You think you've done a good job, booking a flight months in advance of your planned travel. But with airlines cutting costs — and thus flights — all the time, there's a chance you will see that foresight going right down the drain. If you get the dreaded "Itinerary update: Flight change" email, look for these three things:
- Check destination airport and connections. If the airline is no longer serving that airport or if the new time you'd arrive is drastically different, they may reroute you to another local airport — fine if you're familiar with the area or aren't meeting people, but if that exact spot is where you're joining family, it can be a problem.
- Check times. Make sure your new departure, connection, and arrival times work for you and be comfortable with the window between any connections. Most US airlines will offer a full refund if your new flight arrives either 90 minutes earlier or later than the originally scheduled one.
- Check for other flights. Look for alternatives before you call the airline. Although there are no guarantees, you may be able to change to a different flight that day with less of a wait or one that arrives at your exact desired destination. While swapping carriers is trickier, know which airlines have code-share partnerships, as changes between those linked airlines can be possible through the same agent.
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