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When I think of airline schedules, I like to think of people like Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg sitting in front of lines of code with an evil genius smile. However you picture these characters, they always seem to be changing things. Maybe the landing slot a bit earlier is cheaper, maybe the crew needs more rest time or maybe they fell asleep at the keyboard. Regardless of why schedules change, you are entitled to be happy and I am certainly happy when I either get all of my money back or end up on a more suitable flight. 

a close up of a sign

You can turn a schedule change into a serious win. In the contract of carriage, airlines can and will change or cancel your flight schedule. You, however, do not have to live with their suggestion. Even slightly, if your flight schedule is changed in advance, you can turn a non refundable ticket into a full refund, change to a more suitable flight or if reason is presented, change to another city within a region. Airlines are very quick to offer vouchers to ease the pain or rebook you automatically onto flights which are not ideal. Call, tell them what you want and don’t take anything less than perfection. Vouchers, though wonderful, can be like play money. You are entitled to no less than a full refund if things change, so don’t be suckered into less.

a sign at an airport

If you still wish to make the trip, find flights that fit your schedule. Because of the schedule change, you can move to virtually any flight during the same day and perhaps even the next day. In the event that you wanted to leave in the morning, but the night flight was cheaper, you are able to get what you wanted without paying a dime. In extreme cases, on certain airlines, when a flight cancels on very short (you’re at the airport) notice, you can be rebooked onto new flights with a partner at their expense, occasionally even going from coach to first class, while still being refunded or given a voucher for your original ticket. Two free flights, hooray!

a room with grey couches and a yellow pillow

For my wedding I took advantage of an unbelievable business class deal from New York to Paris. In all actuality, I’d like to get to London. If my flights change in anyway (due to no fault of my own), I could argue that the new times will not be suitable for my final destination, London. In arguing this point, though it will likely require a supervisor, I should be able to be rebooked directly to London. I am on a schedule, they changed my schedule, they should make things work. At the very least, I will be able to pick and choose any flight which I would rather take to Paris. Winning all the way. In the event that I cannot find a suitable replacement to Paris or London (on comparable flat bed product) or I am simply not happy with the offerings, I could ask for a full refund and should, barring any insane circumstances, be entitled to one. 

a woman using a telephone

As always, knowledge is power. In this example, I would be sure to have the flight numbers of a more suitable flight, why it’s more suitable and offer both up from the get go. If your flight schedule change has led to anything you don’t like such as: an older plane, an antiquated seat or a true inconvenience which does not fit your schedule, be sure to look up which options within your airline would suit your schedule, offer the best products and explain why the change is necessary. Remember, you are not in court and they are the ones that changed the flight, you are just playing by the rules they set forth. Don’t be afraid to speak to a supervisor and inform them why your business matters, why you will be satisfied with the alternate flights and that you simply cannot accept anything less than the desired changes or a full refund. No company likes giving refunds.

As Always, Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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