January 24, 2011

Flying in Winter Weather (How an Airline Treated Us Right)

Snow and ice. Cancelled flights. Unhappy travelers. Over the winter, we've seen the news reports of hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded in airports, unable to get to their destination. It's a terrible way (stressful, uncomfortable and expensive) to spend a few days.  A traveler is at the mercy of Mother Nature and the airlines.

Christmas Day 2010 brought six inches of snow to us here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. With the cold temperatures and snow, my husband and I decided enough was enough, so we went online and booked a trip to warm Hawaii for January 11-18, 2011.

Of course, we experienced another winter storm on the day we were supposed to fly to Hawaii! The ice closed the airports and flights were cancelled.  We were not going to Hawaii as planned—but, when—and at what cost to rearrange our flight and hotel?

We typically book our flights and accommodations separately. We booked the Hawaii trip as a combined flight and hotel package through American Airlines Vacations® because the price was better than we could arrange by ourselves on short notice.

Using the package turned out to be a fortunate decision when the weather got in the way.

American Airlines® was pro-active, so we never had to spend our time chasing down new flights or hotel arrangements. The airline called us about the cancellations, then called back with the re-booking of the flight. This went on for 48 hours as the airline kept us informed every step of the way. They also called the hotel to ensure that we had the same number of nights, only shifted by one day. Every airline representative was not only cheerful, but worked very hard to schedule good flights with good seats.

We remained in the comfort of our home while American Airlines® worked out all the changes. (On the airline website for our reservations, I signed up for phone call notifications for flight status and changes.)

The customer service for reservations was top notch and the changes were made without charging any extra fees or penalties—nor losing any days in Hawaii.

When there are so many complaints about travel, superior customer service is worth mentioning!

Waikiki Beach
Honolulu, Hawaii
January 2011
Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. No compensation, special consideration, nor discounts were received for the writing of this article. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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