Feb 10, 2018
Story-time! We completely missed our flight to New York City yesterday morning and here are a few things have happened since. Us missing our initial flight has snowballed into us getting stuck in Toronto because of bad weather. I know right, worst luck ever?! SO, while we’re killing time in the lounge at Pearson Airport, I thought we would update you and catch up on events with some little titbits on some things we learned along the way.Tips On How To NOT Miss Your Flight To NYC Click To Tweet
#1: Arrive TWO Hours before your flight
We had booked the 7am flight out of Edmonton, left by 5:30am to get to the airport at minimum an hour before take-off, but a few delays set in motion the worst travel day ever. Not accounting for a long delays at the Park N Fly parking lot; the WestJet check-in counter AND the security gates left us with no other option other than to rebook on the next available flight 3 hours later.
Besides the delays, the online check-in would not pre-print our flights and nor would the self-service check-in monitors at the airport which would have at least allowed us to enter the empty Baggage Drop line where 4 WestJet Check-in employees at the counters sat chatting. You can imagine how frustrating that is for passengers with a deadline.
We pleaded with nearly EVERYONE we could, but to no avail. We were directed to just wait in line, as our ONLY option. This is unlike protocol in most other airports we have been in, where they usually announce flight numbers and destinations in order to help passengers needing to go ahead to catch their flight. Sadly, we feel like EIA and WestJet drops the ball here with their customers. If we had just had some assistance they could have avoided several more administrative problems that fell into their lap as a result of that missed flight.
So, lesson learned: Account and prepare for delays. Rather get there earlier, than later. Staff at Edmonton International Airport or WestJet are not sympathetic to your story.
#2: Rebook Before The Flight Takes Off & It’s Free
Because we rebooked while the plane was still on the ground, we didn’t have to pay for new flights to Toronto and the connection to NYC. This was a small consolation considering the events that then unfolded. We rebooked for the next available flight at 10am, got through the long queue at security and checked into the Plaza Premium Lounge at Edmonton International Airport till departure. We made that flight, and all things considered, we thought that arriving three hours later than planned was not that bad. Little did we know what else we were in for…
So, lesson learned: As soon as you think you are unlikely to catch your flight, make contact with WestJet to rebook those flights as soon as possible so you don’t have to foot the bill.
#3: Check Ahead For Weather Advisories
Check the latest WestJet weather advisory PLUS your flight status online here. We didn’t even think of possible weather issues on our flight to Toronto, blissfully unaware that our flight to NYC had been cancelled because of bad weather. We landed to a new flight notification that we had been rerouted to Atlanta and would only arrive in NYC at midnight.
Besides the fact that that Atlanta flight was also eventually delayed, there was a very short layover time to catch our connecting flight and decided that odds were not in our favour. Getting stuck in Atlanta seemed like the worse option. So we chose to stay in Toronto for the next available flight to New York.
So, lesson learned: Plan according to weather. Be weary in winter!
#4: Review Your Options
The one frustrating thing throughout this entire process was the lack of help from WestJet employees on the ground without needing to wait in really long queues to speak to someone at a counter. Prepare to queue for answers. OR wait 30 – 60 minutes for an answer from WestJet during high volume call hours. To review your flight options, you can call: WestJet (air-only): 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET). They will also call you back if you do not want to wait on hold and you will remain in the queue.
Also, be aware that WestJet apparently does not host passengers at hotels in cities that they do not actually fly out of. So if we had flown to Atlanta for the night to fly to NYC in the morning, we would have had to sort out our own accommodation. Staying in Toronto was much less of a hassle. Our hotel was sorted and we were given meal vouchers. We were shuttled off to the recently renovated, Westin Toronto Airport Hotel, which was actually lovely.
So, lesson learned: Staying put where you can check-in to a hotel hassle-free and then resume your holiday plan later, might just be best! Phone WestJet if you cannot get to a counter soon enough to consider all your options.
#5: Roll With The Punches
So basically, we spent the whole day travelling with friends of ours, one of whom was celebrating their birthday, and still put on a brave face all day. Our luggage also went ahead and made it to NYC, before us (which apparently should not have happened, and usually would not). That said, we rolled with the punches and still tried to enjoy our time at the Westin, with lavish dinner at Ruth’s Chris across the road.
We arrived at Pearson Airport today once again, hoping to catch our 5pm flight which has already been delayed by a few minutes. Let’s hope there won’t be anymore delays. We’re still thinking positively, with all NYC meal reservations luckily rebooked last minute so that we can spend the remaining day and a bit in NYC. Hold thumbs and pray that we make it!
Follow along on Instagram to see what happens!
~ Leigh, still in the clothes from the day before!