Flying in winter can be tricky. You never know what may happen. I’d planned a quick trip to North Carolina for a couple of weeks. I booked on Delta via Atlanta, not because it was convenient, but because 1) it was cheap; and 2) I wanted to pad my miles balance. There ya’ go.
Well, the forecast turned south earlier this week, and of course, Washington gets a winter storm on the day I want to travel. We boarded right on time, and were ready to go. Of course, we had to de-ice, so there was a bit of a delay with that. Unfortunately, while we were getting de-iced, the tower pronounced the current weather conditions to be “moderate” freezing rain. And Delta (and probably most other airlines) doesn’t fly in moderate freezing rain. The captain explained things pretty well, closing out his announcement with “it could be 10 minutes, or it could be 2 hours.” That wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we weren’t already on the plane and worse yet, 20 feet from the gate!
In any event, the weather gods smiled on us, and within about 20 minutes, the freezing rain turned to “light.” Unfortunately, we had to de-ice again. Not that de-icing is a bad thing, but it did add another 20 minutes or so to our delay. In other words, we were running one hour late. We blasted off in short order right after the second de-icing session and bounced all the way to Atlanta. The Captain asked the flight attendants to remain seated for the entire flight, so no beverages.
We touched down in Atlanta just about 10 minutes prior to the departure of my connection. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to make it. But here’s where Delta really came through. As we taxied to the gate, I surfed to the Delta.com mobile site on my blackberry, and found that Delta had already rebooked me to the next flight about two hours later, and placed me in first class. I was working on a tight schedule, but it’s surely better having something lined up than having to fish your way through a long line of people to get rebooked. I didn’t even rush off the flight. I strolled to the nearest Delta Crown Room to confirm my new flight. The first words out of the agent’s mouth were “I’m sorry.” And the next words were “I will take care of you.” Frankly, I think that’s pretty damn cool, and is one of the reasons I like Delta. Within one minute, I had my new boarding pass in hand, and soon found myself enjoying a glass of Cabernet, which is complimentary in Delta’s Crown Rooms. Things weren’t so bad after all. And I will remember the way Delta handled this when I need to travel again.