With the recent air travel issues, I wonder how many of you have been on diverted flights? You can guess that I have been on my share of them over the years. I will just recap the worst ones.
Internationally, we were diverted from Taipei to Hong Kong due to fog. We had to stay the night in HK, but decided to switch our flight home to Singapore Airlines, the gold standard of flights. We got to spend the day in the Singapore lounge, with all kinds of great food, a shower, and many entertainment options. We got home a day later, did not have access to our luggage, but got to have the Singapore Airlines first class treatment.
Perhaps the most frustrating diverted flight occurred close to home. We were on our way home from Santa Fe, NM on Southworst to Oakland. We were diverted to nearby San Jose due to fog in Oakland. By the time buses arrived to take us to Oakland where our car was parked, 6 hours transpired. We got home around 3am and had to work at 9am the next morning!
But the most dangerous flights were two that I recall. One, we were hit by lightning on our way to Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ. We had to stop in San Diego to have the plane inspected. Thankfully, the Southworst flight continued on to Phoenix without incident or any repairs required. My kids were on board, and were quite shaken by the incident.
Even worse than getting hit by lightning, are the turbulent winds in Denver on a stormy evening. As we tried to land, I could see the wing on my side of the plane pointing perpendicular to the ground! The pilot pulled out of the landing, and tried again, with no luck! United and ground control finally decided we could not land in Denver, and were diverted south to Colorado Springs. Landing there was only slightly better, but once on the ground, they bussed us back to Denver, and put us up in a hotel. We flew home the next morning, thankful to be alive.
While I applaud the airlines and FAA for putting safety first, I wonder why they do not have better contingency plans. Busses and vans should be on call to transport passengers on a timely basis. My recent 16 hour delay on the VIA Canadian train out of Toronto is a good example. With more passengers than one bus could handle, the rail staff ordered several mini vans to transport us from the hotel, back to the train station.
I also think passengers should be compensated, based on the amount of delay and additional expenses incurred. While weather and safety are subjective, passengers are their business. Why not try to treat us a little better?
I am sure you have been caught on diverted flights as well. Maybe your stories are better than mine!