How do I get from Atlanta to Indianapolis today?
March 1, 2009 5:48 AM   Subscribe

I just learned that my 12:45 Delta flight from Atlanta to Indianapolis was canceled and I was rebooked for a flight on Tuesday. This is a giant problem for me and I'm trying to figure out if there is any way to get to Indianapolis today.

As of now, the websites for the Atlanta and Indianapolis airports are both showing no delays from weather, but I can't tell if they are projecting stopping flights in the next couple of hours. I'm about to call Delta and try to find out what is going on, but I was curious if anyone has any advice for the best way to talk to them, and if it might be worth it to go to the airport and try to get on another flight from the airport as opposed to over the phone.

If anyone has any advice about getting my travels plans taken care of today as opposed to on Tuesday I really appreciate the help.
posted by davidstandaford to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total)
Calling is your best bet. Ask Delta if there are any other flights going to Indianapolis today. If there are, and it's not looking like they will also be canceled, then it might be worth going to the airport to try and fly stand-by on one of them. Typically you can only be put on the stand-by list at the agent counter (at the gate), but if you were canceled because of weather (which seems likely considering the "snow" in Atlanta today) they might be able to offer other options over the phone.

Sorry, and good luck.
posted by nitsuj at 5:59 AM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: Google says it is an 8 hour and 15 minute drive. Can you rent a car for the day, but keep your return ticket?
posted by procrastination at 6:01 AM on March 1, 2009

Also, you are not alone.
posted by nitsuj at 6:02 AM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: The first thing to look at is Delta's "Contract of Carriage" which says what the airline will do if you cannot get on your flight. They often will waive the contract of carriage with problems due to weather, which is why even though it's perfectly clear in Indy and Atlanta they'll CLAIM it's weather so they don't have to follow-up on that contract which often times says they will rebook you on a flight of another airline at their expense if needed. If they're claiming weather, go to FAA.GOV and show them the airports are NOT showing a delay.

You can go to the airport and try to fly standby on a flight.

Think outside the box. Look at ALL Delta's flights out of Atlanta and see where they are going and then see if there is a connecting flight to Indy. Work with your Delta rep to see what they can do to get you there, even if it's something as insane as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, etc.

This certainly helps to be at the airport as if they say "we have a flight in 20 minutes" then you need to be able to get to the gate in 20 minutes. So being there will help.

But finally, if you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY have to be in It's only an 8 hour drive from Atlanta to Indy. It's 9 a.m. your time, you'll be in Indy by 5 p.m. All daylight hours. Rent a car and drive, and demand Delta refund your first part of the fare.
posted by arniec at 6:04 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: IS due to weather, just not weather that's hit yet but will probably hit by noon.

Again, work with your Delta rep to get on ANY earlier flight that has a connecting flight to Indy.

Or get in car and drive before the weather hits.
posted by arniec at 6:07 AM on March 1, 2009

The weather's fine in Indy today. Nice and sunny. No weather reason for the cancellation. I'll wager that your flight was canceled due to underbooking, as amazing as that sounds. That, or, the plane scheduled to run the route was unexpectedly down for service and there wasn't a plane available to fill that flight time. a car and drive. It makes for a long day, but it's an easy drive. Interstate all the way.

No chance Delta can put you on a competitor's flight to Indy today? If one exists, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:11 AM on March 1, 2009

Air Tran also flies non-stop from Atlanta to Indianapolis according to Kayak. Cincinnati, Louisville, Dayton, Fort Wayne, and Champagne are Delta destinations that will get you pretty close as well.

One way car rentals are expensive. If you plan to rent a car to drive to Indianapolis and will also need one during your visit, it often pays to drop the "traveling car" at the airport as quickly as possible and then get another one for the local days.

If you decide to drive the entire round trip, make sure you understand your refund options.
posted by carmicha at 6:28 AM on March 1, 2009

Thorzdad, the weather problem is at the Atlanta end.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:03 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think you have a couple of options other than the direct:

ATL-CVG on DL (drive to IND)
ATL-ORD-IND on United
ATL-STL (not sure who you'd fly), drive to IND or catch STL-IND
ATL-MKE-IND on Midwest Airlines

If I were in your shoes, I would probably try United, then as my second option i'd try to get to Cincinnati or STL and go from there.

The weather in ATL is very poor, but I think the problem is the lack of deicing equipment and/or DL's packed schedule of flights. Try to have DL book you on another carrier.

If you're going to rent a car be advised snow is starting up in the mountains and estimates were from anywhere from half an inch to nine inches depending on where you are.
posted by arimathea at 7:31 AM on March 1, 2009

Response by poster: Rental car it is. Thanks for the advice. I'll catch you on the flip side.
posted by davidstandaford at 8:00 AM on March 1, 2009

Looks like three flights scheduled today.

01-Mar-2009 MD88/Q Hartsfield-Jackson Intl (KATL) Indianapolis Intl (KIND) 10:11AM EST 11:22AM EST Scheduled
01-Mar-2009 MD88/Q Hartsfield-Jackson Intl (KATL) Indianapolis Intl (KIND) 02:54PM EST 04:05PM EST Scheduled
01-Mar-2009 B738/Q Hartsfield-Jackson Intl (KATL) Indianapolis Intl (KIND) 08:26PM EST 09:37PM EST Scheduled

I guess I'd try standby on those. Or do a rental car. Years ago when American Airlines cancelled on me I got with a couple of frequent flyer pax who got screwed too and we call got a rental car. They said they always sent a formal complaint letter to the airline executive office with a copy of their ticket and rental car agreement and usually got reimbursed when this happened, though I never tried it myself and have no idea if they're full of it or if it works.

Then of course there's the DOT complaint form if you have time, at least on the grounds there's some deception going on and they like to hear about on-time performance and that kind of thing.
posted by crapmatic at 8:04 AM on March 1, 2009

Those flights above are Delta flights, btw, copy and paste didn't copy the flight number for some reason, which are DAL1686, DAL1077, and DAL1544, and I also see a 1524 at 4:32 and there might be others; don't have time to look them all up, so you might manage to get out on standby.
posted by crapmatic at 8:08 AM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: I'd just give up and drive it. It's an 8-hr drive, even with traffic and bad roads, maybe 10 hours. You could be at the airport that long and still not get a flight.

Check for the best prices. Enterprise has always had great one-way prices.
posted by camworld at 9:13 AM on March 1, 2009

crapmatic is right about the DOT complaint form by the way: a few times when I've been completely ignored (i.e. no response) or brushed off by customer service, I've CC'd the DOT complaints office on my follow-up letter and always gotten a reasonable offer from the airline in response. When weather is alleged to be involved, I've always included a series of bullet points providing my evidence for why weather could not reasonably explain the situation (e.g. it was clear all morning, it's widely forecast to be clear Monday so they should have flown you then instead, etc...)
posted by zachlipton at 10:28 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

@ procrastination: I agree. I've done this drive before. Your airline should be able to help you get a great rate on a one-way deal.
posted by bamassippi at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2009

Well, you seem to be driving. So, let's hope you got through the mountains before the snow really hit.
posted by justcorbly at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2009

Response by poster: I'm safely in Bloomington tonight, going to go to sleep soon. Thanks for the advice about renting a car... for some reason it didn't occur to me to get a car and race up here. I had about 10 minutes of snow on the way out of Atlanta and then it was clear for the rest of way.

Perhaps I'll have another question for all of you if I'm having a problem getting reimbursed/dealing with the airline, but for now everything is great.
posted by davidstandaford at 7:27 PM on March 1, 2009

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