My worst travel experience was also with Delta— and also involved American Airlines. It was less expensive than your issue, but it was supremely inconvenient and I’m still plenty pissed about it.
I was flying with Delta back to college after winter break my sophomore year, three days after I got my wisdom teeth out. I was heavily drugged on the oxycontin my doctor prescribed to me, but we weren’t worried about it because I’d done the trip several times before: an hour hop to Cincinnati, a two-hour layover, and another hour to St. Louis. I’d be back in my dorm by dinner.
However, once I got to Cincinnati, I noticed my St. Louis connection was delayed. I travel a lot and delays aren’t a huge deal when you don’t have any more connections, so I just chilled. However, they delayed it again, and again— and they never announced this at the gate, mind you, just let us figure it out from the TV screens. And then I went to the bathroom, came back, and found the flight had disappeared off the screen altogether— and there was only one flight left going to St. Louis that day.
I got in line like everyone else to wait for an alternate ticket. The last seats on the later St. Louis flight were gone in an instant, and so the rest of us were offered the most circuitous route to St. Louis ever: Fly us on an American Airlines flight all the way out to NEWARK, NEW JERSEY and then back to St. Louis from there. (Because that makes tons of sense, right?).
However, because I had been in the bathroom I was so far back in line that even THOSE tickets had run out. They were going to put me on standby and were starting to explain about hotels in the area in case I needed to wait until morning, but in my drugged state I could barely comprehend them and just burst into tears. While my parents would spot me the hotel costs I was scared to stay by myself when I was still in immense pain and taking frankly dangerous drugs. And I couldn’t even eat solid food!
The only good part of the day was when the guy who had just taken the last ticket saw me, turned around, and surrendered the ticket to me, saying that I wasn’t in any sort of physical state to be stuck here overnight. (Karma worked out for him, though, because despite being put on standby he ended up being able to fly, too).
So I flew to New Jersey. And back to St. Louis. Instead of getting in at 4:00 pm, I got in just before midnight. The subway had stopped running and so I had to pay for a cab to get to my dorm— and I ended up having to call a friend to come out and meet me with their wallet to spot me some cash since I didn’t have enough on me and didn’t have a credit card.
Oh, and of course my luggage didn’t make it. My luggage was well-tagged and at the airport I filled out a special claim form describing it and giving my local address, since Delta and American both have policies about returning late luggage to your doorstep for free. Normally that occurs within 24 hours, so when after two or three days it still hadn’t shown up I started to panic. I called both airlines, and neither of them wanted to take responsibility for it; Delta told me that since my bags ultimately arrived in St. Louis via American Airlines I should take it up with them, but American Airlines said that it was Delta’s responsibility to deliver the luggage since my ticket had been through them. I gave them a few more days and finally just got a friend to drive me to the airport, walked in, looked into the American Airlines lost luggage room, took my bag and, with a final departing word about the idiocy of their system ("If it’s Delta’s responsibility to get it to me, why don’t you get it to them???), finally brought my stuff home.posted about 7 years ago
oh man, those are both terrible stories! and i absolutely hate how airlines never want to take responsibility for luggage getting lost. i have never had to deal with that before but sometimes i feel it might be safer to mail or fedex my stuff to home or where ever, heh.posted about 7 years ago