A Travel Tale of Woe… with a Happy Nerdy Ending

So Monday I’m packing nerdy socks for the next event, and I hear

CLANK!

A phone notification…. My phone clanks all the time, but this one was different.

FLIGHT CANCELED!

Wha? What was happening?? I was leaving in less than 24 hours, headed for Owensboro, KY, a fairly small town in a state not known for its air travel options.

But my nerdy know-how kicked in! In the hours that followed, here’s the tech that helped me find a solution….

    1. TripIt Pro
      Oh, how I love you, TripIt Pro! TripIt was the only push notification I received regarding the cancelation. Expedia where I booked the ticket didn’t notify me. The tiny airline that canceled the segment didn’t notify me. Alaska Airlines that took the money for the ticket didn’t notify me. I pay the $50 a year for the upgrade from the free version, and this comes with helpful features including immediate flight updates like “YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELED!”
    2. Google Flights
      Take a look at the phone call spree that this crisis prompted. One call with Expedia lasted 93 minutes. Ugh! While I was on hold, I was furiously checking Google Flights to see what other options were available. This site has improved quite a bit over the last couple of years. It’s easy to search a number of ways and will filter for any factor you find important. It also helps you track prices and will add an alert to help you look for the best price.
    3. Travelmath
      Another tool that I used while on hold was Travelmath. The site lets you search for the nearest airports to any town. When the Expedia lady came back on, I was able to ask about alternative flights to nearby cities. You can also find driving distances and all kinds of other calculations for travel.
    4. The Hertz App
      This is not an endorsement of Hertz… it’s just a reminder that sometimes the best resource for travel options is directly through the providers themselves. The eventual solution to this mess was to fly to St. Louis and drive 4 hours to Owensboro. Believe it or not, it’s not easy to find a one-way rental from St. Louis to a small(ish) town in Kentucky. My searches for a rental car on Priceline and Expedia came up empty, but the Hertz app helped me find more options.Similarly, I find the specific airline apps the most helpful on the road, even though TripIt sometimes beats the airline app to the punch with notifications about gate changes, delays and the like.
    5. Waze
      The navigation tool I use every day proved incredibly helpful as I toodled down the road. As soon as I hit the road, I used Waze to send a link to the meeting coordinator. Here’s how she used it….
    6. Migo
      Waze was very important to the travel nightmare solution because  I feared the transportation options in Owensboro were quite limited. I had a feeling that I would be challenged to find a quick Uber or Lyft (I prefer Lyft) to get from the rental car place to the hotel. Migo let me look for multiple ride-sharing options at once. As I feared, there were no cars in site as you can see.
    7. Podcasts
      I’ve written before about my obsession with podcasts, and they kept me company throughout my drive. This time I binged on The Black Tapes, a supernatural, fictional docudrama that totally sucked me in.
    8. Tunity and Hyperlapse
      Ok, these tools were actually not part of the emergency, but they did both help me out on this trip. First, check out how I was able to listen to the TV in the lobby when I finally arrived at the hotel. The audio is off, but you get the picture.
      And now share the happy moment via Hyperlapse when the return flight was NOT canceled on the way out of town… but it was in a very, very small plane.

     

     

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Comments 3

  1. It’s not an app but Air Help is my best friend when traveling and delays or cancelations happen. You give them your flight details and they go to the airline on your behalf fighting for any money you might be owed. They take a small commission and wire the funds directly into your bank account. I couldn’t be happier with this service!

  2. For future travelers to Owensboro KY. There are several carriers and flights into the Evansville Indiana airport (EVV), located approximately 45 minutes from Owensboro, with car rental agencies available. In my past travels I found many who did not realize this option. Owensboro is also within a two hour drive of the Louisville KY(SDF) and the Nashville TN (BNA) airport. LYFT is now in operation locally. The small plane is Cape Air which flies into the St. Louis airport for connections and Beth is correct, it is a small plane. Thank you Beth for persevering – Owensboro is lucky to have you visiting!

  3. I certainly do feel for you! In March I had the worst air travel delay I have ever experienced, one that made me decide that I no longer needed to travel for business (or pleasure!). Coming back from a “3 day” business trip to Kansas City, from my home in Maine, my connecting flight was in Charlotte, NC, destination, Portland, ME. I arrived in Charlotte with 90 minutes to board my next flight. The plane was at the gate, luggage and pilot on board, when the 15 minute delays started showing up on the monitor. The gate crew explained that they were awaiting 2 flight crew members. This was the day after one of those Nor’easters had slammed the East Coast, and the airport was already full of people grounded for at least 24 hours. We never did get the crew and the flight was cancelled. I rushed to the “hotel kiosk” to get a room in the city already overbooked due to weekend events and flight cancellations. The room I found was $205 per night but Who Cares! I had one! The hotel shuttle picked me up with no suitcase, as the luggage was not released. Goody! A night in a hotel with just my briefcase and tablet! There were no seats to Portland for 3 more days! I begged and got a seat on a flight to Boston the next day, by way of NYC. Two flights later, I arrived on time, took a cab to my daughter’s house for the night. Took the city bus to the subway station the next morning, took the subway to the Amtrak station, took the 2 hour train ride from Boston to Portland, took a cab from the train station to the Portland Jetport, retrieved my luggage there and drove 80 minutes to home. But I got there!

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