Cancellations and delays at US airports: "It has cost us blood, sweat and tears to find an alternative"

Cancellations and delays at US airports: “It has cost us blood, sweat and tears to find an alternative”

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Not an email, not an SMS, not even a message through the airline’s application to inform them of the changes in their reservation. The company American Airlines, with which Yasmina and her girlfriend, Nelkathey had to fly from Miami to Barcelona this Wednesday, he did not bother to notify them by any means of the cancellation of your flight because of a computer failure that has sown chaos in the United States and has left thousands of planes on the ground. It was while listening to a woman commenting on the problems at airports on the phone that they both began to suspect that they might have problems. They were not wrong.

Fearing that she would not be able to return to Spain, Yasmina’s impulse was to consult Flightradar24. “It is the application that I use to see if the flights are delayed, since they update it much before the screens in the airports, and I saw that they had canceled ours“, explains to 20 minutes this young woman from Estepona, resident in Barcelona, ​​who works as director of public relations in her own consultancy in the city of Barcelona. It was the consequence of a failure in the US Air Mission Notification (NOTAM) system, in charge of providing essential information for personnel related to airborne operations.

To try to solve it, the two young women lived a real ordeal. “My first instinct was to tweet American Airlines to see what solution they would provide us, as some people had spent two hours on the phone,” she details. However, when she did not receive an answer, she decided to call as well, and after 60 minutes of waiting, they hung up on her. In the end, she managed, not without effort, to get an answer: they had been assigned a new flight, coming from Fort Lauderdale (30 miles from Miami) with two stopovers -Chicago and London- without offering them transportation there.

“Not only had they put us on another flight without telling us anything, but the new one was already delayed, so the connection we had to catch in Chicago left without us no matter how much we did,” Yasmina laments. These first contacts were followed by a string of tweets, marked by pauses for hours by the airline, which ended up bearing fruit. She managed to get them assigned a new route: they would leave Miami on Thursday at five in the afternoon and would stop at Heathrow (London) before arriving in Barcelona. However, some details remained to be closed, such as Wednesday’s accommodation -since they had already left their hotel- and problems with luggage.

Thus ended a vacation to visit the family of Nelka, a Puerto Rican and creative director at a financial technology company. “It has cost blood, sweat and tears to find an alternative. There have been moments of despair and almost a heat stroke because we are on the street after doing the check out of the hotel. It’s a good thing Twitter exists, because resolving the situation over the phone would have been impossible,” she admits, already with her mind set on the trip that will take her back to Barcelona.

Cancellations from Spain to Miami

However, the cancellations have not only affected planes from the United States, but also those that were to take off from Spain to the other side of the Atlantic. Both in Barcelona and Madrid, both flights to Miami have been cancelled. Among the passage from which he had to depart from Barcelona, ​​was Ali Alvarezsinger-songwriter and music producer music now dedicated to block technology (blockchain) and the metaverse.

A passenger checks canceled flights at Ronald Reagan Washington airport.

His American Airlines flight was supposed to leave Barcelona at ten in the morning this Wednesday, but it was postponed due to problems with the NOTAM system and ended up canceled due to the repercussions of the delay in crew rotation. Ali tells it, however, from the air, since he managed to be relocated on another flight that left Barcelona for Miami shortly after thanks to his platinum membership of the company.

“The worker at the boarding gate was informing us of what was happening. Once the flight was cancelled, I don’t know what they told the rest of the travelers, because I left to call American Airlines to find out what solution they would give me. I think they were provided with hotel accommodation for that night and they will travel on Thursday, on the same plane and with the same crew,” says the singer, who points out, however, the problems suffered with Iberia, the company that operated the second aircraft. “They gave me all kinds of inconveniences after the change,” he says.

The atmosphere at the airport, however, was quite different from that prevailing in the United States, Ali underscores. “Everyone was very quiet most of the time, they understood that this was a far-reaching problem and not just related to their flight. In addition, the airline offered us water and food at the boarding gate. The whole situation developed calmly “, he emphasizes. He does so on a day in which, little by little, airports around the world have been recovering their normal activity.

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