I've just had one of those airline experiences that folk talk about at dinner parties: a story of a flight delay, a re-routed connection and some missing bags. Yesterday, I was en route from Fargo North Dakota to San Francisco via Denver, to meet an Air New Zealand flight home. However on arrival in Denver, news of a three hour delay on the DEN–SFO sector came through, meaning I would miss the SFO–AKL flight.
Not to worry (#1) though. I asked at the United Club counter for help. Even though my domestic US and international sectors were on completely different bookings, United Airlines and Air New Zealand worked together to re-route me through Los Angeles to meet an alternate flight home. The agents, Dimitros at United and Alison at Air New Zealand, were tremendous. They went above and beyond. After sorting me out, United entered instructions to divert my bags to follow me on the new route. I then discovered that my DEN–LAX ticket had been upgraded to first class as compensation. Thank you Dimitros! The flight down to Los Angeles was very pleasant, as was the overnight flight LAX–AKL. However, on arrival in Auckland I discovered my bags hadn't been diverted as hoped—they were in San Francisco per the original schedule.
Not to worry (#2) though. The baggage people in Auckland called me over and explained the situation. They told me my bags would be on the next flight and that they would be delivered by taxi to my home! The baggage problem was not of Air New Zealand's making, yet they stepped in to provide a solution, at no cost to me. Wow, that's what I call going above and beyond. Thank you Air New Zealand!
The bottom line(s)? Delays happen. Schedules get changed. Bags get lost from time to time. There is no point getting hot under the collar. Stuff happens. The response is what makes the difference. The description above is exactly the sort of experience that makes one loyal, in my case to both Air New Zealand and the Star Alliance network. Thank you to everyone concerned.
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