A New York travel writer was stranded without a gate after checking in to a nonexistent flight.
It’s the absolute worst feeling to arrive at the airport and then not being able to find your gate. Do you try and flag someone down? Go to the counter anyway? Keep staring at the flight board until you magically see your plane? No option is good, but it could be worse.
You could have no flight at all.
That’s what happened to Erin Levi, 35, when she needed to get to Paris for a friend’s wedding. She purchased a ticket with Level, a new discount long-haul flight operator, and got a ticket from Newark to Paris for $179. She arrived at Newark on September 9th expecting to be taken to Paris in relative comfort (very relative), but instead she was left in the lurch.
There was no flight on the boards. Worse, after checking in successfully, her ticket didn’t have a gate either. Level is a new operator without a desk, but it’s owned by British Airways, so she went to their kiosk for more info. That’s when she got the bad news.
Unbeknownst to her, Level had delayed the launch of their Newark to Paris service by two weeks. Erin told ABC News that she never got an email cancellation, and she never saw anything on Level’s website about the canceled flight either.
The customer service reps at the kiosk gave her a number to call, but by then it was after midnight and the lines were closed. Without any recourse, she bit the bullet and bought a ticket with Wow airlines for a last-minute flight to Paris - $319.88.
"I've traveled to over 40 countries -- even on a handwritten ticket to Uzbekistan -- and this has never happened before," Levi told ABC News.
Levi’s not alone. ABC spoke to dozens of Level customers and all of them had similar horror stories about flights being canceled with little to no warning. Customers were given the cancellation email for the Paris flight only two weeks before the departure date, but many were caught in spam filters or simply didn’t arrive at all.
Level is reimbursing customers for last-minute switches, but customer service lines are overloaded with similar complaints. This might be one discount airline to avoid in the future.