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Flights in flux


ClevelandKid
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Hi all,

 

We are 180 days out from our Amazon cruise (yay!).  We booked our own flights when the booking window came open and saved a lot of money, but now we are encountering a problem - both our initial flight (Cleveland -> San Juan) and return trip (Manaus -> Cleveland) have had flight changes.  The return trip I don't care about since our connection time is somewhat longer, but not horribly so.  However, on the initial flight our connection time is 35 minutes, which may be a tad tight.  I am allowed to change the flight without incurring a change fee, but before I do I wanted to ask the community here their experience on when flights settle down.

 

So, after a long intro, here is my question:  For those who have flown in the last few months, when did the schedule for flights finally get set?  I am sure there are always some last minute stuff, but overall when did you feel that your flights would not change?  90 days out? 60 days out? 180 days out?

 

Thanks,

Pat

 

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1 hour ago, ClevelandKid said:

Hi all,

 

We are 180 days out from our Amazon cruise (yay!).  We booked our own flights when the booking window came open and saved a lot of money, but now we are encountering a problem - both our initial flight (Cleveland -> San Juan) and return trip (Manaus -> Cleveland) have had flight changes.  The return trip I don't care about since our connection time is somewhat longer, but not horribly so.  However, on the initial flight our connection time is 35 minutes, which may be a tad tight.  I am allowed to change the flight without incurring a change fee, but before I do I wanted to ask the community here their experience on when flights settle down.

 

So, after a long intro, here is my question:  For those who have flown in the last few months, when did the schedule for flights finally get set?  I am sure there are always some last minute stuff, but overall when did you feel that your flights would not change?  90 days out? 60 days out? 180 days out?

 

Thanks,

Pat

 


I have no answer, but I feel your pain. Our flights are next January. We booked them a couple months ago, and so far they’ve changed three times. Radically changed. Just had another notice last night, which I forwarded to our TA. Now we’ve got two layovers returning home from Athens, for a total transit time of, let’s see, 23 hours. For that, we could fly to Australia. Ridiculous. 

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We flew last month to Belize, and there were a few changes but nothing that affected our travel too much.  We leave in 10 days for the Maldives and had a huge flight change come in last week……actually for the better, where our layover isn’t as long, but it means we need to look for a late check out.  Our 1 pm flight now leaves at 8 pm.

 

The one most concerning is our flight back from Santiago in Dec.  The ship docks on 12/22, and we were flying out that night.  Delta has moved our flight up to 12/20.  That isn’t going to work at all, and I can’t imagine how they thought it was an acceptable change.  

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5 hours ago, ClevelandKid said:

However, on the initial flight our connection time is 35 minutes, which may be a tad tight.

 

It always helps if you post what your actual cities, dates and flights are, so that one can make an informed answer.  In some locations, 35 minutes is tight but OK.  In others, it's insanity.  But we are left with no info for a rational answer.

 

5 hours ago, ClevelandKid said:

So, after a long intro, here is my question:  For those who have flown in the last few months, when did the schedule for flights finally get set?  I am sure there are always some last minute stuff, but overall when did you feel that your flights would not change?  90 days out? 60 days out? 180 days out?

 

There is no real answer to this.  Much is due to the fact that international flying is a crap shoot today, depending on the current immigration restrictions in various countries.  This is also resulting in airlines cutting back on some of their "thin" routes and relying on more connections through hub cities on both ends.

 

Again, since you have no specifics, it's difficult to say, as much depends on your routes and airlines.

 

Finally, there is a Cruise Air forum where air travel questions are regularly fielded by some pretty knowledgeable folks.  Probably moreso than a cruiseline-specific forum.

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3 hours ago, Twitchly said:

Now we’ve got two layovers returning home from Athens, for a total transit time of, let’s see, 23 hours. For that, we could fly to Australia. Ridiculous. 

 

Not really ridiculous.  Just what are you expecting.

 

And FWIW, good luck trying to fly to Australia.

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3 hours ago, Mich3554 said:

The one most concerning is our flight back from Santiago in Dec.  The ship docks on 12/22, and we were flying out that night.  Delta has moved our flight up to 12/20.  That isn’t going to work at all, and I can’t imagine how they thought it was an acceptable change.  

 

Well, there are no DL flights from SCL on either the 21st or the 22nd, so automation gave you an earlier rebook.  They are flying out on the 23rd.

 

If you really want to fly out on the 22nd, you should ask to be rebooked on their partner LATAM, which may involve additional connections.

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6 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Not really ridiculous.  Just what are you expecting.

 

And FWIW, good luck trying to fly to Australia.


Really? 23 hours to fly from Athens to the US sounds normal to you? 
 

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4 hours ago, Twitchly said:

Really? 23 hours to fly from Athens to the US sounds normal to you?

 

It completely depends on where and when you are flying.

 

There are many itineraries that require a forced overnight along the way or long connections.  But since you provided zero info on what routing you had, anything could be reasonable.  You'd be surprised at the number of routes that have only one or two flights a day -- and this is why legal connections internationally are timed at 24 hours or the first onward flight, whichever is longer.

 

Also, you don't need a TA to make airline changes, as that just puts another middleman into the picture.  That is, unless you are forced to do so by utilizing cruiseline air with all of its restrictions and inventory constraints.

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My cruise vacation begins in 73 days. We start with a pre-cruise extension in Rome. We booked with Air plus. The flight we originally booked, British Airways (operated by American) out of Philadelphia no longer exists. I'm not sure when it even got cancelled. I called yesterday and changed to a non-stop direct flight out of Newark, NJ.  The plane was almost full and we weren't able to upgrade to business or even get our premium economy that we originally had.

 

The other alternatives all had at least one connection and were all at least 12-13 hours of journey time. I figure that since we are leaving out of a major hub and the plane is nearly full, it will be less likely to change again.

 

If another, larger airport is drivable for you, it may be a option to consider. I am assuming that bigger airports=more people traveling=less likely to cancel on me. I hope I am making the correct calculation. Everything is so frustrating right now. I have had to completely shift my expectations about this trip. At this point, I'm just hoping we will get to go at all.

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Airlines continue to face a lot of flux in their staffing and equipment availability.  I have a flight scheduled from West Palm Beach to Newark on United in October which has already been changed three times. The return leg, a few days later, hasn't changed at all.

 

One wild card will be the demand for large, wide bodied aircraft from the majors for service in evacuating Afghan people from Doha, Ramstein, etc. American Air has agreed to contribute six 777 aircraft and (my guess) 12 crews. That's a significant investment from an already squeezed carrier. Alaska, Delta, and United are also participating in this cycle

 

Trying to handicap seating and availability for a long haul flight six to 12 months out is probably a fool's game at this point.

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25 minutes ago, Cienfuegos said:

Trying to handicap seating and availability for a long haul flight six to 12 months out is probably a fool's game at this point.

 

The one thing you can do is lock in pricing.  Also, by selecting your preferred itinerary now, you at least have a baseline.  If your flights don't change, you are fine.  And if they do, you have a locked in price, rather than having waited and finding higher costs later on down the road.

 

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, khm1 said:

My cruise vacation begins in 73 days. We start with a pre-cruise extension in Rome. We booked with Air plus. The flight we originally booked, British Airways (operated by American) out of Philadelphia no longer exists. I'm not sure when it even got cancelled. I called yesterday and changed to a non-stop direct flight out of Newark, NJ.  The plane was almost full and we weren't able to upgrade to business or even get our premium economy that we originally had.

 

The other alternatives all had at least one connection and were all at least 12-13 hours of journey time. I figure that since we are leaving out of a major hub and the plane is nearly full, it will be less likely to change again.

 

If another, larger airport is drivable for you, it may be a option to consider. I am assuming that bigger airports=more people traveling=less likely to cancel on me. I hope I am making the correct calculation. Everything is so frustrating right now. I have had to completely shift my expectations about this trip. At this point, I'm just hoping we will get to go at all.

 

Nice calculation - except.

 

Philadelphia is the primary international hub for AA on the east coast.  And yet your flight from PHL to FCO was cancelled.  So "big airport = no changes" doesn't hold true.

 

Much also depends on the incoming feed from outstations -- few routes survive just on O&D (Origin and Destination) travel.

 

Toss in crew scheduling/routings and maintenance requirements and you have a giant machine with many interconnected parts.  Rarely is it just a simple matter of add or subtract.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Nice calculation - except.

 

Philadelphia is the primary international hub for AA on the east coast.  And yet your flight from PHL to FCO was cancelled.  So "big airport = no changes" doesn't hold true.

 

Much also depends on the incoming feed from outstations -- few routes survive just on O&D (Origin and Destination) travel.

 

Toss in crew scheduling/routings and maintenance requirements and you have a giant machine with many interconnected parts.  Rarely is it just a simple matter of add or subtract.

 

 

You may be right....time will tell.

 

Either way, we went from 2 connections to none.  Less connections is always a good thing. 😉

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12 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Well, there are no DL flights from SCL on either the 21st or the 22nd, so automation gave you an earlier rebook.  They are flying out on the 23rd.

 

If you really want to fly out on the 22nd, you should ask to be rebooked on their partner LATAM, which may involve additional connections.

Yes, I saw this when I looked at Delta flights.  I have an email out to my TA who booked this, as Delta just contacted us this past weekend about the flight change.

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40 minutes ago, khm1 said:

Less connections is always a good thing. 😉

 

Not in all cases.  Much depends on the equipment involved.

 

In the past, I would often reroute to different USA gateway, just so that I could fly on the Emirates A380.  Even though there was Emirates service from my home airport on their 777.

 

Why do that, you may say?  Well, because the inflight product was so different, and so much better on the A380.  And for the 15 hour flight to Dubai, that was a world of difference that made the extra connection a mere blip.

 

Also, having longer flights on crappy CRJs is something to avoid.  Plus, booking some connections allow you to experience some great airline lounges, such as Virgin Clubhouse at LHR, Cathay's Wing at HKG, and the Turkish lounge at IST.

 

So....

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8 minutes ago, Mich3554 said:

Yes, I saw this when I looked at Delta flights.  I have an email out to my TA who booked this, as Delta just contacted us this past weekend about the flight change.

 

Well, the TA puts another layer in there.  I would have my preferred routings already researched so you don't get just whatever DL offers to your TA.  Remember - the airline agent is trying to complete this reroute in the simplest way -- for them and the airline.  It may not be what is YOUR preference - what you want in terms of timing, airports and equipment.  And if the TA accepts the reroute on your behalf, you don't get the "free schedule change" option to rebook to something you prefer - it's been used up.  So changing again to something you really want could cost you extra $$$.

 

matrix.itasoftware.com

 

 

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1 hour ago, khm1 said:

My cruise vacation begins in 73 days. We start with a pre-cruise extension in Rome. We booked with Air plus. The flight we originally booked, British Airways (operated by American) out of Philadelphia no longer exists. I'm not sure when it even got cancelled. I called yesterday and changed to a non-stop direct flight out of Newark, NJ.  The plane was almost full and we weren't able to upgrade to business or even get our premium economy that we originally had.

 

The other alternatives all had at least one connection and were all at least 12-13 hours of journey time. I figure that since we are leaving out of a major hub and the plane is nearly full, it will be less likely to change again.

 

If another, larger airport is drivable for you, it may be a option to consider. I am assuming that bigger airports=more people traveling=less likely to cancel on me. I hope I am making the correct calculation. Everything is so frustrating right now. I have had to completely shift my expectations about this trip. At this point, I'm just hoping we will get to go at all.

I really hope that your cruise will go well. I wish everyone to have a great cruise no matter when you are guys going. Unfortinatly, I wont be able to make it anytime soon, so I hope you will make for me and enjoy the time

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1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Not in all cases.  Much depends on the equipment involved.

 

In the past, I would often reroute to different USA gateway, just so that I could fly on the Emirates A380.  Even though there was Emirates service from my home airport on their 777.

 

Why do that, you may say?  Well, because the inflight product was so different, and so much better on the A380.  And for the 15 hour flight to Dubai, that was a world of difference that made the extra connection a mere blip.

 

Also, having longer flights on crappy CRJs is something to avoid.  Plus, booking some connections allow you to experience some great airline lounges, such as Virgin Clubhouse at LHR, Cathay's Wing at HKG, and the Turkish lounge at IST.

 

So....

Noted. It absolutely makes a difference being on a better plane.

 

In our case, my mother has mobility issues. Our connections were to be at LHR. It is pretty far way to walk to get between terminals.  My mom had to be transported last time she transferred flights there.  My dad had to walk, and he got hopelessly lost and almost missed his flight. So in our case, less connections is better. 😊

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1 hour ago, Roger88 said:

I really hope that your cruise will go well. I wish everyone to have a great cruise no matter when you are guys going. Unfortinatly, I wont be able to make it anytime soon, so I hope you will make for me and enjoy the time

Thank you! I am in a high risk healthcare occupation. This last year and a half have been very hard. So far, I haven't gotten sick.🤞 I just want to live my life again. We only get so many turns around the sun!

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7 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Well, the TA puts another layer in there.  I would have my preferred routings already researched so you don't get just whatever DL offers to your TA.  Remember - the airline agent is trying to complete this reroute in the simplest way -- for them and the airline.  It may not be what is YOUR preference - what you want in terms of timing, airports and equipment.  And if the TA accepts the reroute on your behalf, you don't get the "free schedule change" option to rebook to something you prefer - it's been used up.  So changing again to something you really want could cost you extra $$$.

 

matrix.itasoftware.com

 

 

Already dealt with.  We are on the same flight a day later, since there is not a direct flight to the US on the day we want to fly.  I had already looked at what flights were available, and my TA was able to do what I requested when I emailed her.  
 

I normally don’t use a TA for flights but did in this case as we needed a one way flight to Athens and another one home from Santiago.  The costs for 2 one way flights were ridiculous.

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17 minutes ago, Mich3554 said:

I normally don’t use a TA for flights but did in this case as we needed a one way flight to Athens and another one home from Santiago.  The costs for 2 one way flights were ridiculous.

 

Curious what you think is "ridiculous".

 

Assuming you are going in and out of DTW, I find one-stop flights from SCL on your dates for $770 and two-stops for $540.  As for going to ATH,  one-stops for about $800 and two-stops as low as $700.

 

And as for no direct flights to the USA on the 22nd.....well, you could have gone non-stop from SCL to Toronto, and an easy connection to DTW.

 

But hey....

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

 

Curious what you think is "ridiculous".

 

Assuming you are going in and out of DTW, I find one-stop flights from SCL on your dates for $770 and two-stops for $540.  As for going to ATH,  one-stops for about $800 and two-stops as low as $700.

 

And as for no direct flights to the USA on the 22nd.....well, you could have gone non-stop from SCL to Toronto, and an easy connection to DTW.

 

But hey....

These tickets were bought before the world shut down for covid and were business class seats.  The ridiculous price for one way tickets when I was looking on my own were about $10,000 pp for the 2 one way tickets.  So yes…..I think it was a ridiculous price, when I was booking this well over a year ago, not at today’s prices.  I paid less than half that for these tickets through my TA.  

 

Secondly, I don’t see why you would think I would want to fly into DTW.  The only flights available on the 22nd were Santiago to Lima to Atlanta to (Salt Lake City) to Seattle.  That is a lot different from Santiago to Atlanta to Seattle.  

Edited by Mich3554
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