Left at the wrong airport after a cancellation

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Should airlines compensate their passengers for delays? Before you answer, meet Melissa Bailey-Yoder, who lives in Waterbury, Vt., and was flying from Rome to Burlington via Philadelphia on US Airways this summer.

Her case suggests that all operational delays aren’t equal and that, sometimes, an airline may shoulder some of the responsibility for helping a passenger, even when an “Act of God” is to blame.

But I’ll let you decide what I need to do with this case, as I do every Monday in this feature.

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It started when Bailey-Yoder’s return flight from Rome to Philadelphia was canceled.

“We were told there was nothing that could be done, because it was due to the weather,” she says. But US Airways offered an alternative. They could fly her to Boston instead.

“Once there, we would be left to our own devices to get to Burlington,” she remembers.

Bailey-Yoder tried to find out whether US Airways could put her on a standby flight back to Burlington, but she says no one would help her. “We decided to rent a car and drive home,” she says.

Here’s the problem: Once you accept an airline’s alternative transportation, it considers its obligations met — even when it leaves you nine hours from home. Customers like Bailey-Yoder, on the other hand, view it differently. They see the airline’s obligation as getting them to the city on their ticket.

As a consumer advocate, I tend to side with passengers on this argument, but I also think travelers have an obligation to negotiate an acceptable resolution before they board their flight. If you’re going to send me to Boston, you should pay for my rental car or bus to Burlington.

That needs to happen in advance, not afterwards.

I asked to see the correspondence between he and US Airways. I’ll just skip to the last email from the airline, since it says everything we need to know:

After thorough research of your travel records and our flight logs, I have not found any reason to change the original decision and am unable to honor your request for compensation.

All airlines must operate under the direction of Air Traffic Control (ATC). In this incident we were following ATC directions and would not offer compensation for these flight irregularities.

At this time we are considering your case closed and you should not expect to receive any further communication from our office regarding this matter.

Don’t you love the ol’ “get lost” kicker that says, “Don’t bother contacting us again, because we’ll just ignore you”? Me too.

But surely, US Airways knows that Burlington is not Boston, and that this passenger had to pay for a rental car to get home. Can it just blame air traffic control for its failure to get you to your final destination when it said it would and then tell you that it’ll ignore future emails from you?

Yes, it can.

That doesn’t make it right. Airlines give themselves all kind of permissions in their one-sided contracts with customers, including the right to keep your money, the right to change your flight without offering any compensation, and indeed, the right to disregard a published schedule.

What’s more, customers can’t negotiate these contracts. It’s “take-it-or-leave-it” and there are no alternatives, since every airline has more or less the same contract.

So, I’m seriously considering trying to help Bailey-Yoder, who was left in the wrong city by US Airways and is now being ignored by it. Is the airline allowed to do this? Yes. But something just feels wrong.

Should I mediate Bailey-Yoder's case with US Airways?

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187 thoughts on “Left at the wrong airport after a cancellation

    1. Yeah she was covered, but as Chris said it was an act of nature and she agreed to a new destination instead. Now she is regretting her decision and using an advocate to get money from the airline.

      1. The airline’s are suppose to get you to your destination. CO pulled this on a client, who called me from the airport. Due to a hurricane, her flight was canceled to SFO but they could get her to OAK. She was trying to arrange a rental car to get to SFO when she called me. I told her to go to customer service, which she did, and they paid for a shuttle from OAK to SFO. AS does this a lot due to weather in our area. They leave passengers in OAK or SFO telling them they are on their own. No, they have to get passengers to their destination airport and those that complain, get it taken care of.

        1. At least, from OAK to SFO, there’s the reasonably-priced BART in a pinch. But, yes, the airlines should get one to one’s destination.

          1. Ah, Bart doesn’t go to OAK, but even if it did, the airline is responsible to get the passenger to their destination.

          2. Yes, it pretty much does. There is a regular shuttle called AirBART that takes you from the terminal to the nearest BART station for an extra $2.

          3. People want easy access to public transit. It exists at OAK, but to someone who doesn’t know, your post implies otherwise.

          4. So there is now a BART station at OAK? I thought you said there was the shuttle, which I know about. If there is a station at the airport, I take back what I said. If it is still the shuttle, then BART doesn’t really go to the station. Just like Amtrak does come here, but their shuttle does. Not the same.

        2. Hey Bodega, will they still do that today?
          I thought SFO and OAK are co-terminals (multi-city)

          so the airline will say you have arrived at your destination 🙂

          1. That is for pricing. BTW, I forgot, UA paid for a shuttle to get us home once. Got into SFO after the last flight to STS left and after the last airport bus left. The shuttle guy was SO excited to drive up to the apple vineyard area (we still chuckle about his mixup!).

  1. Then do not agree to the reroute. It is that simple. But if you agree, then stop complaining.

    From Rome, US Airways flies to Philadelphia or Charlotte first then to Boston or Burlington (from PHL only). If you change your destination to BOS, then the only way to fly to BTV from BOS is to go back to PHL or go to DCA. These are the USAir hubs up here in the Northeast.

    1. Did the OP fly on US Airways metal from Rome to Boston? Because if the OP flew into PHL, I would have asked an agent in PHL to reroute me to BTV after clearing customs.

      1. Probably to CLT then BOS. The better way to do this, IMO, is to let the the hub agents in CLT figure out how to take the pax to BTV if the Italian agent could not handle it. They could be working on it while she was on the 10+ hr. flight to CLT.

    2. There is nothing in here about a flight from Philly to Burlington. She probably did a Philly round trip because it was cheaper, and now she’s trying to extort more money from the airlines for getting her closer to home.

    3. But if you agree, then stop complaining.

      Can a passenger even agree to waive their rights under EC261 Article 8 (which applies even in “extraordinary circumstances” outside the airline’s control)?

      If US Airways’ position is that she “agreed” to waive her Article 8 rights, did they get this agreement spelled out in writing (if the passenger claimed the airline agreed to something outside the law and outside the CoC, wouldn’t you ask whether she got that in writing?)

      And wouldn’t Article 15 make any such an agreement unenforceable anyway?

      Article 8
      Right to reimbursement or re-routing

      1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:
      (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

      (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

      Article 15
      Exclusion of waiver

      1. Obligations vis-à-vis passengers pursuant to this Regulation may not be limited or waived, notably by a derogation or restrictive clause in the contract of carriage.

      2. If, nevertheless, such a derogation or restrictive clause is applied in respect of a passenger, or if the passenger is not correctly informed of his rights and for that reason has accepted compensation which is inferior to that provided for in this Regulation, the passenger shall still be entitled to take the necessary proceedings before the competent courts or bodies in order to obtain additional compensation.

      1. I think Tony changed his mind about his stance on this one, based on my read of his later comments.

        BTW, good sleuthing on your part.

      2. This is the difference between US and EU rules. The US rules have a gotcha if you agree to change the contract (due to pressure from the airline). The EU rules don’t and since there is a duty to care, the bills can pile up quickly.

  2. I voted “no.” Once she accepted the reroute the airline’s responsibility was satisfied in Boston. The time to negotiate an alternative is before you accept a change not after. USAir said they would take her to Boston instead and she accepted that. Case closed at that point.

    Sadly, if she had declined the reroute, eu261 would have provided food and accommodation until they could get her home but no cash compensation.

    1. I don’t know if that’s true, it would really depend how their “options” were scared into them. Imagine your in Rome at Leonardo Airport, you’re in a foreign country, and the airline basically says “sorry were not flying you, were going to leave you here. Then they say “maybe we can fly you close, say to Boston”. What are you supposed to do swim? You figure Boston’s better than nothing, and what resources do you have? Maybe you don’t have a mobile phone that will work in Italy, maybe the airline is saying take this flight or leave it, hurry up you have 5 minutes. How are you supposed to invoke EU261, when you don’t even know who to call, and it’s now or maybe forever?

      1. I’d rather get stuck in Rome. It’s a beauty.
        Anyway, why rent a car? She could take a bus from Logan to South Station and another bus to Burlinton VT probably for twenty bucks.
        Besides, airlines are not in the business of refunding car rentals.

        1. She probably needed to go back to the Burlington airport because her car was there. She lives in Waterbury.

          I missed a connection in Charlotte once because my original flight out of Savannah was delayed, affecting the incoming flight whose plane we were to take. My car was at IAD. The ticket agent could not find me any flight there on any airline, wanted to send me to DCA. Fine, I said, but you have to get me from DCA to IAD because there is no transit. It took a while to work out but they gave me a cab voucher. I’m pretty sure they bent rules because the original delay was weather. They also gave me a meal voucher as I was going to be stuck in the airport all day. This was US Air, BTW. Of course it was 5 years ago. Who knows what would happen today.

          1. Yes they will give you a cab/shuttle voucher (for cross airports) but you are already inside the USA for that to happen (since the agents here know the business well).
            The problem is arranging that in Rome. I really doubt anyone in T5 will do that. Based from my experience, those people in T5 work for a 3rd party company.

          2. There is no transit in Washington, D.C.? What about Blue line to Roslyn, then the 5A express? Yes, the taxi is more convenient, but if one was to base an argument for a taxi to Dulles on the proposition that there is “no transit” going there would not be persuasive to me.

          3. Considering that I wasn’t even arriving at DCA till nearly 11 pm on a Sunday night, that was not an option. Period.

            (I’ll be honest. That would not have occurred to me in a million years, because I have not ridden a bus in this area since 1979 and have absolutely no idea what routes exist. But even if I were, I see from the sked that the last bus out of Rosslyn is well before I would have been able to get that far.)

          4. You’re quite correct then, and I would have been persuaded late on a Sunday night! I’ve been on the 5A during the daytime, but unfortunately it does not run overnight. Once the Silver line is complete the options will be better (but even then, the Metro rail lines still won’t operate overnight).

          5. Sorry, but five years ago there was definitely public transit between DCA and IAD. The Blue and Orange Line metros took you as far as West Falls Church Station, and the Washington Flyer bus from there. It is safe, frequent, inexpensive, and very accessible transit. The Washington Flyer bus service is very well advertised in the DC region so I’m surprised you didn’t know about it, though I could imagine the Charlotte ticket agent may have been unaware.

          6. Well, whatever. The only experience I ever had with the Washington Flyer bus was in the 1970s from K Street, and it was absolutely terrible. Thirty years later, I had no freaking clue about any other routes. Why would I? I don’t ride Metro regularly, I’ve never been to either Falls Church station. I have never taken transit to IAD; I always drive. I don’t pay attention to advertising at all and couldn’t tell you where any Washington Flyer stop is if you put a gun to my head. And I’m still betting that at 11 p.m. on a Sunday there were not any decent options regardless.

        2. Not saying the airline should necessarily be on the hook for the car, but given she very likely had checked bags I can see why a bus (or two?) wouldn’t have been appealing.

          1. True. But I still find it incredible that they are dumped 180 miles away from their airport. BTV and BOS are not even close to each other. Something is very wrong here.

          2. TonyA when those agents have a flight full of people they have to get home, they don’t take the time to look around much for alternatives for them. I bet the agent was happier to get her off the line so she could deal with the next one.

            In many cases the client can get better info if they call the airline to rebook instead of using the harried gate agent.

          3. Or call their TA/OTA. I’ve skipped the line many times on international flight routing and just had the OTA take care of it.

          4. @TonyA – I had Delta try to leave me at Los Angles when my final destination was San Jose. I was very young and intimidated but fought for the correct airport anyway. I had to spend the night sleeping on benches at LAX but they did get me home eventually.

          5. I once accepted a re-route from RIC (Richmond VA) to DCA, having also missed a connection in Charlotte. I could have held out for a possible seat on other overbooked flights, but figured going to DCA and driving was safer. As the airline wanted me to go standby on the other flights, and I had to convince them of this option, I paid for the rental car myself. I chalked it up to stuff happens and got to my destination only a few hours late.

          6. It might not be appealing traveling with baggage generally, but if one is able to check bags with an airline, one should certainly be capable as well checking bags with a bus line.

        3. When my DEN-MSN got canceled, which happened a lot, I always re-routed to ORD and took the Badger bus for $20. It even had free WiFi.

          1. Those are directs, right? Are they diverted to Chicago or do you change your flight to Chicago? If it is diverted, shouldn’t they pay for the bus fare?

          2. The DEN-MSN is direct, but they CX it due to weather. My choices are wait until the next direct MSN-DEN with room flies, get a refund, or fly to ORD. I then get a last minute back middle seat on DEN-ORD direct. I just looked up the Badger Bus and they no longer due a pickup at ORD. It used to go from ORD to the UW Madison Union, if I couldn’t find a ride while on the bus, then I would cab it to MSN to get my car. The cab was like $12. They also had Van Guilder bus (Or something like that), but I never took that one.

          3. Don’t you mean the Van Galder (Coach USA) bus from O’Hare to Madison? The Badger bus operates from the Milwaukee airport to Madison.

          1. I usually anticipate bus travel at around $8 to $10 per hour of travel. It is a five hour journey from Boston to Burlington.

        4. Compared to Burlington, I’d see it as a sign to permanently relocate starting now. That said if you’ve ever lived in Rome, you’d now it’s got its ugly parts too.

  3. Actually I voted yes, because the airline should have offered her an alternate way home. Although she should not have accepted an alternate routing that left her stranded in another airport, that would be her fault if she had refused a routing that DID get her home and instead opted for another airport. The airline staff should have been able to figure this out and offer her an alternative that was acceptable inasmuch as it would get her to the correct place.

    1. The airline did offer an alternative. In fact, they probably offered at least two: go to Boston today or wait until we can fly again to Philadelphia (and there is an available seat). There may or may not have been other choices (such as we have a seat to Charlotte). Her choice. Completely voluntary. High pressure tactics not needed.

  4. I voted yes, the airline has an obligation to get you home, and if they cancel a schedule or whatever that just means they have an obligation to get you back when the weather improves on the soonest flight. Airlines use these high pressure tactics to get out of their EU261 obligations, because if you accept their alternate routing, than they have complied.

    1. Chris does not mention any high pressure tactics, so why didn’t the OP ask one simple question “How do I get home from Boston?” And if renting the car was the answer why didn’t the OP ask if they were going to be reimbursed at that point?

      1. It is my guess that the OP is an inexperienced traveler that made an assumption that the airline will refund her the transportation costs from Boston to Vermont.

      2. That may not have done her any good anyway. A GA will tell you almost anything to get rid of you. So I’m sure this GA would have told her the airline would pay for the rental car, and then the airline would deny it later. We see it happen all the time.

      3. It sounds like she DID ask that question. It says “Once there, we WOULD be left to our devices,” she REMEMBERS. That implies to me that she asked and they told her sorry, it’s Boston and that’s it. And then it sounds like she tried again when they got there, to get a flight to Burlington, and they told her no, so she finally just rented a car. I could be reading into it, but as written, that’s what it sounds like.

      4. Thats my issue, because thats the first thing I would say. “Thank you, but I live in Burlington, not Boston and that’s where I need to get home too”. They knew they fly there because of the weather issue, so whens the next flight after the weather clears. My impression is that the airline used some fear tactics to get rid of them.

    2. Imagine being in T5 at FCO. You think an Italian contractor would know where Burlington VT is?
      Offering Boston is actually off the beaten path for US Airways already since workers there often only route to hubs. It could have been a codeshare via London or something like that. But, I bet it was the nearest to Vermont they could offer.
      Here’s a tip, if you are in a foreign airport and your final destination is a small town in the USA, do not expect the foreign agent to know all the routes beyond the US gateway. Be prepared to suggest your own routing.

        1. I think the issue here is routing competence in international locations where the airline has outsourced staff due to limited number of flights. I doubt they are familiar with USAirway’s inside USA routing options.

          Unless they look harder or have a good idea of USAir’s network then they would not necessarily see the FCO-CLT-DCA-BTV routing.
          I think they saw the FCO-CLT-BOS route and thought that’s good enough.

          The LW didn’t know any better so she said sure I’ll take that.
          My advice for those who use small airports is you better be prepared with a list of routing options (to get home) so you can bargain with the ticket/desk agent.

          1. I agree about having a list. I carried a list of all of the Star Alliance and Sky Team partners routesflights when we traveled internationally in case if the flight is cancelled, postponed, etc.

          2. I think Elliott can have a “paid” portion of his forum where he can put all these wonderful tricks in an organized fashion. That way he can raise enough money to keep his site going without the influence from Boarding Area.

        2. Not really, calling the 800# even for an OTA would have gotten you to a “somewhat” english speaking rep, who could easily bring up the routes to any destination.

          1. No, but their booking system would. I don’t know where a lot of things are, but I don’t need to if i type the origination and destination into a booking system and the system knows.

      1. I think Montreal is closer. My understanding is that many people in Burlington and Plattsburgh go to Montreal for less expensive air fares.

    3. Based on your argument, you should have voted no. The airline would have gotten her back to her ticketed destination, as required by their contract. They did not stop serving that airport, a individual flight was cancelled. The traveler was not happy with what they could offer her to get her to that location, so they made and alternate offer, made it clear that from Boston she would be on her own. She accepted that alternative and now is unhappy with that decision and wants someone to fight her battle. Every airline list their contract of carriage on their website, and will make it available to you for inspection at the airport. Before traveling, its a good idea to read that contract and know what your getting into. Some airlines are far more restrictive than others, but all are basically the same in regards to what they must provide (transport from A to B) and in what situations they are responsible for alternate arrangements ( ATC delays and cancellations due to weather are broadly considered an act of god and the airline is off the hook). Mechanical delays, they are responsible for, as they control the maintenance issues.

      1. The issue is all about what information the passenger was provided. If she was advised of all the material facts, including that she would be financially responsible for travel from her alternate destination, then she is changing the rules after reaching an agreement, and should not be allowed to do so.

        On the other hand, they carrier is obliged to make her aware that acceptance of an alternate destination absolved them of any further financial responsibility Not advising the passenger of those material terms makes the new agreement unenforceable.

        Btw Chris, boilerplate contracts not negotiated at arms length by equal parties are nowhere near as ironclad as u suggest.

        1. Based on the article she was made well aware of the fact she would be on her own at Boston. It read to me like she was indeed trying to change the terms after the fact. Contracts of cariage are not the same as typical contracts a person would enter I to for other things. The do not have to be negotiated individually, it’s is the consumers responsibility to read the contracts and decide if they are willing to accept the terms. By proceeding with the purchase, you are by default agreeing to the contract of carriage as written.

  5. She accepted the alternative. Had she wanted to be transported to Burlington, she should have rejected to offer to be transported instead to Boston. (Note that it is only five hours from Boston to Burlington, and had she bargained to be flown to Montreal instead of Boston, it would have only been 2-1/2 hours back to Burlington.) Instead, she accepted a modification to the contract.

        1. The intermediate stops made by Greyhound Lines within New Hampshire are at Manchester (Boston Express station and/or at the airport), Concord (Concord Coach Lines station), and Hanover (Hanover Inn); Megabus serves no intermediate stations in New Hampshire. However, even if there were a liquor store near one or more of these stops, the schedule does have the bus at any of these stops long enough to make such a purchase.

      1. We actually had a discussion during the editing process. We let the Google decide with its infallible maps application. /sarcasm

        I would have stopped at the liquor store too after a trip like that. Is the Nouveau out yet?

        1. I was going to call the 5 hour claim sensationalism, but adding the extra time for a stop at the NH liquor store now makes sense. 🙂

          1. Not sensational at all. When I’ve traveled between Boston and Burlington, it has taken about five hours, just as scheduled. There is no excessive padding in the travel time.

          2. I don’t even know where Burlington is, I don’t actually know of anything in Massachusetts outside of Boston.

      2. Greyhound Lines. It is true that Megabus only takes four hours because of fewer stops, but Megabus only operates once daily (one additional departure on Fridays and Sundays), whereas Greyhound Lines operates four times daily. While a rental car might be slightly faster for the journey itself, by the time all the rental and return formalities are completed, and travel to and from rental locations are factored in, the total time consumed is probably about the same as the bus travel time.

          1. Man you can speed like a devil in that highway.
            They all like they are driving in the Speedway in Loudon.
            BTW the lobster shacks are great in Loudon – this is my mandatory stop.

  6. Once she accepted the re-route, I don’t blame the airline for thinking it’s obligations were fulfilled. Once you arrive in Boston (or after you get home) is not the time to start negotiating for a rental car. If the airline knew they were going to be considered on the hook for an expensive one-way walk-up rental car, they might have refused to offer the re-route…

    I think this is a clear case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If US had not offered the re-route, would the OP have been writing in complaining she didn’t get one, even though BOS was just a modest rental-car journey away? US wasn’t obligated to do anything at all other than put her on the next available US seat to PHL, who knows how much later. Would she have preferred to arrive at home one or more days later?

    “Don’t you love the ol’ “get lost” kicker that says, “Don’t bother contacting us again, because we’ll just ignore you”? Me too.”

    Well, if she had written in repeatedly, using the same arguments multiple times, I can’t say I’d blame US for deciding that there was nothing more to be gained by replying any more.

  7. Travel insurance…it seems like the OP had no travel insurance. The experts recommend buying travel insurance when taking an international trip like the OP did.

  8. I think US Airways should have done more to get the LW to her destination. But she accepted the new routing without asking how she will get back to Burlington. At that point she has pretty much negated any additional assistance from the airline. i realize that the contracted employees in Rome are not going to know all the possibilities with travel to smaller cities in the US. However those employees do have phone contacts at the airline. The LW could have and should have insisted that they call US Airways to sort out the transportation from Boston to Burlington before accepting that alternative routing.

    1. Even if they could not or did not call, sending the LW to an alternate US or AA hub and telling the LW to go to the desk there to get flights to BTV is a much better way to handle this. Re-routing the pax to a city 180 miles away is just simply ridiculous.

      I thought I might add that when I was flying AA back from FCO to JFK, the flight landed in BOS instead because of bad weather. The told us they will bus us to NYC. But the rain in BOS was much stronger than JFK (I knew since I called my office which is a few miles from JFK). The plane was stuck at the Logan tarmac for quite a while. Then finally, ATC gave our flight clearance to take off and continue to JFK. The point is if we actually deplaned in BOS, then those who refused to take the bus to NYC would be on their own 🙁

      1. I was once booked on an airline whose flight attendants went on strike while we were actually boarding the plane. We were supposed to land in Luxembourg but they wanted to send us to Brussels instead. I was not as savvy a traveler as I am now but I insisted on either a flight to Luxembourg or transportation to get us there. The airline, after a very long discussion, booked us to Luxembourg where our family was living at the time.

        1. +100. I think this was the problem here. The poor LW did not know her rights and what she was entitled to when she agreed to re-route to BOS.
          It is hard to think that flights from/to Europe have more rights when we have so little here inside the USA.

  9. If you want things like this to change and airlines COC to protect the passengers everytime this happens to a passenger they should file a complaint with the DOT, FAA and write to their representative. They don’t participate with the BBB and don’t care of the ratings they have either nor is complaining to the airline directly (as you see) going to do much. Complaining to the airline is asking a greedy corporation to ignore the contract they have with you and it’s most likely not happening. Good thing there are consumer advocates trying to do the “right” thing here but it’s not really fair because if you advocate for this person what about the hundreds probably thousands of people that are affected by ATC delays and cancellations that don’t get any compensation or help. No one reads the COC but anytime you hear ATC, weather, or FAA mandatory timed out crew members they’re not obligated to compensate or even help. Sure, they can email a consumer advocate too but some people don’t even know what ATC is let alone a consumer advocate. I don’t agree or think it’s morally acceptable but that’s the legislation they operate under. Don’t like it try to get legislation changed that would help out more people than just advocating on behalf of one person yet I realize that’s your job so sure try and help her but I don’t have a lot of hope for her case since she probably signed something before they flew her to boston. Travel insurance and flexible fares often help in these cases I believe but I also realize not everyone can afford or even knows what that is.

    1. “Travel insurance and flexible fares often help in these cases I believe but I also realize not everyone can afford or even knows what that is.”

      Travel insurance is affordable…it is my guess that the OP decided to take the risks of not having insurance. If the OP couldn’t afford travel insurance then she shouldn’t have taken the trip.

      If she was unaware of travel insurance then she should have dealt with a travel agent. When you are a DIY travel agent then you assume the risks.

      1. I agree I was just trying to be nice about it……. I personally don’t think anyone should be flying that can’t comprehend what an ATC delay or a ground stop means either but I try to be nice when commenting on other people’s misfortunes…..

        1. Some airlines do a better job at this (of course depending on the location).
          I suspect what you have here is a poorly trained staff in a remote location which suddenly has to reroute ~290 passengers. I believe it was a lot harder to get the pax to somewhere in the USA from Rome than to get the same pax from somewhere in the USA to BTV. But the one in Rome was probably just wanting to get the pax to the USA 🙂

        2. Not all of us are travel agents. I fly just a few times a year but at least one of those flights every year since 2000 has been to Europe, and for a non-frequent-flier I try to educate myself as much as posslble. (And boy, have I learned a lot from this forum.) That said, I do not have a clue what an ATC delay or a ground stop are. Should I? Does everyone have to have a TA level of knowledge? I can’t think of too many other purchases where it seems you need to be an expert or you are screwed. Anyway, please allow me to board my next flight, I promise I will try not to be too stupid.

          1. I am very sorry if I offended you. I should have worded that differently. An ATC delay means that air traffic control has issued a delay for reasons such as weather, air traffic congestion (like rush hour traffic on the interstate) or low clouds (fog), or another aircraft may have a medical or mechanical emergency and they need to keep more space between planes, presidential or government travel can cause them to need to delay to keep a space clear or clear for so much space around it are the most common but there’s so many. ATC which is air traffic control keeps you safe their jobs are just as important if not more than the pilots and mechanics especially in HUBS or busy airspaces. Google how ATC keeps aircraft landing during a thunder storm and it will give you a live look at how many planes are in one area and how close they are a spilt second or a very small space error could mean disaster. A ground stop is usually issued by ATC as well but also OPS or the tower you may hear it called that (operations OCC) may issue a ground stop when lightening or bad weather is within so many miles of the ramp that’s a Fed thing per the faa. ATC can put a ground stop meaning no planes can take off or land at a certain airport for weather or too much traffic or for specific reasons such as an emergency event with a plane or at the airport itself. Anytime you don’t understand the meaning of a delay I encourage you to ask your crew or an agent and hopefully they will be courteous enough to explain in detail what’s going on you have a right to know and they are also supposed to update you every 15 minutes not answering the questions or not updating passengers can result in huge fines from the DOT and the FAA but it’s up to passengers to report them to the governing agencies. You don’t need to be an expert by any means but to save yourself headaches and learn that most of the time it’s out of the airlines control (like when a 18 wheeler turns over on the freeway or someone has a wreck or the roads ice over etc) there can be weather at 15k ft and not on the ground. I would Google it for a better explanation. it’s a huge fete to get just one flight off the ground with normal operations so when something goes wrong and it does almost daily it creates CHAOS even if the event was 7 states away. I didn’t mean to make you feel stupid again I apologize. I don’t work for an airline. I don’t know what you mean by TA? but the atc and ground stops are delays issued by air traffic or ops because of federal rules in place for the safety of passengers and crew. The reason to be educated is so you know your rights so you don’t get screwed not just because. It’s best to know these things so when it happens you have more control over the situation rather than feeling like your held hostage. I don’t mean read the contract of carriage (although it’s not a bad idea to know your carriers general policies) and things like that. Please accept my apology I will be more careful with my words it was not nice to say people shouldn’t fly if they don’t know what those are what I meant and should have said that people would be a lot less frustrated if they knew the reasoning behind certain delays occurrences that can cause irregular operations that if ignored could cost people their lives (it’s that serious) so when your affected you know that it’s not just to piss people off there is actually a good reason for it… I’m very sorry!

  10. Definitely mediate, because US Scare is dead wrong here. When there is a weather delay. it’s a delay – they still have to get the passenger there eventually. They can’t just take her money and tell her to p* off.

    1. But they didn’t just tell her to p off they gave her an alternate route and she agreed to fly to Boston where she was then on her own and I bet my first born she signed a stub looking type “certificate” stating she understood that hence why they don’t “have” to help her. Should they? Morally yeah I think so but in a corporate world with stock holders and legislation in place to protect logistic corporation they don’t have to. Which is why I believe her letters should be to the dot, FAA, and her representative……

      1. What you mean is that they bullied her into a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer of a different city.That “we have you over a barrel because you could be stuck in a foreign country” is perhaps the most infuriating aspect of dealing with airlines. When this happens in the context of a weather delay, there would be a sea of other passengers trying to make some arrangement for getting home at the same time.

        1. How do you figure she was bullied? Sounds like it was a “weather” delay per the article so I am not sure what all options she could have been given. A gate agent can’t just produce a non existent machine such as say a “delorian” to fly through any type of weather or even an additional aircraft if the one for her scheduled route was stuck somewhere else due to weather. If she was panicked or demanding to fly regardless of the reason for the delay it could be that going to Boston was the only option available to offer her? It could be that the agent was outsourced and didn’t even work for us scare and had little resources to reroute her or compensate her and was likely being asked by hundreds of people (as you said) to do the same thing. There’s a “certificate” that states what your agreeing to when they do that type of thing for a delay for weather, ATC (which atc is the one that can issue a weather delay), or FAA mandated crew time outs and she could have took a moment to read it and then would have known they’d deny her compensation or have asked to speak to a manager that maybe if done so with kindness could have gotten herself a rental car or better routing options. I myself choose to believe that most agents try to do the best with the resources they are given (which at times are next to none) and are sometimes met with hostile and downright mean and threatening people because they don’t know how to deal with their emotions when kinks are thrown into their logistical plans. Maybe she was met with a nasty agent but even so two negatives don’t make a positive if your nice to people even if they are not nice to you 90% of the time they will also in return start to be nice back (that’s a fact proven by studies) I don’t believe this lady did that and am not saying that but I don’t see any reason here given the statements in the article to believe she was “bullied” into anything. When weather strikes what would you suggest they do? Do people call the person that sold them a car or a set of certain tires when they can’t drive on icy roads and expect them to get them where they planned to go? Just because you buy a ticket on an airplane or a train doesn’t mean that there can’t be weather or traffic or other related issues that make it a logistical nightmare and sometimes as human beings the best just isn’t good enough so if you have a better plan please enlighten them by writing to the DOT, FAA, and your local representative. As I stated earlier morally they would be doing the “right” thing to compensate her but with the legislation written the way it currently is they don’t HAVE to do anything more than what they already have done and she should have known this by reading what she agreed to. She also could have purchased travel insurance or went thought a travel agent as someone suggested since things can and frequently do happen when you travel. If it is a weather and or ATC delay what is an acceptable time frame to get you out of where your feeling “stuck” that would not make it such an “infuriating aspect of dealing with airlines”? They don’t control the weather if they did this type of thing wouldn’t be an issue. Do you get infuriated with the DOT when your stuck in rush hour traffic and are late for a meeting too?

          1. Because I cant understand why someone would take a ticket that doesn’t get them home, without some other arrangement such as rental car, taxi, bus, or just delaying the flight. This is going home, it’s not a life or death we have to get to our family member dyeing in a hospital, it’s not a wedding that they have to get to, it’s the trip home. The only way I can see someone doing that (if it was me) is if the airline agreed to pay my car rental, and then it would have to be some reason to be home now, otherwise I’d just wait the extra day (maybe two) in Rome have a gellato, take another stroll pass the fountain, have a bottle of wine and some pasta for dinner.

          2. I hear ya I really do I got stuck in RDU (when they could’ve easily rerouted me through DCA it had open seats and all the CLT flights where already CX) back last yr when it snowed and ice storms were predicted. I rented a car and drove two days later because I would’ve been stuck for a 5 days. I got no compensation for it either. I missed my daughters piano recital and I was supposed to work a shift in the children’s hospital I missed as well again no compensation so I get it I do. My guess on how the agent handled her situation was based on two factors 1 how she approaced it asking for help or demanded something be done NOW NOW NOW and 2 how culpable was the agent was it an outsourced company or Usair employeed and did they have the resources available to them along with help or was one agent left to handle the entire crowd of angry people? That’s just a guess though I’m with you I can sit back a day or two and relax when stuff happens I can’t control and I will always remain courteous to people even when they’re not to me as it yields better outcomes 90 percent of the time.

            I would have prefered my life get back on schedule as I planned it but it became up to me to figure it out and at least they did give me a car rental discount code and said to drive safely. No apologies but I guess being told to drive safe was their way of apologizing. I wouldn’t hold my breathe waiting for an us carrier to admit fault for circumstances they can’t control like weather or air traffic. While it may be the customer friendly thing to do they may see it as an opening to many things being demanded of them for free. Just my opinion on why they don’t admit fault in these cases.
            As I’ve said a few times here in this thread it’s the legislation and the way it’s written people want change talk to the DOT the FAA and local representatives and use your wallets to speak up too. Until then it is what it is.

      2. The question is: did they tell her they would put her up in a hotel in Rome? Did they tell her she would be entitled to compensation? WAS she entitled to compensation (TonyA said she would have been, under EU regulations, above, until she agreed to the rerouting). If they didn’t tell her any of that stuff and she thought her choice was to be stuck in Rome paying for things herself or go to Boston, Boston seems like the better choice (I’d have stuck it out in Rome, personally, but not everyone can do that). So those are things I’d like to know.

        1. Bear in mind that she was not entitled to Article 7 compensation because the cancellation was due to bad weather.
          But she was still entitled to the airlines Duty to care (Right to Care) and Re-routing.

        2. EU regs can be tricky when your flying on a carrier not based in the EU http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_261/2004 But it is important to know what they did promise her but based on the article it sounds as if they promised her rerouting to boston which she accepted and probably signed off on it therefore releasing them of further obligations to her.
          her is a specific sentence taken from the EU regs
          “Rerouting or refunding[edit]

          Rerouting or refunding is, at the passenger’s choice, one of the following three compensations:
          1.Repayment of the cost of unused flight tickets, and for used tickets where the flight(s) taken no longer serve(s) any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, and where applicable, a flight back to the original point of departure at the earliest opportunity
          2.Rerouting under similar conditions to the intended final destination at the earliest opportunity
          3.Rerouting under similar conditions to the intended final destination at the passenger’s leisure, subject to the availability of seats.

          If a passenger’s destination is an airport at a city with multiple airports and rerouting results in the passenger being taken to another of those airports, the airline must also pay for transport for the passenger to the original intended airport or an agreed nearby destination.

      3. But what was the context of that conversation? Was it “We’re sorry for the delay, but due to weather we will not be able to accommodate your flight at this time. As options we can either fly you to Boston today , and you can make arrangements to travel from their at your own expense or we can provide you lodging and meals until we can fly you to Burbank on a later day when the weather permits?” or was the conversation: “Sorry we canceled the flight and its not our fault or liability because of weather. I can get you to Boston, but then your on your own, you need to decide in the next 30 seconds, otherwise your on your own from here. What’s it going to be?”

        Those are two very different conversations.

    2. Maybe the Italian worker looked at a map and saw that Boston was close enough 🙂
      Unfortunately BOS to BTV is 181 miles and ROM to FLR is only 151 miles. Ha ha.

  11. “Left at the wrong airport after a cancellation” is this title accurate? The OP agreed to end her travels at the Boston airport. I agree that the contracted employee in Rome was either incompetent or lazy or both but the OP didn’t say to the ticket agent in Rome: “How am I going to get home from Boston? More importantly, is US Airways going to provide transportation or give me a voucher for the transportation back to Vermont?”

    1. she agreed to the new booking to Boston; therefore, she had a ticket to Boston and US Airways got her to Boston.

      I won’t be surprised if the OP was offered an itinerary back to Burlington but it would have required staying in Rome longer and she couldn’t stay.

      The take away from this article should be 1) ask questions about who is going to pay for ground transportation before accepting an offer from the airline that doesn’t get you back to your original departure city; 2) have travel insurance when traveling internationally; 3) work with a brick & mortar travel agent that you can call if you encounter a problem like this when traveling and 4) have a list of flightsitineraries with you when you are living in a city with a second-tier or third-tier airport.

      1. #3 all the way! This is why I always use a TA for international itineraries. When this happens, I call my TA, and they deal with the airlines and get me home. Of course, I pay the TA for this service, but their money is well earned.

        1. I think there is a different way since using a TA to do the booking is not an easy option for everyone. Not sure you will always be able to get a TA to answer the phone especially if you are in Asia time.

          What people need is knowledge and information especially if they will DIY the booking. If they can get the info on rerouting then they can ask or demand for better options. So another option is CONSULTING.

          1. When I go international, I use the TA to book everything, not just the flights. An they typically pro-actively monitor my flights and fix things before I am aware they are a problem. Only once did I have to contact our former TA when we had a problem, and she took care of it. The time change did make things hard, but she took care of it at her own expense, since it was her mistake. I still miss that TA, sadly she passed away about 2 years ago.

            Our new TA (who lives across the street from us) arranged for my wife and a group of students to go to Mexico this summer. She found a problem on the return flight and got everyone re-booked on a direct flight, half of them in F. The original flight was connecting, so this was so much better all around.

          2. She saw the problem on her queue so she had time to fix it, right?
            The LW’s issue is quite a bit different because it was a current IROPs.
            I have always debated this internally. Suppose you had a sudden cancellation of a 333 while waiting in FCO. If all the 290 pax had travel agents, would the reaccommodation be easier? I really doubt it.
            Maybe my fellow TAs can convince me. Maybe for a few special customers who don’t want to wait in line and are willing to pay a higher fare this could work. But I fail to see how a rush of 290 TAs (assuming 1:1 ratio) will solve the problem when the airline can use some robot to do the initial reaccommodation.

          3. International travel certainly presents more of a challenge that domestic for an agency and their client, but it can be done. Even if we can’t handle the reaccommmdation, we can advise, prepare and utilize our reps. My clients have always been able to contact me 24/7. With international cell phones, this is easier than ever.

          4. Unless there is a blanket or system wide waiver code (like during hurricanes), the SOP is to call the airline to get a waiver code.
            Even if there are seats on the same booking code, the old Fare Basis Code might not be present today, may have changed or may have LTK rule restrictions so I can’t simply reprice and reissue – hence the need for a waiver code. I don’t think this will be helpful when the cancellation just happened and the pax is in the airport waiting. The manager in the airport has a lot more power than me. Of course, I am assuming there is someone in the airport that cares to help.

          5. That’s what I do, too; and it takes more time than I like.
            Sometimes they offer a flight that I have to call the pax back to see if they agree or not 🙁
            I find that the pax can do it faster by either calling or while at the airport; if s/he knows what to ask for.
            And remember the pax is somewhere in Asia (for me) which is another complication.

  12. US Airways is really unprofessional in this rerouting. If the US Airways rebooking agent got some Geography knowledge, Montreal YUL and Plattsburgh NY PBG Airports are the nearest Airports of Burlington, VT. Hundred of Montrealers use BVT everyday and Greyhound Bus run on regular schedule at least 4 times a day. Myself, I just NOT to fly with US Airways.

    1. She also could have used Greyhound out of Boston. There are 4 trips each day direct to Burlington VT.. Travel time is 4 to 5 hours and one way fares that cost as little as $17. Getting from BOS to the South Station Bus Terminal is easy. MBTA Silver Line buses to South Station leave every 10 minutes from in front of each terminal. The takes 20 to 25 minutes and cost is about $2.50 per person. A cab would take about 15 minutes and would cost about $30 including tunnel toll.

    2. Most travel ticket counters that are located in foreign countries for the US airlines are contracted to other airlines because of low volume of flights or it is mandated by the airport. It could be an US based airline in the case of the US Airways ticket counter in Vancouver BC has been contracted to AA for several years. Or the ticket counters are staffed by an airline of that country (i.e. Eastern China Airlines staff the foreign airline ticket counters in Shanghai – PVG).

      I have worked for two large companies with international operations. My co-workers from Europe and Asia are surprised about: 1) the distance between cities and 2) lack of public transportation. My European co-workers can’t believe that I can drive 5 hours from my house in the Phoenix area and still be in Arizona (in 5 hours, you can probably drive through several countries in Western Europe). My Asian co-workers are surprised by the lack of public transportation, high-speed trains, etc.

      I am not making excuses for the contracted ticket counter agent for US Airways at the Rome airport but I won’t be surprised if this person has ever been to the US or knows the routing in the US or just assume that there is a high-speed train between Boston and Burlington or it was a short travel time looking at the map.

      If the OP didn’t want to pay for the transportation from Boston to Burlington then she should have asked “who is going to pay for ground transportation before accepting the offer from the ticket counter agent in Rome.

      1. I remember checking in for my MAD to JFK flight on DL.
        There was not even a semi-permanent sign for DL at T1 Barajas Airport.
        They put up a temporary floor poster/sign and lead you to the farthest check in station (2 of them). When you get to the station, there is a magnetic Delta sign slapped on the counter 🙂
        All the agents are carrying laptops since they cannot use the permanent terminals.
        None of them were DL employees (not DL uniforms or badges).

        Can you imagine if I was flying to a inland airport in the USA as my final destination and an IROPs happened in Madrid? I wonder who will be there to help?

    3. Depending on the OP’s citizenship, she may not have been able to travel via YUL. But I agree, YUL is closer, not sure if US flies there, as they are not in the Star Alliance anymore, I doubt they would re-route on AC for an ATC issue.

  13. *** OFF TOPIC *** But could not resist sharing.

    There is currently an awesome Delta Fare to Bali (Indonesia) from Philadelphia and PA airports (Harrisburg and Allentown) for as low as $532 all-in. You need to stay 14 days minimum,
    It is too nice of a deal not to mention to friends here at Elliott’s. And is 100% legit, not a mistake fare and not hacked.

    1. I so badly wish I could up and take 14 days off in the near future! One my my close friends is teaching in Singapore, and I have been meaning to go visit him.

    1. I would not consider them a true international carrier either. Northwest (now Delta) was. At least they know how to operate a hub outside the USA (in Japan).

  14. The hyperbole is unreal today: “even when it leaves you nine hours from home


    I have done that drive several times myself, in rush hour, and it’s 3 hours, 4 tops if you stop for dinner.

    That said, I think US Air owes her a refund of the fare difference between her flight with and without the connection, If one exists of course, which in my experience might be $80-$100. Otherwise, since it’s an ATC issue, they really don’t owe her much else. Her options were to wait and get to her final destination when ATC allowed, or accept the re-route and get there herself. I’m surprised they didn’t give her funny money. I say this is a case where it doesn’t hurt to ask, but I wouldn’t be upset if I got nothing.

    If I were the OP I would have done the same thing, rented a car to get home, so as to mitigate my delay. However I would have never looked back, asked for anything, or contacted CE.

    1. While I think she does not have a legal chance to win, today I vote for mediation. She should get something back even if it is in the form of funny money.

      But this case raises a bigger issue. How much help should stranded passengers get? I think it would be fair for US to offer FCO-CLT-BOS + BOS-BTV surface bus fare. where the bus fare subs the airfare. It will be nicer if they throw some Dividend Miles with that.

      If the passenger wants to be flown to BTV then EC261 already covers that issue.

      What I find ridiculous is the DRAMA after the fact. We need clearer rules on how these things get handled.

      1. I voted yes too, she deserves something, even though she could have mitigated it better in real time. How about some type of notification to all passengers in easy to read text telling them what they can ask for and expect in the event of a delay? Of course, no one will read it, and these things will still happen.

    2. I agree about the hyperbole…I thought that I was reading headlines of the National Enquirer or the Star at the grocery store.

      I did a MapQuest from BOS to BTV…it is 3 hours and 26 minutes (3 hours and 31 minutes based on current traffic at my time of my search) drive via I-89N. If you drive above the speed limit, it is even quicker.

      One thing that I find disappointing about most of the articles on this blog that they are NOT based upon facts but emotions, drama, misleading or incomplete statements, etc.

  15. How about publishing her initial e-mail to US Airways?

    It is my opinion based upon my experiences that when you ask humbly and honestly…you get better results than asking in a demanding mode and/or etc. Recently, I told a company: “I made a mistake and it is my fault, is there anything that can be done?” and they said not a problem. I am sure that their response would have been different if I lied about the situation or was demanding or etc.

    1. So true if you treat people right (with kindness) they will treat you right…..90 percent of the time. How people treat you is their Karma but how you react to it is yours……

      Life is short, everyone is very busy and important, but there is ALWAYS time for courtesy and kindness. I wish they posted the original email as well and it would be nice to know how she interacted with the agent that rerouted her…..

  16. Why she MIGHT be owed some compensation by US Airways.
    This will depend on how you interpret the last sentence. Is 181 miles considered close-by?
    Was BOS an alternate airport only or was it also the agreed upon close-by destination?

    If not then she is owed money.

    Article 8
    Right to reimbursement or re-routing

    (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

    c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

    2. Paragraph 1(a) shall also apply to passengers whose flights form part of a package, except for the right to reimbursement where such right arises under Directive 90/314/EEC.

    3. When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports, an operating air carrier offers a passenger a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the operating air carrier shall bear the cost of transferring the passenger from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made, or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

    Note the condition – When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports. BOS is not served by BTV or vice-versa. Therefore, logically she should have been brought to BTV or carrier pays the BOS-BTV surface sector.

    1. I don’t know EC261 very well, and let’s say for argument’s sake that the passenger would have been entitled to its benefits. Can those benefits be waived, or are they inalienable? That is, could the passenger have agreed to both a re-route to Boston and a waiver of her right to any EC261 compensation?

      1. In the USA (or I guess anywhere) the pax can voluntarily re-route and a ticket is reissued with the new flights or destination (if changed). That constitutes the new contract which will replace the old contract.

        From the way I read EC261, when there is a flight cancellation, the re-routing they are talking about generally means no change of FINAL DESTINATION but a change of way to get there. In fact they only mention a change of a nearby airport if the location is served by several airports. I interpret this to mean the passenger has a right to be brought to their original final destination and if they accept to fly to another airport they still have the right to be brought to their original final destination. I think the LW intended to go home to BTV and not BOS. Had she been informed of her rights (which is the duty of the airline in the first place) then she would have insisted the airline pay for the ground transport between BOS and BTV because EC261 requires it.
        The way I understand what happened was she was only offered BOS as a replacement FINAL DESTINATION – which might be acceptable in USA but not in Europe.

        ADDED: Regardless, I think USAir should pay for the surface sector BOS-BTV even if it is deemed as an act of goodwill.

        1. I think you’re reasoning is correct. The wording in many contracts of carriage contains provisions about the carrier having the right to alter or omit intermediate stopping points, and the carrier has the responsibility to get the passenger to the next stopover point or final destination. Here there may be an ambiguity as to whether or not Boston replaced Burlington as the final destination, and as a matter of good corporate management, the carrier should have provided overland transportation to Burlington.

          But my question was different. If a passenger is entitled to receive compensation pursuant to EC261, can the passenger agree contractually to waive his or her right to such compensation? In other words, she may have had the right to insist on transportation to Burlington and to receive compensation pursuant to EC261; but did she also have the right to agree to transportation to Boston instead of Burlington, and to agree not to make a compensation claim?

          1. You see this is not an issue of compensation (Article 7 because there were uncontrollable factors – weather, ATC, etc.) it is primarily an issue of the right to be re-routed to your (original) FINAL DESTINATION. And if US Air delayed her further, then they will have a duty to take care of her (Right to Care) until they can give her a flight.

            I don’t think USAir informed her of her EC261 rights as required by EU law. But since this happened in Rome, there is no way around it. It looks like USAir is trying to use DOT standards in EU 🙂 All they had to do to comply with EC261 was to arrange and pay for the surface travel between BOS and BTV. The LW did not have to get a rental car if they did that.
            I think the changing of BOS for BTV as the final destination is debatable or a non-issue for EC261.
            For DOT rules, it would have doomed the LW’s chances to get cost reimbursements.

          2. If EC261 does require the carrier to inform the passenger in the event that this type of irregularity occurs, then she probably has a good argument that any contract amendment (e.g., accepting Boston instead of Burlington) was voidable by her, as the carrier did not pursue such an amendment in good faith. In that case, the carrier should have been obligated to provide some form of transportation between Boston and Burlington (by air or bus, or if the schedules were not reasonable, by taxi).

  17. The question is: did they tell her they would put her up in a hotel in
    Rome? Did they tell her she would be entitled to compensation? WAS she
    entitled to compensation (TonyA said she would have been, under EU
    regulations, until she agreed to the rerouting). If they didn’t
    tell her any of that stuff and she thought her choice was to be stuck in
    Rome paying for things herself or go to Boston, Boston seems like the
    better choice (I’d have stuck it out in Rome, personally, but not
    everyone can do that).

    Because if they didn’t explain any of that to her, or if they straight up lied, then yeah, I think she is entitled to something. If you’re not given all the information, you can’t make an informed choice.

    1. No lodging was need here since the flight to Boston happened on the same hour (if you look at flight schedules).
      This is a classic case where re-routing is offered.
      The problem is re-routing to where? [I had to reread EC261 to make sure]
      IMO it should have been her final destination (BTV) the way I read EC261.
      But if this simply a DOT matter, then if you agree to re-routing then you are out of luck.
      Since this happened in Rome, then I think EC261 rules apply.
      Therefore US Airways must be held accountable to pay for the surface sector BOS to BTV.
      I hope US Airways is not that cheap. Pay up guys.

      1. No, I’m talking about if she hadn’t taken the flight. If she’d said “No, I want my original airport”. THEN would they have put her up or would she have been on the hook for lodging in Rome until a spot opened up on her original route. I’m wondering why she said yes to Boston instead of staying in Rome and waiting.

        1. Not really. They could have flown her to Charlotte and let that USAir hub city[s service desk figure out what to do with her (and partner). Or, they could have used another OneWorld partner to fly her to another US hub city and told her to go to the service desk when she arrived.

  18. I cannot figure out what is missing from this article, but IT IS missing. The problem was Rome to Philadelphia. Usair has a dozon different ways to get to Burlington that do not involve Philadelphia until the end. It might require an extra change, and overnight, or a standby, and the best is a shuttle from LaGuardia that runs hourly, but I feel that more was offered than has been printed.
    Chris, fo those of us that do have GDS systems, it would be great if we had general dates of travel. I respond differently when a person is traveling on the three day weekends, Easter, Christmas, etc. For instance stand by still works, but not well on holidays

  19. Folks, as a TA I need to make a strong comment.
    I often read this line – S/he should have used a TA. S/he should have bought travel insurance.
    Actually I do not agree with this line of reasoning IF the PAX has RIGHTS under the law.
    Your rights are not diminished because you did not use a TA or buy travel insurance.
    It is important the we hold the airlines accountable to deliver what they sold.
    The ticket is the same whether you used a TA or not and whether you bought travel insurance or not.

    In this case it is understandable that USAir cannot fly FCO to PHL due to weather.
    But they are able to fly FCO-CLT-BOS, right? So why not put the pax on a bus to BTV from BOS so the airline completes its responsibility? Why shortchange the pax and leave her and partner in BOS? I really do not understand this thinking.

    1. You are right that passengers have rights, etc.

      To me, a Travel Agent is your advocate. I used to work for a company that had a full-time travel agent. When I was on the road, I used to call her if I need to change flights or the flight was cancelled at the airport and etc…and she took care of it. Another time, we were traveling international and we ran into a minor problem…I sent an e-mail (it wasn’t urgent urgent) to my travel agent and it was resolved when we got up the next morning. When we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, she gave us a list of telephone numbers in case if we ran into problems, etc.

      In regards to travel insurance, that is extra protection above and beyond any rights that a passenger has in addition to items that there are no rights for (i.e. international medical coverage; loss bags; etc.). Today is our annual health and benefits enrollment, there are optional benefits above the standard benefits…you can go with the standard benefits or you can add optional benefits.

      When I got married, my wife thought that companies will do the right things or tell you all of the options or etc. I told her that you need to know your rights or have an advocate (in this case, a travel agent) because companies do things for their stockholders (public or private) not their customers.

      It seems like the OP didn’t know her rights; therefore, I stand by my earlier comment that a professional brick & mortar travel agent could have been beneficial here.

    2. If someone doesn’t know their rights, then that someone is subject to “the kindness of strangers”.

      You’ve presented very compelling evidence that the OP was short-changed. Now, how does she get made whole?

      1. My suggestion is for USAir to reimburse the cost of the rental car in vouchers.
        This is the most win-win scenario or least lose-lose one 🙂

  20. She paid to go to Burlington, not Boston. Regardless of acts of nature, the airline had an obligation to get her to her planned destination.

    1. If the options were…we can change your ticket’s destination and get you to Boston today, or wait until tomorrow for the flight to Burlington…they should not be under further obligation.

      1. The first option should be Boston today plus a bus ride. The treatment of the LW should not be based on her intimate knowledge of airline procedure.

  21. I was left in Newark, NJ instead of Allentown, PA because of the late hour. The airline offered to pay my rental car, and i accepted. The alternative might have been a hotel, a couple of meals and next day’s flight. But the airline accepted its responsibility to get me home. That was then (late 1970s), this is now, I guess.

  22. Huh???? Did she have her car in Philly? If not, Boston is half as far from Burlington as Philly is, so it sounds like she wants to get paid for them getting her closer to home. If she had no need to go back to Philly, what is her complaint? Again: huh???

          1. Ha ha ha. If you forget DCA and PHL has bad weather then the pax ain’t going home soon to BTV.
            This is what the agent in Rome forgot to check IMO.

          2. Agreed. My 2 experiences at FCO don’t leave me with a lot of confidence that anyone there really gives a rat’s patootie about customer service for Americans. Pretty small sample size, granted.

          3. Just the fact that they have a separate terminal for American and Israeli airlines makes me wonder if anyone is thinking clearly.

          4. First thought off the top of my cynical little head: that’s so that any potential catastrophes are contained in one area.

            Oh well, I’ve wandered so far off topic that it’s time to wander back into real life. Waiting for tomorrow’s fun topic!

  23. Unfortunately she should have pushed further before accepting the offer the airline gave. Had she stood her ground and told them the resolution wasn’t agreeable, they would have had to look further into other ways to get her to Burlington. Too bad she didn’t use a travel agent who had GDS access because I am sure they could found alternatives for her. She can’t accept an alternative and then assume they are going to pay for a rental car to get to her final destination.

    I’ve helped plenty of clients to get them alternatives to get their to their destinations when a flight was canceled, and heard stories from the airlines that there were no alternatives but I could clearly see other flights and when I pointed them out, what do you know, they suddenly were able to get home. Many of the agents are too lazy to do a thorough search when they have a plane load of passengers they have to rebook, they want to get them rebooked as soon as possible.

    1. This is so easy to figure out. Considering that she probably flew FCO-CLT instead of FCO-PHL, the agent can simply lookup availability from CLT to BTV and see the flight is CLT-DCA-BOS. There are at least 2 that depart 2 hours after the CLT flight arrives from Rome.
      Since this is an IROP, then the USAir agent can simply grab any seat 🙂

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