Delta flight leaves passengers stranded, extremely unhappy with response
After a week making memories with their four children on slopes of the Steamboat Resort, Rebecca and Erick Soine packed their bags before heading to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport to begin the long trip home.
However, what was expected to be a less than three-hour flight turned into a three-day ordeal full of anything but happy memories.
“It’s been an absolute mess,” Rebecca Soine said of Delta Flight 2370 from Yampa Valley Regional Airport to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.
“We started our journey on Saturday morning, and we had a small weather delay, but after the weather delay, every single other plane took off except ours,” she continued.
Kevin Booth, director of the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, said the flight had been diverted on Saturday, March 5, to Salt Lake City because of weather earlier in the day.
The plane arrived in Hayden later that day and was expected to leave for Atlanta when the flight crew “timed out” — meaning the crew had reached a point where they were no longer allowed to fly without taking a mandatory 10-hour break.
The crew and passengers of the Delta flight — and a Jet Blue flight that was also delayed — were taken to Craig on a former school bus owned by the Yampa Valley Regional Airport after the airport closed late Saturday night.
The crews and passengers of those planes returned on Sunday, March 6, expecting to board early morning flights for home. The Jet Blue flight was able to depart, but a mechanical issue discovered just before takeoff kept the Delta flight from leaving.
“We’re supposed to leave at 8 a.m., so we got up at 5, and then the 8 went to 11 a.m., and then to 1 (p.m.) and then 4 (p.m.),” said Colin Cushman, a passenger from Atlanta. “Then we boarded the plane, and then they said, ‘Sorry this isn’t going to work.’ Then they said 8 p.m., and then finally they said, ‘Sorry, we don’t have a plane,’ and put us up another night.”
It was frustrating news for the passengers who had been stranded at the Hayden airport for two days trying to get food, entertain their young children and pass the time hoping the public address system would bring some good news.
“The first flight was canceled between 10 and 11 pm. (Saturday) so we had already spent 11-straight hours in the airport being strung along that we’re going to get on a flight,” Soine said. “Then the same exact thing happened (Sunday).”
Passengers stranded in Hayden were also frustrated by the fact that Delta does not have a customer service representative in Hayden. Soine’s husband used his phone to reach out to agents with Delta in other places.
In one text, a company representative offered an apology for the long response times, and in a separate text a Delta worker acknowledged that it’s frustrating for the employees as well, as they are still dealing with the effects of flight reroutes all over the globe due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Booth said Delta flew in mechanics to fix the plane in Hayden and flew in a new flight crew, as Soine and an estimated 100 passengers continued to wait.
But as they day stretched on, the passengers’ hopes of boarding a plane bound for home faded like the sunset, and it was back onto the shuttles for another night at the Quality Inn in Craig.
Soine said that by the time the passengers returned to Craig, it was too late to eat at local restaurants because they were already closed.
“He’s had Lay’s potato chips and peanuts because that’s what he can eat,” Soine said of her husband, who has to follow a gluten-free diet. “Because we got out so late every single night, there was no place to eat.”
The passengers returned to the airport Monday to learn their 11:15 a.m. flight was once again delayed, this time until 1:15 p.m. However, Booth later reported that the flight had in fact departed Monday afternoon.
“I’m a physician. My husband is a physician. We missed like all the patients that we were supposed to see (Monday) at home,” Soine said. “Seventy-five people had to be rescheduled and inconvenienced. Best case scenario, we’ll get home at 2 o’clock in the morning and go to work tomorrow and see many more patients.”
While waiting for her flight to leave, Soine said the experience has left her with a bad impression of Delta and the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, and she doubts she will be coming back anytime soon.
She said it was difficult and expensive to get food at the airport and that the restaurant ran out. She said it was also a challenge for her children ages 6, 8, 10 and 12.
“I have four children, and I have one with special needs,” Soine said. “I have no more medicine for her, and my husband doesn’t have any more blood pressure medicine. We are seen as low priority not just for the airport, but for Delta. It’s unreal.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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