How often do you check your airline reservations?

I have been reading and lurking on the Helpline for more than a year and had seen people post that their plans had been disrupted with changes in their airline reservations. I didn't really key in on that and wasnt checking mine for a trip taken in May to Italy. I got messed up with a what was listed as a change in aircraft which cancelled the original seat sel-ection so wound up with less than optimal arrangements. Now I've got a trip set for Sept to UK. When I booked those I wound up having to call the airline because the Economy Comfort purchases wouldn't take online and the res. agent booked all the seats for me. I've been trying to remember to check weekly to see if there are any surprises. So far, so good. How often do you check? Do you try to do it say...every Tuesday, or once a month or just random? Do you still check if the airline has booked the seats for you? Do you not check at all? BTW, I ~thought~ I had signed up for e-mail alerts for changes, but that never happened for the flight to Italy. Thanks for any insight.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

For international flights, I check my itinerary once a week. My sister and I went to Paris last September and bought tickets in March. We checked once a week. It was a good thing too because the airline switched planes twice from D.C. to CDG so our seat sel-ections disappeared. We wanted to sit together and picked new seats each time, but if we hadn't been paying attention we wouldn't have sat together. Not once did the airline e-mail us with the changes. Small issue, I know. I've heard stories from other people on this site in which their airline canceled whole legs of their trip and they didn't know until they got to the airport.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

If I book with Orbitz, they e-alert me to death. I haven't had many airline changes that caught me by surprise - the only ones I check are the ones that have a tight connection or it's really important for me to know if anything changed (usually regional carriers overseas, not major airlines) - for example, a regional connection in Argentina that I couldn't afford to miss. Other than that, I only check once, if at all. I did get hosed by United at Christmas time (I didn't check) but their whole IT and reservation system was in meltdown mode after their merger, so I'm not surprised it fell through the cracks.

Posted by Denise
San Antonio, TX
110 posts

On a overseas flight, I care where I sit. Once I had a flight rescheduled that resulted in missing a connecting flight. More than once my seat has been moved to a less favored seat. Before reading about the changes made without notice on this helpline, I was oblivious and thought it was a last minute glitch of unknown origin and shrugged it off. Now I am going to re-check and if something still happens, I am going to follow Rose's example and respectfully request it be "fixed".

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Thanks for the input. Sarah, that is exactly what happened to us, altho we had 5 we were trying to seat together. I wasn't on top of it and we wound up scattered around, but I learned a lesson (mostly because I took the non-economy comfort seat!). Agnes, I booked directly with the airline, so didn't know Orbitz e-mailed a lot. I do have a tight connection coming back in to my small local airport. If I miss it I am stuck in SLC for the night, but it is what it is. I will keep checking altho those particular flight times have been the same for years. I am thinking I will have info on SLC hotels just in case. Richard, thanks I wasn't aware of tripit.com. I will look in to that as well.

Posted by Brad
Greeley, CO, USA
232 posts

Be sure to check the night or two before at a minimum. Even Lufthansa changed ours a couple times before we went last month. A warning too. Lufthansa sometimes separates out reservations at the last minute and gives one reservation with 4 names (like ours) into two different numbers with the kids under a separate number. All of names would have shown up at the airport check in when we got to the counter I am sure but I had half an hour of concern until I called Lufthansa (then United since the tickets were free through united miles) and the united guys told me what Lufthansa had done. And I did not get any email or text alert on this switch. And it does matter where you sit if you have children like we do.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Actually, Ed, I DO care where I sit and it's not because I am traveling with kids. I will always go Economy Comfort if there is a choice and I will not sit in one of the "middle middle" of 4 across in Economy again if I can help it. Having my knees more or less up against the seat in front of me for the flight from SEA -> AMS was something I don't want to have to repeat if I can avoid it.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

The question was frequency of checking. I don't and always have a ride which is what matters to me. I've made eight transoceanic and a half dozen almost coast-to-coasts this year. I've got a transpacific and another transatlantic already booked and the year's just half done. If I had to keep checking on stuff I'd never have time to actually do it. I try to use my time for the more important stuff. Edit: I forgot Tasmania in April. Toss in two more completed transoceanics up there somewhere.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

I always join the miles club of any airline I fly on and then sign up for alerts. When I receive an alert that there's been an equipment change, I contact the airline to be sure my requested seat assignments have not changed. I've never had a problem, except once when due to a change in the seating configuration between a wide-body and a narrow-body plane, I was moved to an undesirable seat. I told the airline the change was made without my knowledge or consent and they needed to fix it. They apologized and bumped me to Economy Plus at no extra charge.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
562 posts

I check at least once a week, and not necessarily because of the seat assignment (never had that change on me), but because of the potential change in flight time, etc. This past June, had my connecting flight in Philly (coming from Rome originally) switched to a flight three hours later. I had to call and have it switched back to the original earlier flight in the day. The sales rep could not answer why they had switched this on me, or why I had not gotten an email notice. Had I not checked, I would have been sitting in the Philadelphia airport for an additional three hours after a transatlantic flight. Not fun!

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

I never checked reservations until two years ago, when a random check of our Delta reservation revealed that our flight was now arriving in Atlanta AFTER our overseas flight had departed. Now I check every month or two ... not so much for equipment or seat changes, but for schedule changes. On our upcoming September trip to Turkey/Greece, Turkish Airlines moved its flight up an hour with no notification, which would have caused us to miss our overseas connection in Toronto; I was able to switch our flight to United. Last week I noticed that Aegean Airlines had cancelled our flight from Lesvos to Athens in late September. When I contacted them, they were kind enough to rebook us on an Olympic Air flight. But had I not checked while there were still Olympic seats available, we would have been looking at a 12-hour ferry ride. I always sign up for email alerts but seldom receive them. Checking doesn't take long and just makes sense.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

I have been fortunate, I guess. The most that has ever changed on me was a flight time that got moved 30 minutes later. I had a four hour layover, so that was no big deal. But I tend to check my flights whenever I think about it, no particular schedule. Last year I booked an Economy Comfort bulkhead seat in January for a May flight, and I was just sure that it would get changed to accommodate someone else - but it never did. I tend to check more often as the date of travel gets closer.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

Don't check... had a few times when things changed and it might have done some good, but they fixed all when I got to the airport. I could say I don't have time, but if I didn't spend a lot of time here reading about other people's trips I suppose I could check... but I know I won't.. ( I fly Delta 90% of the time so with silver or gold status I usually get decent seats)

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

The question was frequency of checking. I don't and always have a ride which is what matters to me. Yes, Ed, the original question was regarding frequency. You mentioned who cares where they sit. I do know from reading your knowledgeable posts that you fly often and widely. Your litany of destinations is enviable. I am just returning to international travel and it is still new and exciting to me. I tend to be a controlling personality and want to have an impact on what I can, but am content to let things go that I can't control. Before I traveled in May, the previous time was in ~1987 and the travel sands have shifted dramatically since that era when the travel agent arranged your tickets and I went to a university library and photocopied pages out of a London phone book to get hotel addresses in the postal code I was interested in staying in. I appreciate knowing how others handle their airline reservations to be alert to changes in seat assignment and schedule. In addition to the seat issue, flying in and out of a small airport with limited flights per day a schedule change can really mess with getting out or back in. Thanks to all! It is very interesting to me to see how different folks handle this!

Posted by Eric
Dana Point
101 posts

I check at least once a week--usually on Saturday, as Friday night is when United (with whom I usually fly) usually makes such changes. Over on FlyerTalk, in the United Forum, there is a long and oft-updated thread about checking your itineraries. Airlines do make changes to itineraries beyond just changing the seats, sometimes resulting in little nasties such as negative connection times. Like you, but unlike Ed, I like to know about these things and take care of them before I arrive at the airport to leave for vacation. Vive la difference...

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Interesting Eric, I had no idea there could be a specific timing on changes. I would have guessed it was totally random, but it is obvious I am inexperienced! How do you find out when your airline of choice does their updates? My local choices are Delta/SkyWest or Alaska/Horizon with a connection to usually Delta/KLM in SEA. Is that on FlyerTalk?

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

Recently while riding one hour in a shared shuttle van from home to my departure airport I received 6 email alerts from both Orbitz and American Airlines (3 each!) of 3 gate changes for my outbound international flight leaving in 3 hours. Yes, I could simply check the monitors when I get to the airport, but I like to be aware ahead of time of as many details as possible whenever flying. Then the monitor check becomes a final confirmation before I begin the inevitable long walk down the concourse.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2176 posts

I usually check reservations for flights once every 2/3 weeks up to 6 weeks or so before travel. Then I check twice a week. But I make sure I'm signed up for email alerts. I also follow closely things like airline mergers that might affect me.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Thanks Richard. I didn't find anything specific yet on FlyerTalk (or the Air Travel forum on TA or on some travel blogs related to Delta)regarding the day of the week Delta might use to schedules. Thanks for the info on the 72 hrs or less as well. Good grief Rose. Well at least my departure airport is pretty simple. 2 gates. One Delta/SkyWest, one Alaska/Horizon, lol! The person on the desk has to close down in order to be the person at the gate.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

Pam, lucky you. I'd love to have that kind of airport simplicity, and did have once. The airport I use most frequently has several different terminal buildings! Of course, along with simplicity goes fewer choices, and I do like having many different options to choose from.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Yes, you are right about the fewer choices. To hook up with a nice SEA -> AMS flight there is always a 6 hour layover in SEA so it is a trade off. Plus if something is cancelled due to the aforementioned weather or mechanical issues you are pretty much SOL.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
611 posts

We check somewhat often as schedules change and can dramatically impact ability to make connecting flights for us in the hinterlands. Also, aircraft and therefore preferred seats can change as well. During long layovers in Seattle, which are frequent, we take the the light rail from SeaTac to downtown.

Posted by Jeff
Lakeville, MN
62 posts

A few years ago we were going to Ireland and had a connection out East. Near our departure date the airline changed our flight out of Minneapolis to a later flight with a much shorter layover in Newark. I did some research and found that the flight out of MPLS was consistently late and we would miss our connection to Dublin. Called the airline, described my situation and they agreed, at no cost, to change my flights for a longer layover in Newark. Lo and behold, as we were boarding our flight to Dublin our old flight from MPLS had not arrived and we would have missed our flight. They did not notify us of the changes, but I check my reservations every few weeks, more so closer to our departure date. J&D

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Delta sends me an email if my itinerary changes so that is how I find out. I will check a few weeks before to see how full the plane is but never have had any surprises due to the email alerts that Delta sends if there is a change.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Charles, funny you posted. I happened to go in to my Delta account today to check the e-mail settings and I did have all the notifications marked...and was not notified when the flight had a change. Right now I have settled on checking every Monday or Tuesday altho I have not been able to find any indication if there is a certain day of the week that Delta up-dates it's schedules. I appreciate the input from all!

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

I purchased a Delta ticket from Tampa to Brussels, flying out of Atlanta the day before thanksgiving. I had also purchased economy comfort seats too, and chose where I wanted to sit. Well 3 weeks before my trip, i just so happened to check my flight, and to my dismay, it had been changed....to fly out of JFK. On top of it, they put us in coach, not in economy comfort. I was pretty mad as I wanted to fly out of the south, where snow may not be likely to delay my trip as it seeems some of our first storms of the year happen right before thanksgiving. I called the airline to complain a bit. they refunded our economy comfort fee I paid for in Atlanta and gave us economy comfort from JFK for a very reduced price. I was still worried about weather and crowds traveling the day before thanksgiving. Blue skies and JFK was so mellow, you could hear crickets chirping.
I also checked my settings and I had checked off to be notified about changes but never knew about the change until i just so happened to look.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
611 posts

Between business and pleasure I'm on a plane at least once a month. Most of my flights are on United, so I always seem to have 2-3 reservations going at any point in time, so when I'm in the United web site, I'll check out all the reservations. So today I booked a flight for business to Tampa. After booking on our company travel site, went to United to select my seats. Thought I'd check the flights to Fargo in October that I'd booked about a month ago. Sure enough, all 4 legs had a time changes, and two had an aircraft change and had to re-select seats. No issues with the time changes, just longer layovers. For the last trip to Italy, we booked our flights using miles 10 1/2 months in advance. At one point, 1 of the legs (Frankfurt to Florence) had been cancelled and not rebooked, nor was I notified.
Review connection times closely. If the connection time shrinks too much, and is no longer an "approved" connection, contact the airline, and ask to be booked on alternative flights. Do your homework in advance and know what flights you want to be on and be firm with the airline. Most flights are overbooked these days, so if you miss a connection, the best the airline might do is put you on a flight the next day. It's not so simple anymore as just getting on the next flight.