Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HNL to LAS: Solving a Delayed Flight Problem

An Hawaiian Airlines and American Airlines jet.
(photo: WorldNews)
Eventually it was going to happen to me. My flight would be delayed by so many hours that the airline would get me to my destination a day after my original arrival date. That is unless I could get some help to fix it.

My originally itinerary was as follows:
CarrierFlight NumberDepartingArrivingBooking
CityDate & TimeCityTime
American Airlines
7:20 AM

EconomySeat 21HFood For Purchase
American Airlines
5:50 PM

EconomySeat 9D

So at 2am on May 15, I get one of those automated phone alerts from American Airlines that flight AA270 is delayed and that my itinerary has changed to depart at 1pm from Honolulu and arrive in Los Angeles after 10pm and connect on flight that leaves at 9pm. I'm not sure which magical world the airline lives on but I can't connect on a flight that leaves before I arrive in Los Angeles.

As a platinum member in their Aadvantage mileage program I call American Airlines customer service using the platinum elite number. The service rep finds a flight where I would overnight in L.A. and then connect on a flight to Las Vegas to arrive on the afternoon of May 16th. Keep in mind the agent is trying to keep me on an American Airlines flight. I say I have already prepaid for my hotel. At that point she is able to find other flights that could get me to Vegas sooner. The best she found was to fly American to L.A. then in a 45-minute layover switch to a United Airlines flight. There's still something wrong with this picture. The two airlines are at different terminals and with any slightest delay I may not make the connecting flight. Also what irks me is I'm not told why my original flight was delayed. The automated message did not tell me nor could the customer service rep.

Keep in mind this is still after 2am on May 15th. This is where it helps to know alternate flights that the customer service agent on the phone may not find right away. So I say Hawaiian Airlines flies non-stop from Honolulu to Las Vegas. Can you get me on one of those flights. Surprise. The customer service representative finds that Hawaiian does have seats available and after being on hold for over 15 minutes, I am confirmed on HA18 to Las Vegas to arrive four-and-a-half hours later than my original arrival time on American. However the agent cannot confirm any seats nor any fees I may incur while flying an alternate carrier.

At this moment all I know is this:
CarrierFlight NumberDepartingArrivingBooking
CityDate & TimeCityTime
Hawaiian Airlines
3:00 PM


This is where I probably had an advantage. I call Hawaiian Airlines where I also hold a Puulani Gold elite status in their  HawaiianMiles program. The customer service representative confirms an aisle seat. I then ask that since I am elite member on Hawaiian would I still have to pay the fee to check a bag even though I was rebooked from an American flight. Less than a couple of minutes later the agent says I can use my Hawaiian gold benefits which means early boarding and no checked bag fee.

Though I'm arriving near midnight I'd much rather arrive at that time than after 12 noon the next day. Since I have an extra few hours before my 3pm departure, I can get some extra sleep.

Lesson Learned: Be familiar with flights and routes on your preferred airline and on other airlines, keep airline telephone numbers handy and know your rights. By the way Rule 240 is owed some thanks. Click HERE to read American's in depth interpretation of the rule.


Jeremy Hasselhoff said...

You should solve the delayed Flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Many people had some problems with this flight delayed.

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