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Entries during 2007-01

The Airline Changed Its Schedule and I Have to Pay

Q: My husband and I booked a flight to Kona, Hawaii via Honolulu. We also made reservations for the hotel, rental car, and so forth.  Last week, five months before the flight, we received a change of schedule from the airline.  This change put us into Honolulu after the last flight of the day to Kona.  When I called the airline they
gave me three choices:  1) We could overnight in Minneapolis, 2) we could overnight in Honolulu, or 3) they would refund the ticket.

I asked if the airline would be pay for the extra hotel night. They said absolutely not.    Refunding the ticket was not an option, because I did not know if I would be able to book with another airline for the requested dates and price.

We decided to leave a day earlier and overnight in Minneapolis so that we could get the earlier flight to Honolulu and fly on to Kona so we'd be able to use our pre-paid first night on the island. My question is, does an airline have any responsibility for the extra cost incurred by us in a case like this?

 

A: Schedule changes are happening more frequently these days as airlines re-shuffle resources and abandon unprofitable routes and services in order to become profitable again. Since the airline is willing to refund your money without penalty and have given you plenty of notice, there's no legal or regulatory remedy you can pursue. It's possible that if you canceled your original reservations, you'd be able to find a better fare or schedule on another airline that didn't involve any overnight stay (you do have five months, after all, to shop around). Looked on the bright side, the earlier flight will give you extra time on the Big Island.

You might also try calling your airport's local station manager and see if he can do something for you, such as putting you on an earlier flight out on another airline. Sometimes station managers are more sympathetic than anonymous airline reservation agents. It's worth a try.


Why doesn't Airfarewatchdog.com have senior fares?

There's an extremely well hidden page on Southwest's site where you can check out their senior fares:  http://southwest.com/cgi-bin/requestFares

Choose the "to" and "from" city and click enter. As you'll see, they're seldom the lowest fare offered, but again, they might not have advance purchase requirements and other restrictions, and they're easy to change. You can only book them by phone (800 I FLY SWA).
 

When is the best time of the week to find the lowest airfares? I've heard it's on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Q: When is the best time of the week to find the lowest airfares? I've heard it's on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

A: While it's true that more seats are available at the lowest fares if you travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday (and sometimes on Saturdays), that doesn't necessarily mean you'll save money if you purchase your fare on those days. Airlines can lower their fares at any given moment, seemingly on a whim. In fact, domestic airfares can change up to three times daily, and once a day on weekends, so it's a good idea to check in the morning, around noon time, and after about 4 in the afternoon. Also, I've found that some of the most amazing unadvertised sales appear on Saturday mornings. Why? One theory is that because when one airline unleashes a "sneak" sale, since airfares are updated only once on Saturdays other airlines can't respond immediately.
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