RDU Terminal 2

RDU Terminal 2

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Travel Story - Another Up and Down Travel Day

Location: RDU, JFK and Hong Kong Airports

The more I travel, the more I understand that you need to be ready for anything, and that you never know how things will turn out.  Today was a good example.

I was on the first leg of my round-the-world trip, traveling to from Raleigh-Durham to Singapore via New York JFK and Hong Kong. I don’t like having two stops because of the opportunity for travel disruptions, but it’s hard to avoid when going from RDU to Asia.

Disaster, Part 1
I got to the RDU airport in good time for my 6:05 AM to JFK. As I was eating a light breakfast I got a text on my phone. My flight to JFK was delayed by 45 minutes, but that was OK.  I still had 90 minutes for my connection. Then the wheels fell off.  I got another text saying my flight to JFK was now delayed to 10:00 AM - past my departure from JFK. Time for Plan B.

Recovery, Part 1
I called the airline hotline and got myself rebooked through Dallas-Fort Worth. I had originally booked a premium economy ticket, which gives some extra legroom and seat width. Hey, it’s a 16 hour flight, so every little bit helps. The bad news is that now I would be in regular coach.  Also, I would get in to Singapore 4 hours later than planned, but I would get in. All seemed well until I went to the counter for the DFW flight to get my new boarding passes.

Disaster, Part 2
The online agent had mistakenly booked the second leg (DFW to Hong Kong) for the following day, which would mean spending the night in Dallas, and getting to Singapore a day late. Not Good.

Recovery, Part 2 - Maybe
However, my local gate agent pointed out that my original flight to New York was going out at 7:30 AM, not 10:00 AM as reported by phone and the gate.  She apologized for the misinformation and was able to rebook me on my flight to JFK. There was a question of whether I could get to the gate on time at JFK with the reduced connection time. Also, there was some question as to whether my seat on my original flight was reconfirmed, as reported by the airline partner program.  I would have to go to JFK and see.

A Close Call
We were further delayed getting out of RDU, so when I got off the plane at JFK they had already started boarding my Hong Kong flight.  Sadly, I had arrived in terminal 8, and my flight was departing from terminal 7. Transferring between those two terminals meant going out of security, catching the JFK AirTrain to terminal 8, and going back through security. I have TSA pre-check, but it didn’t apply to this flight.  I did get through security and to the gate before the door was closed, but then there was the problem of my seat. The gate agents were expecting, but it eventually took 3 gate agents to sort out the de-booking and re-booking.  

A Very Pleasant Surprise
The bad news was that the premium economy section was full. The good news was that they bumped me up to business class.  Newly printed boarding pass in hand, I was the last person to board the plane.

One Last Bonus
I arrived in Hong Kong in good time and was able to take an earlier flight to Singapore. That was really good because my original flight wound up being delayed by 2 hours due to the typhoon Mujigae.

Keep Calm and Carry On
I was pleased with the upgrade and with the service that I got from the airline folks. For my part, I didn’t panic, and I was very polite and respectful. Not sure that helped, but I am sure it didn’t hurt. Finally, this was on one of the times that having priority status on partner airlines helped make the process go better for me.

What started out looking like a disrupted travel day would up going better than planned. You just never know.

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