Holiday Inn LaGuardia Shuttle Issues & Fighting For Compensation
I just got back from 18 days of travel broken up over several trips. Many of the hotels and destinations will be covered in other posts, but the trip consisted of a few days in California with my wife, son and daughter, then four days in Mexico and four days in New York City with just my wife and daughter and finally a few days in Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Washington DC by myself. I covered the award aspects in a separate post.
Arriving in New York
As many of you know, traveling with a 1 1/2 year old can be tough. It can be especially tough when you land in a city at 11pm after five hours of flying. This is what happened when we left Puerto Vallarta for New York City. Honestly the flights to New York were fine, but dealing with the baby and just the travel itself was exhausting. Luckily I had planned ahead and booked the Holiday Inn near LaGuardia Airport so we could get to sleep as soon as possible and then head into Manhattan the next day.
Originally I had thought about taking Uber to the hotel, but for some reason I called the hotel after landing and was told the shuttle would be there in a few minutes. Since the shuttle was free and we were told it was on the way, I mistakenly thought to myself, “Why not?” An innocent question with an answer that would be evident before long.
Following our initial call, we waited 15 minutes and then called the hotel back to check on the status. We were told the driver was stuck in “traffic” but “would be there shortly”. So we waited and the baby got fussier and to be truthful I did too. I even tweeted IHG support who tried to contact the hotel, but it didn’t help. We played the “Call the Hotel” game a couple of more times before nearly an hour had passed and we took an Uber.
Gasp No Traffic
Once our Uber arrived it took about 7 minutes to get to the hotel where we saw the shuttle firmly parked in the lot! Oh and there was NO traffic in either direction on the entire route. While LaGuardia is under construction and traffic can be bad, it was Midnight and that wasn’t the case. (Cue photo of Shawn with steam coming out of his head.) Anyway, my wife checked in and was told we would be compensated for the Uber, but the shuttle missed us because we were moving around. More lies, but it was time for bed so we asked for the manager to call us in the morning.
The next morning we woke up, I did some work, Jasmine and the baby lounged around and eventually it was time for us to leave. No call from the manager. We did ask to speak with her upon checking out and she said that she was waiting for us to contact her! After explaining the situation, she offered free breakfast, but we had to go so she offered “some points” as compensation.
Those who know me will tell you I am generally a low key guy, but I was mad (probably a little too mad given the situation) and that is never good. Since I thought better about being “that guy” yelling at the staff in a hotel lobby, I decided to accept and leave. A decision that was no doubt good for all involved since acting out of frustration never does any good or at the very least it makes you look like an ass.
So I consciously left without getting her to confirm a number of points, but hoped she would do the right thing. The next day she deposited 3,000 points in my account. That isn’t even worth the $15 it cost me to take the Uber. Instead of contacting the hotel again, I went back to the IHG reps who had helped originally and asked them to get me the promised compensation.
Initially they contacted the hotel manager and told me I would receive a call within two days. We were traveling and the days flew by, but no call. I honestly forgot about it until about five days later when I saw the DM string and let them know that no one had reached out after 5 days. They quickly responded, asked for my Uber receipt and compensated me double that amount. Customer service wins in the end.
Travel constantly provides lessons for us to learn. Thankfully I can look back on this situation and see the good and bad in what happened. Here are some of my personal takeaways.
- Given that it was late and we were tired, we probably should have taken Uber initially or at least not waited almost an hour. To be fair though, I never would have expected the hotel was lying about the shuttle being on its way.
- It always pays to reach out to a brand via Twitter for help. In this case they helped me avoid a fight by agreeing to compensate me themselves. They were even generous enough to double the amount. I have always been impressed with IHG’s Twitter team.
- Don’t fight with hotel staff when you are tired. It isn’t worth the hassle in the end and they probably won’t give you anything if you are irate.
- If someone promises you compensation then ask for specific amounts, but if you are too frustrated, then it is ok to walk away.
- DO NOT let situations like this ruin your trip. Thankfully that did not happen here as I moved on the minute I left, but I have seen people who have let similar mishaps ruins an entire vacation.
- Don’t give up if you don’t feel you were compensated fairly. In this case 3,000 points did not make up for the cash we had to spend let alone the time spend on the curb waiting for a shuttle that was never sent.
In the end this little blip was something we quickly moved on from and it certainly didn’t ruin our trip at all. I truthfully would have accepted $15 from the manager the next morning and probably should have just said that, but I was far too angry from being lied to about the shuttle and made the right decision to walk away. I didn’t write the post to condemn the hotel, but to share a story that is a common one. While I probably won’t stay at this hotel again if in the area, I won’t tell you not to given its overall decent reviews. Just do yourself a favor and don’t take the shuttle.