I'm going to count the nice things that happened to me on this adventure. This is going to illustrate exactly what is at fault with the airlines and who are not.
1. The ticket agent at ONT who worked a whole lot to find me another Boston flight from Ontario, finally figuring out there'd be none and putting me on the non-stop flight from LAX, and paying for the shuttle.
2. The agent at LAX who tried to find another flight for me as well when it became clear my 1:55 departure wasn't going to be at 1:55. Unfortunately the next flight wasn't until 10:30 or something, and would've gotten in around 6 am. As I am to be at work tomorrow, this was not a solution, nor would a free overnight stay in the Los Angeles Hotel Whatever and a flight the next day. I've already missed about a week's worth of work what with the pre-planned time off and the sick from last week, and we're seriously understaffed as it is.
(Turns out our 1:55 plane developed mechanical difficulties and was deemed not air-safe so they had to wait for another plane to arrive for us. I have no idea where that flight was coming from; I didn't hear. I still have no reason why the DEN-BOS flight was cancelled.)
3. The attendants on the eventual 5:30 flight that said "The booze is on us. You want two? Another?" Sure, throwing bourbon and scotch at me isn't going to fix everything, but it definitely don't hurt.
4. The baggage claim agent in BOS who was the only representative around, yet who was able to give me a $50.00 cab voucher for a taxi back home. It didn't cost nearly that much but I told the cab driver hell, go ahead and charge 'em the full amount as far as I was concerned -- if I didn't really want to get home so soon, I'd have asked for the Scenic Route. I think the cab company's gonna get the $50.00 no matter what and the fare was nowhere near that amount, so I hope the driver gets a hell of a tip.
After posting in all caps and swears and stuff, I'd calmed down pretty much (the ONT-LAX bit I was real easygoing about, hey, no problem, I'll get home an hour later or so, life's an adventure that way sometimes) but even after the news of the delay I was polite to the agents, I was calm and stated the problems that had occurred, and then explained the need that I had -- to get home early, then again to get home early, and then finally to get home without paying my taxi fare since I'd been so inconvenienced. In return, they were polite and courteous and sincerely tried to help. Knowing from customer service, I knew yelling at the agents wasn't going to accomplish anything. They didn't fuck the planes up, they didn't cancel the flight or make the other one late, they were just the sole point of human contact at the airports. (Yelling is only gonna make them mad to and hell, buddy, you want them on your side.)
I've been on the other side of those desks albeit in a different capacity, and I know what can and cannot be done from that perspective. As far as I'm concerned, the people I actually spoke with were courteous and helpful and did what they could to help, even where there was not much that could be done. The airline, on the other hand, is gonna get a letter from me explaining the problems I had. I got home, I'm alive, I'm just gonna be a sonofabitch tomorrow with work and all. Just glad to be back.