I was recently snowed in by the blizzard in Denver, which wreaked havoc on my holiday travel plans as it did for countless others. Hopefully, you’ll learn from my experience that it is best to have a backup plan or idea any time you travel.
I live about an hour and a half from Denver International Airport, and I usually use a shuttle service to get to the airport instead of paying for airport parking. I had a flight scheduled for Friday, December 22, the day the airport was due to reopen after the blizzard. Somehow I was lucky enough that my flight was not canceled, and I had made sure the shuttle would get me there in plenty of time. I did not drive because although roads were passable by then, the parking lot at my apartment complex had not been plowed and my car would have gotten stuck.
The shuttle service I was using, Shamrock Airport Express, called a few times to say they were stuck in traffic but trying to get to me. Then it became evident they were never coming because they stopped calling or answering their phone lines. Every time I called their many lines I got a busy signal or was sent straight to voicemail, and became suspicious that they had taken their phones off the hook or were inundated with calls from people in my situation. They never answered their phone or came. And they haven’t called me back, even a week later.
After an hour of myself and my family calling every shuttle and taxi company in the phone book, I was able to get a ride to the airport on a 6:00 p.m. shuttle with Rocky Mountain Shuttle. Even though I was a last minute passenger, the shuttle driver remained friendly, which was a big plus. The shuttle would put me there after my flight departed, but at that point, I was willing to gamble on getting a standby seat.
I finally got to the airport at 9:00 p.m., about 20 minutes after my original flight actually departed. I waited an hour to talk to a Frontier Airlines ticket agent and was put on a standby list for the flight leaving at 11:00 p.m. I ran through security (the line was mercifully short) and to the gate with only a few minutes to spare. And I actually got a seat! Quite impressive considering people sat at D.I.A. for days.
The bottom line is that when Shamrock Airport Express left me high and dry, I could have ended up stuck in Colorado for Christmas. I was incredibly lucky to get a standby seat. I am not saying that weather-related traffic incidents are the shuttle company’s fault, but I am saying that they handled the situation in an entirely unprofessional manner.
It was quite clear they were never going to pick me up, and I live in an accessible area where the main roads are plowed. They should have called one last time to say they weren’t coming. If I had an alternate means of transportation in mind, or even arranged, I could have saved myself about 2 hours of frantic phone calls and stress (it took an hour to organize another shuttle and an hour after that for them to pick me up). Whenever you travel, have a backup in mind so that if things don’t work out, you will have some idea of what to do from there.