Bad airport experiences

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Gaz
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Bad airport experiences

Post by Gaz » April 2nd, 2008, 1:16 pm

[Apologies for cross-posting -- this is also on the Games Ranch forum...but I'm angry enough to post it twice! And, let's be honest, it probably belongs here...:mrgreen:]

Thought I'd create a thread for anyone who's had a bad experience flying lately to share/vent, as I've just had a shocker...

I flew down to Melbourne from Brisbane for the Easter long weekend. Went with VirginBlue to save c. $20 each way -- I've found them to be pretty good generally in the past. Flight down uneventful but left about 45 minutes late...not too bad these days considering it was the last flight of the day before a long weekend, I guess.

But on the way back...hmmm, I don't think I've had a worse domestic flying experience. Got to the airport about an hour and a half early for my 3pm flight (after an 'interesting' car trip to the airport, but that's another story. Hey Miles :mrgreen: ). Checked in, no worries, got a donut and wasted some more time and then went to the departure gate to board...and the plane's not there (of course -- everything seems to run late these days). Ten minutes after the scheduled boarding time, staff announce that the flight's been cancelled due to some sort of last minute engineering problem. "No problem, these things happen, better they discovered the problem now rather than when we're in the air, they'll look after me," I think. Collected my checked bag and went to re-check-in.

Next direct flight with seats wasn't until 8:30pm -- too long, so they put me on a flight to Sydney to connect to another flight to Brisbane from there. Supposed to reach Brisbane by about 7:00pm (originally I'd have been in Brisbane at 4:30pm). "Okay, they're doing their best," I think, "no dramas, I can be patient." They give me a $6 'meal' voucher for my troubles (honestly, what can you buy in an airport for $6?). Leaving the check-in desk I notice that there were only about 20 people behind me who were scheduled to be on the cancelled flight. The cynical part of me starts to suspect they cancelled the flight because it was not full -- in which case they could have told me YESTERDAY that my flight would be changed -- but I'm not sure, so I forget about it.

The Sydney flight leaves 40 minutes late, no reason given. But I'd still have enough time to catch my transfer to Brisbane, so I don't worry about it. Arrive in Sydney and as I'm exiting the plane, I hear a call for anyone transfering to Brisbane to visit the desk at the gate. "Shit, what's happened now?" I think. I go the desk and lo and behold that connecting flight to Brisbane has been cancelled too, no reason given. Next one leaves in a further half an hour. Getting a bit pissed off now, but whatever. They give me a new boarding pass for the next flight, and my first thought is how they're going to ensure my checked bag gets re-ticketed for the new flight. They assure me it will all be fine and they'll take care of it. I should have known better...

That flight proceeds to leave about 40 minutes late, too, but at least I'm on my way home now. Arrive in Brisbane at about 8:45pm, a bit disenchanted with VirginBlue and flying in general. Go to collect my bag from the luggage carousel...and it doesn't come. Of course. Shit.

Go speak to the "Lost Luggage" lady (that poor woman...imagine it being your job to listen to pissed off passengers all day!) along with a handful of other people who all came from Melbourne like me whose bags didn't appear, and she gets me to explain what's happened. She somehow finds my lost bag 'in the system' on her computer. And she tells me it's actually on its way 'right now' to Brisbane from Sydney where it 'just missed my flight' (yeah, my arse -- clearly it wasn't on the proper flight because Virgin didn't re-ticket it when they changed my flight, but anyway...), and it'll arrive with the flight landing in 20 minutes. Do I want to wait for it? Stupidly I say yes, I'll just wait.

Well, another half hour later it turns out it wasn't on that flight. It was still waiting in Sydney to be 'processed'. It's almost 9:30pm now. I fill out a form and go home. The bag is couriered to me the next day at about midday.

Am I alone in thinking this is massively sub-par treatment for flying domestically in Australia?? That's about 8 hours from Melbourne airport to Brisbane airport -- a 2.5 hour flight away. I know this shit happens all the time in the US and Europe, but somehow I still thought our air industry in Australia wasn't too bad. It wasn't even all that busy on the day this all happened (the Tuesday after the long weekend). I have an angry letter to Richard Branson brewing in me right now...

Anyway sorry for the massive post. But I feel slightly better now; venting is healthy :mrgreen: Please share any bad experiences you've had flying.

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Ches
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Post by Ches » April 2nd, 2008, 2:04 pm

Cunts. I recall having a similarly bad experience in the Sydney airport on my way back from Europe a few years ago. Maybe Miles will remember what happened. I guess the point is, your experience was no 'one off', they're regularly fucked.

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Post by Michael » April 2nd, 2008, 2:24 pm

My worst experiences to date have been with United airlines and US customs. Being forced to re-check our bags + go through US customs despite the fact we're just transferring at Washington DC airport, ridiculously long queues, flight cancellations and missed transfers due to said long queues, missing bags, waiting on standby, having to argue with a representative for 30 minutes to put us in a hotel rather than let us sleep overnight in the airport because standby flight assigned to us was the next day... urgh.

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Post by Miles » April 2nd, 2008, 2:33 pm

We got off pretty light Ches. I think they directed us to the wrong area of the airport because our flight on our tickets was non-existent. They did put us on the next one, but what a fucking drama finding the correct place to be.

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Post by Ches » April 2nd, 2008, 3:14 pm

Err, wtf? I could have sworn that Gamma posted this thread. Nhray for my reading comprehension.

But yeah, it was coming back from the Beer Tour, and apparently i remember it as being worse than it was :) Maybe it was the 24hours of flights beforehand.

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Post by Miles » April 2nd, 2008, 3:16 pm

I think we were just desperate as fuck to get home, yeah.

So Gaz, what's going on with Virgin? When are you going to rip them a new one/let them try to win you back? I'll be interested to see if you get compensation and how much.

Suse's cancelled flight netted her a $174 voucher from Virgin, which she gave to me, score :D

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Post by marto » April 2nd, 2008, 4:01 pm

Oh I got too many shit airline experiences to mention.

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Post by nadnerb » April 2nd, 2008, 9:48 pm

One time we flew with Air France and my mums suitcase got lost somewhere along the line and Air France wouldn't give her any compensation, yet the guy in front of her in the queue got £50 for some lost golf clubs!
So that fact that this guy couldn't play golf was deemed more important than the fact my mum had arrived on a ~24hr flight and couldn't even put on a fresh set of clothes for the next 2 days while they tracked down her suitcase!

I suppose the French must be used to that kind of thing though!

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Post by unfnknblvbl » April 3rd, 2008, 2:01 am

8 hours to get from Melbourne to Brisbane?

I could fucking ride my bike there faster than that!

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Post by buffalo » April 3rd, 2008, 2:20 am

We got stranded in Edinburgh once - they offered us an alternative flight... from Glasgow. All we would have to do is make our own way to Glasgow. Umm... no.

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Post by Stu » April 3rd, 2008, 9:45 am

I caught a QANTAS flight to Bali years ago, sat in my seat and it fell backwards, something wrong with the hinges, thus impossible to keep my seat upright during takeoff, informed the flight attendant who moved us to 2 other seats.

Sat in this one and yep busted as well, what are the odds (QANTAS have old planes - those Jumbos that do the interstate arvo runs are over 30 years old) so I told the flighty again, this was her response.....

"Hmmm okay, just don't lean back during takeoff!!"

:shock: :shock:

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Post by Michael » April 3rd, 2008, 11:46 am

It does concern me how OLD the planes they're flying are sometimes. I mean I know they have regular maintenance, but ultimately the stress of flying continually has got to take its toll on planes in ways you can't really check with a time-limited maintenance checklist, right?

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Post by Ches » April 3rd, 2008, 11:52 am

Aircraft maintenance in first world countries is pretty in depth. I think you'll find that they do things like x-ray critical components for stress fractures regularly and do massive stripdowns and rebuilds less regularly. It's a highly regulated industry. Not to mention that aircraft manufacturers have very strict and explicit agreements with their clients about how to maintain planes if they want their warranties/agreements to remain valid.

Of course the planes themselves are built to tolerances that far exceed the worst punishments they're expected to receive in service anyway.

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Post by Miles » April 3rd, 2008, 12:18 pm

Yep, old planes are very, very, very safe indeed if they've been looked after properly. Some good articles on Salon about this. Here's the main one: http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/col/smi ... index.html

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Post by Michael » April 3rd, 2008, 12:46 pm

Yeah, fair enough, I guess it's just one of those irrational fears like sharks. It makes me feel better already that they do test for stress fractures and so forth. That article was a good read too, cheers.

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Post by nadnerb » April 4th, 2008, 1:00 am

I'll be sleeping overnight at Stansted airport in a couple of months so I can catch a 6am flight.
According to this very helpful site it gets a rating of 3.3 out of 5
http://www.sleepinginairports.net/

I also have this to look forward to:
"I was really impressed by the sense of community among the sleepers, the way that people kept an eye on each others' stuff, were really considerate about noise etc." (Tanya)
"it looks like a refugee camp with the amount of people sleeping" (toby)

:lol:

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Post by buffalo » April 4th, 2008, 1:29 am

Be glad you're not passing through Heathrow at the moment... 28,000 bags lost, 250+ flights cancelled after a new terminal opened a few days ago.

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Post by unfnknblvbl » April 4th, 2008, 2:58 am

Michael wrote:It does concern me how OLD the planes they're flying are sometimes. I mean I know they have regular maintenance, but ultimately the stress of flying continually has got to take its toll on planes in ways you can't really check with a time-limited maintenance checklist, right?
If you think the 747s are getting on a bit, spare a thought for the B-52 (not that you'll likely ever fly in one)

First introduced in 1955, they're scheduled for retirement in... get this... 2040
What's that, you say? It's just the model designation, not the actual airframe?
Nope, think again - those are actual 1955-61 airframes flying around out there... :shock:

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Post by Tim » April 4th, 2008, 3:12 pm

buffalo wrote:Be glad you're not passing through Heathrow at the moment... 28,000 bags lost, 250+ flights cancelled after a new terminal opened a few days ago.
Terminal 5 is well-fucked.

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Post by willy » April 30th, 2008, 5:30 pm

Iv been lucky so far nothing really that bad but havent left australia yet
all my domestic flights have been good so far

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