close calls to missing flight

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by ctporter, May 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    I had a job in Richmond CA, and was booked on the 5:00 flight OAK to SEA. I left the plant at 3:00 in the rain and watched the time fly by as I drove in bumper to bumper traffic (normally a 35 minute drive). Got to the rental car return lot at 4:25, in a panic thinking the plane is boarding right now and I do not see the shuttle bus:eek: Called the gold desk to see if I can rebook on the 8 something flight but she tells me to hang on, the flight was delayed. Sure enough, I made it in time to check my bag with 30 seconds to spare (according to the agent). Phew! So now, when I go to that site I always book the later flight and if I have lots of time it is all good, no more excruciatingly nerve wracking hours of "will I make the flight or not". Have you had close calls?
     
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  2. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    One time connecting VCE-FRA enroute to GRR, plane delayed at VCE. Plane touched down with 15 minutes left for departing flight to clear outbound passport control at FRA. Fortunately coming off the plane, right on the jet bridge was an LH rep with my name on a board. We didnt even enter the terminal. We went down the stairs near the jetway, whisked away in a benz on the tarmac. The driver took us into the bowels of FRA . At one point, rep stepped out, took our passports, came back in a minute with all necessary stamps, a quick stop at an xray machine at ground level under the terminal, then right to plane side for our departing flight. Fortunately we travel with carry ons only usually so it saved the hassle of luggage delays. They held the departing plane 10 minutes for us. One step into the aircraft, I see the FA closing the door. I have to say it was a fun close call.
     
  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    JFK to AMS, I arrived at the airport 30 minutes before the plane was set to depart... everybody was basically onboard.

    AA rushed us to the plane like crazy... this was pre-2001 though, when security lines were bad but you didn't have to take off your shoes and all. Today, I would have missed that flight twice over. :)

    And coming back home from AUA I made the mistake of letting the wife interpret the itinerary (this was her trip to plan after all) and she mistook the arrival time (4pm NY time) for our departure. Lucky for us we got into a huge argument with the hotel staff the night before and checked out early... arrived at the airport around 11 only to find out our flight was leaving in an hour. :)
     
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  4. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    Two stories from my CO days in the 1990s:

    First one: I was held over at a client in the western part of Richmond, VA. Because I hadn't checked out, I had to go back to the hotel (Sheraton Park South) to check out once I was finished at the client. I left the hotel parking lot at 2:00 pm for the airport (on the opposite side of the city), trying for a 3:00 departure. Drove at crazy speeds, and reached Avis lot (adjacent to terminal, no shuttle required) at 2:45 pm. Returned car and was at the gate at 2:53. I was the last passenger on, and we pushed back right on time :D

    Second one: My boss and I were flying CLE-IAH. The Flight went mechanical. I knew the schedule like the back of my hand, and I knew there was a CLE-MSP that, with luck, might let us connect to MSP-IAH. We moved to the CLE-MSP flight; we were slightly delayed, and the flight reached the jetway five minutes before departure of the MSP-IAH flight. At the door to the terminal, a GA was waiting, calling out names - she said "next gate to the right - RUN"! We made it to the gate of the departing flight about 2 minutes prior to departure; as soon as we were seated, the door closed and we begin to taxi.

    Tthose were the good old days!!
     
  5. FetePerfection
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    FetePerfection Silver Member

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    Late arriving flight from SJU to DTW connecting to MSP - GA told pilot of 14 connecting pax so he chose to hold our flight since it was the last of the evening...I thanked the pilot as I was boarding and he said thank the GA, she was the one who noticed.
     
  6. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Now that's great service...are you HON/were you traveling F on FRA-GRR?
     
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  7. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    10 or so years ago I was driving from CT to EWR and left 4 hours before my flight. After an accident on the George Washington Bridge and THE WORST traffic I'd ever seen, I get to the airport 30 mins before an international departure where my brother drops me off and was leaving on a flight 2 hours later than me. Sprint to checkin, fast track through security, and basically fly over to the gate where I find out we're delayed 2+ hours. My brother ends up taking off before me and I nearly miss my flight as I was watching a movie with my headphones in (I've learned since then).
     
  8. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    During college (2003) I was flying home for a weekend to see my brothers school play. I was routed AA BUR-DFW-PHL, all on Mad Dog's :). Due to winds in the valley, they had to use the shorter runway at BUR to take-off and was weight restricted. AA had to either take off with less people or less gas. They chose the later, so a fuel stop was made in PHX. We got to DFW and I rushed off the plane (all carry-on) and onto my connecting gate. Luckily I knew my way around DFW so I knew exactly where my gate was. A Gate Agent saw me running and yelled out to me "Are you Mr. Colahan?" I responded yup and they held the door for me. I got onto the jetway and they were closing the door behind me. I know there were people on the BUR-DFW who missed their connection, glad I wasn't one of them.
     
  9. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    I was on DL to FCO via ATL and a day where storms in ATL delayed all arriving flights. I had a 3 hour layover but arrived ATL 4 hours late only to learn that my DL flight to FCO made it out on time. I had a BC ticket and rushed to the DL counter to see if I could be rebooked on Air France leaving in less than an hour. The like, even for business class was a mile long.I saw a DL rep and asked if we could be advanced before missing the AF plane. I was told no.

    Shortly thereafter a call to nature had me walking to the bathroom. On the way back I saw a Crown Room and went in. The line there was long and we had just 15 minutes left. I walked to the counter looking sad and a young agent asked if he could help. He said he would take blank ticket stock and run to the AF gate while I got my wife and met him there. We arrived at the gate one minute late but the DL agent and an AF agent held the plane.

    The most amazing thing was that there were two open business class seats and we were allowed to have them. The AF flight pulled away minutes later and was stuck in line waiting to take off for close to an hour. e arrived CDG with just 30 minutes to make the FCO flight. An AF agent met 9 of us at the gate and walked us a back way to our gate with twenty minutes to spare. She left us there with 10 others and we all wondered why the plane was not boarding. Fortunately one of our group spoke French and stopped someone. The gate had been changed. A mad rush to the new gate and we boarded with five minutes to spare. We arrived FCO via CDG just 5 hours late. Our bags made it three days later.
     
  10. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    The GWB will crush your dreams. :) I always go the long way now... Into or out of NJ I always take the GSP to 287, cross the Tappan Zee and pick up I-95 in CT.
     
  11. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    In 2003, flying ONT-ORD-BDL, the ONT-ORD flight was delayed 45 minutes, and I only had an hour at ORD to begin with. I had to run from the end of the B gates to the other end of the C gates (or was it the other way around?). All I remember is when I showed up after sprinting towards my connecting gate is that boarding had been stopped due to a fist fight between pax. Made my connection due to the unruly pax :eek:
     
  12. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Or take the Amtrak to EWR from CT. When the amtrak schedules suck... metro north, subway (7/S to 1/2/3) to Penn Station, and then NJ Transit...
     
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  13. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Quite a few almost missed, a few actually missed, but one story sticks out. A few years ago, flying VCE/CGN with Hapag-Lloyd Express (also known as HLX.com- now part of TUI fly). Flight departure time was 6.10A. Arrived at the airport at 05.00A to learn departure time was pushed back to 8:00A. Went upstairs to the lounge and decided to take a nap (lounge was completely deserted- I was the only customer as it was a Saturday morning at 5A). At 7A, the lounge attendant comes over and asks "are you Sig. Travelsig?". I answered "Yes", to with attendant advises- you have to hurry, your flight is waiting for you- get driven across the tarmac in a little runway car- and board the plane which immediately takes off. It is something rather common now with operators like LH out of FRA/etc, however years ago with a Low Cost Carrier at VCE- it was probably the most uncommon experience I have had- great service and arrived at CG"N on time.
     
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  14. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well there's your problem... :)

    The nap seems to be the #1 culprit for people missing flights, but not the most entertaining by far. I had a VDB going to LAS one time and saw a guy running to the gate not 30 seconds after push-back. Turns out he had gone to Burger King for a chicken sandwich and missed his flight.

    And we all knew it was chicken with tomatoes and no lettuce because he flung it and the fries when he realized what happened -- which is when the gate agent called security. He was yelling "that f**king burger king!!!" over and over again. Now every time we're on the way to the airport or at the terminal cutting it close, we start yelling the same thing. :)
     
  15. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Nap is a good reason to miss a flight.

    Burger King?? More entertaining- however...

    Good story- and I like the "that ..... burger king!" to express late flights.
     
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  16. cennas
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    cennas Gold Member

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    Had 2 close call experiences:

    - First was on a Monday after Thanksgiving, traveling from BOS to ORD. The cab was late arriving, plus there was traffic all the way and it took almost 1 hour to go to Logan from Back Bay. Ran like crazy once I arrived at the airport. Made it to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. Everyone was onboard and they closed the door after I boarded. Of course this was pre-9/11 when security checks were non-existent.

    - Second one was in EWR on the way to ORD coming off an SQ flight. For some reason, the agent in CGK couldn't interline my colleague's bags so we needed to re-check his bags. Lines were very long and once we got to the desk the agent said we had missed our flight. The agent proceeded to rebook us via DEN as he insisted everything was full. Resigned to our fate, and after 24+ hours of traveling, we were walking out of the terminal to get some fresh air when we heard our names being called on the PA. We immediately sprinted to the gate, where the agents there were puzzled why the check-in agent didn't let us take the flight. She took our IDs, said she would take care of our boarding passes, and told us to board first and take whatever seats were open. A minute after we sat down, the agent appeared onboard to pass us our papers and boarding passes and the door was closed as soon as she left the aircraft.
     
  17. Take.me.away

    Take.me.away Active Member

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    Couple of months ago, connecting through Miami to Toronto, my DFW-MIA leg was delayed 2 hours due to mechanical issues resulting in waiting for a new plane. I had left plenty of time for the connection and therefore still hoped to make the connection. I'd been upgraded, so I grabbed my bags and was 2nd off the plane. I ran up to my connection just as the last 3 people were on the jetway. The gate agents had seen I had arrived and because I was EXP they figured I might know to hustle to get over to the next gate. Thankfully the connection had been delayed by about 10 minutes, otherwise I would have had to wait a few hours for the next flight.

    And even though I really wanted to, I did not stop off to get some soda or to pop into the restroom. That can always be addressed on the plane! No BK screaming for me thankfully ;)
     
  18. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    This one didn't happen to me (I witnessed), and it DID involve a missed flight.It was probably around 1999.

    CLE again - I had finished early at the client and took the train back from the downtown Terminal building to the airport. I went to the posted gate for my CLE-IAH flight, where I saw that the door was just closing on the previous flight (going to EWR). About 60 seconds later, four Wall Street investment banker guys come running up to the podium. They can see the plane still there (although the jetway had already been pulled back). They tell the GA that they were caught in a road closure - Bill Clinton had made a speech at the downtown Sheraton, and the freeway to the airport had been closed for the presidential motorcade's return to Hopkins. She tells them in a very even tone that she is not permitted to re-attach the jetway and re-open the door. The Wall Street guys explode in a non-stop harangue of every cuss word in the book, even playing the DYKWIA card and screaming that their company will pull its travel account from CO. The agent remained calm, and I then noticed her make a discreet phone call. Two minutes later, three burly Cleveland cops show up. and the four belligerent guys instantly became meek and silent.
    The GA killed them with kindness, re-booking them on the last flight of the evening to EWR, even preserving their upgrades. As she left the gate area, I looked at her and gave her a 'thumbs-up', which made her smile.
     
  19. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    I was driving from my house at 0400, on the way to an early morning flight EWR/SFO/NRT. It's a 60 minute ride to the airport. About 20 minutes into the drive, I realized I forgot my passport. Turned around. Drove home. Get my passport. Drive back to EWR in record time. Park the car in a lot. Take the shuttle. Get on the PremEx line (UA). Stand in security line. Arrive at gate with 30 minutes to spare.

    The flight departed late, and I just about missed my connection SFO/NRT. If you know SFO, you know it's a long long run to the international gates (passing through security).

    Some adventure.
     
  20. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Earlier this year I had some appointments run late and got to SLC <30 minutes before departure. On this rare occasion I had luggage to check and was meeting my wife at DEN, so really wanted to make the plane. The TA was great and was able to override things so I could get checked in with my bags. I finished checking in maybe 15-20 min before scheduled departure. Flight left on time. My bags and I both made it. The GA greeted me by name when I showed up, and the pre-departure beverage was a welcome relaxer.

    Another time (when the big snow/ice storm hit ATL) I was stuck in MGM. The CRJs were all running hours late that day, and I had a connection in ATL I needed to make to get to my next destination - maybe BNA but I'm not really sure.I got to the airport maybe 45 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave, and could see it and everything else was delayed, with no chance to make my connection. An earlier flight was also delayed, and looking to depart when the first was scheduled, so I switched to it. Of course both delays extended longer, and the planes ended coming in almost back to back. The ground crew turned it around in record time. One poor girl was very distraught about missing her connection to Paris - she was scheduledon the original flight I was on and had not rebooked. Unfortunately the ground crew did not have the time/inclination to help her (and their computers were all down). When I boarded the plane was fairly empty - they could have easily boarded her, and they weren't scanning BPs anyway (not sure I ever got checked in, much less marked as onboard - had to call for mileage credit). Really unfortunate situation.

    Made the connection (last flight of the night) <1 min before door closure.

    I tend to run almost as late as possible, so run into a lot of situations like this.
     
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  21. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Star gold traveling in z. They. Probably figure it would be easier to Do this than put us up in a hotel at their expense. The eu is far more passenger friendly when it comes to dealing with missed flights even if weather related as this was.
     
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  22. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    I had forgotten about the close calls in connecting flights. I had one where my outbound flight was delayed (almost an hour) due to a preboard that became ill enough that paramedics were called and he was taken off the flight. That meant we were very late arriving at the connecting airport so we had to sit on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up (for 20 mins). As I got off the plane (sat in the back, and had to wait for all others to deplane - another watch the clock go by and my 2 hr layover go away) I was told to get to head to the C gates for my connection so I started running for the train. (why is it when you have to run, the landing gate is the furthest one from a train?) By the time I was almost to the train connection point I heard my name over the PA, paging me for immediate boarding. Thankfully, it was at that same terminal just 3 more gates down. They saw me and held the door open for me ;) I was lucky they had paged me instead of getting on the train to the C gates and finding out I had to get back to the A gates!
     
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  23. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Another connecting at ORD story...
    Last December flying HPN-ORD-SEA on AA/AS. Slight weather delay leaving HPN, but I figured I was fine with an hour to connect. We land at ORD, but find out that the gates are short-staffed. We sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes - no open gates - and then sit outside the gate for another 15 minutes - there was no one to drive the jetway to meet the RJ. Luckily, the connecting gate was right next to our arriving gate. Stepped off one plane and immediately crossed the hall and got onto another. They had just called for the last boarding group.
     
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  24. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Better than the US where everything seems to be "weather related." :p
     
  25. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Lessons that I've since learned...that and public transportation is far more reliable.
     
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