It has been a terrible week for air travel. On Sunday night, United Airlines was caught violently removing a man from a flight that was overbooked, and then responded with a canned statement that apologized for the overbooking but not the fact that a man was knocked out and bloodied by security for no reason. While one of the officers that harmed the passenger — a doctor trying to get home so he could go to work on Monday morning — it is yet another example that air travel can be the absolute worst.
Delta Airlines also managed to anger many people this weekend, but at least they never resorted to violence against their own customers. Instead, a number of hub cities were hit with terrible weather, including Atlanta, New York, and Detroit, leaving thousands stranded in the face of epic delays. While things were almost back to normal by Monday, around 3,500 Delta flights were cancelled or seriously delayed due to bad weather between Wednesday and Sunday. The two consecutive storms managed to leave multiple branches of Delta in disarray, with bags left behind from disconnected flights and many people being bumped to later dates. Even though flights may be back on schedule, working to refund customers and attempt to get baggage to the correct locations will require continued attention. The fact that this cluster of setbacks occurred over many schools’ spring break made the crisis even more challenging.
However, it wasn’t a total bummer for everyone: one family received $11,000 in vouchers following their ruined weekend trip, so I guess that is a small silver lining and a wake up call to always play the system if you find yourself in a similar travel nightmare.