Kudos for Cranky Concierge

By Jim Hamel
This item appears on page 14 of the August 2021 issue.

This story began just before the coronavirus pandemic was recognized and travel was shut down, and it ended in April 2021.

The morning of Feb. 7, 2020, my wife and I were about to leave for the airport in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — eventually to arrive in Luang Prabang, Laos, via Toronto, Seoul and Bangkok, for a tour with Wild Frontiers (Sparks, NV; 844/540-2714, wildfrontierstravel.com) — when we learned that our Air Canada flight from Pittsburgh to Toronto, Canada, was canceled.

Our flights, with Air Canada, Korean Air and Thai Smile, had been booked by the Orange Team at Cranky Concierge (Long Beach, CA; 888/747-1011, ext. 0, crankyconcierge.com), a company recommended to us by Wild Frontiers, so we contacted Cranky Concierge, which quickly got us onto a 2:05 p.m. jetBlue flight from Pittsburgh to Boston.

Meanwhile, Cranky Concierge made several attempts at rebooking the rest of our flights, working all day and into the wee hours of morning on Feb. 8. We were initially scheduled on Cathay Pacific from Boston to Hong Kong and then Bangkok and on Bangkok Airways to Luang Prabang.

Our Cathay Pacific flight was scheduled to leave Boston at 1:25 a.m. on Feb 8, but about an hour before boarding time, we learned the plane had mechanical problems. With the flight delay projected to be at least three hours, we doubted we would make our connecting flight in Hong Kong, so we stood in line and had Cathay Pacific rebook us again using flights determined by Cranky Concierge (which was not able to rebook us because of computer incompatibility problems with Cathay Pacific).

We now would be leaving at 11 p.m. on Feb. 8, and Cathay Pacific gave us a hotel voucher for a day room. That rebooking took an hour, and we waited another hour to get our bags from the grounded plane. Getting to our hotel took another hour.

After two hours of sleep at the hotel, we got up and found an email from Cathay Pacific with yet another rebooking (taking Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and Bangkok and another airline to Luang Prabang), one that would have us arriving on Feb. 10, two days late for our tour.

Deciding there was no reasonable certainty we’d ever get to Laos in time for most of the tour, we called off our trip. We contacted Cranky Concierge and had them book us a flight from Boston home to Pittsburgh.

Our flight on JetBlue departed Boston at 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 and arrived in Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. It was good to be home after all the hassles.

From the Pittsburgh and Boston airports and our hotel in Boston, we had stayed in touch with Cranky Concierge by mobile phone (voice, text and email). They provided exemplary service in booking the original flights and rebooking subsequent flights.

For the past year, they have been persistently seeking our airfare refunds for canceled flights, and, at long last, in April 2021, they obtained our final refunds, from Air Canada. Based on their outstanding service, I recommend Cranky Concierge very highly.

Monroeville, PA