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Story from a victim of the CVG christmas snowstorm

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  • Story from a victim of the CVG christmas snowstorm

    I just recently got done with your routine trip from PHF-MSP, a trip that I have completed many times, but this was a little different. Since I always book flights for our family, I decided to book us the long way to MSP, PHF-ATL-CVG-MSP. Whoops.

    I woke up on December, 23rd, looking forward to visiting my aunt in a great city. We left the house around 8:15am, arriving in Newport News at about 8:40. We had to park in the overflow lot and ride the shuttle up to the terminal. We entered the very bright and welcoming terminal at PHF, and went to the DL checkin counter, where the line was relatively short. We had a friendly agent who confirmed that all of our flights were ontime. I was taking my snowboard up north which weighed 37lbs with my clothes and boots in my board bag. My moms bag however weighed in at 53lbs but the agent let it slide. We dropped our bags off at TSA and entered the world of air travel. Security was quick and we were in the 5 gate terminal in no time. N702EV was sitting outside waiting for us at 10am, but ATL was having ATC delays, which pushed our departure time from 10:12 to 10:40. The Airtran flight to ATL across from us was delayed too. I'm not going to write much on this flight as it was your typical, run of the mill ASA flight of 2 hours (nice F/A's, snack mix, drinks). Once we landed in ATL, about 40 minutes late, we taxied into C21 and the fun began.

    We filtered through the masses in ATL and made our way to gate A33, where DL697 was ontime for a 2:05pm departure. I went down to Pizza Hut and grabed some lunch and headed back to A33. It was about 1:30 when I checked the moniters and our flight was still listed as ontime, even though every other CVG flight had been cancelled. Well I continued to walk towards A33, and I checked another set of moniters before I reached the gate, and sure enough, DL697:CANCELLED. I went back to the gate to get my mom and she told me it was cancelled due to field conditions. Snow+ice=not good flying. There was a mad dash from A33 to the Delta service center in the middle of the concourse. We got our spot in line around 2pm and waited, and waited, and waited until about 4pm when we finally got to the front of the line. There was nothing but bad news(well not too bad). The earliest they could confirm us on a flight to MSP was at 6:35pm, the next day which happened to be christmas eve. We tryed for flights into Chicago or Madison or Milwaukee. No luck. The agent was very friendly and tryed her best, but the best we could do is get confirmed and go standby and do some good ol' fashioned gate hopping. We got standby passes for the 6:35pm flight on the 23rd, and headed to B18. By this time it was getting dark outside. My mom and I grabed some dinner and got seated at B18. B18 has one of the smaller gate areas in ATL, so it was pretty packed. Scheduled departure time was 6:35pm, but when we got to the gate, it had been moved to 7pm. A flight to DEN was scheduled to leave from our gate at 7:15. We waited. At 6:30, the flight had been delayed to 8pm. This was all due to our flight crew being stuck in the storm in Cinncy. The DEN flight had also been delayed for the same reason. The whole time there was a MD88 at the gate, but no one to fly it. I really felt sorry for the gate agent, who looked young, and was getting grilled by people trying to get to MSP and DEN. He was doing an excellent job though. I was so bored at that time that I wondered back and forth in concourse B, talking to some of my friends on my cell phone. I came back to the gate at 7:30 and the departure time was pushed back to 9. I knew that flight wasn't getting out. There were no pilots. Finally at 8, DL967 to MSP:CANCELLED. All of the confirmed passengers raced to the counter and started yelling and the poor lone agent got some help from what look liked to be his supervisor. We simply walked to the gate the next MSP flight was leaving from, B4. We got standby passes and were numbers 9 and 10. This flight was scheduled to leave around 9 but got delayed and departed from gate B33 at 10:55pm, without us. We got hotel vouchers and headed towards the bag claims.

    I never realized how large ATL was since I only connected through it previously. Since our bags were somewhere with someone else, we had no jackets and headed outside into the 26 degree weather and waited for the shuttle to the Hilton Garden Inn. Since it was a weather related cancellation for our flight, DL wasn't about to pay for a room for us or any of the other stranded pax. However, they did give us $50 vouchers that were nice, and ours happened to be for the Hilton Garden Inn. Us, along with the other stranded pax, checked in to the hotel and got our rooms. We got to room 311, and walked into the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in. The room was HUGE and the beds were nice and soft. The shower was large and clean as well as the whole bathroom. I had a great night sleep, preparing for another day in the world of Delta.

    I woke up nice and refreshed, took a shower, and went down to the lobby to catch the 8:15am shuttle to the airport. We walked into the south terminal past the bag claims towards the Delta counters. Since we were going to get standby passes, we couldn't go to any of the many kiosks, so we waited in a huge line for one of three agents not working bag check at the kiosks. There were news crews there from local news stations fliming the lines. I was on tv. The line moved relativly quick and we were up. We asked the agent to make sure we were still confirmed on the 6:35pm flight and she said we were. We got standby passes for the 11:18am flight and we were #20 and 21 on the list. Great. We breezed through the security checkpoint and went down and walked to concourse A. My mom and I got some breakfast and talked with a nice person going to SFO. I strolled around the airport (like I had already done about 200 times to that point) and made my way back to the gate, where the MSP flight, and MD88, N953DL, had been
    delayed. We figured we weren't going to get on this flight anyway (It was a full flight, theres no way 21 seats would be open. We walked through the masses at ATL and past the long lines at the coustomer service counters to gate A33, where all the mess had started. My mom, in her most convincing voice, somehow, someway, went up to the podium and got us confirmed on DL1416 to MSP at 12:45. At first, my mom told me we were on standby again so I didn't bother looking at the boarding passes. But after a while, the big plasma moniters started showing the standby list and cleared and upgrade lists (Anyone that has flown Delta through ATL, CVG, SLC, MCO, LAX, you know what I'm talking about) I noitced that REG2 showed up on the cleared list. I whipped out my boarding pass, and sure enough, CONFIRMED. I still wasn't going to believe it until we were actually on the plane, lifting off. There were 47 standbys for this flight, I was so glad I wasn't one of them. N310DA pulled up to the gate from CLT and pretty soon
    boarding began. Zone's 1-7 were called, then zone 8, which was us. We showed our boarding passes and flight coupons and the nicest agent that we had encounterd yet remembered my mom from early and congradulated us, and gave us permission to board in seats 18A and B. I even got a window seat right over the wing! It was a great feeling to finally be on a plane, after 24 hours of watching them.

    We blasted off of 26R and flew north towards the great north on a nice, smooth flight on the classic B737-200. I talked to the college student in 18C, who had been trying to get to Des Moines, but had been bounced around as well and was running 50 hours late, and he still had a 4 hour drive home from MSP. As we flew over ORD, the F/A's asked if there was a doctor on board. Crap, please no diversion, we are so close. We had a nice view of Chicago on a clear, cold day. Luckily there were doctors onboard and we would be met by paramedics in MSP at the gate. We had a smooth touchdown on a cold 12R and taxied to gate E15, next to the 11:18am flight from ATL. It was so nice to be in Minneapolis visiting family, and we had made it before christmas eve. Well now there was one more problem. Only one bag had made it out of ATL, which was my moms. Mine didn't come until Sunday afternoon (we were supposed to get there Thursday). The baggage agents were nice and gave me an amenity kit.

    Overall, Delta did a very nice job of handling things. None of the agents were rude in anyway and helped in everyway possible. I felt sorry for some of them too, especially during the Comair computer failure, which happened while we were in MSP, and we were scheduled to fly Comair on Tuesday, the 28th. That was the first Comair flight out of MSP that week.

    I won't go into any detail about the return trip, as they were typical flights. The first leg was DL5910 MSP-CVG N496CA CRJ-200. Smooth flight, nice F/A. However, I really do hate these planes. I like CVG more and more everytime I fly through it. All the terminals are nice and wide open (except the little branches of concourse C). The 2nd leg was DL686 CVG-ATL N987DL MD-88. Flights don't get more average than this one. The last flight was DL4147 ATL-PHF N723EV CRJ-700. We had nice bulkhead seats. I don't think we hit one bump in the air the whole flight. I had a baby kicking my seat most of the flight. One thing worth sharing was when we were on finals for 25 in PHF, about 50 feet up, some guy in row 4 gets up to get his wifes jacket from the overhead bin. The F/A yelled at him to sit down as we would be touching down any second. After touchdown, the F/A talked to the passenger who stood up. I've never seen anyone actually stand up on finals. We deplaned and took the quick walk to
    the bag claim, where none of the 3 bags showed up, but came in the next day.

    Delta did great with everything, this is why I continue to fly them and their skyteam partners. Thanks Delta

  • #2
    Story from a victim of the CVG christmas snowstorm

    Wow, what a trip . Nevertheless good to hear that you were still satisfied with the way DL handled the situation and would even fly Delta again. Most others who have such a thing happen to them essentially blame everything on the airline (including the weather) and vow to never fly them again. Good to see there are still people who are aware that airlines don't control the weather .



    • #3

      Gr8 review, enjoyed reading it. This review only bolsters my opinion of DL and DL Conn. It's been a great pleasure to fly them all (except DL Conn ACA, which I wanna fly sometime) and I'll continue to do so. Everytime we've had difficulties during travel, the DL/DL Conn agents have helped out.



      • #4
        Awesome report. I have always wanted to try flying DL but they are so exspensive out of STL. well hopefully that wil change!
        Stop Searching. Start Traveling.


        • #5
          Jeez...what a trip. Great report.

          I supose Delta held up to it's moniker - Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive . Just kidding. It's great that they handled things well. I've never flown on them, I'd love to though.
          "The Director also sets the record straight on what would happen if oxygen masks were to drop from the ceiling: The passengers freak out with abandon, instead of continuing to chat amiably, as though lunch were being served, like they do on those in-flight safety videos."

          -- The LA Times, in a review of 'Flightplan'


          • #6
            Good report!
            I'm glad to hear about how well DL treated you.
            I hope your family didn't give you a hard time about booking them 'the long way' and having that happen...i know mine would