(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
So last night I boarded a plane in New Orleans heading back to Phoenix after the ALEC conference. The flight was delayed a bit by weather, and three of my former comrades from the Goldwater Institute were on the same flight. We had to change planes in Dallas to reach Phoenix, and knew that the connection would be tight.
As luck would have it, we arrived in Dallas a mere three gates away from the flight to Phoenix. The four of us arrived at the gate 10 minutes before the scheduled departure of the plane, only to learn that American Airlines had sold our seats out from under us. They had no other flight to put us on, nor did any other airline. Back in the day, an airline might use their advanced data base technology to hold a plane for a few minutes to get someone three gates down onto their flight, but American Airlines apparently prefers to simply sell your seat.
Instead of the flight home that we had purchased, we were given a night in a hotel and a flight out in the morning. In my case, this meant rescheduling a flight my wife and son had scheduled for Saturday morning at a nontrivial expense. A person at the hotel told us that they hear this sort of story on a routine basis and sometimes get 50 stranded passengers a night.
Now at this point, many of you may be asking yourself “Self, why in the world would he put up an image of Airplane 2: The Sequel when the far superior Airplane was available?” Ah, well, glad you asked. I chose Airplane 2: The Sequel because this is in fact the second time in the last three years that American Airlines left me stranded in Dallas. On October 1, 2009 they left me stranded in Dallas and were not going to be able to get me to my destination in time for me to make a debate a couple of hours outside Atlanta after I had received assurances that they would be holding flights.
American Airlines won’t receive a third chance to strand me, and I was foolish to give them a second. Feel free to keep this in mind the next time you book a flight.