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My mom missed her connecting flight...but I don't think she's telling me the "whole" story - what do you think?

My mom missed her connecting flight...but I don't think she's telling me the "whole" story - what do you think?

Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,172
My mom missed her connecting flight...but I don't think she's telling me the "whole" story - what do you think?

Mom was coming up from Florida on Monday for Thanksgiving, Delta, DAB-ATL-BDL.

It was a quick connection in ATL - 45 minutes. As Mom is 81, gets winded when walking, and is very anxious when traveling, I arranged for a wheelchair, thinking it would help her.

DAB left a little late, and didn't arrive until 2:25-ish (scheduled for 2:05). Including Mom, there were 6 people needing wheelchair assistance; They landed in terminal C and her connection was terminal A. She told the wheelchair attendants that her flight left at 2:50, but doesn't think that they really understood what she was saying. Eventually, she says she just left them and found her way to the gate by herself - and that she was at the gate AT 2:50, but "just" as she got there, the 2 men walked through the jetway door, closing it behind them.

I'm finding it really hard to believe that they wouldn't have held the plane for a couple of minutes when they had a connecting passenger whose plane had landed and who had a boarding pass. I can't even count the number of times that we have waited for connecting passengers. At Christmas last year, our connecting flight from Pittsburge to BDL actually waited 10 minutes for our LUGGAGE (which didn't make it, but they waited!).

They were able to get her on the next flight (landed at 9:00pm instead of 5), so no harm done.

So what do you think? Am I getting the whole story?
cynstalker is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Well, sometimes they hold the flight, sometimes they don't. Sometimes, if they think you'll miss the flight anyways, they'll rebook you on the next flight and then give away your seat for standbys.

Everything is possible.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:31 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,218
We've missed connections many times when our first flight was late and the second flight wasn't held. Holding a flight can create a domino effect of other people missing their next flights.
abram is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Plane was probably full, anyway -- when she didn't show up 15 min. before, they gave her seats away. No, the gates don't always talk to each other.
soccr is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Ok, maybe there's not "the rest of the story" (With my mom, one is never sure! )

Would it be different if there was a checked bag? I was thinking that they would not allow a plane to leave without a passenger who had checked a bag.
cynstalker is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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No difference whether there's checked bags or not.

The thing is that a 45-minute connection at the huge ATL isn't that much time for even able-bodied young adults. For someone at your mom's age, it becomes more troublesome.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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My impression is that virtually every airline gives special attention to two groups, infants, and the aged and infirm. We are becoming a less caring society, but I hope we haven't reached the point where we no longer give such attention (especially as I am approaching membership in one, or both, of those groups).

I suspect the problem was when your mother wandered away from the wheelchair attendant; at that time, the airline would have no idea where she was, and whether she would find her way to the gate, so they probably released her seat to someone on standby, to put her on a subsequent flight when she showed up. Bear in mind that if the flight was to leave at 2:50, they would probably close boarding at least 10 or 15 minutes before that, and even though they should have known there were late connecting passengers, they would probably be reluctant to hold the plane when one of the group didn't arrive.

Either that, or she was partying in a bar with the wheelchair attendant and didn't really get to the gate as soon as she says.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2007, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 164
I don't know what the policy is in the US for domestic flights, but when we flew last August from Turin to London on British Airways, there was a bag that had been checked in cargo and no passenger to go with the bag. The plane was delayed so that they could take that bag out of cargo.

I agree with the poster who said that the problem probably arose because your mom left the wheelchair attendant. The attendant might have been able to communicate with the gate to say that he/she was bringing your mom in the wheelchair but without your mom there, what was the attendant to say to the gate via walkie talkie or whatever?

I'd give your mom the benefit of the doubt and say that she is telling you the whole story.

canyonjane is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2007, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,406
I do know how it is with Moms embellishing stories - perhaps it is revenge for all the time I lied to her as a teenager. And perhaps the rest of the story is that she needed to use the bathroom.

Departure time is time plane is supposed to push off from gate (that is how they measure on-time statistics) - so planes frequently close cabin doors a few minutes before this time. I don't think they routinely hold planes, although I have been held up on departure with the announcement being they were waiting for connecting passengers.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving despite the airport trauma and drama - she was fortunate they were able to get her on a nother flight at this time of year.
gail is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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Oh lordy - we almost had a repeat on her way back home, but she made it. This time she stayed with the attendant, and he got her there in time.

clevelandbrown - I wondered about her leaving the attendant, and if it would have mattered if she had stayed with him. And you made me laugh out loud at the thought of Mom partying in the bar with the attendant - she would have rocked the place!

canyonjane, I thought i had heard something about planes not allowing checked bags without a passenger. Anyone know about domestic flights?

gail - we had a wonderful T-Day once I got her home. And yes - she was very lucky they got her on the next flight - one of the gate attendents told her it was full.

It's tough when our parents age. She gets so stressed traveling, but would be so crushed if she couldn't come. Makes for a dilema. I really thought the chair was the best route, but now I don't know what we'll do next time.

Thanks for the responses everyone!
cynstalker is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2007, 11:30 AM
Join Date: May 2006
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<Anyone know about domestic flights>

In our experience, it's the same - won't leave if there's a bag checked but no passenger, unless they confirm it's a misplaced/lost bag for a passenger that's already flown. However, not sure how strict all airlines are about this.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2007, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
I think they check for passenger/baggage agreement only on the first leg of your flight, and don't check on a connecting flight. Those times we have failed to make a connection, our luggage has often succeeded, and I think they wouldn't be able to have the relatively short connection times we often see if they were inventorying the baggage against the passenger manifest. They have time for that inventory on your initial flight, as they won't accept checked bags for something like 30 minutes before boarding.
clevelandbrown is offline  
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