TRAVEL with pat and lew

* getting from New York to Maine … problems with Delta and Hertz

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2013

From New York we went to Maine, but getting there did not go as we had planned.

delta logo

We had booked an early Saturday morning flight from LaGuardia to Portland, ME. On Friday, I got an email from Delta, saying they had cancelled our flight and were re-booking us from LaGuardia to Detroit to Portland … on Sunday!

I called Delta and also Expedia, through whom we had made the reservation. Why was the flight cancelled, I asked, when 3 other flights from LaGuardia to Portland later on Saturday were still scheduled to go? Weather we were told. The whole east coast was a mess. New York airports were closed down.

This seemed strange to us, since we were actually in Manhattan and the weather was fine. I think Delta was not truthful, probably because weather-related delays do not obligate them to make refunds.

Of course Delta would not pay for the extra hotel night in New York. Amtrak was the alternative. We booked a Saturday morning train from New York to Boston, and changed the Hertz pickup from Portland to Boston. I cancelled the Delta flight and demanded a refund, which was at first refused. After some “additional discussion” Delta changed their mind and within two days had processed a full refund. I can’t be sure, but I think the fact we had booked through Expedia created some additional leverage.

The train ride to Boston was pleasant and uneventful.

hertz

We arrived at South Station Boston, where we had booked with Hertz to pick up our car. But there is no Hertz office at South Station. No car. No sign. No instructions. I spent 30 frustrating minutes on the phone – mostly on hold – before finally hearing an automated message that we had to take a taxi to another Hertz location in Boston, reimbursable up to $10.00.

The counter person at Hertz Park Place location was sympathetic and cheerful. She said they had not had a South Station office for a long time, and the branch manager was supposed to have changed the web site and put some kind of signage/instructions at South Station.

The branch manager was first “too busy to see us” and then unapologetic and brusque and full of “attitude” when she finally deigned to appear. She told me that my reservation said we would have to taxi to an other location, an assertion that turned out not to be true. Then she turned her back and walked into her office.

My subsequent conversations with Hertz customer service were intended to get that arrogant lady with attitude fired, or at least disciplined. I have no idea if I succeeded. I did receive several emails from a Hertz customer service representative, who had gone to the web site and confirmed that reservations could still be made for pickup at South Station. (NOTE: it has since been changed.)

Later, the rental car lost a/c and we had to make an exchange in the Portland airport. The attendant there was most helpful and went out of his way to get us a suitable replacement in record time.

Hertz is not a bad company, but they should really deal with that “bad apple” in Boston.

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