Subject: The nightmare trip to Ireland
Dear Ziners,

Since we often travel at spring break on the weekend, sometimes our flights are, well, eventful. We've overnighted more than once in New York because of missed connections on the return, but have never had a problem with the airline taking care of our hotel and dinner and getting us out the next day.

This trip was different. The flight from our city was one and a half hours late, causing us to miss our connecting flight in Chicago - which could have waited for us, knowing we would arrive within a few minutes. At first the airline said they could not accommodate us for a hotel, but after some reasoning, they did change their mind and gave us hotel vouchers and transfers, and we arrived at our hotel about midnight. They could not protect us on another flight directly to our destination, because they were all full - it seems everyone was going to Ireland! We had no priority at all. They booked us out the next evening, but there was no room on the direct flight, so we had to be routed through England. Wait. It gets better. When we got to England, Aer Lingus did not want to accept the tickets for the connection that the american carrier had issued tickets for. It took a lot of really hard "reasoning" to get us on the flight.

We missed a day and a half of our Ireland holiday, but when I wrote to the airline, they did come through with a generous travel voucher for each person.

Here's another thing. Trip insurance. There's a difference between Trip Interruption and Travel Delay coverage. Our ins. company declined to reimburse us under the Interruption clause because it was a "carrier caused delay". (I'm still working on it.) It would have paid for delays caused by weather, strike, disaster or bankruptcy. The Travel Delay portion will pay for missed meals, tours, etc.

One couple had to cancel the day before departure due to sudden illness, and were fully reimbursed. Trip interruption coverage is another matter.

And by the way, Ireland was beautiful and we enjoyed the rest of the trip - had great weather too.