Saturday, July 5, 2014

#ISTE2014 Use Twitter & Voxer when Travel Plans Go Awry

My #ISTE2014 trip with Liz and Kyle Calderwood and Michelle Wendt was supposed to begin in Atlantic City with a flight on Spirit Airlines to Atlanta, Georgia, but after a cancelled flight and an unexpected roadtrip, we eventually reached our destination, 12 hours after our expected arrival time.

There are two tech tools that were essential for transforming this ordeal into an adventure: Twitter and Voxer.  Using our smartphones, our group made a concerted effort to devise a new flight plan, all which would not have been accomplished had we not been able to use real-time communication.

Using Twitter, I shared our plight of a flight with my PLN, documenting the experiencing and encouraging Spirit Airlines to notice the issue. Even my #FlipCon14 buddy, Ken Bauer, who lives in Mexico made sure to make some noise. While many businesses use Twitter to blast out deals and connect with customers, it is evident that Twitter is a one-way street with Spirit Airlines. We received absolutely no replies from the Spirit Airlines Twitter account.

Plane Problems:

Humorous Shenanigans from the PLN:

Twitter also provided an avenue for adding humor to the situation. My buddies in elsewhere in the country provided me with comic relief with their sad-faced pictures. Knowing that I wasn't alone helped me stay objective and not react emotionally to the situation. When my frustration level would reach atomic level, my PLN made me laugh and stay focused on problem-solving the situation. Can you stay mad looking at these faces???  Thank you Jason & Steve!


Voxer is a walk-talkie app that allows for quick, realtime communication.  I know quite a few educators are using Voxer as a podcast tool for group chats with participants sharing philosophical ideas in a group conversation, but in this situation we were focused on practical applications. Our group relied on Voxer to keep all members in the know as we talked to Spirit ticket folks, located baggage, and made alternative travel arrangements.

Kyle was on the phone talking directly to Spirit Airlines.  Liz was in line at the Spirit ticket counter making arrangements with one of the employees-- Patty was amazing calm and professional the entire time despite facing an angry and impatient mob. Michelle and I were running from the gate to the ticket and baggage areas, all the while making sure our adopted travel partner, Amy B. was involved in our plans. Without Voxer, we would not have been able to coordinate and would have wasted valuable time and energy running back and forth through the airport. With Voxer, we stayed focused on solving the problem and making new travel arrangements with each person doing his/her part.

Serendipity is something that can be found in any situation, no matter how dire. Sitting near us at the gate as we learned about the delayed plane was Amy B., a first-time solo flyer and recent high school graduate who was visiting friends in NJ and now trying to make her way home. Not knowing what to do once the flight was cancelled, Amy followed me as we made our way from the gate to the Spirit ticket area. Our group quickly adopted her and made it our mission to get Amy home.

As a mother, I can only hope that if my daughters were in a similar situation, that they would find caring folks to help.  So often the news is filled with horror stories, but I know that there are good folks out there who do the right thing for strangers.  I wish the news would promote the positive instead of always sensationalizing the negative-- but that is a post for another day.  Amy stayed in contact texting with her mom in Georgia and her mom followed us via Twitter.  Modern communication systems and social media provided transparency to our travels, reassuring a nervous mother that her daughter was in good hands as we left Atlantic City to catch a flight out of Philly.

Roadtrip Tweets:

At the Airport AGAIN

Amy's Angels

After arriving at Atlanta, a very grateful and relieved mother met us and transported us each to our prospective hotels.  Amy's mom dubbed us "Amy's Angels" through out the trip. While her mom may say we were heaven sent, I'd like to think we were just doing what we, as teachers and good human beings, naturally do: take care of each other.


  1. A most incredible trip from start to finish, I loved meeting Amy and hope that if ever my daughter needs assistance, a group of teachers would care for her. I can only imagine what her mom was thinking all day.

  2. Wow, and I thought travelling to San Antonio through 3 airports and a 3 - 4 hour bus ride was grueling!