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Old May 19, 2011, 8:43 PM
kgemuend kgemuend is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
Default missed study tour in Italy with university

I left Buffalo - Boston on Monday May 16 to connect with Alitalia for 5:45 pm and on to Rome. The US air flight to Boston was an hour late in arriving. I had to rush from Terminal B - Terminal E at Logan (back through security) and made it to the gate at 5:35 pm. The plane for Alitalia was still there. Door was closed and they would not allow me and 4 other US Air passengers to board. They told us to return to US air at terminal B. Alitalia knew we were not on the plane and could have cared less. US Air did nothing to protect us as passengers to ensure the connecting flight would wait. I asked about my bag checked in Buffalo and US Air rep told me "it is illegal to send a bag on a plane where the passenger is not on board" I found out later that is a lie. US Air does not know where my bag is. I spend all night at Logan, am offered nothing by US Air for accommodation or food. They offer to rebook me on AA however, my study group has left Rome at 11:00 am with their scheduled bus transportation to our first stop. I have no way of regrouping with them, or contacting them. I am also without any information regarding my checked bag, which contains not only my personal belongings for this 3 week study tour, but my course books, presentations and other pertinent info. I am devasted. US Air rebooks me back to Buffalo so I can try and figure out what to do. That flight on Tues morning is delayed and they bump me to another flight. I arrive back in Buffalo Tuesday, May 17, and file a lost luggage claim. I spend all day Tuesday and Wed May 18 trying to salvage this study tour. My bag turns up in Rome and I am told they will ship it back. I ask them to hold it there so I can perhaps schedule another flight, but they tell me they will not hold the bag in Rome and it will be shipped back regardless. On Thursday May 19 I get a call from US air that they will hold the bag in Rome for me. I try again to rebook a flight, however the costs are exhorbitant. I have by now missed too much from this study tour in order to complete it. I have also paid 2500. for food and accommodation for this course and the course fee of $1000.00. Although US Air at least attemted to provide me with information, it was all incorrect and misleading. I have lost so much more than just the flight.
Old May 19, 2011, 11:10 PM
A320FAN A320FAN is offline
Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 363

They have been having weather related issues in the Northeast all week long with some delays averaging over an hour. This is fromthe FAA website for today:

provided by the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS) Real-time StatusThe status information provided on this site indicates general airport conditions; it is not flight-specific. Check with your airline to determine if your flight is affected.Due to WEATHER / LOW VISIBILITY, there is a Traffic Management Program in effect for traffic arriving General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, MA (BOS). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 1 hour and 48 minutes. To see if you may be affected, select your departure airport and check "Delays by Destination".Delays by Destination:
  • Due to RWY/CONSTRUCTION, departure traffic destined to CYYZ airport is currently experiencing delays averaging 1 hour and 24 minutes.
  • Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, departure traffic destined to Newark International Airport, Newark, NJ (EWR) is currently experiencing delays averaging 1 hour and 28 minutes.
  • Due to WEATHER / LOW VISIBILITY, departure traffic destined to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, NY (JFK) is currently experiencing delays averaging 47 minutes.
  • Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, departure traffic destined to La Guardia Airport, New York, NY (LGA) is currently experiencing delays averaging 2 hours and 2 minutes.
General Departure Delays: Because a traffic management program is delaying some arriving flights, departing flight schedules may be affected. Check with your airline to determine if your flight is affected. General Arrival Delays: Arrival traffic is experiencing airborne delays of 15 minutes or less.

As far as delays were concered it was a weather related delay, and have been all week long. US Airways is not going to offer compensation to you. The mere fact that they offered to try to rebook you with American was a nice gesture on their part, but again they were under no obligation to do so. Cut off time for international flights is usually 1 hour prior to departure, as the airline staff need to be dealing with Customs and Immigration items for the flight as well as filing proper international paperwork. US Airways does not have any kind agreement with Alitalia, and so they were under no obligation to call Alitalia to let them know you were coming. As far as the bag and international flights go, I can only tell you that if your not on the flight the bag is not supposed to go, and it is supposed to be pulled for you to pickup.

Last edited by A320FAN; May 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Spelling/grammar
Old May 20, 2011, 9:47 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

This is unfortunate and probably the judgements you made, as an inexperienced traveller, were flawed. The key lessons people travelling internationally should learn are:

1. Always allow significant time for transfers, not just the minimum the airline allows. In this case, I would typically seek to arrive at least 3 hours at Logan before your Alitalia flight goes. Airline delays are common, and should be planned for. When booking, you can reject a connection time if it is too short and ask for a longer transfer time.

2. It is rare for airlines to "hold" an aircraft when there are delays. Holding an aircraft can cause the airline to lose a "slot" and can introduce very significant delays. Equally, if Alitalia hold the flight for you in Logan, those who are transferring to other flights in Rome may have missed their connnection.

3. I think you now realise it was a mistake not to accept the offer of the AA flight the next day. By the time you decided to try and "catch up" the window of opportunity for a transfer had passed. It is a shame that someone did not warn you of the consequences of this decision, but I am afraid you made a poor judgement based on inexperience.

4. Once a bag is in the system, it can be hard to retrieve, particularly if there is an interline, international transfer. You would have been well advised to proceed to your destination and allow the airline to try and get the bag to you. As it turns out, the predictable outcome was that the bag ended up in Rome where you could have retrieved it. (It is not illegal for a bag to travel without a passenger, otherwise how could the bag have got back to the US? Bags travel all the time without their passengers. The rules relating to bag matching are complicated, but it is the airlines responsibility to get the bag back to you).

5. Catching up with your party once you got to Rome may have seemed scary to you, but in fact public transport in Italy is good and you had nothing to fear.

It is a shame... and I can understand how upset you are. You have indeed lost so much more than money. Italy is an amazing country and you have lost a fantastic lifetime experience. That is very sad, but if this initial delay was weather, I am afraid I don't think you have a substantial complaint against either US Airways or Alitalia. Let's hope others can learn from your mistakes to prevent it happening to anyone else in the future.

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