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Flying for Dummies: Death to AirTran

Posted by darren

AirScamWhen paying hundreds of dollars to fly, whether your trip be for pleasure or business, you expect a certain level of stability. Your money is an agreement with the airline companies that they'll get you to where you need to be at a certain point of time.

There's a whole host of reasons timing is everything when it comes to flying. Events can be made or missed depending on when you arrive. Maybe you paid the extra money to avoid the long waits or hassles associated with driving, taking a bus or train, riding a tugboat, or hitching with a redneck-powered semi.

Returning from a weekend at Memphis, I've realized that my previous issues with traveling (1, 2, and 3) have occurred through only one source: AirTran.

For context, my vacation away from Washington DC was made possible by a free flight from AirTran for screwing up a previous flight.

Memphis hosts a great music festival every time this year, aptly named "Memphis in May," and this trip would normally cost $250-300 to fly. Sign me up.

I chose to fly back the following Monday thinking there would be less air traffic and therefore reduce the chances of issues. I was wrong.

I arrived at the Memphis airport around 10am. My flight was first delayed several hours for mechanical issues. The airline didn't say what these issues were, nor how long it would take to fix, so we kept waiting... and waiting....

In order to fix the plane, a part needed to be flown out of Atlanta (where we were going) which would take several more hours. Once that part arrived, it took another hour to fix the mechanical error.

By this point, it was 6pm, a whole seven hours past when I should have already left Memphis. But a breakthrough! Our plane was finally fixed!

Not even five minutes after the good news, AirTran informs us of worse news, our plane is now grounded indefinitely.

Why? AirTran servers crashed in Atlanta and the airline cannot print the needed approval papers to fly.

All AirTran flights are now prohibited from entering or leaving the Atlanta airport, which is sort of a problem since Atlanta serves as AirTran's ONE AND ONLY HUB.

Two hours pass, and we finally get the go-ahead to leave Memphis. However, during all of this downtime, nobody in Memphis thought it would be a good idea to prep the airplane with luggage, food/drinks, or jet fuel.

*head slap*

We finally board, fly out, and arrive in Atlanta. Arrival time: 1am.

Of course my connecting flight is no longer anywhere near Atlanta, so I'm forced to spend the night. I shed a tear as I lose another vacation day to air travel retardation.

The next flight out from Atlanta to Washington DC doesn't leave until 9:40am, and I finally reach my destination around noon. Total travel time: 25 hours.

Death to AirTran.