We knew we were taking a big risk when we booked our Delta flight to Puerto Vallarta. Flying from Toronto, changing planes in Detroit, with only a 57 minute layover, in the dead of winter. What could possibly go wrong?
Our First Clue This Was Not Going To Go Smoothly:
We tried to use those frustrating machines at YYZ to scan our passports for a boarding pass, and the message on the screen told us to “see a Delta agent”. Let me tell you, the Delta Agent could not have been sweeter. She apologized and explained that by law, the crew must have a minimum 10 hour rest between flights. Since last night’s flight arrived late, they must wait an additional 20 minutes before we could take off. Our 57 minute stop-over had now become 37 minutes.
Our Second Clue:
It turned out that we needed to stop for a few minutes on the runway to de-ice the plane. OK, so if we have the wind on our tail, we should still make our connection. Then the Pilot announced that there was some slight mechanical issue, not a big deal, but we will be delayed a little longer. Our 37 minutes was quickly eaten up.
You’d Think They Would Have Waited For Us
We arrived in Detroit 5 minutes too late. There were 15 passengers on our flight all wanting to connect to Puerto Vallarta. You’d think they would have held the gate. But no, we missed our connection.
It’s All In How You Respond
While we were waiting to confirm an alternative flight, we met 3 women who were in the same predicament. The 5 of us were un-phased, after all, we were all going to Mexico. How can you be angry? We watched with amazement and amusement at the young man who was cursing and yelling at the Delta staff for their “incompetence”. He told them that this whole thing happened because the Pilot in Toronto slept in. He was demanding compensation. Whatever, the 5 of us decided to line up and get our new flights.
3 of us (myself, and 2 of the women we just met) were sent to Mexico City, and the other 2 were sent to Dallas. All of us would eventually end up in Puerto Vallarta, but separated from each other, and a couple of hours apart. We tried to swap flights so the 3 ladies could fly together, and I could fly with my friend, but that seemed to confuse those poor Delta agents who were trying so hard to accommodate everyone. So we just politely accepted our assignments.
The five of us did eventually reunite in Puerto Vallarta, and three of us actually found their luggage on the carousel! Myself and one of the ladies we met were not so lucky. Which boggles the mind, because we all loaded our luggage at the same place and the same time….those suitcases all travelled down that conveyor belt united and yet somehow, 2 suitcases went astray.
Economies of Scale
Spending so much time with these 3 new friends made the delays and the confusion so much more tolerable. While chatting about where we were staying (they were going to Bucerias, and we were going a little further north to Sayulita), we decided to hire a van and split the cost.
My luggage arrived the next morning, delivered to my hotel!
As for the 5 of us, we enjoyed meeting each other so much we stayed in touch in Mexico and decided to meet up during our stay.
And what happened to that angry male passenger who yelled at Delta staff and made a big fuss over the delay? He and his wife both made it to Puerto Vallarta on the Dallas connection, and each got a $250.00 credit from Delta!
When Delta sent my satisfaction survey, I told them the story and reminded them that I was ever so patient and understanding. I said “….so could I please have a $250.00 credit too? :)”. I’m still waiting for their reply.
UPDATE: Delta replied with an apology, an appreciation for my business, and a $250 credit. Good on you Delta!