What was your most pointless trip ever…? And why I hate coffee! + FREE drinks

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I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations over the years with other travelers of most amazing landings, most terrifying experiences on a flight, most bizarre delays – you get the idea. Today’s story goes a few years back and was one my bride had while traveling solo to visit her mother in the golf capital of the world Myrtle Beach. It was just one of those where at the end of it we both thought, “Now surely that wasn’t actually necessary!”

The flight was booked SBN-ATL-MYR and everything went on schedule to ATL where things then began to go wrong. The aircraft was an ATR-72 as shown above and after everyone had boarded there was some inexplicable delay. After sitting for roughly 30 minutes with the rear door open (ensconcing us in delightful jet fumes)  we were told the delay was due to the crew being unable to locate the coffee pot (and check out this blog about airline coffee). As this item is actually a part of the aircraft, the missing item required an FAA report. There was a further delay until finally after 90 minutes everything was set and the plane was able to depart ATL.

Now, there happened to be a hurricane churning it’s way through Florida and by the time the flight got to Myrtle Beach the outer bands of the storm had arrived as well. MYR refused clearance for the flight to land so the pilot was forced to turn around and head back toward ATL. Because of having flown into the outer bands of the hurricane, however, there had been a substantially greater fuel burn than normal. The pilot was therefore forced to land in Columbia SC to refuel. This was at roughly 1:00am and the airport in Columbia had essentially closed for the night, so there were further delays as maintenance crews were summoned out of bed in order to service the aircraft in the middle of the night. A few of the passengers were so upset over the whole ordeal they got off the plane opting to take their chances at a deserted airport in the middle of SC rather than continue on this flight!

While on the ground refueling, the pilot was in contact with both ATL and MYR. The new development was that MYR was now agreeing to give the flight clearance to land as the winds had calmed with the arrival of the eye of the storm. Eventually it was decided to continue back to ATL instead of trying for MYR again. Back in ATL there were vouchers and hotel arrangements for everyone onboard. My wife disembarked the aircraft 6 hours after boarding it right where she started at 3:00am, sleepily accepting the voucher packet and promises of a confirmed seat the next afternoon and made her way to the hotel.

So, a missing coffee pot cost an entire day of travel. How about you, what’s your most bizarre Delta story?! Tell us – share with your fellow DeltaPoints.com readers your worst Delta nightmare for a chance to win 2 free DELTA drink coupons! 😉 – René

BTW – Be sure to read the blog Monday as I will give away another set of

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20 comments

  1. Flying home from Christmas Vacation from Cabo in 2007(?) and the plane from ATL –> PHL was packed with Eagles fans watching the Dallas/Seattle playoff game on the Direct TV seatbacks. Of course, all Eagles fans were rooting for Seattle. What seemed like a certain game winning field goal by Dallas was muffed by Tony Romo and as Romo was tackled by Seattle, the plane, which had been silent due to everyone using their headphones, simultaneously erupted in jubilation. The flight attendants scrambled not knowing what happened, until they found out that it was simply an NFL football game.

  2. My worst Delta experience is not really that bad. At a 6 am winter departure from a small regional airport to make an international connection in DTW, there was fog. The flight was delayed, then delayed again. Finally, the flight crew 12 hour rule kicked in, so the flight was cancelled. Delta arranged a 5 hour bus ride to DTW. Two St. Bernard puppies were cargo on the cancelled flight. We had them with us in the bus in a carrier. At one point, we passengers arranged a “jail break” for the puppies. When there was an “accident”, the bus driver insisted that the puppies be “jailed” again. We arrived in DTW with enough time for me to make my international connection.

  3. I’ve had so many horrible delta nightmares – they usually begin with weather, but are compounded by mechanical. total messes. total frustration at the process.

    but … my most pointless travel experience – was with Jet Blue. Remember a few years ago, when Jet Blue had their fiasco? well, in the middle of all of this, an old boyfriend called me and fed me all this stupid “we’re really soulmates” talk, and somehow convinced me to fly to syracuse early the next morning to see him. When the plane landed, there was a text message saying he’d changed his mind. It was 0 degrees, and I couldn’t get a flight back home (because of the Jet Blue fiasco) till almost midnight – I spent the entire day at the syracuse airport in disbelief. Jet blue issued a 50 buck voucher, which I never used. YES, that is the most pointless (and dumbest) trip ever.

  4. Rene, you should be happy to know that you are one of the few blogs I read any more…because you do have good/entertaining posts, but mostly because you update frequently. Thanks for giving me something I can steadily rely on to read while I drink MY COFFEE. Haha!

    Also, do you have a personal Twitter account?

  5. JFK-LAX, showed up without the luggage of ANYONE on the plane! There was one representative to sort through missing baggage claims for 200 people… you get the idea.

  6. Worst experience (which doesn’t compare to everyone elses) for me was flying from the Dominican Republic to JFK. Getting in around 5pm on a Friday. Flight goes fine, but we land, and taxi for 30 minutes. Then take a bus to another terminal, and proceed to wait for 2 hours for our luggage. Finally leave the airport at about 9:30pm. Didn’t make it home until 1am.

    But I always bring my own tea onto the plane. This just justifies it more!

  7. I have had numerous, but my best one was with Northwest, now part of Delta. When the airline mechanics went on strike, I think in about 2005 or so, my wife and I were planning our first trip to Jamaica within a week of the strike happening. We lived in Duluth, MN and were planning DLH-MSP-HOU-Mo Bay. (initially had a Memphis connected, but with the strike, were rerouted to Houstan to take Continental when part of Sky Team) So we get to MSP fine, and there is a mechanical problem prior to take off. should be 20 minutes…..okay, we have an hour to connect in Houstan. But then, no mechanic comes. Then, it takes way longer to fix than expected. Then, they had to reboot the computer form scratch. At that point, I explained my problem to a flight attendant, and she told me to get off the plane immediately. So I tell the gate agent my problem and she agrees to help us out. When she starts checking flights, she gets the “oh shit” look that she can’t get us to Mo Bay today. (We had prepayed Sandals….) So, I told her to get us off Northwest, and put us on Delta to Atlanta where Northwest put us up over night. We then flew Air Jamaica the next AM. (by the way, Air Jamaica and the desk agent in MSP were very, very good to us in a tough situation)

  8. My upcoming trip to Geneva. I fly to Detroit, then Amsterdam, then London Heathrow, then BACK to Amsterdam on KLM and on to Geneva. Bah.

  9. My two worst travel experiences with Delta were both (coincidentally enough) going to Austin for a meeting and involved awful weather in ATL. The first was out of Gainesville, FL, when early morning thunderstorms prompted a ground delay that kept getting longer & longer. We finally took off about an hour late, but then another ground stop in ATL forced a diversion to Augusta (this was the Monday after the Masters golf tournament, mind you). We finally made it to ATL about 8 hours late, and the funny thing is that three of my colleagues were flying from three other airports in Florida (Orlando, Pensacola, and Panama City) trying to catch the same flight to Austin, and we were diverted to four different airports (Augusta, Dothan, Birmingham, and Columbus) as a result of the ground stop!

    The second one I was all alone flying from West Palm Beach to Austin through ATL. We had to abort two approaches due to wind shear (I was up front and the plane felt like it was fish tailing) and eventually diverted to Birmingham. We sat there for 2 hours and 50 minutes before the pilot called ATL tower and basically said, “We’re coming, try to stop us!” He was definitely a rock star, because this was right after the 3 hour rule went into effect. When we finally made it to ATL, my flight to Austin was amazingly still there, but after boarding and sitting for 30 minutes, the copilot timed out and the flight was cancelled. This was 2:30 am, so I managed t grab a car, a hotel room, and a seat on the first flight in the morning. Only got 70 minutes of sleep that night but managed to get to Austin in time for the meeting that afternoon!

    Ahhh, Atlanta thunderstorms…

  10. I don’t really have a pointless trip, but my weirdest experience with Delta was flying from ABQ to JFK for a wedding. I had a connection in Dallas, and the connecting flight was delay by an hour or two because of weather. Somehow in DFW my checked bags were placed on a flight to LGA by mistake. Before I arrived at JFK, Delta had already delivered the bags to where I was staying for the weekend on Long Island.

  11. on a MR from LGA to MIA with three stop-overs, I missed my first connection and was put on a flight directly to my destination with no additional legs because of a cat carrier. The car cage wouldnt fit into any space on the airplane. they tried over head, under each seat, even in first class. finally after 45 min delay they found a place and we were on our way……..what a stupid reason to be delayed. did they really not know the dimensions of the space on the aircraft and know where it would. wouldnt fit?

  12. Flew from TPA to LAX for a memorabilia convention to find out the person I wanted to see had cancelled.

  13. Wow, that’s insane. Operating out of MSP and mostly flying direct I’ve been able to avoid things that pointless and painful.

  14. ATL to LAX Flight delayed due to low fuel sensor light in a tank that had zero fuel in it. After 1 hour of setting at the gate they announced they were going to put us on a different plane and we would leave in 1-2 hours. Knowing how horrible this can be I called the Elite desk and the put me on a fight ATL to Orange County that left in 20 minutes. Got to the gate and got on that plane and yet another delay! We took of and headed to Orange county but then encounter strong head winds. this made the flight take longer then originally planned and due to the delay it was after 11pm and we couldn’t land at SNA. So instead we were diverted to LAX. In the end, I still got to LAX, 90 mins late, but still 45 minutes before my other flight

  15. Had the aisle seat and the lady in the middle seat took up half my seat space and arm rest remained up the whole flight while her daughter sitting in the aisle seat on the other side kept yelling over at her to buy her a meal. Felt bad about the whole situation so slept the whole nonstop LAX-MCO flight :$

  16. My brother had a bad experience on Delta. He was coming home from Europe in the winter and was connecting in Atlanta. I guess Atlanta isn’t too prepared for ice and snow and that’s what they had when my brother landed. His flight out of ATL was delayed for hours but he eventually got on the plane. Once on the plane, he had to wait a couple of hours for them to de-ice the plane. After all the hours of waiting, a passenger demanded to get off the plane so they had to bring the plane back to the terminal. Once at the terminal, they had to wait a little bit and were told that they wouldn’t be flying home tonight because the pilots will go over their FAA time if they make the flight. boo

  17. I’ve been pretty lucky — the worst experience I’ve had (other than a typical weather delay, etc) is that a flight was delayed 45 minutes because of a “mechanical problem”. We get on the flight and find out that the mechanical problem was that the movie wouldn’t play, and they still couldn’t fix it despite the delay. We did all get $150 vouchers, though.

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