The LOOOONG Way Home

The Running Mamas plan our destination races to escape the frigid Northeast winters. This is a fabulous idea in theory. In practice, it is constant worry about road conditions to get to and from our respective airports and whether or not our flights will be delayed or cancelled. The worry was amplified exponentially when the entire northeast was forecasted to be slammed with a major nor’easter/blizzard on the day that we were all scheduled to fly home from our New Orleans Rock n Roll Half.

From Hudson Valley Weather – my most trusted weather people.

By race day morning, all of our flights had been cancelled.  Just what you want on your mind during a half marathon.

Our original itinerary had Christina and I flying from New Orleans to DC, then DC to NY. I received an automated message from US Airways that those flights were cancelled. I had booked through Expedia, but they still had our flights listed as those cancelled flights, so as far as I knew, Christina and I were stranded in the Big Easy.

While I tried to figure out if we could transfer to other US Airways flights, Christina found one on Delta with a layover in Atlanta.  I couldn’t find any flights that weren’t prohibitively expensive, so she went ahead and booked on Delta. We were good to go. The Boston Mamas had found flights, too. Time to relax and enjoy New Orleans!

During our celebratory dinner at the dee-lish Kingfish Cocktail Bar, I got another automated message from US Airways. Our flight from New Orleans to Philadelphia had been cancelled. I had a flight to Philadelphia? Really? No one told me.

We hit the sack early in anticipation of the early wake up call that the Boston set were going to have to make their flight. At 2am we were all awake and found out that their flight had been cancelled. I checked my email and found a message from Expedia saying that our flight had been changed to that Philadelphia one. Thanks, Expedia, for such prompt notification. (Dammit where is that sarcasm font?) Then at some point I found out that the flight was changed to go through DC. So now we had two flights. I was doubtful that anything was going to be flying from snow coated DC to snow coated NY so we stuck with the Delta flight through Atlanta.

Later that morning, Christina and I left for the airport. Before we could take a sip of airport coffee we found out that the flight from Atlanta to NY was cancelled. DC was cancelled, too. We caught an earlier flight to Atlanta in hopes that we could either A) find a place to stay until the ice age ended or B) find a non-cancelled flight back to somewhere near home. With a lot of running and begging, we made it back home. Atlanta to Laguardia (shudder) and then my dad was nice enough to drive us from Queens to White Plains to get back to my car. Really can’t complain much on that since the other Mamas were trapped until Thursday.

The next day, I called US Airways to get a refund started on our flights that never happened. After a million years of automated bullshit, a human being finally told me that I had to contact Expedia because I booked everything through them. After being put on hold at least 4 times and transferred from person to person, Expedia told me that the cancelled tickets were transferred back to US Airways, so I had to talk to them about getting my money back. Back to the US Airways automated call nonsense. It took most of the morning, but I finally got a nice woman named Michelle to admit that they did in fact have my account and that I would get refunded. Yay! It would probably take 8-10 days for it to go through. There were a lot of cancelled flights due to this storm, so I gave them some wiggle room and waited 2 weeks. Then I got too busy and never got a chance to check into it. I finally checked in on the US Airways refund page and MY REFUND DIDN’T EXIST. This week I went through US Airways automated phone system hell again and the phone system couldn’t find my refund. I tried to talk to a human and, after going around in automation circles, was told that I couldn’t talk to a human because of increase call volume and to call back.

I still have to call these schmucks again. I haven’t had a chance to. Honestly, It’s taken me, like, 12 writing sessions just to get this post done because I only have free time in 10 minute intervals- not enough time to make it through the first 6 circles of automation with US Airways.

So to round up my pissed-offness:

  • Expedia didn’t notify me that they re-booked flights for us, so we ended up having to spend more money to get a new flight because we didn’t know we had a flight.
  • Also, Expedia changed my order info on their website, so it looks like I spent $800+ on 2 one-way tickets to New Orleans instead of 2 round trips. Good thing I saved my email confirmations.
  • US Airways really should just automatically refund your money. Why should I have to file a request (by snail mail or fax, no less) to get money back for a service that was not provided.
  • US Airways lost my refund.  It went through an actual person sitting in front of her computer entering this data in and reading it back to me. Refund request in process. It’s not like I screwed something up using an automated system or forgot to hit ‘send’ or something.
  • US Airways didn’t even let me wait for the next available human being to speak to. They just cut me off. Worst customer service ever.

Rant complete.