Unfortunately, this is probably not a first, and more unfortunately not the last time, people are sitting at a gate thinking they are in the right place only to find out too late, that the gate has changed but there were not aware of it.
So here's another airline screw up story just because they need to be documented.
Last Wednesday, my business associates Jonathan and Lisa were scheduled to fly to Bellingham, WA on an Alaska Air flight. They were at the Minneapolis-St.Paul airport two hours early, checked the board, found the gate and mosied down to wait to board their flight.
They waited and waited. They saw an American Airlines person get behind the desk at the gate and still they didn't think that anything was amiss. After all, there were no announcements for a gate change.
But of course there was a gate change, and that gate was of course at the opposite end of the airport. And of course, Jonathan and Lisa made it to the new gate 2 seconds too late.
Now, they did get booked on a flight that took off about five hours later so they got to their destination, but neither the airlines nor the airport took responsibility for the SNAFU. Jonathan and Lisa were not the only people to miss the flight because the Arrival/Departure Board never changed the gate to the new one.
Oh, and to make matters more insulting, the airport continued to list the wrong gate for the evening flight, even though it too moved to the new gate. Shouldn't someone be accountable for that kind of mistake?
Just as airlines compensate passengers with free flights when they are in an overbook situation, the airlines and airports need to compensate passengers when they continue to have the wrong gate listed for a flight. Passengers rely on those boards to be sure they are in the right place at the right time.
If anyone made an announcement over the intercom, neither Jonathan nor Lisa heard it. If the gate agent made an announcement, neither Jonathan nor Lisa heard it. They are convinced no announcements were made.
As they were dashing to their new gate, they asked the American Airlines agent to make a call to Alaska Airlines and ask if they would hold the door open a bit longer so they could board. Either the call was not made, or Alaska Airlines decided not to hold the door because it was closing shut just as Jonathan and Lisa reached the gate.
Fortunately, getting to their destination five hours late was merely an inconvenience. And, there are always risks that flights will be canceled due to mechanical problems or weather. However, when the flight is missed because passengers were given wrong information, then they need to be compensated.
It's the right thing to do.