Planning for a trip can be a daunting task for many, but we’ve always enjoyed the research and planning aspects of all of our trips. However, no amount of planning will prepare you for the type of situation we encountered at the very start of our current trip.
We arrived to Miami International Airport just over 2 hours before our scheduled departure. We misread our itinerary from Tripmasters and went to the Lufthansa counter. When we hand our documents to the representative, he stated he could not locate us, or our flight. A bit of dread spread over us, naturally.
The representative called over a coworker who helped him figure out that, although Lufthansa did have something to do with the trip, it was actually being operated by Eurowings. We felt relieved that we hadn’t been bamboozled somehow. However, now we had to make our way to the Eurowings counter, which was at least a ten minute walk – with all of our luggage in tow.
Once we finally made it to the Eurowings counter, we were glad to see that there wasn’t a line. We get to the representative who basically dropped a bomb on us; they were overbooked! Trying not to panic, we listened as the representative told us that we needed to come back to the counter at 5:30p, meanwhile our flight was at 6:40p.
We anxiously awaited for the clock to get to 5:30. Things were not looking so good, but we wanted to maintain positive thoughts. When the time finally came, we went back up to the counter. No one seemed to really want to speak with us. We were standing there, with all of our luggage and another three people who were also standing around the same counter.
Finally, a male representative from Eurowings, named Marlon, stood in front of us and the now two other people, a couple, also waiting to board the 6:40 flight. He began by telling us that there were no more seats left on the plane. He said the flight was overbooked and that they were trying to see what they could do.
As the dread began to spread, the couple next to us started arguing with the representative. Understandably, all of us were more than just inconvenienced, we were stressed thoroughly! When the couple started to tell Marlon about the many ways this inconvenienced them, he became very rude.
He eventually said that they were going to try to find a way to rebook us on different flights to possibly leave tonight – if not, then we’d leave the following day. When we all protested about the possibility of having to leave until the next day, this Marlon character shut down and basically told us to deal with it, walked away and told another representative that was behind the counter to not speak to anyone.
Rationally speaking, we understand that it is NOT the fault of any of the ticket counter representatives that their airline overbooked us. However, this Marlon person did NOT have to be rude about it. The situation was stressful all around, he didn’t even attempt to make things any better.
Luckily, he left and another woman who had been behind the counter the whole time, remained. She informed us that they had already emailed the airline about our situation and that she was now waiting for a response from the airline. She further explained that in case nothing could be found for tonight, they would provide us vouchers to stay the night at a hotel, as well as provide us with food vouchers.
The representative also gave us a brochure that was about the ‘Passenger Rights.’ In it, the brochure provided helpful information about what our current situation meant for us. We would be entitled to compensation if our arrival time was at least 2 hours or more from our original arrival time. We would be entitled to “care while waiting” if our delay lasted longer than 2/3/4 hours, depending on the distance of the flight.
Upon further research, we found out from the US Department of Transportation that “On international itineraries, passengers may be able to recover reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention for expenses resulting from a delayed or canceled flight by filing a claim with the airline. If the claim is denied, you may pursue the matter in court if you believe that the carrier did not take all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damages caused by the delay.”
As we stood near the counter awaiting a response from the airline, the couple that had been next to us was informed that a new flight had been found for them. Eldris and I were cautiously optimistic that we would be next! Eventually, after the longest 10 minutes, the representative informs us that the airline had sent her an email with our new flight information.
Luckily, we were able to leave the same night, we did have to switch to British Airways. This was another 5+ minute walk to their counter. However, before we made our way to the new counter, the Eurowings representative told us how we would have just 1 layover in London and would actually get to Dubrovnik, our first stop on our 4 country trip, sooner than our original itinerary.
We were excited about this! We felt things had finally turned around. Then we get to the British Airways counter. The representative told us that we had two layovers, not 1, and would arrive a little later than what the representative at Eurowings had mentioned. At this point, we just wanted to get to Dubrovnik in time to not miss out tour for the following day.
After traversing through 4 different airports, we finally made it to our hotel and had a full night’s sleep in an actual bed instead of the less than comfortable plane seats we’d been on for the last 20+ hours. Considering everything we went through just to get here, we both came to the conclusion that no matter what, we’d make sure to fly direct or with at most one stop, even if it means paying a little more next time.