I was flying on United/Continental flt 1536 from Ft.Myers,FL to Newark scheduled to depart at 7:36pm on 2/11/12. The inbound flt arrived and deplaned but we were delayed boarding. The gate agent advised that a woman on the inbound flt had experienced problems with her personal oxygen equipment and had used 3 bottles and 3 masks that were on board for the crew's use. We were unable to fly until these had been replaced. After quite some time the gate agent advised us that they were short one oxygen mask and could not allow us to fly without it. They delayed the flt until another United/Continental flt arrived from Houston. It arrived around 10:15pm!!! They provided us with a snack voucher for $6.00, but by the time we received it most of the shops on the concourse had closed.
When I asked the gate agent if they had asked one of the other carriers with planes sitting at gates if they could borrow a mask, he told me no, they couldn't ask another carrier. How ridiculous is that!! Thankfully, there was another flt coming in from Houston otherwise I'm sure the flt would have been canceled and the next flt out at 6:30am was already full!!
We eventually took off around 11pm and arrived in Newark around 1:30am. I didn't get to my house until almost 3am.
I travel a lot (I'm a Platinum Elite) and I am very patient when it comes to delays. This however was beyond my comprehension and tolerance that a full flt was delayed so long and they couldn't get another mask from anywhere else in the airport!!!