If you’re a frequent traveller, or even somebody who’s flown more than twice, chances are you’ve experienced an airline schedule change. What’s that, you ask? That’s an airline euphemism for having your flight times changed. It can range from a couple of minutes, to hours, and some passengers have even experienced having their flight days changed. Or, worse, some have had their flights cancelled. An airline schedule change can also cover having your flight numbers, the type of aircraft, or even your airport changed. Needless to say, while some changes may be negligible, such as time changes in minutes, others can be so disruptive to your travel plans. It doesn’t help matters any when you hear the agent telling you that there’s nothing or little that you or they can do. It’s enough to make some customers scream bloody murder, or at the very least, threaten them with a lawsuit.
The good news is, there are steps that can be done to gain a modicum of control in this situation. But I’ll leave that for the next post. For now, I just want to share with you some of the situations travellers have seen themselves in. If any of these scenarios seem familiar, then you’ll know somebody else went through the same torture you did.
Scenario 1: You’re on a connecting flight with 2 different airlines. Airline A has just told you you’re flight will be delayed (or rescheduled) 30 minutes later. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, except that the delay will cause you to misconnect with your 2nd flight. And since it’s a different airline, Airline B is not willing to change your flight to a later flight, unless you’re willing to pay more.
Scenario 2: You’re original non-stop flight has been changed to a flight with 2 connections. This wouldn’t be a problem if you’re travelling alone. Thing is, you’re travelling with 2 kids under 3, have a ton of baggage, and the new flights will result in a longer flight than you bargained for.
Scenario 3: Your morning flight has been cancelled, and the airline has rescheduled you to an afternoon flight. This isn’t going to work out for you, because you’re on you’re way to a very important job interview/meeting/date that’s at 11 am.
Scenario 4: Due to weather disturbances in the area, the airline has just informed you that there’s a slight change in your flight. You’ll still be arriving at relatively the same time you were supposed to originally. Except your plane has been rerouted to arrive at an airport that’s 20 miles from your original one, which means you’ll have to make additional arrangements for transportation.
Scenario 5: Due to “mechanical difficulties”, your plane has been changed from a jet plane to a smaller plane. This means a bumpier ride, longer flight times, and more worries for you because of your aviatophobia (that’s fear of flying, just wanted to throw that in!)
Scenario 6: A business traveller flying from the US to Europe had a flight connecting in London. He was informed of a change in the travel plans. There were no changes in the times. The catch? Since he was travelling with two carriers, the first flight was going to arrive in London Heathrow (LHR), and connect with a flight leaving from London Gatwick (LGW). This meant travelling to the other airport for at least another hour with all his luggage, which naturally will result in a misconnection.
And the winner of this sobfest is:
Scenario 7: This poor couple was just hoping for a nice vacation to Thailand for their anniversary, with an Asian cruise thrown in. Their flight had a connection in Seoul, South Korea. The woman called in tears, because their flight’s times were changed. Instead of a stop-over, the change was going to result in an overnight stop-over in Seoul. Not only would they miss their cruise, they would also have to pay for a hotel in Seoul from their own pocket.
Scared of taking that trip now? Don’t be. The good news is, there’s usually something you can do about these changes. Next post, I’ll give you some tricks of the trade in dealing with these nasty schedule changes. Till next time!