Airline schedule changes happen. That’s just a fact of life. Sometimes they’re minor. I’ve had changes of 5 minutes that really don’t affect original plans at all.
Other times, schedule changes can really throw a wrench into your plans.
Some people cringe when they see these emails in their inboxes. Not me, I see it as a free pass for flexibility.
If you wanted to make a change otherwise, you’d have to pay change fee upwards of $150 depending on the airline!
Our outbound flight to Puerto Rico is the perfect example.
Originally, the flight was to depart JFK for SJU on Friday at 8:45 pm. Easily doable for us because we both work in NYC.
When I received the first schedule change email, our outbound flight was moved to 7:00 pm. That wouldn’t work for our schedule.
For some reason (probably laziness), I never got around to calling Delta to request rebooking.
About a week later, another schedule change was emailed to me. The outbound flight was now moved to 7:25 pm, closer to the original scheduled departure time.
I decided to take action before another schedule change potentially took away this free pass.
I tweeted Delta’s Twitter customer support handle for help. I find them to be quicker and more helpful than the Delta General Member phone line.
They replied back quickly and told me to send them my confirmation number.
I sent it via Direct Message. I also supplied them with the new flight number that I wanted to be on.
However, this was not the response I was expecting or hoping for:
“BB” must have been mistaken because he or she was wrong about the flight time change. It was actually moved up by an hour and 20 minutes, not just one hour.
I simply corrected that oversight and stated my case as to why this wouldn’t work.
A few minutes later… Success!
Here are the key takeaways if you want to make a schedule change work in your favor:
- Research your alternate [preferable] flight times before contacting the airline.
- Know exactly which flights you would prefer to change to – flight numbers, dates (if different), etc.
- Contact the airline through the path of least resistance.
- Make sure you have a clear case as to why the schedule change does NOT work for you.
- Perhaps a work conflict like myself or a connecting flight on another airline.
- This probably won’t work with a 5 minute schedule change.
If you have all this information handy, you make it much easier for the agent to rebook on your preferred flight.
Now because of the schedule change, we’re on a much better outbound flight that was much more expensive when I originally booked the tickets.
This schedule change was a free pass to a better itinerary!
Good luck with future schedule changes!