A Garfield Road Warrior Monday on Delta, JFK…LGA, AA…

Monday I slipped into the shower at 5 am Atlantic time at Knox’s Dam B&B on Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Mistake 1: not checking flight status before the shower

By the time I was fresh and ready to go and my wife starting to rise, I checked my phone to see it had been busy during the night. Our Delta flight to JFK had been delayed 3 hours due to mandatory crew rest from the late arrival the night before.

I apologized to wife, and mother-in-law in the next room, and Janet Knox of the B&B and everyone went back to sleep while I caught up on worth.

Sort-of Pre-Mistake 0: having different tickets for same-day travel

We had booked our PEI weekend months before so those tickets were set. The week prior a business trip came up requiring me to get in to Louisville by Monday evening. Ideally same-day travel is on the same ticket so the airline system can properly track and accommodate displaced passengers. In this case I had no choice so my onward trip was on a separate ticket JFK-MSP-SDF, the only Delta routing from JFK that would work, with a 2.5 hour layover from the PEI flight.

With original connection broken and no alternate from JFK on any airline, I called Delta and they put me on their only alternate that would arrive Louisville before 6 pm, a 2:30 nonstop from LGA. With an estimated JFK arrival of noon that was tight but possible.

We enjoyed our morning and B&B breakfast, then headed to PEI’s Charlottetown Airport (YYG).

Prince Edward Island 006

The slow pace of life is a delight for a relaxing summer getaway. Not fun for trying to get out of town. The airport contractors surprisingly never made any announcements of status, let alone apology for the delay, even as we sat past the revised 11:07 departure. The flight crew never gave the standard apology either during the flight. No accommodations of any kind were offered or made to passengers.

Those Canadians are just too nice. Air Canada was using the only boarding ramp for its Toronto flight, and it was waiting for a last passenger who never showed. I was ready to yank the darn ramp away and wheel it over to the Delta plane, which didn’t even have a Delta logo. I did see a step ladder by the Delta plane and was perplexed as the agents and now-rested crew sat in the terminal and did nothing to get the plane ready. Finally Air Canada departed but then another Air Canada arrived. I was about to have a meltdown. Fortunately we were granted brief use of the boarding ramp and the agents and crew slowly sauntered to the plane and began the boarding process. Another hour lost.

Delta Blue Label Plane

Mistake 2: JFK does not have immigration facilities at Terminal 2

Taxi lines can be horrible at JFK so I had my company book a car service. Delta showed a JFK Terminal 2 arrival. I had a brain freeze until landing at JFK at 12:50 with the flight attendant announcing that we would be bused to Terminal 4 for immigration (Charlottetown does not have US Preclearance).

While getting a rambling bus tour of JFK I called the car service and by the time they connected with the driver, he was at T2 baggage claim and it would take a while to drive around to T4. I said no problem, I would hop on the AirTrain.

I zipped through Global Entry and out to the AirTrain. The intra-terminal AirTrain runs counter to the other trains, so from T4 the next stop should be T2. Except it wasn’t. The board showed next stop T5. I did not have 10-15 minutes to circle the entire airport. The staff said the change was due to maintenance. I joked that I should just walk, she said I could, the walkway is open despite T3 construction.

Out into the sweltering heat I dashed in my suit, passing the rubble of T3 and into T2, all the while on the phone with Delta to get booked on the last option of the day that would work, an American Airlines flight from LGA arriving Louisville 5:55. I have Diamond Medallion status with Delta so they did not resist making this accommodation, most passengers probably would have only been offered the evening Delta flights so would need to be persistent and find an accommodating agent.

JFK T4 to T2 a

I found the driver and we took the side roads around the gridlock, arriving LGA in time for AA.

I win one: since I was now on AA, I gave them my AAdvantage number so I could get credit with them, then request my original flight credit from Delta.

The AA flight was smooth, I arrived at my hotel, dropped my bags in my room and walked off the elevator at 6:14 for my 6:15 meeting. My boss was in the next elevator down.

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

  • Craig

    Talk about a close call!!!!!

  • Shannon

    Can you write more about PEI? how to plan a weekend trip from scratch based on your experience. The air fare is so expensive from NYC and easily at over $500. Will it a better time to visit in Sep?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – The best NYC option is the Delta seasonal nonstop but it only runs till Sep 1. Last minute Delta sometimes has decent award prices for this flight midweek. After Sep 1, for an award that leaves you only Air Canada, which flies from several Canadian cities to Charlottetown. Or, you can fly to Halifax (unfortunately no AA flight so no Avios) and then it is a 4-hour drive to Charlottetown for which there are shuttles about $120+ roundtrip. If you drive, when you leave PEI by the Confederation Bridge you pay a $45 toll (no charge when you enter).

    Here are some prior posts I did on PEI, about the scenery, our favorite B&B, and lobster suppers.

  • Charles

    RTC,

    Thank you for the recommendations on PEI. I booked 25k RT for wife and I last winter and just got back from spending the long weekend with Janet and Richard. Bummer that they are closing up shop.

    Coincidently our flight this morning was also delayed 3 hours and there were again no announcements at the airport. Luckily we had stairs and a Delta paint job on our ride.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    Charles – so glad you were able to do the trip. We were there the weekend prior for our second visit of the season, indeed so sad they plan to close. There is some small hope as last year they thought about closing but after the long winter they decided to keep going.