Traveling as much as we have over the years, we’ve both had our share of bad luck and frustrations. Most of these have had something to do with Delta and it’s partners in the Sky Team Alliance. This trip was no exception and the worst one Griffin has experienced from an (already low) expectations-being-met perspective.
The trouble started in Atlanta. After checking our two bags each and getting our tickets when we noticed that the tickets we had booked together and requested, even having chosen our seats, had now changed entirely for Valerie.
THE FLIGHT WE BOOKED AND GRIFFIN’S TICKET
Atlanta, Georgia –> Seattle, Washington –> Narita, Japan –> Busan, South Korea
(These were the cheapest tickets we could find if you could’t tell;-)
Valerie’s flight on the other hand had been totally changed and she was booked as follows(commentary by Griffin’s thoughts)
VALERIE’S SURPRISE ITINERARY DELTA MADE UP FOR HER
Atlanta, Georgia (So far so good. At least they got the departure city correct)
Detroit, Michigan (What?! Who wants to go to Detroit in the first place and secondly, why has my wife been re-booked without our knowledge or consent on an entirely different flight?)(No offense if you are from Detroit;-))
Narita, Japan (Back on track now, but on a different flight here as well)
Busan, South Korea (Again, I guess we should give Delta credit for getting the destination city correct as well. Two out of four is probably better than normal for them)
We went to the desk to see what happened and they had no idea. The lady that helped at the desk was apologetic and confused herself as to why this would happen. When she asked the mysterious person on the phone who was re-booking our flight for us she said that is may have happened due to a schedule change. So if there is a schedule change in your flight they may book you and your traveling partner/wife on an entirely different itinerary. That makes no sense still. Long story short, we were able to get back on our original itinerary, but without exit row seating, and sitting nowhere near each other despite asking to be placed together. We were also informed that Valerie’s bags were on their way to the fair city of Detroit and would meet us at our final destination in Busan, South Korea. We now had to run for the gate because of all the time taken to rebook Valerie’s flight. When we arrived at the gate we asked again and two people had not shown up, so they moved us to be next to each other. We gate checked Valerie’s Guitar and got on the plane just in time for departure.
When we arrived in Seattle we waited at the gate for Valerie’s guitar which did not show up. After about 10 minutes of waiting someone was sent to check on it and we were told to go to our next flight because the gate was about to close. We rushed over to the connecting flight and requested to be next to each other as we had booked and they basically told us we were on our own and to check with another passenger. This was really frustrating as they were not taking any ownership for the problem they had caused and could obviously care less about the trouble we had been through. As we approached the plane door, a breathless man came to show us Valerie’s Guitar had been found and to tell us it would be on this flight. We were relieved to know it had not been lost so soon which was more than could be said about the rest of our luggage, as we found out later. We asked a man sitting alone in a two seat section and he was kind enough to move for us, so we sat together, but again not in exit row and Griffin’s legs became sore and uncomfortable about 3 hours into the 8 hour flight.
Upon arriving in Narita, Japan we were once again a little worried to find that Valerie’s Guitar had not made it to meet us at the gate. We waited around for about 20 minutes and asked some people about it, but no body had any idea, so we headed to our next flight which was scheduled to leave in about 20 minutes. After going through a security check and arriving at the gate and strangely seeing no other passengers waiting, we asked the attendant about our flight and she said it had been postponed until the following morning due to bad weather in Nagoya, Japan and our plane being grounded there. We then went back through security, filled out customs and embarkation cards and then went to baggage claim to find it empty as well. We went to the help desk to ask about our luggage and were relieved to see Valerie’s Guitar sitting there in unclaimed luggage. The attendant was very helpful and friendly and told us that our luggage would be checked through to Busan and we could claim it there upon arrival. We re-booked our seats to be next to each other and were able to get exit row as well. The baggage attendant also let us know that there was someone waiting at the exit to show us to our hotel.
We were sent to a nice hotel and provided with a free Chinese dinner, which we thought was a little strange since we were in Japan, but it was good. We had been awake for 48 hours at this point, so we gladly ate and went to bed.
We woke up at 4AM the next day due to jet lag and then got on the 5:30AM bus for our flight a little while later. We were the first people at the airport along with the other passengers and the quick breakfast we had hoped to grab had to be postponed due to no stores being open yet. At the gate they told us there would be breakfast on board and, forgetting what breakfast was in Asia, we were excitedly looking foreword to delicious eggs and toast and maybe even some bacon, or, worst case some cereal or yogurt. We were glad to receive a $100 voucher for our delay along with the rest of the customers on that flight. We carried Valerie’s Guitar onto the plane this time to avoid further confusion and loss and prepared for breakfast which we were starving for. A little while after takeoff breakfast came and we were more than a little disappointed to see that it consisted of sea weed, fish eggs, rice and some fish;-( Normally we would have just waited but we were starving and ate as much as we could of this meal we would normally eat as a lunch or dinner.
We arrived in Busan, South Korea 3 days after departing from Atlanta tired and in good humor from all the mishap as the only other option would be to have an emotional breakdown and start crying like a couple of babies. We got through immigration and security without any issues and arrived to gather our luggage and head home. We waited until everyone else had claimed their luggage and left and then went to over to the desk to ask about our three missing bags (one did arrive with us). They told us that Valerie’s bags had been delayed in Detroit and would arrive that night and my other bag was, for some strange reason, still in Seattle, but should arrive at the same time and they would bring them to our house.
Immediately upon arriving in Ulsan, we moved apartments as we had planned earlier. We had not planned for the flight delay so we started the move at 1pm instead of 10am and finished moving everything over around 3pm. We then worked the rest of the day to try and get things organized and settled and then went to bed at 11 and were promptly woken up at midnight to meet the guy with our luggage. We were also informed that they had only found Valerie’s two suitcases, and mine was still missing, so we now had two out of three out of four bags. It was nice to have them delivered instead of having to lug them from the airport upon arrival, but it was a little nerve-racking not knowing where they were or if we would see them again in the mean time.
The following day – five days after departing Atlanta, we received a call that our last piece of luggage had been found and would arrive around 6PM that night(Monday). We received the last of our luggage and five days after beginning our journey were finally all back in one place along with our possessions. It was quite a trip.
UPDATE: We sent this post to Delta before posting and they were kind enough to award us 7,500 bonus miles for our experience and trouble. Thanks Delta;-)
NOTE: As terrible as this trip was, we are still so thankful to be fortunate enough to even go on a trip like this and see the places God has blessed us to see. We just wish the that customer service was more of a priority than an afterthought in the airline industry. We did notice on this round trip flight that most of the older, mad-at-the-world flight attendants we can normally count on Delta to employ were missing and were pleasantly surprised to find older and younger helpful and cheerful flight attendants in their places. One even made a joke about how they were out of paid lunches on our flight from Seattle to Atlanta, but she was sure she could find something for Delta to charge us for if we wished;-)
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