Schedule Changes: You're at their mercy

Tracy Stewart, June 20, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. We booked our international flight originating from an airport about 75 miles away instead of from our home airport specifically because the itinerary was better and we would only have to make one connection instead of two. A month after receiving our paper tickets we found out that both of our domestic flights had been cancelled and we would have to make two connections each way after all. Even worse, the new domestic flights that they switched us to would have caused us to miss our international connection!

    After some serious phone time, we did get booked on a new domestic flight that would arrive in time for us to connect to our international flight, but we had to leave three hours earlier. If we had known that would happen we could have flown from our local airport. Failing that, we could have eliminated the first flight (Louisville-Cincinnati) and driven to Cincinnati instead of Louisville in about the same amount of time. The airline would not allow us to do either of these things without a penalty. It doesn't seem fair considering that they were the ones to cancel the flights and it would not cost them any more (and possibly less if we took only two of the three flights) to accommodate us. To add insult to injury, the flight that we were re-booked on was also cancelled on the way back so we had to be rerouted through Atlanta and arrived 5-6 hours late. Is this sort of treatment typical? It doesn't seem right when you buy the tickets based on the itinerary and then end up with an entirely different one.

    A. Yes, this sort of thing is happening more and more frequently. And if the airlines don't watch out, they're going to re-regulated. Honestly, I suggest writing to your congressman, and demanding more consumer protection from the airlines. You can also find a lot of great info on a much needed Passengers Bill of Rights by visiting Until such a bill is passed, there's not much passengers can do aside from making your case to the airline, repeatedly. Always make sure to escalate your case to a customer service rep, as opposed to a reservationist.