Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Trip to Ohio

Hey there! I've been gone for a couple of weeks now, due to a visit from my two daughters. I haven't been with them since Christmas '08 and wanted to devote every moment to them. I've been oblivious tothe whole town hall health care metting thing, but I am looking for the first one I can find to attend. Anyway, here's a letter going to the management of Northwest/Delta Airlines regarding the trip with my girls back to thier home in Ohio.

Dear Sir or Madame,

On August 10, 2009 I set out with my two daughters L****** (9 yrs. old) and E**** (5 yrs. old) to travel from White Plains, NY (HPN) to Cincinnati, OH (CVG) with a connection in DTW. They had been visiting me in Valhalla, NY and I was returning them to their mother in Lebanon, OH.

The first leg of our trip from HPN to Detroit Metro (DTW) aboard NW flight XXXX went fine. We arrived at DTW to make our connection to CVG aboard NW flight 2451. That is when all the trouble started. Before we got off the aircraft, the flight attendant announced that our gate for the connecting flight was at C36. After de-plane-ing I checked the video board and saw the gate had changed to C16. When we got to C16 the departure time had changed to 8:00 p.m. instead of the scheduled 7:15 p.m. Next the gate was changed again to gate B4. So my little troupers and me walked down to B4. I need a crutch to walk correctly so it took a bit of time. Arriving at B4 the departure time had changed again to 8:30 p.m. Now I had to get in touch with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to let them know my arrival was going to be delayed because I knew that their CVG facility closes at 10:00 p.m. and I didn’t want to get stranded at CVG without the ability to get a car to drive my minor children the 45 miles to their home in Lebanon.

After a brief stay at gate B4, NW once again changed the gate to gate B6. It was the next gate down, so to was not a big hassel to move. But when we got to gate B6, yet again the departure time had been pushed back to 9:00 p.m. So I had to make another round of calls to secure a car, and to notify my ex-wife of our ever changing arrival time. My poor daughters would now not be getting into their beds until way past midnight. After a brief stay at B6, NW announced again that the gate was changing and everyone on flight 2451 now how had to hike back to gate C14.

At C14, NW again delayed the departure time to 10:00 p.m. They also announced that the actual aircraft was at the gate, but the crew had timed out and a new crew was on the way to fly us all to CVG. At about 10:15 NW announced that flight 2451 to CVG was now cancelled, and the real fun was about to begin.

After approximately another 15 minutes, the NW representative announced that NW was arranging to hire a bus to drive the passengers of NW2451 from DTW to CVG that very evening. A 5+ hour drive, in the middle of the night. How very sensitive and caring of NW to provide their passengers with such accommodation! The NW representative then told us that first we had to walk down to Luggage Claim belt #3 and collect our checked baggage in order to bring it on the bus with us. He told us the bus would have a luggage compartment for our bags, and that he would meet us at Luggage Claim belt #3 at 11:45 p.m.

My little girls were totally exhausted at this point and the long walk with a daddy using a crutch wasn’t a memory they will enjoy. All the passengers of NW2451 got to Luggage Claim belt #3 and collected our bags. NW finally did something competent at DTW! The NW representative arrived at midnight, and told us the bus was about 30 minutes from arriving. We would be ON THE ROAD around 12:30 a.m., 8/11/09, to arrive at CVG with the days sunrise. BTW, I had my return flight to HPN scheduled for departure at 11:15 a.m. on 8/11/09, just to let you know.

It was shortly past 12:35 a.m. when the “bus” arrived to drive all of us to CVG. The passengers of NW2451 were expecting an over-the-road type coach bus, with baggage compartments and padded reclining seats. After all, NW was sending us on a 5+ hour ride, in the middle of the night, with no chance to get any sleep.
The vehicle that showed up to transport the passengers of NW 2451 to CVG was nothing anyone expected, not even the NW representative. Our “bus” was an around-the-town, see-the-sights-of-Detroit-in-three-hours tour bus. It had no luggage compartments, forcing the passengers to ride with their checked baggage on their laps, and the seats –oh the seats-, these were two-person common park benches made with wooden planks for seats and seat backs and wrought iron arm rests!!!! And NW expected us to sit for 5+ hours on these with our luggage on our laps. Who at NW thinks this was acceptable accommodation or service for the passengers of NW2451?

About twenty of us decided that enough was enough and we were no longer going to stand for anymore of this piss-poor treatment. We got off the bus and demanded the NW representative make us more acceptable arrangements. After telling us of his own embarrassment at what his company was providing, he went and got the “protestors” vouchers to spend what was left of the night at the Four-Points Sheraton. He also told us that there would be a proper coach at Baggage Claim belt #3 at 7:00 a.m. to drive us to CVG. He also got some booking agents to re-arrange our flight schedules upon our arrival at CVG. When it was my turn at the counter, the agent said the first available flight from CVG to HPN would leave CVG at 2:30 p.m. on 8/11/09 for DTW, with a connection in Detroit at leaving at 5:40 p.m. to HPN. When I asked if she could book me on a direct flight from CVG to HPN, I was told that I did not pay for a direct flight, so none was going to be offered. What rude, un-accommodating people and practices NW/Delta employs. NW/Delta was the cause of all this trouble and all your company was trying to do was to get rid of the “Interrupted Travel” passengers as cheaply as possible. This is no way to run an airline, and when your company fails, it will be because it deserves to.

Anyway, on with the record of events. A shuttle to the Sheraton arrived to take us to the hotel with our vouchers. BTW, no vouchers for food were provided, and none of us had eaten for at least 6-7 hours. Another consideration completely ignored by NW. Before we left DTW, we were told that the shuttles ran every 10 minutes and our bus in the morning would leave DTW at 7:00 a.m. So we got to the Sheraton, checked in, ordered cheeseburgers, went to our room, ate and went to sleep. It was 2:15 a.m., 8/11/09.

Our 6:00 a.m. wake-up call got my girls and I moving and we got to the lobby at 6:30 a.m. I asked the desk clerk when the next shuttle was leaving, and she said “they leave on the half-hour, the next one leaves at 7:00 a.m.” Just great! Now the three of us are in danger of missing the bus to CVG. When we got to Luggage Claim belt #3, there was no bus to be found, and no other passengers of NW2451 to be found. I returned to the counter where our re-booking took place 5 hours earlier, and no one at the counter knew anything about the morning bus. One woman who appeared to be in charge said she heard about the bus, but that it left at 1:00 a.m. She said she’d try and find out more information about what was going on. That was the last straw. I was no longer willing to let NW/Delta have any control over my daughters and myself. I asked the woman for a local phone book, which she provided and I called a car service. I made arrangements for a car to pick up my daughters and myself at DTW and drive us to CVG. I left the NW/Delta people to themselves.

The car arrived and my girls and I left DTW. I had the driver make a diversion to my girls’ home in Lebanon, OH then proceeded to CVG arriving at 12:30 p.m. to check in for my 2:30 p.m. flight to DTW then onto HPN.

When I got to the gate for my flight to DTW, once again the departure gate had changed. When I got to the new gate, the departure time had also changed. Here we go again. Now the flight was going to leave at 3:00 p.m. Then 3:30 p.m. Then 4:00 p.m. They finally boarded the plane at 4:30 p.m. and once on the plane the pilot announces that someone wants the plane to fly a new route to avoid some weather issue and it would be sometime before the new route was planned and approved and any extra fuel required was put onto the aircraft. When the clocked showed 5:00 p.m. and the plane was still on the ground, at the gate, I knew I had no chance of making my connecting flight at DTW. So I told the flight attendant that I wanted to get off this plane to make other arrangements to get back to my home in Valhalla, NY. I was no longer willing to trust NW/Delta to get me home. Once off the plane the NW gate agent told me that there were no other flights on any airline at CVG that would get me to HPN on 8/11/09. So I had him book me on another NW/Delta fight to DTW, then onto HPN leaving CVG at 6:40 a.m. on 8/12/09. So I went and got myself a room at the CVG airport Sheraton, where I had dinner in my room and spent the night.

On 8/12/09 I finally got on the flight to DTW, where upon arriving at my connecting gate, once again NW/Delta had changed the gate. This incompetence just would not stop! The flight to HPN eventually got off the ground and arrived at the gate at HPN about 30 minutes late. But at least I was no longer in the clutches of NW/Delta. And never will be again. NW/Delta has not lost just one customer. You have lost three, because I will not trust NW/Delta with my or my daughter’s good treatment any longer. Me and my daughter L****** are both SkyMiles members, but not for very long.

What I am requiring from NW/Delta is the following:

•Full re-imbursement for our complete flight (3 tickets) from HPN to CVG on the day of 8/10/09. Please don’t offer me any credits, or say that I don’t deserve re-imbursement for the HPN to DTW leg of the trip. That amount is $ 4XX.XX

•Full re-imbursement for the $15.00 checked baggage fee that I paid at HPN on 8/10/09

•Full re-imbursement for the car service from DTW to CVG on 8/11/09. That amount is $6XX.XX

•Full re-imbursement for my stay overnight at the Sheraton at CVG on 8/11/09. That amount is $1XX.XX

•This comes to a total re-imbursement of $XXXX.XX

I have included copies of all my receipts and “Interrupted Travel” documentation. Everything else I have said in this letter, you can check through your own records.

I have never had such a foul travel experience in my life. I would like to describe the service provided by NW/Delta in the most disparaging terms I can find, but I cannot. The reason I cannot is because NW/Delta did not provide ANY SERVICE to speak of. Service was non-existent. And I don’t blame the people that we dealt with face-to-face. The blame rightly falls on the decision makers behind the scenes, and the management that put these shoddy screw-the-customer policies in place.

I will not be deterred from collecting my re-imbursements either. My younger sister is an attorney here in New York, so I get my legal services for free. It won’t cost me a dime to get my money back. And the “best man” at my wedding, a friend for 30 years is a producer for Fox News Channel at their headquarters in Manhattan. FNC, especially the Fox and Friends morning show with Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade is always looking for human interest “filler” segments, and airline horror stories are particularly desirable and popular. And boy does this one fit the bill.- partially disabled man, travelling with two minor children gets totally screwed over by NW/Delta.

My contact information is as follows:

Domenick A. Colangelo Jr.
194 ******* Ave.
********, NY 10***

***-***-3659 (H)
***-***-8150 (M)

Email: dcolangelojr@******.com

I hope NW/Delta chooses to settle this matter quickly and completely without trying to wriggle out from under with the cheapest cost possible. If I do not receive everything that I feel is due me, which I have outlined above, I will not hesitate to make every effort to get this story into as many media outlets as possible (beginning with Fox and Friends) and earn for NW/Delta and it’s management (right up to the CEO) the kind of publicity no company wants. I await your response.


Domenick A. Colangelo, Jr.

1 comment:

James J. Benoit said...

Hi Auguste`, sorry about the travel nightmare with your little girls. UHG! Travelers "Bill of Rights", NOW!. Please excuse my absence, I've been revving up for school and trolling on BB and BH but ideas are churning. I'll post soon, I'm taking 16 hours and doing other prep work and have a math class (late in the term) that'll take me to 19 hours so....Thank you and good luck vis a vis Delta/NW!

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