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madm
02-13-2013, 11:47 PM
Many years ago we had an experience being "stranded in Hawaii". When I called work to tell them our plane had broken down and we had to wait for a spare part to be flown in from the mainland, I heard sympathy first and then laughter. How bad can it be being stranded in paradise?! Anyway, we were coming home in December on a United flight from Kona to Hilo to Los Angeles to Denver. The Kona-Hilo leg seemed fine until the flaps they put down for landing would not retract. The plane could not be flown to LA. There was only one flight a day scheduled and hence no replacement plane to be had. United put us up in a low-end hotel for 2 nights, and still the part was not installed per a mechanic they'd flown in from Honolulu. It was raining continuously and not pleasant (unlike Kona where it was sunny). I took matters into my own hands and decided to pay for an island-hopper flight on Aloha Airlines to get us to Honolulu. The best chance of getting home was from there, and we put ourselves on standby on the United flights that night. We had 12 hours to roam around Honolulu with a rental car, which was fun. Luckily we got on the flight that night and subsequently got home 2 days late. I worked it out with United later to get reimbursed for the Aloha flight. Fortunately we are experienced travelers and have visited Hawaii many times, so we were familiar with the flight options we could pursue. The bottom line is that you have to look out for yourself and not rely on the airlines to bail you out when things go wrong. I always put airline toll free phone numbers into my phone when I travel so that I can call them if needed during a trip to help me out. They are usually more capable and speedier than local customer service reps about getting you rebooked.

nyrak
03-02-2013, 11:42 PM
Thanks for all the advice everyone. They're home now, talked to an Air Canada rep in Vancouver airport on the way home. The lady was very pleasant & helpful, she said that AC was aware of the situation (8 other people were bumped too), said it was a major miscommunication, shouldn't have happened and they were expecting complaints (duh!) and were willing to compensate for any expenses. They sent a letter with receipts on Monday night, just waiting to hear back. Will keep you posted.