I Had Avoided United & American’s Schedule Changes, Until Now

by joeheg

Schedule changes are an inevitable part of air travel. Airlines constantly adjust the arrival and departure times for flights for several reasons. (This is why airlines make small changes to schedules. Lots of big and small reasons you may not have thought of.)

This year is like no other when it comes to airlines drastically changing schedules after publishing them and selling tickets to passengers. This summer, airlines suffered unprecedented staffing challenges (in other words, they couldn’t hire enough people to work the flights on the schedule). This led to airlines eliminating flights and rebooking passengers on other flights.

Now that airlines have made those adjustments, the schedule changes are still happening. Blame it on changes in passenger trends, delays in aircraft deliveries, or difficulty with hiring; the result is the same. The flight you booked and paid for might not be the flight you end up taking.

We’ve generally managed to avoid major flight changes, except when Delta moved our Hawaii flight and left us a 4-hour layover at LAX.

That is, we were able to avoid major flight changes until now. Every time I settle on a positioning flight to LAX for our trip to Vietnam on Singapore Airlines, the airlines change plans.

At first, I found inexpensive flights on United. I got this email 10 days later.

a blue and white card with a globe and text

Our 9 AM departure was changed to 6:30 AM. Having to wake up at 3am was not the way I wanted to start the vacation.

I checked other options and found a flight on American Airlines. I decided to splurge and book us in First Class. Ten days later, another email arrived.

a blue rectangular sign with white text

Our non-stop flight to LAX now has a stop in Dallas with 43 minutes to change planes. The connection is so tight that the flight combination isn’t for sale on American’s website.

Once again, not how I want to start the vacation.

To make things more complicated, this is a positioning flight. I want as few things as possible that could go wrong and adding a stop with a tight connection are two more variables in the equation.

The only other non-stop from Orlando on American leaves at 6 AM. Considering I ditched United because their flight was at 6:45, I’m not going to take a flight that’s 45 minutes earlier.

I’m back to looking at flights to see what works best for us. And maybe the third time will be the charm.

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