Airline issues

Frequent flight cancellations and delays impact students

Abbie Kratofil, Business Manager

Senior Regan Engle said she missed her lacrosse tournament a few months ago after her flight was canceled last minute.

“[I] sat there for an hour and [the airline] kept pushing our flight back,” Engle said. “We had a layover and eventually they’d pushed it far enough back to where we were going to miss our layover.”

Engle said the airline, American Airlines, was discourteous when she and her traveling companions tried to resolve their situation.

“My mom talked to [the airline] for an hour or so trying to find a different flight or see if we could fly on standby,” Engle said.

According to Engle, even though the airline was the one who canceled the flight, they refused to refund her payment.

Engle is not the only student who has recently experienced problems with flying. Senior Laura Murambadoro said she was looking forward to her trip to Houston, Texas when she learned her flight on Southwest Airlines would be delayed.

“My sister had her family weekend at Rice University, so we were going to go see her,” Murambadoro said. “We couldn’t find any nonstop flights that were available so we got on a flight from Kansas to Denver, [then from] Denver to Houston.”

Murambadoro said there were no issues with her first flight, but the airline had a technical error with its boarding pass generator that delayed her second flight.

“The gate we were supposed to go to was one number off on the boarding pass. Everyone was late to the flight,” Murambadoro said.

She said this mistake made the airplane depart over three hours later than they had expected.

“It took a lot of time away from hanging out with my sister, [this made me sad] since I haven’t seen her in four and a half months,” Murambadoro said.

In addition to a delay flying from Denver to Houston, Murambadoro said her return flight from Dallas to Kansas City was also delayed.

“We were sitting in the plane for 45 minutes after our departure time,” Murambadoro said. “[The pilot] said that the delay was caused by an issue with the cockpit, and they had to wait for crew members to come in and fix it.”

Murambadoro said her family waited over an hour for the employees to arrive to fix the mistake.

While Murambadoro lost quality family time, Engle’s team faced a different loss from the airline’s problems. Engle said she was one of three players on her team who missed the tournament due to a flight being canceled.

“We couldn’t do some of the plays that we would normally do because we were missing people who had certain spots in those plays,” Engle said. 

Engle said on top of the missing players, flight delays made her coaches late to the tournament as well.

Junior Isabella Hart’s flight with American Airlines was also cancelled at the last minute. Hart said she was planning on traveling to the East Coast to visit several colleges when she received the news that her flight was cancelled.

“[The flight] was supposed to be at eight in the morning on a Thursday,” Hart said. “It didn’t get delayed at all, it just got canceled. That happened at six in the morning.”

Hart said she was disappointed in the cancellation because she had been looking forward to meeting college gymnastics coaches.

“I want to be a college gymnast, that’s my goal. It let me down that I didn’t get to meet the coaches,” Hart said.

Hart recently had a different flight that was delayed overnight.

“Our flight got canceled. We had to stay in North Carolina because there was no flight until the next morning,” Hart said.

Similar to Hart needing to wait, Murambadoro still said there was not a lot she could do to fix her flight problems.

“Everything negative that happened was out of my control. It wasn’t like ‘Oh my gosh, I could have fixed this,’” she said.

While Murambadoro’s flights were delayed due to the airline’s technical mistakes, Engle attributed her cancellation to a different cause.

“[I] think it was because they didn’t have enough pilots,” Engle said. “[The pilots] got moved to a different flight because [the airline] didn’t have enough.”

Hart said these two experiences were eye-opening for her.

“It made me realize the more difficult parts of travel. [Previously] I didn’t think a whole flight could get canceled,” Hart said.

Murambadoro and Engle both said they will continue flying in the future despite their challenges, but Engle said she would prefer to use another airline in the future.

“I definitely don’t trust [American Airlines] as much as I did before,” Engle said.