I was booked today on a 12:10PM Delta flight from Richmond to Atlanta, where I was to connect to a 4PM flight for San Francisco. When I checked in, I was informed that the flight was delayed until 12:30. No big deal...there'd still be plenty of time to make the connection. Then Delta announced it would be departing at 1:35. Er, still tight, but doable. As a backup, Delta listed me on standby for a later flight for San Francisco. But as I walked up to the gate, I saw the new departure time listed as 2:00...not good. It seemed the ice storms in the north east were having a domino effect on flights along the east coast.
So rather than freak out and enter the moshpit that was forming in front of the gate agent, I called Delta and asked what my options were. The kind lady at Delta said that the later flight for SFO was still an option, but that there was only one seat remaining...a middle seat in coach. Blech. Since my dinner plans were already scrapped for the evening, I asked what was available for first thing Monday morning and she offered me a 6AM flight out of Richmond with a connection in Atlanta that gets into SFO at 11AM...perfect. My schedule for Monday morning was flexible enough so I could afford to get into the office there a bit later.
The best part? I guess being nice with the ticketing agents when everyone else is probably screaming pays off because she put me in first class for both legs of the trip. And I get to go to a Christmas party tonight I otherwise would have missed.
Moral #1: Be nice to airline people. They don't like delays any more than we do.
Moral #2: Avoid air travel in winter.