Crisis always brings opportunity.
Last week I became aware of a schedule change to a flight which Kamara and I are due to take in April. The change meant that we would miss our onward connection, on a separate ticket and airline.
This is basically a nightmare scenario… which I was able to turn to my advantage.
(First let’s take a step back)
I am fairly regimented when it comes to monitoring my frequent flier and hotel balances. Experience has taught me that you cannot always rely on airlines to tell you when they make changes to your flights, so I always like to be proactive. Manually logging into the ‘manage my booking’ section of airline’s websites can become a real pain in the ass though (particularly when you have ten or more outstanding bookings ahead of you).
Luckily there are a number of programs out there which can monitor travel plans on your behalf.
I personally swear by Awardwallet (you can use my code free-rwwgyh if you would like to upgrade for free to the Premium version). The great thing about this website is that it monitors all of your frequent flier, hotel and shopping points in one place.
Every time the site refreshes your mileage balances it also checks every booking that you have outstanding with the airline or hotel and lets you know if there has been a change of any sort.
As soon as I saw that there had been a schedule change I called the airline (in this case Qatar airways) and enquired about making a change. REMEMBER YOU ARE NEVER OBLIGED TO ACCEPT ANY CHANGES THAT AN AIRLINE MAKES TO YOUR TICKET. Legally, your flight time can change by 5 minutes and you can use this as a reason to cancel or amend an otherwise totally inflexible booking.
I love schedule changes. If you book far enough in advance, they are bound to come sooner or later and because they are a change to the contract between you and the airline, the power dynamic totally shifts. The airline has to accommodate your requests because THEY are the ones asking for your permission to change the terms of their previously agreed contract with you.
Knowing this I asked the Qatar agent if I could update my AKL-DOH-FRA itinerary to AKL-DOH-LHR, since the new arrival time into AMS meant I would miss my connection to LHR.
The agent verified the flight times with me, even asking if I wanted to change the other legs of my trip! After confirming the times and dates I was put on hold, fully expecting to be quoted some insane fee as a result of changing my final destination. I was delighted when the agent said “of course, the change will be free as it is due to a schedule change”.
I’ve previously had to fight HARD to get airlines to make further changes when my flight time has been moved by 90 minutes or more (although sometimes a volcanic eruption makes the airlines far more amenable). In this instance the change was only 15 minutes 🙂
I had yet to book my onward FRA-LHR flight, so not only saved myself the hassle of transferring in FRA after many hours of travel, whilst getting myself onto the A380. I also saved a few hundred pounds as we no longer needed to buy connecting flights home 😀
Have you ever leveraged a schedule change in your favour?
Has an airline wrongly attempted to deny your request for re-routing as a result of their schedule change?