This is the stuff of nightmares — assuming you fall asleep on the airport floor during your flight’s overnight delay.
Delta Air Lines flight 975 was scheduled to depart JFK at 3:30 PM on Wednesday. The 767-300 didn’t leave until 9:43 AM this morning.
Dancing with the Stars personality Emma Slater tweeted passengers “(waited) on the tarmac for a total of 8 hours and (had) to get off the aircraft twice for a multitude of reasons including mechanical.”
Mechanical issues? Hmmm. Sounds very familiar.
This user live-tweeted the ordeal. It sounds like crew rest periods also kicked in at some point and that caused more issues.
Passengers grew irate when informed Delta would not give them hotel vouchers for the night. Given the problems were allegedly mechanical — and thus Delta’s fault — passengers should have received hotel vouchers and ground transportation.
So what’s up?
But Wait! Delta Says It Wasn’t Mechanical
Rene’s Points readers know there were weather concerns this week for New York airports.
And that’s exactly what Delta enforced.
“Delta apologizes to customers on flight 975 operating from New York-JFK to Los Angeles, which was delayed last night due to weather affecting Northeast airspace,” Delta said in a statement (via WABC). “Customers were offered water and snacks, pillows and blankets in the terminal before the flight departed at approximately 10am for Los Angeles Thursday morning.”
Yes, there were thunderstorms in the JFK area. But according to Weather Underground, the bad weather didn’t hit until the 8 PM hour — more than four hours after the plane should have departed.
“Northeast airspace” is certainly vague. Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts could be considered “Northeast airspace” — and aren’t anywhere near New York. So what exactly was the problem and how did affect this flight?
According to NBC News, FlightAware Vice President Matt Davis said weather conditions at JFK on Wednesday wouldn’t have forced significant delays or cancellations.
And per FlightRadar24, the actual aircraft — N185DN — arrived at 10:23 AM from Frankfurt. So the flight wasn’t delayed from anything on the inbound segment.
Remember that Delta does have a history of blaming the weather for mechanical issues.
What a Miserable Experience
Flight delays are annoying when I travel alone. As the parent to a toddler, reading about Delta 975 downright gives me the shakes. Hats off to those traveling with children.
How Passengers Can Protect Themselves
I probably would have cut my losses during the second deplanement, rebooked for today, and taken my brood to a hotel.
Hotels, ground transportation, and meals during instances like this are usually covered by travel insurance and certain credit cards’ trip interruption coverage (provided a portion of the trip was purchased with one of those cards).
If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card, consider using one to book your next trip. Those three cards each carry pretty solid travel cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
René and I both have blanket travel insurance policies for our respective families, too. (We’re fans of Allianz). It saved Rene’s bacon during a trip earlier this year.
DL975: The Unlucky Flight Number?
If “Delta 975” ever pops up in one of your itineraries, run away. Immediately.
While searching for tweets related to this incident, I found a bunch of other problems for other Delta 975 flights.
Another passenger said on July 7 it took 14 hours to get from LAX to JFK.
The cursed flight number seemed to have held up this poor guy’s luggage.
Poor Jazzy spent Father’s Day on DL975.
This flight number seems to have bad mojo.