An airline debacle and a smiling server who made my day

I’m here on vacation in Southern California visiting my kids and grandkids. Love seeing them. But getting here wasn’t easy. In fact the first day of our trip was miserable.

We were flying Allegiant out of Sioux Falls to Las Vegas. Good rate. The flight time was 9:45pm and would arrive in Las Vegas around 9:50pm.

We arrived at the airport early, did the whole cheek in thing, went to the gate to wait another hour. The plane boarded, it was packed, and we waited, and we waited. Finally after sitting on the plane for about an hour the captain announced that there was a mechanical problem and he was trying to get ahold of maintenance at the corporate location which I assume is Vegas. After awhile longer waiting I heard one of the flight crew discuss that they were going to see if we could at least wait in the airport where it would be a little more comfortable. After waiting awhile longer, they indeed said we could wait in the airport. So we all got our stuff and waited in the terminal.. After waiting some more, they informed us that our flight was going to be changed to 10:45 the next morning. We had to get our baggage and find a hotel—and oh, yea, they emailed us $100 vouchers each. They told us we would be reimbursed for our hotel costs.

So now, at 11:30 at night (or. Later) were driving around Sioux Falls looking for a hotel. One after the other was booked. Finally we found a Marriott Courtyard that had a couple rooms—suites that were fairly costly. Seeing that we were tired and a Marriott rewards member the wonderful person behind the counter gave us a discount (about $30). At about 1:30am I finally laid my head down on the pillow.

The next morning we went to the Courtyard “Bistro” which is like a glorified Starbucks. They serve breakfast along with Starbucks coffee, etc. There were two servers behind the counter, and I just couldn’t get over how personable they were. Smiling, cheery, and engaging-both of them! Their cheerfulness and engaging spirit were really setting the tone for my day. In fact, one of them offered a little education: “did you know that the house blended actually has more caffeine than the bold blends?” After all these years I didn’t really know that. After ordering they asked if they could do anything else for us, we said no and sat down.

After serving us our breakfast one of them came over and asked if we were having a good day and did so with a genuine cheerful smile and attitude. Just let us know if there is anything we can do she said. I said thanks, and they responded, “My. Pleasure”. They sure lifted my spirit!

We got back to the airport, checked in again. Waited again. Only to be informed that our 10:45 flight had been delayed until 2pm. It arrived in Vegas at around 2:30. I lost a whole day of my vacation because of this. Somehow, a $100 voucher doesn’t seem to make up for this.

Although being safe is mandatory and I appreciate the captain’s commitment to our safety, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The problem with Allegiant as a low price carrier is that they have limited options. Limited planes, limited maintenance crew, and limited flights. This is not a direct service issue, it is indirect. The Captain had our safety in mind—thank you—but it still cost me a day. It’s not just Allegiant, the whole airline industry is screwed up.

But, I still can’t get over the wonderful experience at Courtyard by Marriott. Thank you Marriott, it is almost always a pleasure and you made my day just a little bit better.

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