Q. I purchased a roundtrip with a package to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico through a travel agent. Des Moines through Memphis, to Cancun and then Cancun, Detroit, Des Moines. I just found out I have to be in San Antonio for work the 3 days before my trip, I checked and I can leave San Antonio in time to catch my connecting flight in Memphis, my travel agent said I can try and call Northwest myself and see if they will let me skip my first leg of my outbound, but they told her no. If I miss the first leg, they will cancel my entire ticket. I don't understand that if I let them know I'm doing this, they can still book the seat if they want and just let me connect in Memphis. Is this normal practice that they do not let you do this? I am going to try and call them, but from what I'm reading on your site, it doesn't look promising. The only way is paying the $150 change fee plus any fare difference. Any advice?

A. You could hope that someone at Northwest will take mercy on you and make an "unofficial" exception to their contracts of carriage.  That does happen from time to time... but again, it would definitely be in contradiction to their stated policy and rules. If all else fails and you're forced to string along an entirely new ticket and itinerary, keep in mind that Mexican budget airline vivaAerobus offers shuttle bus service from San Antonio to Austin, with flights from Austin to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and other destinations in Mexico going for as little as $9.99, although for something more immediate expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $139 each way (at least that's what we found for Austin to Cancun in October).

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