With many future trips booked it is unusual not to get a schedule change notification from an airline every day or so. Most of the time these are relatively unimportant changes like flight renumbering by Continental and United, or a tweak of 5 or 10 minutes to the arrival and/or departure time.
Nonetheless, I check the notifications fairly religiously just in case of a more significant change. I’m glad I do this, for I’ve had some fairly nasty ones lately.
An airline rebooked me on a flight the previous day. Given the flight still operates on the date I had booked I don’t know why I was shifted by the airline. Perhaps they could resell my seat for another fare on the day I’d chosen? Or perhaps they got confused – I see the flight now shows as being 30 hours duration. Hmmm.
As if shifting the date of travel wasn’t bad enough, the airline failed to spot they’d now given me a connection time of minus 20 hours between flights. Oops. Lucky I carefully read the change notifications and pay attention to dates as well as times. They couldn’t even point a finger at another airline for such a basic mistake as I’m connecting between two flights with the same airline!
After some chasing up I have been restored to the date I was originally booked, but for some unknown reason they had to reissue the whole ticket and I see the coupons are now out of order. That can’t be good.
On an upcoming around the world ticket I have 6 flights with a particular airline. All 6 flights have changed schedules (some more than once) and the latest iteration of changes (affecting all 6 flights) has created two problem connections. One has 10 minutes between scheduled arrival time and scheduled departure time at the airport, during which time there is immigration and a terminal change. Another is slightly better at just over an hour, but again has immigration in between flights.
Some playing around with airline schedules and my tight timeframes available and it looks like I may have to change several flights and reroute a couple of times to make it work again.
In both cases I’ve had a look at the flight options and availability before calling the airline to sort it out so I can hopefully end up with a new itinerary that will work for me (albeit less ideal than my original booking in the 2nd case). This helps when customer service agents may not think to check non-obvious solutions.
Being proactive instead of waiting until close to departure (or worse at the airport) maximises the chances I can get something to work out. There are some situations where, for some people, waiting may be better – e.g. if looking for an excuse to cancel the ticket without penalty.