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Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:09 am

We all have had some kind of delay in an airport somewhere around the world, so here it is: your chance to vent and share your horror stories with all of us who can sympathize!

I've had 2 bad days on two separate holidays to New York (love that city but not that easy to get to  Smile)

The first was from SFO where I endured a 4 hour wait after missing my booked flight waiting to check in with the other 200+ people through only TWO check-in agents. The nice people @ UA put me on standby for the next flight but it was full and I finally got on the third (which left late) to arrive in JFK in the middle of the night (a bit terrifying for my first time there and was alone)

My second was from LAS to EWR via DEN. First flight from LAS to DEN went ok and arrived on time. That's where the good luck ended!! After two delays my DEN-EWR flight was finally canceled citing bad weather at EWR. So again the nice people @ UA transfered me to a Midwestern flight via MKE which left DEN half an hour late and then was twice delayed from MKE and didn't get to EWR until 2:30am. I also found in interesting that every other airline and even other UA flights were able to land @ EWR despite the "bad weather" personally I think the plane went tech and they just didn't want to say.

So bring them on, I know you all have one (or many) to share!

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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:53 am

I've got to say that I have been very lucky as far as delays go, *touch wood* very few incidents over a couple of hours, but still, I've had a few;

Scheduled to fly LHR-MXP-JFK with AZ, only the first flight was cancelled due to Milan being snowbound, meaning I spent five hours in a queue waiting for AZ to work out their knee from their elbow and was eventually rebooked onto KLM via AMS instead. I sleep from wheels up to wheels down on the flight to JFK, and because of the considerable delay, 21 hours after touching down I was lifting back off again to return to Europe.

Alitalia again, flying BHX-MXP-MAD, got to MXP and the entire Alitalia staff decided to have a 4 hour walkout... great! Everything for the rest of the day was cancelled as a result, but after a bit of a blag I ended up on an Iberia flight instead; I told the IB agent that AZ had told them to rebook me on the IB flight which was bending the truth a little, but I needed to get to MAD quickly!

Probably the worst delay was on a very short flight though; MAN-BRS-PLH with Air Southwest; bad weather shut MAN meaning my inbound flight diverted to LBA, the ground staff didn't have a clue and handled the situation very badly which only lead to irate passengers. Offered the choice of an 8-10 hour coach journey, or wait until the flight the next morning, which I did, eventually getting back about 15 hours late!

Dan Smile is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:12 am

I think I have never waited too long... Longest was 45 minutes or so! but I cannot remember longer than that... Big grin
Usually business class counter are less crowded! so you always should fly C or F class Big grin

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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:37 am

Had a couple of episodes that I recall:

first was back on 2001 when I was flying MXP-BUD with Malev. Flight was scheduled at 10.15Lt but bad weather and strong winds were causing several delays/cancellations at MXP. Departure was post-poned first to 12.00, then 13.15 and finally they told us the aircraft landed in LIN. We had to collect our bags back and were transferred by bus to LIN. We finally took-off at 17.30 arriving in BUD exactly 7 hours over the STA...

Second episode was coming back from a vacation to Iceland. My routing was KEF-CDG with Icelandair and then CDG-MXP on AZ.
Since many intra-european flights from KEF departs very early in the morning, I knew I had to wait some 5 hours at CDG before my connection to MXP. Again the incoming flight from MXP was late due to AZ staff strike at MXP so I finally boarded at 19.15... One of my longest and much boring wait at Terminal 2 in CDG, absolutely appalling!

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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:37 am

The longest waiting in a airport for me is 4hrs at FRA. That isnt bad at all.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:17 am

I was trapped in ROV for close to 9 hours in Dec 2005. I had my Russian colleague and two suppliers from Germany with us.

Originally, we were scheduled on Aeroflot-Don to VKO dep scheduled for 8.15am. Being Russia, we arrived with two hours to spare at the airport = no breakfast at the hotel. Arrived, checked in (hand-luggage only), and were advised that departure was delayed till around 11 am. No troubles, we decided to return to the hotel for b'fast.

Returned to the airport - flights were delayed all over the place. In fact, the departures board was still showing flights from 24 hours ago as not having left. Reason: dense fog. Russian domestic carriers don't have any gear allowing for landing in such conditions. So we trundled off to the only cafe at the airport. Ordered beers. Ordered coffee. Ordered salmon sandwiches, in fact, we ordered pretty much everything they had. Time kept ticking over. No word on revised departures - the time jsut got pushed back. So I started to kick up a fuss - we had meetings in Moscow planned. We had to reschedule them - which became a problem since our German suppliers' visa would expire. Luckily, I always add an extra day to the inviation = extra day in case of contingencies.

Time is now 2pm, still no word, though the fog had started to lift. ROV Airport is a grim place, old-school soviet-style airport and no 'evro-remont'. Toilets downstairs were so indescribably bad that one of the Germans actually took a picture. Old-fashioned squat toilet. Filthy, smelly, and in true russian style, no toilet paper, soap was floating in a puddle on the sink, and no hand towels either. Oh, and only three lights worked. And this airport also handles international flights!

We gave up on Aeroflot-Nord and cashed our tickets in. Spotted an S7 flight that was scheduled a few hours before the revised Aeroflot-Don flight departure. Headed over to S7 counter and got seats on their ex-UA 735 to DME instead. We even had time to leave the airport again, head to the OS downtown office to change OS return flights ex-SVO for our German friends.

But S7 let us down also. Their flight was pushed back also. As pax got more agitated, rude ground staff then chased everyone out of the office, slammed the door, locked it, and lowered the blinds. So much for customer service.

Much to our disappointment, the Aeroflot-Don flight we originally booked on actually departed prior to our new S7 flight. Still, we eventually made it on. Arrived at DME some 14 hours after we were supposed to. For me, that's a record for spending time at an airport - from 6.20am till 18.00 or so

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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:51 pm

My longest wait was in 2004 in SEA waiting for the inbound aircraft. The inbound aircraft was delayed due to thunderstorms at IAH and when they got on the ground in SEA a ground stop was put in place for IAH due to the constant training of thunderstorms. The entire delay was from scheduled to actual departure was 7+45....thank goodness for the CO President's Club staff in SEA, always wonderful be even more so on that day.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:33 pm

The longest I remember was in 1991 on a transit from PHX-ORD-JFK on UA and we were number 75 for departure from ORD as there was a severe thunderstorm. We stood 2 hours at the gate and then 6 hours on the taxiway. After 4 hours the captain already announced that he could not operate this flight anymore since they were out of time. Later when we were back at the gate we were the only one rebooked for a AA flight ORD-LGA that left 3 hours later. So I was at ORD 11hours at ORD waiting to get to NYC.  Smile

The second longest was on a AY MD-83 in 92'from HEL to VIE when the A/C had an technical issue and we waited for 6hours before boarding.  Smile
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:13 pm

My longest wait at an airport took place in August 1994 in AMS. I returned from DTW on KL and i was supposed to be going to TLV. I had a long lay-over (9 hours i think) and then we got delayed for another 4 or 5. In other words, i was stuck in AMS for 15 hours, and since i was traveling on an Israeli Travel document, i wasn't able to leave the airport because i had no visa. So i walked around the airport for a good 15 hours.

That also was my first and only time flying on an MD-11 (AMS-TLV). They had an equipment change (it was supposed to be an A310).
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:09 pm

The one that specifically sticks in my mind only because I despise DFW occurred in June 2006. Flying AA DFW-CUN for the start of a much needed vacation, we arrived connecting from DEN with about 2 hours to make the flight to CUN. We transversed the concourses and arrived to an "On Time" flight (12:00PM). Less than 5 minutes before we were supposed to take off, they informed us there would be a tech delay and our plane would be there within 10 minutes. 2.5 hours and no AA agents later (about 14:30hrs), one came on the intercom to let us know our plane had just touched down and we would be allowed to board after a quick clean-up. Miraculously the agent disappeared and the next thing we knew, about an hour later, the agent once again hit the intercom to let us know the plane was unable to come in due to weather. Amazingly at about an hour and a half after this (17:00hrs) a plane arrived at our gate. Well, this plane was "not ready to go" and went tech also. End of story, we finally boarded our outbound flight from DFW to CUN at 21:55. We were quite thankful however AA upgraded us to First Class just before boarding. Too bad they couldn't have done this at check in so we had access to the lounge  banghead 
By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:05 pm

9 hours at LGA returning one Thanksgiving. Drizzle, foggy = massive back ups at LGA. We finally took off around 2 a.m. for MCI. This was pre-9/11 - YX brought pizza, snacks and beverages to thier gates for waiting pax and did the full scheduled dinner service after we leveled off.

Recently, 7 hours at ABQ. WN plane change at ABQ from TUS to MCI. ABQ-MCI plane originated somewhere in CA that day. Weather delays so got continually behind schedule. It was a long day. The bartender at ABQ was very friendly!  Wink
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:16 pm

Oh, another memorable one. In a bad way. 6 hours - 1999 - TW - STL - OGG. All ready to board the 767. . . when captain stopped the process. In about 30 minutes the captain came out to the boarding area and announced himself to the hundreds anxious to get to OGG that the back up generator on one of the engines was out. Of course, ETOPS can't go without the back up working. (Nor would I want to!) Had to fly the part in from JFK. He apologized and I thought it was classy he came out and made the announcement himself instead of making the gate agent do it.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:59 pm

A few years ago I was supposed to fly from RDU to SMF via ORD. Due to a snowstorm in Chicago, the RDU-ORD leg was delayed 2 hours or so, but then we boarded the aircraft, taxied out to the runway, and waited some more. They told us that we still weren't being allowed to depart (Is that technically a ground stop, btw?). After a while the flight attentent took an informal poll among the passengers as to whether we'd prefer to go back to the gate, cancel the flight, and try to get rebooked on other flights, or stay there and wait it out. Since most of us had already missed our connections by that point, most people wanted to go back to the gate. So we went back to the gate.

At the next gate was a flight to IAD that was about to leave, so they rebooked me on that flight along with a few other people. It meant a 7 hour connection in IAD for me, but unlike some people I was at least still going to make it to my destination that day. And I have to say at this point that I think the flight crew and gate agents at RDU handled things pretty well given the situation.

So, I got to IAD and had 7 hours to kill, so I explored the airport, read a book, got a bite to eat at one of the resturants. When it got close to time to board my flight to SMF, we were told there was going to be a delay because -- and this is probably the strangest reason I've ever had a flight be delayed -- the crew went to the wrong airport. It took them 2 hours to get there bringing my total time waiting at IAD up to 9 hours, not to mention the time I spent waiting at RDU that morning.

The one positive thing about the experience was that when we did finally board I ended up in that exit row seat on the A319 with no seat in front of me, so at least I was able to streatch out and get some sleep after what had been a really long day.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:19 pm

Three hours. Happened twice:
NW 742 MSP-NRT (I was in J on standby). #3 engine had problems that maintenance were fumbling around with. Ended up screwing the Korea trip and going to LAX on a 752 in Y.

NW D9S PIT-DTW (I was in Y on standby). ATC and weather at DTW caused us to sit on Taxiway A and wait it out. Ended up being a roadtrip from D83-D85. Trip to MCI was postponed for two months, but was offered to go with the crew to MSP on a ferry flight. Declined because my mom had to get to base at DTW and won't be able to make it, and as a UM for the MCI leg, I can't take the last flight of the day at MSP making me screwed. Both of us went home.
I get paid to convert dead dino juice into noise.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:49 am

May 1976 Arrived at BKK after 14 hours including a stop in Karachi. Expected a 8 hour layover before a connecting flight to SIN for over night hotel stay and flight home to Syd the next evening.
I was one of the last to check in and was told that due to strike action in Sydney I would be advised not to take my booked flight! By now I had been awake for over 24 hours and had little in the way of tolerance, but I took the advice and waited further instruction in the designated area.
My flight left for Singapore without me and I really hoped I had done the right thing. A group of about 35 - 40 of us waited a further 2 hours before being taken away by bus for a free dinner and a night in a fabulous hotel. About 3.00 am those who flew to Singapore had returned to BKK and the same hotel They were extremely angry and made lots of noise. At 5.00am we were woken and given Breakfast and taken back to the airport and boarded our flight direct to Sydney. We actually arrived 4 hours earlier than planned so no one was there to pick us up as planned.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:34 pm

11 or so hours in Terminal One at LAX waiting for a Southwest flight LAX-LAS-PIT. It was during the time US switched to their current computer system and they were having tons of flight problems, delays and cancellations, so I went on WN instead. What a crappy terminal to be stuck in for that amount of time let me tell you.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:53 pm

26 hours at SVO, SU delay delay and more delay...after 18 hours (had to stay awake otherwise police start to take an interest) I started to enjoy it...felt like I was a permanent fixture in the place, dust and all on me.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:35 pm

My longest wait was 9 hours at MIA

Inbound flight ALM Antillean Airlines CUR-MIA connecting on MP Martinair to AMS.

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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:38 pm

My longest domestic wait was in LAS for one full day due to fog delays at SMF. My longest international was 13 hours in MAO waiting for my once daily flight to BVB. Fun stuff!
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:51 am

The first time I flew to Europe was as a 16 year old on a teen tour in the summer of 1979. I don't remember the exact day we were scheduled to leave, but it was the day that Skylab fell to earth from orbit. All flights that crossed Skylab's projected path of descent were delayed. We had been scheduled to depart New York JFK around 18:00 but all flights from JFK were delayed about four hours because of the Skylab event.

When it was time for our Capitol Airways chatered DC-8 to depart after the delay it was discovered that the plane had a mechanical problem. The mechanics tried to fix the plane, but eventually it was taken out of service and a replacement plane had to be flown in from another city (memory fades but I seem to recall the new plane was flown in from Memphis). During all this time the teens on the flight and our adult chaperones had the run of I believe Terminal 2 at JFK (I seem to recall that among the terminal's occupants were Northwest Orient and perhaps Delta).

Among the memorable events of that long night happened when one of the teens on the tour wandered out of the terminal to get some fresh air. Apparently he fainted and was found in the parking lot by a stranger who, instead of calling for emergency help, drove the boy in his own car to a hospital in Brooklyn! At least this is the story the rest of us heard through the grapevine. Eventually the boy was brought back to JFK but was so traumatized that he elected to fly home rather than continue on the tour. I still wonder what exactly transpired with that boy that night. The whole affair was rather fishy.

Eventually the replacement plane was flown in and we departed for London Gatwick around 12 hours after scheduled departure time.
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:44 am

Two longest waits were in LAX last year and 2006. Arrived on NZ from AKL, and had to wait for the red-eyes to ORD in 2006 and IAD last year. The LAX-IAD wait was the longest (nearly 12 hours), due to the B763 arrived late from HNL, then its brakes over heated on landing at LAX, so we waited for around 1 hour on board. The FAs started the movie, and came around with the drink cart which was very nice while we waited. In August, I've got my third longest wait. Again in LAX for a red-eye on US to PIT. This time, just over 8 hours
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RE: Longest Wait At Airport?

Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:24 am

9 Hours in FRA just a very long connection time. Big grin

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