime. The Delta agent at Akron-Canton got me on a 8:00 a.m. Atlanta-to-Houston flight the next morning, and I got on Expedia to find a room near the Atlanta airport — figuring I’d see whether I could get a room credit from Delta the next day. One way or the other, I was not sleeping in the airport.
With this in mind, I looked at the options. There were everything from flea-bag motels, to Hyatt and Westin, to a Renaissance Hotel on the tarmac in Atlanta with mixed reviews and a high price tag. I went cheap/middle — the Red Lion for $104 — they had a restaurant, an airport shuttle, clean but basic rooms, and good reviews.
By the time our flight was finally wheels-up, it was after 8:00 p.m., and I was feeling self-satisfied about my decision.
I make it to my Atlanta Airport Red Lion hotel room — clean, very comfy bed, but thin walls, and my neighbor’s television is blaring. I settle in to do email and a little social media.
Blam, blam, blam — on my neighbor’s door. She is not pleased. “F*@k you, Tyrone! You go back to your room! I don’t wanna see your ugly f*@+**g face again tonight!”
It’s eleven o’clock. I sigh. Tyrone leaves.
I edit a few photographs, do a little writing, and finally turn off the light around midnight. Thirty minutes later, another loud knocking out in the hallway.
“I done tol’ you, I don’t wanna see your face again . . . go AWAY!”
I look at the clock and consider calling the desk. And I’m thinking, “F*@k you, Tyrone. GO to BED!”
Yeah, the $104 hotel was a mistake, but there’s no whining on Team Fisher.
That wake up call to make the 8:00 a.m. flight came mighty early, but I was on it.
Do Airlines Have to Pay for a Hotel If I Miss a Connecting Flight?
The answer to that question is NO.
I did get $100 credit for use on a future flight with Delta. When I called the following day, the agent put me on hold, researched the reason for the delay of my flight, and then issued the credit to my Delta Skymiles account.
Be aware that airlines are NOT REQUIRED to cover hotel expenses AT ALL, even when a delayed flight/missed connection is considered their company’s fault.
- Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers waiting in the airport terminal.
- There are no Federal requirements regarding these amenities or services. If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if they will pay for meals or phone calls. Some airlines may not offer amenities if bad weather or something else beyond the airline’s control causes the delay. — from the D.O.T. web site
You must refer to a specific airline’s contract for carriage (also called conditions of carriage) for accurate information concerning what that company will do in the event of a flight delay. Policies vary widely. Delta’s domestic contract for carriage is over fifty pages long. You might want to read your airline’s contract — so that you understand exactly what their policies are.
|Links to Airline Contracts of Carriage|
Stuck in the airport, but not long enough to get a hotel?
I did see an interesting option at the Atlanta airport on my way to Ohio called Minute Suites: The Traveler’s Retreat. At Minute Suites, you can rent a room with a daybed, a pillow, and a desk for as little as an hour. I was intrigued, and stopped to chat with the man at the desk. Currently, Minute Suites are only in three airports: Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Dallas-Fort Worth, but they are expanding to others.
This is not an inexpensive option, as you’ll see if you click through to the Minute Suites website (Minute Suites Pricing). The first hour will run you $42, and then another $10.50 for each fifteen minute increment. Eight hours? That’ll be $160, please.
My $104 overnight at the Red Lion, even with soundtrack by Tyrone and Friends, is looking like a bargain. After all, I did get about 5 hours of quiet sleep, once the ruckus was over :-).
But you know, when you’re dead tired, and you only have a couple of hours — a solid nap can be priceless . . .