July 17th, 2008
07:44 PM ET

What happens when airplanes don't work

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.randi.kaye.jpg caption="Reporter Randi Kaye stuck in the airport."]

Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

Who ever said life in television news was glamorous?

I guess on certain days it might be, but sometimes just trying to get from point A to point B is a nightmare.

I came to Minneapolis on Tuesday so I could spend the next day shooting with Al Franken, who's running for U.S. Senate in Minnesota.

My flight was smooth as silk. My shoot with Al Franken was great. We went to a county fair, played games, he won me a stuffed animal, and of course we talked politics, and lots of it.

This is of course one of the most watched Senate races in the country and one of the most expensive. Franken has raised more than 11 million dollars. But I digress…

I’m writing today to share with you, and vent, about my trip home. Have I mentioned I’m not home YET! My producer, Jason Rovou, had warned me about severe storms moving in, but that’s not the problem.

I’ve been at the airport in Minneapolis since 11am this morning. As I write this it is almost 4:30pm.

I was booked on a 12:44pm flight today back home. That flight was cancelled. An hour later they had another plane for us. So we boarded and took off.

Well, we flew for about a half hour toward New York and then turned around for Minneapolis again. Why? The air conditioning wasn’t working. Who knows if that was checked before hand. All I know is that it felt like it was more than 100 degrees on our flight.

People were taking their shirts off. Babies were sweating. One girl two rows ahead of me threw up. (Sorry, I had to share everything!) Even the pilots were sweating. It was 100 degrees in the cockpit, we were told.

So we went back to Minneapolis where we were greeted by emergency vehicles and ambulances on the tarmac, just in case.

Did I mention the pilot declared an “on-board emergency” on the way back? Glad I didn’t know that.

The airline gave us each a $10 meal voucher. And it was kind enough to rebook me on another flight that left Minneapolis at 3:30pm. BUT—the airline never notified me OR the gate agent - she didn't know - SO I missed it!

When I called the reservations line, a woman told me I had been rebooked on that 3:30 flight. But it left in 10 minutes and I was 3 concourses away. If you’ve ever been to the Minneapolis airport you know it can seem to take days to get through it.

So I was booked on a third flight. Then that one was delayed for two hours. And now it's just been canceled, too.

All three flights were canceled for maintenance problems. Is it just me, or would that make you wonder what's going on here?

Anyway, now I'm booked on a fourth flight, scheduled to leave at 7pm.

The joys of summer travel… and life on the road!

Have you had a travel nightmare? Misery loves company!

See you in the friendly skies...

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Behind The Scenes • Randi Kaye
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. jaydee

    What happens when airplanes don't work. Well, that depends. Are they in the air or on the ground?

    July 18, 2008 at 5:45 am |
  2. Leslie, Japan

    Having been flying since the age of 6, I have quite a few stories, to say the least. The one that sticks out the most took place on a return flight from Honolulu, Hawaii back to Japan. We took off on time, but an hour later, one of the engines died....we had to fly around for another hour venting fuel which was visible from my window. That in itself was scary! We were told maintenance would take until the next morning and everyone was put up in a nearby hotel. Morning? We were woken up at 3 am!! To me, that's the middle of the night! Back on the same airplane with the engine repaired and off we went again. It's a 7 hour flight and we did good until just before the middle of the flight...the same engine died! And because we hadn't crossed the midflight line, we had to turn around and go BACK to Honolulu....fortunately, if anything could be called fortunate in this story, the strike that had been going on all summer on international flights had just ended and there were plenty of empty seats elsewhere, so we immediately put on a flight with another airline. We called friends in Honolulu after we returned the second time and they thought we were calling from home in Japan! You can imagine the size of my headache by the time we finally took off the last time!!!

    July 18, 2008 at 3:22 am |
  3. Laurel


    I had a day like that in chicago, only I was on crutches after knee surgery...switched our gate, not to mention concourse three times!

    At least you were in Mpls, if worse came to worse you know people here! Still miss you on local news, but happy you on CNN!

    July 18, 2008 at 2:02 am |
  4. EJ (USA)

    cute picture of Randi

    July 17, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  5. jackie Chino Hills, CA

    i've had days like that, maybe not extent of circus, but flying can be a hassle. i hope you were able to get home and are able to get some well-deserved rest.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  6. Jim

    Then the Airlines WONDER why they LOOSE bussiness.
    So hopefully you will make it home & your Bags won't end up at the north pole.Or is it Your bags will make it home & the next time you log on You'll be at the north pole?

    July 17, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  7. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    It sounds too much like a "National Lampoon's Vacation" kind of day.

    I'm sorry you seemed to get the worst of the flying experience.

    I think they need to check things before hand instead of hand out voucher's or over book/cancel flights.

    Good luck getting home on the 7 pm flight.

    July 17, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  8. Jo Anne Cummings

    And for this great service......we are going to charge you more per ticket, eliminate refreshments, charge for each piece of luggage, make you sleep on the floor of the airport. It does not get any better than this!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  9. Annie Kate


    I feel for you and I hope you are home at this point. I've not flown much but each time I have I've either been delayed, canceled, or in one case waiting on a plane to finish one run so they could come pick us up in Atlanta to fly us home to Birmingham – in the confusion of that day with so many canceled flights Delta forgot about the group of people I was with who had tickets for a 11pm plane (the last run) – we finally got a plane about 1am. No meal vouchers, no I'm sorry, and frankly very little shared information. We depended on this one guy who sat close to the gate to eavesdrop on the conversation of the Delta employees to update us on our status. That was the last flight I have ever taken and I don't plan to fly anytime soon if ever again. BTW, some of the guys from our group rented a car and drove home and sill got there before we did!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  10. Genevieve M, TX

    The only "travel nightmare" that was bad enough to stick in my mind forever occured when I was 5 y/o. Our flight was late leaving DFW so we arrived at Atlanta with about 7 minutes to catch our flight to Miami. Boarding a later flight was not an option because there were none going out that would have gotten us to Miami in time to catch the overseas flight. I remember having to run for what seemed like miles to the departure gate. For a long time after, I always thought Hartsfield-Jackson airport was miles long. When you are little, everything looks bigger than actually is.

    Anyway, I, too, hope you get home soon. You look so tired in that photo! (((hugs)))

    July 17, 2008 at 8:27 pm |
  11. Sandra, Wadley Ga.

    Randi, it sounds like you were in a hot air balloon (you would have made more progress with a gentle breeze to cool you). I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your safe return home.

    July 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  12. Rachael

    Shew.. that terrible I never flown if I did I defently wouldn't want that to happen. You just pick a bad day to fly. Hope you get were you need to go safely and without anymore delays.

    July 17, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  13. Caren in Los Angeles

    Omg, Randi, your picture says it all! You must be so ready to get back home!

    One particular day last Christmas time, United Airlines had huge problems with ALL of their planes, so an entire afternoon's worth of passengers' flights were delayed. Flying out of LAX, I know better, so I came to the airport 3 hours in advance, only to be shuttled to a nearby hotel where I stayed until my re-booked 6am flight the next morning. I stayed in a hotel because I live too far from the airport to have gone back home and then driven back to LAX at 4am. EVERY single person in line ended up missing their flight. Everyone was crying, because they were all just trying to get somewhere for the holidays.
    I was just flying home to Atlanta, but I felt horrible for the people that were flying out of the country who missed connecting flights in New York and whatnot. That's even worse! The couple in front of me was flying to Paris for their honeymoon! It was awful!

    So in the end, my flight was delayed 15 hours, and I haven't taken United since!

    July 17, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  14. Cindy

    With all of those missed flights, cancellations, and malfunctions I'd be rethinking my flying on any of their planes! I'm just sayin...Seems like someone's trying to tell you something. If I was you I think I'd be catching a ride on a bus or a rental car to the next nearest airport and catch a flight there. Hope you make it home soon!


    July 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  15. John Gibbons

    Wow. what a terrible experience. I am not a good flyer, and that would have made me want to rent a car and drive home.
    I often wonder if all these hiring initiatives where we overlook a persons lack of experience to give them "a chance" at a job over a more qualified applicant has resulted in inferior service and products. I pray you get home safe and sound.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm |