I used to travel quite a bit for my engineering job. Not Up in The Air kind of travel, but 60 to 70 weekdays on the road wasn't uncommon, but with technology changes (you can do a lot remotely with digital pictures and video!) and tighter budgets, travel is WAY down, less than 10 days total!
It's NOT a bad thing getting to spend so much more time at home, although Delta probably misses my annual trips to Japan and the corporate dollars spent! From Platinum Sky Miles Member, to Gold to Silver to hey...I'm just another flier to them! Am I a Lead member? Sand? I don't know :)
The ease of travel has significantly changed for the Cincinnati area residents since the Delta/Northwest merger. I'm not calling the Delta management team a liar (nope...not going there), but their promise that Cincinnati (CVG) would remain a hub and not be significantly impacted? Well, it doesn't take an engineer to realize the number of flights has radically reduced, that what used to be three concourses of flights is now 1, that many cities that used to have direct service? GONE!
For instance, we used to have four direct flights to Buffalo (BUF) every weekday. Then it went to two, and now none. Our choices? Buffalo via Detroit, Philly, JFK or Atlanta. Detroit (DTW) gives us the quickest connections and least overall time, so seems like the logical choice, right?
So this week was time for my annual meeting with a Buffalo supplier. BTW, following social media safety protocol, only posting this since I'm now BACK home! The meetings go well, coming home last night!
Everything is initially routine. We get pushed back from the Buffalo gate last night on time.... but then stop about 30 yards from the gate! Huh?? Announcement by pilot, "Detroit is too busy and beyond capacity, so we can't leave the ground!"
By rule, they've managed to meet their "departed on time" metric since we left the gate on time! Doesn't get us to Detroit any faster though...oh well, it happens. I'm traveling with two other business associates, and we figure this may get a little tight making the flight from Detroit to Cincy since we only had an hour layoever, but we should make it, just no time for dinner in between.
About 40 minutes later, we finally get the all clear, and take off. We fly over Canada most of the way... did you know, lots of wind farms along the lake? More wind turbines than I've seen anywhere else...but I digress :)
We watch the clock tick away, 7:25 scheduled departure...this is going to be tight! We land about 20 minutes before scheduled take off of our flight home. Maybe??? A long trip on the ground from landing to the gate, then...of course, another delay because there's no service personnel at the gate! While we're rolling in, cell phones are allowed again, so punching the Blackberry for Delta's schedules...and the 7:25 is the last chance to get home! By the time we're finally at the gate and off the plane, about 10 to 15 minutes too late... SOOO CLOSE!
And if you think I'm torqued at this point? Not even close! I've been extremely lucky in all my business trips and have NEVER been stuck somewhere overnight! I've been delayed (frequently), had bags lost and then found, but I was due for the outright cancellation, and getting upset wasn't going to get me home any faster. Lots of life situations like this, getting "hyper" doesn't usually make it better!
Now the part that I do think is wrong on Delta's part...they don't give you a hotel room, or meal money for having to stay overnight...you get a discount to stay at the Day's Inn if you want, but that was it! For a consumer on vacation, we're talking probably at least a $100 extra out of their pockets for something that was not of their doing, and this wasn't a weather related delay, just a capacity issue! Not very fair to the average flyer.
As a business traveler, no big deal to book a room in the Westin attached to the terminal instead, get some dinner and call it a night. We got the 9 a.m. flight home this morning, back to Cincinnati and all is right again.
It's always good to be back home!
Bill the Engineer/REALTOR©
P.S. ALWAYS add an extra set of clothes when you travel, just in case :)