The challenges of travel.
The night is still young
Our nightmare didn’t stop at that.
It was the 4th of July and two full planes full of people landed late. All the hotel rooms in and around Atlanta were booked. My sister, with great difficulty, found a Mariott or Hilton (I forgot which one).
We got a taxi to reach there and when we arrived, we realized the hotel looked very expensive. Also, because of the 4th of July, there was some kind of event going on.
We weren’t very sure if our European cards will be accepted (there’s a long history and I don’t want to bore you with another detail). But I felt good that I had around $300–$400 loose cash with me. If the card didn’t work, at least the cash will do. The room would surely not cost more than that.
The receptionist, who checked us in, gave us a receipt for $800.
I almost fainted. They didn’t have any more room left, and it was only the presidential suite that was left. My sister knew about this so she used her card to book it and thought we wouldn’t know.
We had a long journey, we were dead-tired, and it was our daughter she cared about the most.
However, the hotel had just blocked her card but didn’t charge it. Luckily, our European card worked.
I must tell you that the master bathroom in the suite was bigger than our entire bedroom in the Netherlands.
But the thought of losing $800 for a night in a hotel brought so much stress to me, that I couldn’t enjoy any bit of it. Besides, we had to board the flight very early the next morning. So there was not much time for sleep anyway.
The final part
Fortunately, my sister was able to talk to Delta and re-route our flight to Detroit instead of Chicago the next morning, so that we didn’t have to go through that another ordeal.
Now after all these hurdles, when we arrived the next morning to board our last leg of the journey, the airport staff from Delta denied our re-routed flight to Detroit and asked us quite arrogantly why the hell we were so irresponsibly late last night that we had to miss our flight!
I was pissed like hell. I could have throttled him. First of all, their damn plane arrive 5 hours late, and then, more importantly, we were denied accommodation after such an ordeal, left to be on our own in a closed airport with a small child in tow, then finally their staff has the audacity to ask us why we were so callous.
We demanded to see his manager, give us compensation for all these hurdles, pay us for our hotel room, and most importantly apologize and treat us like humans.
This worked finally and we were allowed to board the flight to Detroit. We were promised that the hotel fare would be compensated once we complete the return journey.
We are home baby
We boarded the final and last leg of our remarkable journey. During the flight, our daughter drew a picture of a house and some faces peeking from the windows, eagerly waiting for us.
She said, that’s my sister and her family, my mother and some friends from Toronto, who came just for a day, to indeed meet us.
We had a loving reunion. We forgot all the hassle but the $800 for a night was really bothering us.
We called Delta customer support and this time they gave us the final blow — the hotel cost was too much, way beyond their budget, so they can’t compensate for that.
I kept on worrying about that $800 all during my trip, it kinda spoilt my mood. We took the entire journey for only 1200 Euros only to spend $800 on a presidential suite!
Money was tight, but the lucrative deal made it possible to have a family reunion. Besides, it also didn’t feel right that the airlines would treat us like that.
Then finally, we read that the EU protects its travelers from being harassed by airlines with a special law, where a minimum compensation is due if the flight is late beyond certain hours.
Delta finally gave us a check of 600 Euros per person, which is in a total of 1800 Euros for all the hassles. The hotel accommodation was still supposed to be paid for by the airlines, but we didn’t go into that trouble anymore.
Bottom line: I am not traveling on the 4th of July anymore.