Traveling to Conferences is Fun and Profitable

Or not.

So the Joint Mathematics Meetings are going on right now in San Diego, and here I am in Chicago’s lovely O’Hare airport. I’ve been in Chicago since around 8pm last night, when my connecting flight to San Diego got cancelled.

I was told by the customer service representative that there were no seats available on flights leaving today, and that while I would be on standby for a flight today, that the best they could guarantee for me was a flight leaving Monday morning. Since my return flight is scheduled for Tuesday morning, this didn’t seem like a very good option. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t especially want to spend the day at O’Hare bouncing from gate to gate hoping to get a seat on a flight.

To their credit, the airline put me up in a very nice hotel last night, but when I got to the airport today, things got interesting. And not in a good way.

I waited on line at the ticket counter and told the representative that if it looked like I wasn’t going to get on the first flight out to San Diego this morning, that there wasn’t much point in my going to San Diego at all, and could I just get a flight back to Harrisburg? At this point, he told me two things:

  1. A flight to Harrisburg had left 5 minutes earlier, and all the other flights to Harrisburg today were full.
  2. I was booked on a flight to San Diego, through Minneapolis, but I had showed up to the airport too late to make it. Now, I had never been told about this flight, so I’m not sure who booked me on it, nor how I was supposed to arrive on time for a flight I was unaware of.

Needless to say, I was not happy with this development. Given that I (apparently) could not fly into Harrisburg today, I asked if I could get to Philadelphia. From there I could take a train to Harrisburg. Not at all convenient, but still better than sitting around O’Hare for a day. So I got ticketed onto a flight to Philly.

Later, while waiting for the Philly flight, I figured it couldn’t hurt to talk to a different customer service rep. This one seemed a lot more sympathetic to my situation, and actually managed to get me on a Harrisburg flight. I’m still waiting for that flight to take off (it still says “On Time” but I don’t want to get my hopes up). Wish me luck!

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3 Responses to Traveling to Conferences is Fun and Profitable

  1. muddledblog says:

    I wish you luck! I hope you are home by now.

    I hate the airline industry and their crappy customer service. I have flown like once in the last two years because of how terrible they are.

  2. Britt says:

    Good luck!!!

    Were you going to give a talk or do any key networking at the conference? Missing your big professional meeting would *suck*!

  3. Pr0f says:

    Yeah, I got home last night, and I did miss both the panel I was supposed to co-organize and the talk I was supposed to give. Not a huge deal, but definitely disappointing.

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