JFK – MIA: What a long, strange trip it’s been. Part 1.

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The problems started before we even arrived at the airport.

While on the shuttle en-route to JFK, we received text and email alerts telling us our flight had been cancelled due to stormy weather on the east coast that weekend and flight cancellations were pretty much inevitable. And as it pertains to the bizarrely “taboo” subject of delays and cancellations, perhaps l should explain my “givens” in these situations.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear; the airline check-in staff, ground staff, pilots and crew didn’t wake up that morning and say “Hey, here’s a great idea, lets delay Franc.” No airline staff member, ever, sets out to have an aircraft full of angry passengers to deal with because they chose to delay or cancel your flight, it just doesn’t happen. And another given is that shouting, screaming, huffing, stomping or telling the staff how important you are, will not make that plane take off any sooner than feasible or indeed safe.

However, what you will achieve about getting annoyed is elevated stress levels, increased blood pressure, and the God-given fact that once you’ve really ticked off everyone, you’re not going to be their top priority for ongoing assistance. Don’t even think about asking for a pillow.

My advice in this type of situation, is call your TMC and have them rebook you. This is something that I’ve advised, and if I had my jazz hands on I’d say even preached to clients for decades. When a flight is cancelled and you’re in an airport, you’re very likely one of a couple of hundred people in the same situation. An airline customer service desk then has to rebook and/or possibly house displaced passengers, and at very least advise all of said people on what to do next. With the best will in the world, those four or five (if you’re lucky) customer service staff have a huge volume of passengers to deal with and as such it’s not going to be fast. So this might be a good time to walk a mile in their shoes.

When you call your TMC, you’re the one person on the phone and you have one agent dedicated to helping you and only you. There is no queue and you have their undivided attention and until they know you’ve been looked after; they simply won’t stop trying to help you. Let me also be clear, that doesn’t mean they can make planes fly, but they can tell you what planes will fly and what their “true” departure times are shaping up to look like.

Rant over and now back to JFK.  To be continued.