I’m home in DC, not much looking forward to the coming storm, not planning to fly Monday through Thursday so my travel plans aren’t being interrupted.
But I did try to log on to my power company’s website, to no avail.
And according to DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com the problem isn’t me:
Not very encouraging when the power company’s website is down before the storm.
But at least I’m not flying, because today is already bloody. The largest number of proactive cancellations were on United, focused primarily on the New York area but also Washington Dulles. In total and across all airlines over 1200 U.S. flights have been cancelled so far today. Tomorrow there will be many, many more cancellations.
Here are the re-accommodation policies of various US airlines.
Of course, in order to change your plans you need two things: available alternative flights, and to be able to get through to your airline.
With planes generally full, there aren’t a ton of seats to rebook onto. It helps to research ahead of talking to an agent so you know exactly what flights you want to get on, and that those flights have availability, using tools like FlightStats and like Expertflyer.
Telephone hold times for general members are getting fairly long. And even much of the things that elite agents can do, when they need to get help themselves, can take awhile. At about 6am Eastern I was on the phone with American, helping someone overseas get a ticket re-issued. The phone was picked up right away by an Executive Platinum agent. But that agent had to spend about 15 minutes holding just to reach the rate desk, which was necessary to know how much in additional taxes to collect (answer: $48.15).
Perhaps the one good thing that came out of the debacle of multi-hour hold times with United back in March when they trnasitioned their computer reservation systems is well-developed strategies for getting through on the phone when telephone queues are maddeningly long. At that time I had great success avoiding telephone hold times by calling United in Australia (cheap via Skype, and just make note of the time difference because the phone number doesn’t operate 24 hours a day).
Another technique is that you can go online and tell United to call you back instead of waiting on hold.
Good luck to everyone traveling in the Northeast and Mid-atlantic over the next couple of days!