Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on June 17, 2007 at 01:43:51:

We awoke today (Saturday) in Honolulu, confident that our troubles were over, and looking forward to completing our journey to Palau. Unfortunately . . . our confidence was misplaced.

The morning started a little after 10:15AM when the group (12 in all) assembled for our schedule 10:30AM pickup at the hotel (the Ala Moana - fabulous choice by Continental) to go back to the Honolulu airport for our 12:55PM departure for Majuro and then on to Guam.

Except that the bus never arrived.

The Continental woman last night was very specific - be ready to go at 10:30AM and we’ll be there to pick you up. Around 10:35AM, we spotted a transfer bus (like you see for parking lot shuttles) dropping off a Continental flight crew. I approached the driver and asked if he was doing pick-up, too. He replied, no, just drop-off. At that point, I got the bell captain of the hotel and told him we needed four cabs.

But a moment later the bus driver said he called in and was told that he could pick us up. Seems they either didn’t know about it, forgot about it, or just didn't do it, but the bottom line was that we now had a bus and could be on our way. We loaded up.

About 20 minutes later we were at the Honolulu Airport, gathered our goodies, went inside, and scanned the Departure Board for our flight. We were greeted by the two words most dreaded by travelers: See Agent.

I parked the group (no sense in all of us storming the castle) and went to see what was going on. I got a Continental supervisor, explained our situation (screwed yesterday and apparently now today as well) and asked what was going on. She explained that there was an engine part they needed that was being flown in by Boeing. But it meant they were delaying (not canceling) the flight for 24 hours. Bottom line, we were now scheduled to leave tomorrow (Sunday). The only other flight to Guam, the non-stop we would have wanted in the first place, was not only not available, but was already overbooked and had a waiting list of 30 people.

So here we are, still in Honolulu, stuck for another day. I will say that the agent at the airport (Jzchana Rivera) was terrific and took care of making sure we had cab vouchers, set us up in another hotel (the Ala Moana had no room so now we're at the Doubletree Alana - OK but not as nice as the Ala Moana), and reconfirmed that we were all set for the now-Sunday flight.

Well, at least I've got the Internet. And that brings me to one of the bright spots (??) in this ordeal.

I did a Goggle search and managed to locate the e-mail address for Larry Kellner, CEO and Chief Operating Officer for Continental. (He's the guy who's in all of their "Welcome Aboard" videos.) I wrote him a long e-mail detailing our problems and my complaints. I've now gotten not one but two replies from him about all of this, apologizing for the situation, and promising to help us get it resolved, telling me he's also forwarded our details to his Honolulu and Guam people and asked them to make sure we get things worked out. Whether or not it has much effect, at least he's taking the time - on a Saturday night no less - to try to get things worked out. So kudos to Continental and Kellner for that.

So we'll have some dinner, get a good night's sleep, and hope things work out tomorrow. I hope to NOT be able to do a Chapter Three of this tale and instead to next regale you with stories and photos of the fabulous diving we expect to find in Palau.

And the post-script to all of this . . .

It's now about three hours since I wrote the words above. Since that time, I've gotten two calls from the guy who's the GM of Continental here in Honolulu. They've managed to clear us for the "good" non-stop to Guam tomorrow, and will make sure we make our conmection to Palau, which will include holding the Palau-bound plane if for any reason we still need to be routed through Majuro. So hopefully this story has as good an ending as possible. Though one shouldn't have to go to these extreme lengths, it's nice to know that Continental is willing to respond at the highest levels once they're made aware of the extent of the problems.

Keep your fingers crossed for us . . .

- Honolulu-stuck Ken

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