Sunday, July 24, 2022

Remember the Suburban

If you've watched any news recently you've certainly seen the bedlam over travel in the summer of 2022.

Our outbound flights on Delta were relatively uneventful except for a leaking lavatory on the ATL-DUB segment. This delayed us for 1 1/2 hours but didn't really impact our travel as we were driving from Dublin to County Cork upon arrival.

Later, we flew RyanAir DUB-EDI. That flight was about 1 hour late but again didn't really impact us. The service providing us transfer from the airport to the hotel was watching our flight and was there when we arrived.

The inbound flights on Delta were a whole different situation.

Our itinerary for our return was EDI-BOS-ATL-MEM. I was so pessimistic that I had reserved a Suburban in Atlanta so we could drive home.

Our EDI-BOS flight was scheduled to depart at 11:55AM. At 5:59AM I got the following text message.

What the ^&*( was DL 1644? The Fly Delta app wasn't any help. Actually it was confusing as it didn't show any flight for the ATL-MEM leg. Remember the Suburban.

On the app, there was a big red "Accept" button. I didn't dare push that.

Our son-in-law is a Delta Diamond Medalion so he could get someone on the phone. Delta thought that with the delay of the EDI-BOS flight that we didn't have time to make the BOS-ATL connection so they wanted to move us to DL 1644. The problem was that the connection time between that flight and the ATL-MEM flight was also too tight. Remember the Suburban.

If we had accepted the changes, we would have surrendered our confirmed seats on the BOS-ATL flight and been waitlisted on DL 1644. Remember the Suburban.

We rolled the dice and didn't accept the changes.

The EDI-BOS flight was even later departing and they made up a few minutes in flight but from touch down to the BOS-ATL scheduled departure was around 40 minutes.

In that 40 minutes, we had to clear US immigration, reclaim our bags, clear US customs, recheck our bags, change terminals (walking through a parking garage), clear US security, make it to our gate, check in, and board. Remember the Suburban.

We did have a few things on our side. Our son-in-law is CLEAR, the entire party is Global Entry, the BOS-ATL flight was late departing, and we had a teen-ager with us.

Global Entry pays for itself every time we use it. We entered the immigration hall at Boston and it looked like Disney World. The lines zigged and zagged all over. I asked a flight crew where the Global Entry kiosks were. He pointed to the far end of the hall and off we went.

The previous time we had used Global Entry, you had to scan your passport, put your full hand on a sensor, and look into a camera. This time all we had to do was put our face in a circle on a screen and we got the magic ticket.

Off we went to reclaim our bags. Customs was a non-event with Global Entry so we slung our bags back on the luggage belt and headed through a parking garage to the domestic terminal.

Once inside the terminal we had to pass through TSA security.

With CLEAR, our son-in-law whisked through security and headed to the gate where the BOS-ATL flight was already boarding.

Even though Global Entry gave all of us TSA Pre✔, the rest of us struggled with security, especially the grandparents. One of us ran the entire way in their sock feet.

Our son-in-law made it to the gate with the teen-ager not far behind. The gate agent was trying to close the door. The teen-ager leaned back into the terminal and said "I can see them coming." She will have to spend some time in confession for that.

We all made it onboard and made our connection in Atlanta. The Suburban got to stay in Atlanta.

We arrived back in Memphis with no incident and on time. I can't say the same for our luggage. It didn't make the connection in Boston.

We went home and went to bed after 15 hours of traveling.

The next morning the Fly Delta app said most of our luggage was still on a flight to Minneapolis. That should have arrived in Minneapolis late the night before.

I called the Delta customer service number and was told that the hold time was 2+ hours. The interactive voice response offered to use Delta's messaging app so I tried that.

Long wait there as well.

"Kindly use the same online resource we access to track checked baggage." What good are they?

Or "reach out directly to our Baggage team at 800-325-8224..." That rolled over to general customer support service with a 2+ hour hold time. In retrospect, that probably was the best alternative.

So I insisted to be connected to Delta's Baggage Service Center using messaging.

After an hour or so of no response, I headed to the airport. All of our bags except one were sitting in the baggage area. The Fly Delta app now showed that remaining bag was arriving from Atlanta. I looked out on the baggage carousel and there it was! All bags present and accounted for.

But I hadn't terminated the messaging dialog with Delta's Baggage Service Center. I kept it active just to see what they knew.

They finally responded 36 hours later.

And we never needed the Suburban.

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