GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (KARE11) - Many of us have experienced frustration at the airport, but what Monte Gourley and nearly 60 other passengers experienced last Friday goes well beyond.
He and his fellow passengers were supposed to take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 8:15 a.m. a week ago. Gourley said his flight was delayed until 11:05 a.m., but then it was delayed again.
"We started asking why. It turns out the pilot never showed up for the original 8:15 a.m. flight," he said. "I mean, people were really upset."
And he told KARE 11 it seemed like Delta was having trouble finding another pilot. That is until he said another Delta pilot who happened to be at the ticket counter volunteered to fly the plane.
"We taxied around the airport and we were actually on the tarmac when he came over the intercom and apologized. We had to go back because he had timed out," he said.
What does that mean?
Pilots only get so many hours in the air before they need to rest under new federal regulations that started in January.
That's apparently what happened to that pilot who ran out his allotted flying hours to get to Minneapolis.
Gourley said they got off the plane, onto a bus and back to the airport. He said a few hours later they were back in the plane with their third pilot and when they were taxing he too timed out.
"You could see it in their faces, not again," he said of passengers on the plane.
He wondered why Delta would even send someone to pilot a plane if they're close to going over their flight hours.
They finally canceled the flight around 7 p.m., he said.
Delta put them up in a hotel, only after customers complained, according to Gourley. They arrived back at the airport in the morning to board at 6:30, he said.
"6:30 a.m. rolls around. We're supposed to board, and no pilot," he said.
He said the pilot was late, delaying the flight again.
"The ironic thing was our flight finally took off at 8:15, 24 hours from the original flight," he said. "I think they need to take responsibility and this shouldn't happen again."
A Delta spokesperson could not confirm all the details before deadline, but did confirm the several delays and apologized for the problems. He blamed, at least part of the delays, on bad weather.
Another customer on the flight said she received an email from Delta apologizing for the delays and cancelation. In part it read, "You're important to us, and as a goodwill gesture I'm sending you a $100 Delta Choice gift."
But for the passengers KARE 11 spoke to, that's not enough, especially for one customer who Gourley said missed her brother's wedding.
"He was only home for a few days on leave from military, and she missed the wedding," he said. "She was clearly upset."