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Good grief! Do they ever stop cancelling flights?

I bought our tickets several months ago for our trip in October. Since then, there have been five changes to our tickets - one little change by Delta to leaving a half hour earlier (fine) but four changes on Air France's part where they cancelled the return flight. Each time we were assigned pretty poor return flights (impossibly short layovers, crappy airports, etc) so each time I had researched and found a new flight I could live with. This last time Delta couldn't give me what I requested per Air France as our ticket class is a Z. We had two poor choices so I chose the least worse of the two. When I looked on Air France's site all they show now is flights with three segments and I am hoping we don't have a further cancellation and get stuck on one of those with 12 hour layovers. Is this common for Air France? Okay -rant over. I feel better... at least until I get the next email with another change.

Posted by
10344 posts

Sorry to hear about your experience.
Our last flight to France, a few months ago, was on Delta and Air France and none of these problems occurred.
What has happened to you seems unusual--was there anything unusual about your purchase (using a 3rd party website to purchase tickets, an unusual discount on the tickets, etc)?

Posted by
941 posts

Nope - bought the tickets through Delta on their website. No special fares, no sales, etc., just two regular business class tickets. I am becoming disgruntled with the whole thing!

Posted by
215 posts

We've flown Delta/AirFrance to France a few times, my daughter has also a few times with few issues. Last year we got put on another flight the same morning due to the strike but other than that......Though I shouldn't speak too soon, I just purchased our tickets for the end of Sept last week. Our layover is 1 hour in Paris for our flight to Nice.
Hard to believe they'd cancel a flight a few months out, strange. I think the only time I've had a flight canceled ahead of time by Delta(or anyone) was a month after 9/11, they were consolidating flights, we were going to Florida. We got on another flight that same day.
Your experience seems very unusual to me.

Posted by
6766 posts

If you are aggrieved, why not take this up with the party actually causing the grief (as opposed to innocent bystanders on the RS forum)?

Posted by
8625 posts

I'm an innocent bystander, but I'm interested in your experience. It's not one I would have thought of. I always fly Delta as it's one of the 2 airlines in to my local small airport. Good to know so I can also be on the watch for this. Very aggravating for you with all those changes by the way. However, your trip will be so much fun any way!

Posted by
21327 posts

In over 20 years of Europe travel, never had a flight cancelled or changed much till last May. One week prior to departing the original flight was cancelled. The rescheduled flight the following week was cancelled an hour and half after we had boarded the plane. I think the airlines are running so tight with near 100% utilization of equipment that they have no flexibility. If a plane gets taken out of service there is no backup. We may be seeing the future of air travel.

Posted by
672 posts

Just today, I received two emails from American Airlines notifying me of itinerary changes for upcoming flights. We don't leave until November, so I'm assuming there will be more.

Last year, while onboard our first flight (but still on the ground), British Airlines sent me a text saying that the last leg of our itinerary to Salzburg had been cancelled and that I should call them if this was inconvenient (really!). Of course, there was no time to call since we were about to depart. We were able to deal with it in London (adding two flights to replace the cancelled one), but it was frustrating to get such late notice.

Posted by
506 posts

We have been traveling to Europe for many many years and this May our trip to Italy was unbelievable! Every mode of travel had one problem or another. Once we got to a new location we were fine, but the next move would involve strikes and delays and you name it. Good luck! Just have a good time around the problems, don't let them ruin you beautiful trip. When buying our tickets this time I could not believe all the short lay overs, less than an hour and I wonder how any of those people actually make those flights? I know that we always need at least two hours and usually that is all we can do and maybe use the restroom.

Posted by
213 posts

Thank you Nance!

I agree with Pam, I am also booked on a Delta/Air France flight next month. This is great information to have. Delta has changed one of my flights already but only a small change like your first one. Hoping that is the only one but nice to be aware and keep tabs as much as possible on what's happening.

Take care, hope your trip turns out wonderful!

Posted by
1636 posts

Yep- this happened to us last year. It's actually good that you bring this up, because there hasn't been a post in awhile to remind people to recheck their itinerary periodically. Delta cancelled the first leg of our return trip through Amsterdam. We went from an 11a.m.departure out of Madrid to a 6 a.m. A phone called got us a mid-morning flight through Atlanta with a long layover.

Posted by
518 posts

Thanks for bringing this up Nance...

On another posting this week someone described similar issues with American Airlines/US Air. I wonder if there are certain airlines or air carrier alliances that are known to have problems vs. others.

Posted by
14449 posts

Nance, you have my sympathy. One cancelled flight is inconvenient, two is annoying, after that, and a major airline, sheesh. What awful experiences when you should be happily anticipating a great trip.

Could you tell us where you're schedule to fly to on Air France?

Posted by
3921 posts

Thanks for your post to let others know they may run into this situation as airlines are trying to fill all of the seats.

Last year I bought tickets months ahead to fly from Seattle-to-Atlanta-to-Zurich, specifically so we could arrive in Zurich early morning to catch 3 trains to Wengen, Switzerland for our first vacation spot. We had 1st row Economy Plus tickets - sweet! Well, that flight was cancelled a few months before the trip and the substitute would not have worked - an hour in Amsterdam, landing in Zurich in evening. I called them and was able to make the best of lesser options available to arrive in Zurich by noon. Then, when we arrived at the airport in Rome to fly home at the end of the trip, Delta had cancelled that flight from Amsterdam to Seattle! We ended up flying Aitalia to JFK, stayed overnight and flew to Seattle the next day. I will say that when you're in the situation at the airport, suddenly the priority is just to get on a flight heading west! You need to call Delta to get a refund if you pay for an upgraded seat (Economy Plus, etc.) and end up in the regular coach seats - not an automatic refund.

We have a flight coming up. I check the itinerary about twice a month to see if everything's still as planned.

Posted by
4538 posts

Airlines do this all the time, and effect people most with itineraries booked several months in advance. Airlines in the USA often redo all their flights twice a year; often there is in effect little to no change apart from the flight number but sometimes there are no equivalent flights. It is less rampant with airlines within Europe, but routes do come and go especially with the low cost carriers.

Posted by
3901 posts

My mom lucked out with Air Transat. How often are flights changed for the better? Flying from Halifax, NS to Gatwick and the plane was supposed to stop in St John's, Nfld to pick up extra passengers (no de-boarding for those on the plane) and they cancelled that part of the flight, so it was now a non-stop flight. She was quite happy with that. Tho there is still a stop on the way home in Nfld (but still have a few weeks before she comes home so that could change as well).

Posted by
941 posts

Chani - We're trying to return home to Jacksonville, Fl from Paris at the end of our BOE 21.
I did accidentally attribute one of the changes to AF that was made by Delta itself.
The first change I didn't save but it happened as soon as I hit "pay" on the Delta website. It was our incoming flight from CDG to ATL.
Changes - AF? to ATL, AF 682 to ATL, Delta 100 to NYC-Kennedy, AF 378 to Detroit

I purposely did not want to have to drag myself up for an 8:00 a.m. flight out of Paris but that is the best of both choices I am offered.

And yes - it pays to check your email/texts for itinerary changes. Each time I was able to find something else that I liked until this last time where I was able to find it but they wouldn't let me have it, so you also have to consider your ticket rating.

Posted by
8625 posts

I am glad you are getting emails and texts from Delta about the changes. Even though I am a low-level Medallion Sky Miles flyer with Delta I do not get emails of changes even though I've got that option checked. I can certainly get daily emails from them urging me to charge hotels/restaurants/cars/whatnot to get more points but not much on schedule changes. I did get updated fairly quickly by text last Dec when I was on a series of flights with lots of weather delays.

Posted by
2540 posts

I'm hearing this more and more. I have been lucky, with most changes being similar to my original booking, or just mildly inconvenient. Nothing drastic. The one time there was a problem it was a biggie - they switched me to arriving in JFK about three hours later, but kept my same connecting flight, which left 10 minutes before the new arrival time. AKA impossible. They fixed it by changing the Madrid-NY to Madrid-Philadelphia, then a connecting flight home, comparable to my original, just a different connecting airport. I don't know how it got through the computers, given the whole arriving after the second flight departs part. But they fixed it so I have no real complaints. However, if I hadn't checked my email, or the email wasn't sent, I would have been stuck. So it's a good reminder to always confirm! Log in to the airline website with your ticket number to look at your itinerary and seat selections to make sure there are no changes.

This is usually on USAir/AA/BritishAir/Iberia (codeshares) bought on their website, economy class. I'm a frequent flier but no status, very low level ;)

Posted by
77 posts

I have the experience of flying from Chicago to Oulu Finland and missing the connection in Stockholm every time out of a dozen flights. After the first one it was old hat and we knew what to do - head for the lounge and relax!

Posted by
518 posts

I'm seeing that a lot of these stories involve a connecting flight within the US. However, I'm not sure whether this is due to the starting point location (i.e., not all cities in the US have direct flights to Europe) or the airline (not all US air carriers have direct flights to European hubs). Being from CA and flying out of San Francisco, I've never had a connecting flight outbound to Europe, so maybe it's the originating city or its the air carriers I'm using (usually Lufthansa or KLM, and a couple times on United). Usually, my experience has involved a connecting flight within Europe, for example, connecting at one of the hub cities for the aforementioned airlines (London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, etc.) to get to another city that is not a hub for one of the aforementioned airlines.

Posted by
823 posts

"If you are aggrieved, why not take this up with the party actually causing the grief...? "

Better yet, write your US Congressperson and Senators. If EVERY American receiving sub-standard service by the industry wrote their representatives, we might actually get a REAL passenger bill of rights.

Posted by
524 posts

I have flown British Airways the last few years, never had a flight cancelled and hope it never happens. I have had flight time changes, but those, so far, have not been a problem. Once, the delay was for several hours, they did not have a plane available. BA was accommodating and gave food vouchers. I usually pay for economy plus and go ahead and pay for assigned seats. In the last two years my seat assignment changed, this due to change of plane and difference in seat configuration. I do get email/text notifications and I do check booking for any changes that have been made.

Posted by
234 posts

We had the same experience that Mira did--our flight from Philadelphia to Portland was cancelled, and the computer rebooked us on a flight that departed Philadelphia four hours before we were due to arrive there from Shannon. It also was American/BA/US Air itinerary. We hadn't signed up for email alerts since we have frequent flyer accounts to which our email address is attached and we naively assumed that the airline would notify us of any changes. I only discovered the problem by chance. After several lengthy phone calls the situation was resolved relatively well, but the lesson here is to be sure and sign up for the email/text alerts!