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Reminder to check your flights

All was well with my flights til this morning when I got the dreaded "change" with United.

Long story is that we were going from Sacramento to Chicago to Rome originally with a comfortable 3 hour layover in Chicago. Today they decided we should be going from Sacramento to SFO with a 46 minute connection and then on to Chicago with a very tight 68 min connection. They also increased our layover coming back to 5 hours in SFO (I could drive home in that amount of time LOL). They had some other creative ideas, but I finally told them to cancel the whole thing.

Fortunately for the internet, and Saturday morning not being a work day, I could look for a new set of flights. Feeling pretty lucky as I booked KLM (operated by Delta for much of it) for about $800 less than the exact same flights thru Delta. No clue why the big disparity, but glad that stress is over.....at least until they change this flight! LOL Hopefully not.

Short story - keep checking your flights as they may change. If we had not checked we could all to easily missed our SFO flight - fog is Sacramento is famous for causing delays and those connections were WAY to short for me even though the agent seemed to think that they would be fine.....Note: these are for May and about 100 days out now.....

Happy travels!!!

Posted by
5262 posts

Last summer, months ahead, Delta inexplicably rerouted me from Seattle to Boston via Los Angeles. I called their customer service line and got it changed back, then it happened again and I had to call again. This time the booking held up. There were no flight cancellations, just an arbitrary rerouting adding thousands of miles and an unnecessary connection, twice. Not a Delta fan.

Posted by
5006 posts

Our latest update from British Air has us arriving at Heathrow from Bologna at 9:10, then leaving for DFW at 9:35. At least they're both in the same terminal!

I'm not even bothering to change it yet; chances are we'll be notified of more changes to come. It's still quite a while before this flight is supposed to happen.

Posted by
3657 posts

Not a Delta fan.

Last summer there were problems everywhere. I had both American and United do unwanted changes to my domestic itineraries.

Posted by
2086 posts

Our Sept, 2021, trip on British Air was changed SIX times; the SEVENTH was when the flight was canceled in Chicago and we had to spend 24 hrs there.
Throughout that ordeal, we learned about the Flight Aware site, where you can check on your flight's dependability and even existence. We learned that we have been booked on several flights that weren't actually being flown, some of which hadn't flown in the past 18 months. I tell this story repeatedly here, as I hope it will help other travelers.

Good luck and safe travels.

Posted by
11246 posts

Throughout that ordeal, we learned about the Flight Aware site, where you can check on your flight's dependability and even existence. We learned that we have been booked on several flights that weren't actually being flown, some of which hadn't flown in the past 18 months. I

This is absolute ridiculousness. Just because a flight isn't flying now doesn't mean it won't fly in the future. Airlines cut back on fights during the pandemic and are now adding them back. They are playing with schedules.

What Flight Aware can tell you is the on time performance of your flight. Past performance. But it can't predict what will happen on your day.

But you're saying if the flight isn't flying today, you shouldn't book it in the future because it won't run. I have an upcoming flight to London in two months. The flight isn't being flown now. It starts up about two weeks before my departure date. I have received one change in time but its actually better for me. I'm not worried.

You can believe anything you want. But if you limit yourself only to flights flying today, you will miss out on numerous flights.

Posted by
3024 posts

This is absolute ridiculousness.

Not really.

International travel is still in flux, and so are flights. If passenger numbers remain low, airlines are more likely to trim flights that currently are not operating than ones that are operating. That may look like moving the start date for a new route to a later date (as several airlines have done for new transatlantic routes with start dates in March/April), extending the pause on a flight that is currently paused as part of a plan to limit frequencies on a route, or outright canceling flights/routes.

I bought a ticket to Sarajevo last spring on Lufthansa. At the time of booking, I had 5 or 6 options for the transatlantic leg on Lufthansa and its partners. Only 1 was operating at the time I booked, and I picked that one (exactly because it was operating). When fall rolled around, only one was running -- the one I booked. All the others had been axed.

So, Pat's strategy holds up well if passengers don't come back as quickly as expected. Frank II's holds up if they do. Indications now are that we are moving toward a Europe that treats COVID-19 as endemic (as opposed to a pandemic), which the airlines hope will increase passenger numbers and fill all those planes they plan to run in 2022. But, as we have all learned, COVID-19 is a sneaky little devil and who knows what tomorrow brings. So... I'm still taking an approach that looks more like Pat's than Frank's as I plan fall travel.

Posted by
1602 posts

I posted a thread Friday asking for help/opinion with an United flight change for my 8/31 PHX to LHR flight. Fortunately the consensus was the 1 1/2 hour instead of 2 1/2 hour connection in IAD would work. And I’m sure between now and then United will change times multiple times.
But your timing sounds ridiculously tight. Good thing you were able to cancel and find a cheaper flight.
Good reminder to check your flights weekly.

Posted by
8402 posts

Speaking of fare differences for same flights, same class, booked through different codeshares, all refundable rates, seat selection costs extra on KLM and AF:
Air France: $3,775.54
KLM: $2,289.74
Delta: $2,689

Posted by
13079 posts

“The flight isn’t being flown now. It starts up about two weeks before my departure date.”

That is a very different situation from what Pat and Dave are talking about: flights that were on the schedule a month or six months ago, the airline was selling tickets to the flight, but it consistently gets canceled as they consolidate flights to reduce the number of empty planes.

Pat experienced this with certain British Airways flights from the US to London, and I saw it recently happening with flights from LHR to Milan or back. We had tickets on a particular British Airways flight combination MXP-LHR-SFO in late March, in business class. In early January, mindful of Pat’s experience, I checked on the flights. I found that our flight from MXP to LHR, although on the schedule for every day in February and March, was not flying in January, and indeed none of the flights from MXP were flying; only the ones from Linate.

So I changed our ticket to a Linate-LHR-SFO combination. And I watched for two weeks—-and noticed that most of the Linate flights that were previously on the schedule were not flying now either. So I consulted with the FlyerTalk Forum and the advice there was to switch to the earliest flight out of Linate to have the best chance of making the same-day connection to our long-haul flight.

In other words, there were lots of flights that were on the schedule earlier, but were canceled a week or two ahead of the date, and not flying. There is a pattern to the cancellations—-certain flights were so consistently cancelled that they had not flown since last June, and some not since some time in 2020. But they were on the schedule, if not for that whole time, at least for the past few months. Yet they did not fly as scheduled.

That is very different from a flight that has not been on the schedule previously, but is scheduled to begin flying this spring, when conditions are expected to improve.

Posted by
2086 posts

FrankII, we were sold flights into/out of San Diego. British Air ways hadn't flown into/out of San Diego in 18 months at that time. In fact, they weren't planning on resuming flights to San Diego for another couple months after that.

Posted by
454 posts

We went through the same as Pat around the same time. We had mileage tickets on BA to Geneva through Heathrow. The flights changed 6 times, and same—checking we found out some they had us booked on flights that hadn’t flown for over a year but were still on the “schedule”. No wonder they kept getting changed. At that time flights were not being added very often, mostly subtracted, or hadn’t been around unbeknownst to us until we checked yet we were still “booked” on them. We finally gave up and just bought one way tickets to Zurich on another airline, but we did keep the mileage flights home as those were listed as flying. Things are probably changing now since flights are being added, the wisdom being as noted by OP here—check your flights!

Posted by
292 posts

Here's a funny one:

Last night, after reading this thread, I went into my British Airways-booked trip to check our flights for May. All good. Flight Aware: check. This morning, I was greeted with an email from BA that the flight for the final leg of our trip (on American Airlines) had been cancelled and nothing rescheduled. This is about the 4th time flights have changed but always something had been substituted. In effect, we were stranded.

I called BA and one line wasn't even taking calls. The message was that if you weren't traveling within 8 weeks, call back later. Knowing that these things are best dealt with immediately, I kept trying numbers.

Eventually, I got through to a lovely BA agent. While on hold, I had done my research and was prepared for them. Because I knew what I wanted, I was able to ask for and get it. Instead of being routed through Dallas (been there, done that and waited six hours for a plane), I was able to get Rome to LHR to home on BA. It's a short layover but in the same terminal. When I originally booked, this was a much, much more expensive alternative. Now, we're on the flights I really wanted and I got about half the seat costs covered with points. This takes about 5 hours off our total travel time and we'll go through immigration in our hometown.

Although flight cancellations stink, this one had a pretty good outcome. I think since we are now on BA to BA flights, there might not be any changes but who knows? There's plenty of time before May!

Posted by
90 posts

Yes, there is still time before May but my new motto is ABC… always be checking!!!!

Posted by
11246 posts

If you look at all the "stories" here of canceled flights, they are on BA. BA is having real problems with their operations and even I had a flight cancelled last October with them. (It actualy turned out better for me because i was able to switch to an AA flight and save bout $600 in fees.)

While I used to be loyal to BA, I've lost that loyalty because they just can't seem to get their act together. I have a flight with them from London to Athens on Good Friday. When I first booked there were three flights that day on BA. Now there are six. I have a feeling my flight will go.

One of the problems BA has had over the past couple of years is the restrictions on travel between the U.S. an UK. BA may have sold a flight to go, let's say, on May 1 of last year. But as it go closer to the date, the demand in both directions is low. They might then cancel all flights on that route for a length of time. If has nothing to do if it is running now. It has to do with demand.

During normal times, there were 16 flights/day between New York and London on BA and AA alone. During the pandemic, they cut those flights on some days to less than half. So flight that were running one day, may be cancelled the next due to limited demand. So if I booked BA1 on January 1 for April 1, and Flight Aware shows it as having been operating for years, what do you say when they cancel it? "Flight Aware said it was running so you have to operate it."

Posted by
11246 posts

And airlines don't sell tickets on flights they don't plan to fly. What probably happened on the San Diego flight is that they planned to fly it at a certain time, but when they saw demand was low over a certain time period, they canceled those flights and decided to try two months later.

Posted by
13079 posts

I’d say they sell tickets hoping the flight will go, but when they schedule that months in advance and things do not turn out as they hoped ( I.e., demand is very low), they have to cancel some flights. I do not think it is “ridiculous” to check on which flights are the ones that tend to get canceled, as there is a pattern. So the information on FlightAware about whether the flight is currently flying, or not, is useful.

In Pat’s situation, her BA flight was supposed to be out of San Diego. That was one of many US airports that was not on “the list” of airports approved for landing planes from Europe or other foreign destinations when the covid travel ban was originally put in place. ( I seem to recall there were only 8 that were approved). So all international flights into and out of the airports not on the list had to be canceled. But BA kept them on the schedule for the future, hoping the travel ban would be lifted at some point. And when it was, the flights from airports like San Diego were not resumed right away, due to low demand. I don’t know if the San Diego flight has resumed, even yet. But I do know that our March flight back to SFO from Heathrow was changed from the A380 that was scheduled when we booked (and part of the reason we chose to fly to SFO instead of our home in Seattle) to a 777. And they still sometimes cancel one of the 2 scheduled SFO-LHR flights each day.

Posted by
292 posts

Interestingly, for our BA-booked holiday, the only changes have been with flights through their partner, American Airlines. I like the flights through AA because they don't charge seat assignment fees and that can save quite a bit of money. From our last, pre-COVID trip, our experience was that the international legs were great but the US domestic flights horrid. I'd go so far to say that our Paris to Dallas flights had one of the nicest planes and smoothest flights since I took Singapore Airlines. Needless to say, it all fell apart in Dallas!

I think all the airlines are struggling with scheduling. ABC is the only way to go. It never hurts to be proactive and watch out for yourself! I might be whining again before May but so far, so good.

Posted by
3024 posts

I had two Delta itineraries in 2021 -- both round trips to Frankfurt. I had zero changes. I have an open-jaw Paris/Frankfurt in April and an open-jaw Munich/Vienna in May. So far, no changes other than minor time changes on my flights between my local airport and ATL for the April itinerary.