After a week spent making memories with their four children on the slopes of the Steamboat Resort, Rebecca and Erick Soine packed their bags before heading to Yampa Valley Regional Airport to begin the long journey home.
However, what was supposed to be a flight of less than three hours turned into a three-day ordeal full of anything but happy memories.
“It was an absolute mess,” Rebecca Soine said of Delta Flight 2370 from Yampa Valley Regional Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“We started our trip on Saturday morning, and we had a little weather delay, but after the weather delay, all the other planes took off except ours,” she continued.
Yampa Valley Regional Airport Manager Kevin Booth said the flight was diverted Saturday, March 5 to Salt Lake City due to weather conditions earlier in the day.
The plane arrived in Hayden later that day and was due to depart for Atlanta when the flight crew ‘timed out’ – meaning the crew had reached a point where they were no longer cleared to fly without taking a mandatory break of 10 hours.
The crew and passengers of the Delta flight – and a Jet Blue flight that was also delayed – were taken to Craig in an old school bus belonging to Yampa Valley Regional Airport after the airport closed late Saturday night .
The crews and passengers of these planes returned on Sunday, March 6, expecting to board early in the morning to return home. The Jet Blue flight was able to take off, but a mechanical problem discovered just before takeoff prevented the Delta flight from departing.
“We’re supposed to leave at 8 a.m. so we got up at 5 a.m., then the 8 went to 11 a.m., then 1 (pm) and then 4 (pm),” said Colin Cushman, a passenger from Atlanta. . “Then we got on the plane, and then they said, ‘Sorry, that won’t work.’ Then they said 8pm, then finally they said “sorry we don’t have a plane” and put us up another night.
It was frustrating news for passengers who had been stranded at Hayden Airport for two days trying to feed themselves, entertain their young children and pass the time hoping the public address system would bring good news.
“The first flight was canceled between 10 and 11 p.m. (Saturday) so we had already spent 11 hours straight at the airport forcing ourselves that we were going to catch a flight,” Soine said. “Then exactly the same happened (Sunday).”
Passengers stranded in Hayden were also frustrated that Delta does not have a customer service representative in Hayden. Soine’s husband used his phone to contact Delta agents in other locations.
In a text, a company representative apologized for the long response times, and in a separate text, a Delta employee acknowledged that it was also frustrating for employees, as they still face the effects reroutings of flights around the world due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Booth said Delta sent mechanics to repair the plane in Hayden and sent new flight crew, as Soine and about 100 passengers continued to wait.
But as the day lengthened, passengers’ hopes of boarding a plane home faded like the sunset, and it was back on the shuttles for another night at the Quality Inn. to Craig.
Soine said by the time the passengers got back to Craig, it was too late to eat at local restaurants because they were already closed.
“He ate chips and peanuts from Lay’s because that’s what he can eat,” Soine said of her husband, who is on a gluten-free diet. “Because we went out so late every night, there was no place to eat.”
Passengers returned to the airport on Monday to find their 11:15 a.m. flight had been delayed again, this time until 1:15 p.m. However, Booth later reported that the flight actually took off on Monday afternoon.
” I am a doctor. My husband is a doctor. We missed like all the patients we were supposed to see (Monday) at home,” Soine said. “Seventy-five people had to be rescheduled and inconvenienced. Best-case scenario, we’ll be home at 2 a.m. and go to work tomorrow and see a lot more patients.
While waiting for her flight to depart, Soine said the experience left her with a bad impression of Delta and Yampa Valley Regional Airport, and she doubts she’ll be back anytime soon.
She said it was difficult and expensive to get food at the airport and the restaurant was sold out. She said it was also a challenge for her children aged 6, 8, 10 and 12.
“I have four children and I have one with special needs,” Soine said. “I’m out of medicine for her and my husband is out of blood pressure medicine. We are considered low priority not only for the airport, but for Delta. It’s unreal.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.