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Travel Lessons Learned: Houston, TX 2014



Sometimes too much communication is not a good thing.  If you receive an email/text from your airlines claiming your flight is delayed…think again and act accordingly.

Almost every Spring Break, we travel to Sarasota County, Florida to see my parents, visit friends, “beach it” and see the Red Sox in Spring training.

This year, our flight from Houston to Tampa was originally scheduled to depart Houston at 10:40 AM.  When I woke up at 6:30 AM, I checked my email and saw that our flight had been delayed until 12:25 PM - per an email that went out from Southwest Airlines at 4:59 AM.


 

I called Southwest Airlines to confirm our new departure time, and the agent informed me that they were having “equipment issues” due to bad weather elsewhere in the country (causing our flight to be delayed).  Regrouping, I decided my husband and son could now sleep longer, and I could squeeze in a run.  I checked email again before my run and saw that I received another email from Southwest Airlines at 7:16 AM saying that our flight was now delayed until 4:00 PM.

Second flight delay email

Now I had to call the rental car company in Tampa to change our pick-up time to 4:15 (or they might give my car away to someone else).  I called Southwest Airlines again and was told that they were still having difficulty finding an airplane due to bad weather elsewhere (same story as the previous agent).  When I asked if this was the last time this flight would be delayed/changed, I was told it might be a good idea for us to arrive at the airport at the same time as our original flight time (10:40AM) just in case. My husband and I decided that this was ridiculous advice, as we were not interested in hanging out at the airport for five extra hours.  So I went for a run, and my husband went back to bed.


While checking email 4 miles and 40 minutes later, I received yet another email from Southwest Airlines.  This email announced that our flight was now departing at the original time of 10:40 AM!  Now it was well after 8:00 AM and nobody in my house was ready to leave for a 10-day vacation. (And we still had to drop off the dog at doggy camp.)

Now I had to call the rental car company in Tampa to change our pick-up time to 4:15 (or they might give my car away to someone else).  I called Southwest Airlines again and was told that they were still having difficulty finding an airplane due to bad weather elsewhere (same story as the previous agent).  When I asked if this was the last time this flight would be delayed/changed, I was told it might be a good idea for us to arrive at the airport at the same time as our original flight time (10:40AM) just in case. My husband and I decided that this was ridiculous advice, as we were not interested in hanging out at the airport for five extra hours…So I went for a run and my husband went back to bed.


While checking email 4 miles and 40 minutes later, I received yet another email from Southwest Airlines.  This email announced that our flight was now departing at the original time of 10:40 AM!  Now it was well after 8:00 AM and nobody in my house was ready to leave for a 10-day vacation. (And we still had to bring the dog to doggy camp.)

 

third flight delay email - original departure time


Needless to say, chaos ensued as we rushed around trying to make our flight – not a great start to a vacation.  We fled the house (forgetting to turn on the alarm), dropped off the dog (literally), drove to the airport, parked the car at our reserved lot and called the rental car agency in Tampa again to change our pick-up time back to our original time.  Cluster!


Lesson learned here is that if your flight is delayed, I would arrive at the airport as planned for your original departure time (which was the advice of the Southwest agent when I initially called the airlines).

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