Missing person at La Guardia?
December 28, 2010 6:56 PM   Subscribe

How to find a family member after a flight arrival?

My mom's flight arrived at 6 pm at La Guardia.

I have not heard from her since and its 10 pm. I booked a shuttle for her but there is no way to know if she got on.

I knew there were delays but I did not receive a phone call from her.

Possibly stuck in customs but not sure who to call. I am waiting on the line for the general La Gardia number.

Either she's being silly for not calling or something went arwy.

My dad is already blaming for this. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by simpleton to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And if it is customs, is there a direct number I can call?

The general LGA number (718) 533-3400 sucks.
posted by simpleton at 6:57 PM on December 28, 2010

You may have more luck calling the airline and asking them to page her than calling the LGA number.
posted by Adridne at 6:58 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks Adridne. The phone line is so annoying too.

At least they could play some soothing music instead of that robotic voice.
posted by simpleton at 7:00 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: The airline won't tell me even if she got on the plane but I never thought about the paging.
posted by simpleton at 7:01 PM on December 28, 2010

Are you sure you can't get info from the shuttle company? All the airport shuttles I have used are able to radio the drivers about pick-ups and drop offs. If your mother had a reservation, one of the drivers has her name on a list and will know if they picked her up.
posted by coolsara at 7:01 PM on December 28, 2010

I doubt that anyone at customs would be able to help you. And I've never had customs take four hours. Does your mother have a cell phone? Is she an experienced traveler? Where is she trying to get to from La Guardia? Does she have a history of wandering off or mental illness?

The answers to any of these questions would suggest what actions to take.
posted by dfriedman at 7:02 PM on December 28, 2010

As far as customs lines go- four hours does seem absurdly long, but this article claims that the customs lines/ terminal capacity is such that they've kept people waiting on planes for hours today. I'm not sure if this is resolved or ongoing, but maybe your mom is still on the plane? I hope not...
posted by Adridne at 7:06 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: The shuttle did not have her name registered because I bought the ticket from Orbitz and they do something funny with the voucher which is presented at the airline.

Mom has no cell phone - but there are phone booths in the airport for sure.

She isn't an experienced traveler but is with my younger brother (28 yrs old).

She is going downtown Manhattan. No wandering behavior of hers.

I think she must be one the plane. Or they found the bag of cocaine she always carries - being sarcastic :-)

airports suck

How can they keep them inside the plane? So unhuman if you ask me. Just get a taxi bus and take them off the damn plane.
posted by simpleton at 7:14 PM on December 28, 2010

I've just had a similar experience -- family member held up in customs/immigration for five hours. Apparently if the hold is more than 2 hours the held person can usually make a phone call, but although we got a call another guy waiting did not. Not much we or the other guy could do except wait, and wait and wait some more. (The other guy's friend took maybe 7 hours before they got out.)
posted by anadem at 7:30 PM on December 28, 2010

I read that at JFK, a lot of the customs officers were having a difficult time getting to the airport leaving it understaffed and therefore passengers were sitting on planes for hours. I assume LGA is the same or worse.

Surely your 28 yr old brother has a cell phone, yes? Call it.
posted by AugustWest at 7:31 PM on December 28, 2010

Wait, your 28 year old brother doesn't have a cell phone either?

It should be easy to find out of the plane has unloaded yet. Have you called the airline and asked about the status of the flight? Not whether your mom is on the plane or whatever but just whether the flight has landed and unloaded?
posted by Justinian at 7:31 PM on December 28, 2010

If all else fails, try going to the airport: My daughter was scheduled to fly with a transfer but missed the connection; she had no cell phone. Nobody would tell us anything OVER THE PHONE but I went to the ticket counter at the airport and showed her reservation and they were quite happy to look it up and let us know the flight she was on.
posted by CathyG at 7:33 PM on December 28, 2010

AugustWest pointed to 11 hour de-planing delays at JFK so assume LGA is similar
posted by anadem at 7:39 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: No cell phone in this family....

Thanks CathyG - I might just head over to LGA.

Its so bad over the phone its not funny.

I even called the police at the airport - no help whatsoever.

I called the airline and they said the plane definitely unloaded.

It all smells bad. They better have a good reason for not calling. Not sure who I'm pissed off at this point - lol!
posted by simpleton at 7:42 PM on December 28, 2010

i've been stranded in a customs backlog for several hours after bad weather. it may be that her bag has gone missing and it's taking a while to find.

it may also be that she's still stuck on the tarmac. again, in bad weather, you can get stuck for hours until a gate clears (yes, this is a horrendous policy, but it's the policy--no deplaning of passengers onto the middle of the tarmac barring an emergency). call the airline and see if the plane has actually made it to its gate. you can probably get this information from the airline website if you know the flight number.

if your brother doesn't have a cell phone, the most efficient thing to do is have her paged at the airport.

i'm assuming she would have had the sense to call if they were delayed en route or missed their flight, so the most likely scenario is that she's either still on the plane or still in customs.

finally, is she coming to your house or going to a hotel? if she's going to a hotel, perhaps she's already there?
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:47 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: the airline said the plane definitely is NOT on the tarmac. Its already left for another flight.

trying to get them to page her as I write.

There is no customs to go through as far as I'm aware since all the customs should be taken care of upon departure in Toronto.

Unless they are still in Toronto...hmmmmm....
posted by simpleton at 7:51 PM on December 28, 2010

Are they trying to phone you while you are on the phone to the airport and can't get through, perhaps?
posted by taff at 8:12 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks taff.

Its ok, even if they were I have voice mail.

And I can see missed calls.

At my wits end. Where the hell could they be?

According to the airline they checked in, went to customs. Are they at customs still stuck in Toronto.

The plane left and landed in New York and everybody got off.

But they never took the shuttle I reserved for them.

and they haven't called me. Must be in customs or they were put on a different flight(?)
posted by simpleton at 8:15 PM on December 28, 2010

Thanks CathyG - I might just head over to LGA.

Only do this if you have a cell phone. Otherwise, if your mom needs to call you, you should stay by the phone.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:15 PM on December 28, 2010

Yes I think customs and immigration may have been in Toronto.

Lost bags? They may be waiting at the baggage claim. Could you call the airline and ask to get put through to the desk they often have at the baggage claim? You'd need to know the flight # and landing gate # to get the specific baggage carousel.
posted by carter at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2010

What passport is she travelling on? I had someone go 'missing' when they were on an Australian passport, and our Department of Foreign Affairs was able to provide information that the passport had been used in X (therefore showing that they at least cleared immigration at the departure point). They often won't give really specific info for privacy reasons, but will let you know if they believe the person is ok.

So you may be able to try your relevant government body (State Department etc).
posted by AnnaRat at 8:30 PM on December 28, 2010

Oh, and when I say 'passport used in X', X was a foreign country, not an Australian airport, so they were able to check somehow with the other government.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2010

Right so according to this page all Toronto flights came into Terminal B at the central terminal. Is there someone you could call there?
posted by carter at 8:41 PM on December 28, 2010

Looks like the flight arrived nearly two hours late, so combine that with other delays (weather, customs), it wouldn't be surprising if she hadn't got to the hotel yet. I'm sure she will turn up. Leave a message with the hotel for her to call on arrival.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:46 PM on December 28, 2010

And a couple more LGA phone #s if you have not seen them already:


Lost & Found
posted by carter at 8:50 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone.

They arrived and the story is that they couldn't call my number from the airport.

It wouldn't go through....sigh...they are fine - that's all that matters.
posted by simpleton at 9:15 PM on December 28, 2010

posted by carter at 9:37 PM on December 28, 2010

Just to make this clear: no regularly scheduled flight landing at LaGuardia goes through customs. If it's coming from Canada, everyone goes through customs in Canada before boarding the plane.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:08 PM on January 15, 2011

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