Category Archives: Travel

A couple free travel tips

The recent trip from Sarasota, Florida to Muskegon, Michigan to visit the kids and new grand-daughter was the trip from hell. Here’s a couple of free travel tips based upon our experiences:

Never fly on a bankrupt airline

We flew on Delta. They had the best price, and the schedule that we wanted. We bought the tickets months in advance. Unfortunately, they’re (were) in bankruptcy. Every one of the four planes that we were scheduled on had a ‘mechanical’ problem that took hours to resolve. One plane sat on the tarmac overnight with a reported mechanical problem that wasn’t repaired until after we had all boarded the next morning and attempted to leave the gate. We then had to sit on the plane for 3 hours while they tried multiple attempts to workaround the problem. This resulted in missed connecting flights. Delta issued vouchers for tickets on other airlines to try and workaround their lack of working planes, but their competitive airlines wouldn’t honor their vouchers. Result – they can’t get you from point A to B.

Never fly out of third-rate airports

We flew out of Sarasota to Grand Rapids. We live in Sarasota and like to support our local airport. Besides, who wants to drive 50 miles to Tampa or Fort Myers and the beginning or end of your trip? So we usually pay the extra $100 for the convenience. On the other end, Grand Rapids is as close as you can get by plane to Muskegon – about 35 miles away. Unfortunately, these are two podunk airports that the airlines reluctantly serve. They may only have one or two flights per day at these locations so there is no alternative if your plane is delayed or has other issues. Result – any hiccup and you can’t get from point A to B.

Bottom Line

Here’s a free tip for Delta. Since you’ve based your service on flights to and from hubs the most important consideration is CONNECTIONS! If you can’t make the connecting flights you can’t get from point to point. The trip north was supposed to take about 6 hours total with one stop in Atlanta. It ended up taking a total of 16 hours and stranded us in Chicago where we had to rent a car and drive the rest of the way around Lake Michigan. The return trip was supposed to take about 6 hours total with one stop in Atlanta. It ended up taking a total of 14 hours with the last two hours in a car from Tampa to Sarasota.

And here’s another ‘benefit’. Since we didn’t fly into or out of the locations that we purchased our tickets for, and since they were changed many times by the airline at the last minute attempting to get us to our destinations, we were subjected to extra security at the checkpoints – pat downs, luggage search, etc.  Sweet !

Every Delta employee that we encountered was courteous and attempted to be helpful. I personally thanked the pilots on the delayed flights for flying ‘safe’.