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Flight cancelled

My flight for May 23 is cancelled, I am so sad because I have been planning my trip for 2 years! I am trying not to wallow and to be pro-active, my plan was to fly out of Boston the night of the 23 and arrive in London the am of May 24.

I am getting my master's degree at 11 am on the 23 and plan to walk,so that is my only deciding factor in when to leave.

I called BA and they said there is availability on the flight from Boston (which is where I was originally scheduled to fly out of) to London Heathrow the next morning the 24, but that will mean I lose a whole day in London. We are travelling for 2 weeks but I don't really have any time to pull from anywhere else, have lots of other bookings etc.

The only other flight they told me about was out of JFK (I don't mind flying out of anywhere near CT which is where my graduation ceremony is) to London heathrow on the morning of the 23rd. To take that flight I would have to miss my graduation.

I am so torn. Are there other options I am not thinking about? What should I do??

Posted by
4555 posts

Wow...what a conundrum! This is a very personal decision...but if it were me, I think I'd sacrifice a day (less than, if you're flying out in the morning rather than the evening before) to attend the ceremony.
You've put in a lot of hard work to gain your degree, and you deserve to receive the congratulations of the audience and the faculty for a job well done. I think you'd kick yourself in the future if you passed it up.
Yes, you'll miss some time in Europe. But if you are as entranced with what you find (as I think you will be), you'll be back....Europe isn't going anywhere! ;)

Posted by
13221 posts

Chantielle, missing one day of London isn't such a big deal. You are young, and you'll have plenty of opportunities later to spend time there.

But this is your one chance to walk in your graduation. You've worked hard to earn that, and your family and friends won't want you to miss that.

It is fortunate that BA can put you on a flight the next day---not everyone is being offered alternaties so close to their original plans.

Go to your graduation, celebrate, and then fly to London and enjoy your vacation.

Posted by
121 posts

I agree, I am not actually sure that I can get on that flight the next day. I booked through a travel agent (on a do it your own contiki tour, buy one airfare get one free) so I have to re-book through them! I hope that flight is still availble when Contiki gets around to my flight.

I am stressed.

Posted by
3580 posts

Chantielle, I have followed your posts as you planned your European trip. Your careful planning will pay off. I can say, from personal experience, that on almost every trip at least one thing goes "wrong." Often, that is the thing that makes the trip most memorable. I flew back home April 29 after the volcano went off. I got a hero's welcome. So, whatever you have to do to get to Europe, GO. And try not to miss your graduation. Folks will want to see you in that cap with the special tassel, and the special whatever that will decorate you after receiving a master's degree. You need a picture of that.

Posted by
7205 posts

I didn't attend my college graduation 20 years ago, and I have never once regretted my decision. Graduation or Europe - I'd easily choose Europe. For graduation you'll walk across the stage just like countless others before and probably after you. It's a nice trinket of a memory to have, but I doubt it will compare to a whole day of a trip you've been planning for 2 years.

Heck, when you get home, host your OWN graduation ceremony. Invite some friends plan a little reception.

Posted by
9363 posts

I'm with the others who say go to the graduation! I graduated at age 39 and walked. My mom, who had also been an older graduate (38), didn't walk and said she always regretted it because she should have done it for her parents. One less day in Europe is nothing - it will still be there when you go back.

Posted by
1315 posts

I had no interest in attending my graduation ceremony, so I would go for Europe in a heartbeat. However, since you DO want to walk and receive your diploma, listen to the posters who say this is a one-shot deal. Don't miss your graduation. Go back to Europe another time. If you are like most of us, once you've been there, you'll immediately start plotting your return.

Congratulations on your masters' and good luck!

Posted by
13221 posts

I think some of you are missing the question.

It is not an either-or choice between going to graduation and going to Europe. She is still going to Europe, it's just a question of when she should re-book her flight. Miss graduation and stick with the original itinerary, or go to graduation and get to London one day later?

Chantielle, if you have to go through Contiki to re-book, you better get busy so you still have good options. Good luck to you.

Posted by
121 posts

Lola you are right on the money, I would consider missing graduation, but would prefer not to. I called Contiki and they are re-booking travelers based on when they are supposed to leave, so they can not help me til they get to me in their order.

I am just hoping that they get to me while there are still good choices.

Are there many flights out of Boston, Hartford, or JFK on 23 May evening that may still work? Or early on 24 May?

Hoping that when they get to me I can have a few choices. My graduation is in CT so it is about equidistant to Boston or JFK, Hartford is closer, but British Airways doesn't fly out of there. It is my understanding that they may rebook on another carrier.

What options do I have? What would you do in my situation? Sitting on my hands is not easy for me and I feel like that is all I can do. Help!

Posted by
2047 posts

Something tells me that by the time Contiki gets around to you options will be much more limited. I would be on the phone raising HECK with them.

Thier "line" of "next" seems unrealistic considering the strike schedule had one 24 hour period before you.... They are just stalling!

Posted by
13221 posts

I'm with Carol--be proactive. I'll try making a suggestion and hopefully others can improve on it.

Go on one of the multi-airline sites like kayak.com. Put in Boston and London as your start and finish for May 23. Choose a return day far enough out that it won't limit your choices (like September), or maybe one-way. I don't know which is better. Anyway, make a list of several flights that might work for you on the 23rd (leaving late enough for you). Then do "new search" and put in starting JFK for the same date. Again, make a list of what might work.

Then change the date to the 24th and do it again for Boston and JFK.

Take your list of 10-12 flights that would work and rank them in the order you would prefer. Then call Contiki and plead. Tell them you have the flights selected and it will just take a minute. Tell them you chose them for their reputation for good service, and you hope they can help you. Remind them that if you'd booked with BA directly you could select a new flight right now. Tell them it's your graduation and terribly important and you need to know NOW what flight you'll be on. Tell them how much you are stressing out over this. If need be, say you know you are "jumping the line" but you've done all the work and just need them to take a second to re-book you on the flight you've selected.

Hopefully you'll get a sympathetic ear and they will help. Good luck.

And congratulations on finishing your master's degree. What did you study?

Posted by
2283 posts

Hi, Chatielle. I am sorry your flight was cancelled. What a drag. If I had to choose between graduation and a day in London, I would not have to think two seconds about it. London would be way more fun!!! I have yet to go to a graduation that wasn't boring. I remember almost nothing about my high school and college graduations, and I did not go to my graduation from graduate school -- and never regretted it for a second.

Good luck getting your flight rescheduled, and whatever flight you end up on, I hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
873 posts

I might be in the minority, but I didn't walk for my graduation (granted, it was only a BFA, not a master's). It was on my birthday and I chose to spend my day celebrating that with my family and friends instead.

I know it can be a big milestone moment for some people, but if you really think about it, it's just hours of sitting before you get to stand in a line to get a diploma (which most of the time isn't even real, because they mail you the real one later). Getting my real diploma weeks later was still plenty exciting to me.

I don't regret not attending at all, and I would gladly pick an extra day in Europe over a graduation ceremony. But like I said, that's just me.

Posted by
8997 posts

Skip the meaningless ceremony and go to London. I blew-off my college graduation, and have never regretted it. Just a bunch of boring speeches and dumb ceremonies. You did the hard work by getting the masters, reward yourself by going to London!

Posted by
2846 posts

Why do people feel compelled to talk about why going to graduation is not personlly meaningful to them? It's not helpful. She didn't ask for opinions on whether she should go or not, she asked for help with OPTIONS, now that the flight she booked has been canceled.

She would like to go if possible, and people saying that graduation ceremonies are "meaningless" sound like they are putting her down. It is a perfect example of the kind of attitude that this forum gets criticized for.

This is a graduate degree, so presumably Chantielle has been through 2 graduations already---or maybe she skipped them and regretted it. Either way, she would like to go to this one if possible, so maybe people could offer some constructive advice instead of saying they didn't go to their own graduation. It's irrelevant to the question.

FWIW, some of us did go to graduation and it was great. And very important to my parents and my family. I'm glad I didn't miss it and

I hope Chantielle doesn't have to miss hers. But she's already said she will miss it if that's the only way she can get to London to start her vacation.

Posted by
8997 posts

Sasha, as I used the term "meaningless", I assume you're referring to my post. I'm not sure why you think I'm putting down Chantielle?????? I was not putting her down in any way, shape or form. A question was asked, people (including myself), gave varying options, which is what this forum is for. You criticize everyone for not providing "some constructive advice", yet all you did has rehash what everyone else said. What exactly is your advice? I stand by what I said: IMO these ceremonies are meaningless, you get your diploma whether you attend or not. If traveling to London is more meaningful than attending the graduation then skip it, if not attend. C'est la vie.

Posted by
2846 posts

You weren't the only one saying that graduation ceremonies are pointless, boring, etc. It's just not helpful and does not address the question asked.

I repeat---she asked for OPTIONS not OPINIONS.

She isn't making a choice between going to graduation and going to London. She is trying to find a way to get to London now that her flight has been canceled. And she's trying to do it close to her original flight date. I believe this is her first time to Europe and I remember watching all her careful planning. Now she's been thrown a curve (outbound flight canceled due to BA strike) and is trying to deal with it.

What good does it do to say that graduation doesn't mean anything to you? What is the point? You are not Chantielle. So it's irrelevant for anyone else to talk about how they feel about graduation. Especially since she didn't ask for opinions on that.

And I do see it as putting her down---for wanting to do something that you have clearly stated is meaningless.

Posted by
8997 posts

I repeat---she asked for OPTIONS not OPINIONS.

Since you feel so strongly about it, answer her question and provide her with some options.

Posted by
121 posts

It's okay, no need to fight on my post :)

It is true, I am not really asking about graduation as it is a very personal decision. Truth be told if it was just up to me I probably wouldn't walk. However, for my mother it is very important so we have planned our entire trip around the graduation ceremony.

We live in CO and are flying to CT on Saturday the 22nd for one night (with my twin 4 year olds) meeting my parents who are flying into CT from CA for one the same night. As stated earlier the graduation is on Sunday the 23rd from Wesleyan in CT at 11am, that evening our plan was to fly to London from Boston (not a bad drive from CT we used to live there and have done it before) and my parents are flying back to CA with my parents that night.

So, obviously flying out early would not be a great option for anyone, but if it is the only way to get there, I would do it.

So, now you all know the whole story and don't have to worry about me taking offense to people saying graduation is meaningless, while I don't agree I understand where they are coming from, and have already made my decision based on what is best for my family and I.

I just hope that Contiki can find a flight for me soon, I did not hear from them today and they are closed tomorrow, so I guess I will have to wait til Monday to hear from them. I went ATVing with my family today and decompressed a bit.

Any more suggestions on how to make the best of this situation would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Posted by
2047 posts

Quit waiting on them to call you...

Honestly I am amazed at this "they are closed Sunday"

WHAT??? Why use them?

I would be on the phone the moment they open Monday asking what they have DONE to fix your situation. When they say "nothing" ask for a supervisor. Do not keep waiting on them. That's what they want... you to just go away. And then they will tell you your new flight in May 28th.. or some such useless date! Trust me your fellow travelers are beating you to the punch!

Posted by
2846 posts

I'm sorry I started a fight but I felt people were not addressing your situation, and not being helpful. Now that you have stated your reasons, I hope the "advice" about graduation will stop.

I think it's terrible that they are closed tomorrow. I looked at the website and it isn't easy to navigate, but maybe there is a way to do something there by logging in? Or e-mail? Someone must be minding the store on Sunday, even if they don't answer their phones.

Posted by
4555 posts

Sasha,,..I'm sure it will now that she's clarified the situation.
Chantielle....do you have a BA reference number on your material from the travel agency? If so, contact BA directly as soon as possible and make the changes to grab that flight out the following morning from Boston...or ask if there are any others the evening before that might approximate your original departure. I've booked through travel websites before, and as soon as I get my airline tracking number, I deal directly with the airline for things like seat assignments, changes, etc....you should be able to do the same, especially since it's BA that's cancelled your flight.

Posted by
121 posts

Norm, I tried to do that first thing this morning and they let me know that since it was booked through a travel agent, and Contiki, that I could not change my booking.

I do have the ref. number etc, but when I called this morning they said I could do nothing. And since I booked the first part of my trip as a "tour" with contiki if I change my own airline reservation I could be subject to forfeiting my "tour" with them.

I quote "tour" because there are basically just a lot of tickets included in what I booked with them and my hotel, but I don't have to go anywhere at a certain time.

Any other advice??

Do you all really think that if I call Contiki first thing in the morning they will deal with me, even though they already told me that I basically have to wait my turn? My husband already makes me do all the mean phone calls, but I have been trying the philosphy of "you get more flies with honey" lately.
If you think I should call, what tact should I take? Honey or vinegar? I'm sure I could cry if you think that will help (lol)

What do you think?

Posted by
4555 posts

Oh, OK....you've got a package deal. Well, it looks like the flies aren't being attracted with honey, so, as others have suggested, it's probably time to get tougher. You have a contract with them....and they're supposed to fulfill it. Phone them as many times as necessary and keep demanding a change....go for the supervisor, as others have suggested. I mean, it's only one airline (although a big one) and not all of their flights....it shouldn't take them this long to make changes for their customers. Tell them you'll be greatly disappointed if they can't move quicker on this, and you may have to let everyone know about the poor service you've received. That might jolt them a bit.

Posted by
2047 posts

Start with honey... when they tell you "we will get to you when we get to you" get meaner.

Sorry, but you are getting the classic "just stall the nice folks run around"

"You have to wait your turn" You are the CUSTOMER! Did they "wait to get paid"????

When they say "you have to wait" ask for a supervisor, make sure you get EVERYONE's name and location (as they make up the names daily, but the combo generally helps management find the idiots) Keep calling and have your credit card on file. You may be filing a dispute soon!

Posted by
2846 posts

"Do you all really think that if I call Contiki first thing in the morning they will deal with me, even though they already told me that I basically have to wait my turn?"

The only way to find out is to try. It sounds like they have set a policy that they will re-book their customers in a certain order, based on the date of the missed flight. You'll have to get someone who is willing to make an exception for you. I'd try honey first---tell them you are desperate because this time window (departing May 23 or 34) is the ONLY time you can go---you can't go later.

And I like Lola's suggestion of first finding flights with space on the date you want, before you call. Tell them you've done the work and they just need to make the booking for you.

Posted by
652 posts

Chantielle, any updates? What a pain, I can only guess how frustrating this must be. Looks like you won't be taking a contiki tour again anytime soon, maybe some others here won't either...

Posted by
408 posts

Do let them know how many eyeballs are watching their handling of this. I had never heard of contiki and my impression of them will surely be set by what you report of how they handle your problem! Good luck.

Posted by
180 posts

Chantielle-- seems you're (hopefully!) in luck--- according to BA's site, the Strike was blocked by the courts, and they hope to have all flights up and running by this weekend. Hope this means you can both walk in graduation, and go on your trip!

Posted by
121 posts

Here is the latest update and I need more advice.

I had some things I had to do this morning so I didn't call Contiki, figured I would wait a bit and call them this afternoon IF I hadn't heard from them. I got home just a bit ago and have not heard from them, however I got all the wonderful from you all that the strike was called off! Yea!

Problem is: my flight is STILL showing canceled. I called British Airways, who again told me I needed to talk to my booking and travel agent (what a pain) but I finally got them to answer my question which was this: will my flight be reinstated or not?

The agent said it would probably be reinstated but there was no way to know for sure, and there website should be updated by later today or tomorrow.

So, what should I do now? Wait on B.A.? Call Contiki and ask for a change (that will probably not be as convenient) in case the flight is not reinstated?

Oh yea, and don't forget the ash cloud threatening the departure as well. But I'm trying not think about that.

I need some more advice from everyone, and I will definitly update once I hear anything!

Posted by
13221 posts

The three judges who heard the appeal today have postponed announcing their decision until thursday morning (London time). On the BA website, they say, "Whilst we await the outcome of Unite’s appeal to overturn the High Court injunction against the strike we are unable to return to a full schedule."

Very frustrating for anyone in your position. I imagine Contike can't do anyting until the strike status is settled, even if they wanted to.

Posted by
121 posts

Lola,
thanks for the info

Given that situation is there anything I can do now or do I have to just sit and wait until Thursday?

Help!!! This is making me crazy!

Posted by
13221 posts

I would call Contiki again and ask them your status. They probably can't do anything either, but maybe BA has already advised that your flight on Sunday won't be reinstated even if the strike is still off as of Thursday. In that case, they need to get busy re-booking you.

I'll bet there is a lot going on behind the scenes, but they don't want to say the flights will go back on schedule this weekend until they know for sure.

Posted by
121 posts

Okay so here is the update:

Contiki today said that we still have to wait and see what happens, so I was bummed.

A few hours later I went on British Airways website with my confirmation number in hopes that my flight would be reinstated, it was not.

However, they had rebooked me, yea! Now I have to fly from Boston to Frankfurt then Frankfurt to London on Luftansa. The flight leaves about 45 minutes later then my original departure, which is actually kind of nice for me, but since we go to Germany the flight is an hour longer, then a short layover, then onto London.

The upside, however, is that my husband has a premier card with Luftansa so we should get some upgraded service on Luftansa, so as long as the darn volcano doesn't erupt we should be good to go, roughly as scheduled.

I will be interested to hear who lets me know when that my flight has been rescheduled.

Thanks for all your advice everyone!

Posted by
13221 posts

Excellent! So BA re-booked you, but haven't told you yet? But at least you have a flight that works for you. This is good.

(Actually, the same thing happened to us on our upcoming ftip in June, also on BA. They cancelled our original flight and put us on another she same day. I got notification, but my husband and our daughters did not. We all have separate tickets. At least they notified one of us!

It's always good to keep checking the website. BA has one of the better, more user-friendly ones, I think.