View Full Version : When do airlines post new schedules.

06-15-2005, 11:46 PM
Can someone suggest what time of the month to look for schedule changes?

I often book so far in advance that I can be almost certain there will be a schedule change, often accompanied by new seat assignments. I'd like to be aware of a change as soon as possible so that I can be sure that both the new schedule and the new seat assignment is acceptable to me.

Currently I'm paticularly interested in United, but I'd appreciate info on all airlines.

I have been checking my itinerary on the airline's site once a week or so, but it would be nice if I knew that major schedule changes were posted at some particular time each week, say, every Monday at midnight.



06-16-2005, 08:30 AM
There is no rhyme or reason. It just happens.

06-16-2005, 08:41 AM
From my experience I usually see a lot of them come thru over the weekend. But as DC says they show up at all times with no rhyme or reason.

06-16-2005, 08:49 AM
Got a big one on Monday morning for Thursday travel - flight actually cancelled and I had to scramble to find 7 (!) seats to Jamaica from Atlanta. Delta did not want to protect on AAL (high cost to DL) and wanted clients to move date - can't!!!! Had to arrive Jamaica Thursday to get married Saturday! Took over 1.5 hours to get it done.

Actual flights were RDU via ATL to MBJ. I did wonder what these people would've done had they not used a Travel Agent. They would not have know to push Delta to look at USAir and American. And believe me, we had to push hard!

06-16-2005, 08:54 AM
There is no rhyme or reason. It just happens.

Yup, I think the technical phrase would be "it's a crapshoot." :wink:

If speed of notification is your priority, you should use an agent. All schedule changes booked via GDS drop into a special work queue as soon as they happen. (Usually overnight.) A good agent checks their queues first thing every morning, and if your seating is missing, can reassign right away based on your preferences. They will also make sure the new schedule does not result in too short or long of a connection, and go to bat for you to "clean up the schedule" if it's undesireable.

I'm not sure how online agencies handle theirs...but I imagine since there are vastly fewer service agents for the number of schedules processed that there may be a delay in processing the changes. I think that goes for booking direct as well. The airline designates a few agents to process direct booked schedule changes and they get to you in random order.

Your only other option is to take it upon yourself to check your reservation frequently via the original booking source...unless you booked with an agent. I'm not "stumping here," but simply pointing out that your concerns are addressed in the cost of a travel agency ticket fee. Only you can decide if it's worthwhile.

06-16-2005, 08:57 AM
I don't know - what do Expedia et. al. charge now? Is it $5 or $10? I am guessing that the average agent fee is between $25 and $35. So I think one could understand the difference in "service" provided if you look at that.

06-16-2005, 09:30 AM
Last time a friend booked thru Expedia she told me it was a $15.00 ticketing fee and a $10.00 delivery fee for a hotel/air package outside the US (Paper tickets). She did say she booked about four months in advance and had her flight departure/arrival times changed five or six times in that period, but she got emails and was content.

I haven't used them for anything, but she seemed happy -- anyway,for what it's worth that's what she said their fees were as of March 05.

06-16-2005, 12:18 PM
It seems most sked chgs take place over Sunday night, there are 2 BIG ones each year those are because of the time changes in spring and fall. Also be aware that the airline systems will offer protection flights that are misconnects. I just had clients coming home from Shannon arriving in Philadelphia at 240 p.m., they then protected them on flights out at 100 p.m., that didn't seem possible to this human but was apparently just fine to that computer!

06-16-2005, 02:03 PM
arriving in Philadelphia at 240 p.m., they then protected them on flights out at 100 p.m

Happens all the time, doesn't it Lynn? It always makes me wonder what happens if there's not a human to notice that sort of thing? The airline is content to just let those obviously stupid schedule changes just hang out there until somebody makes a call...and then sometimes the airline res agent acts SO surprised! :roll:

06-16-2005, 02:54 PM
At least once a week, Deano, minimum. And it's been that way for years! I just don't understand why they cannot do something about it.

Woodsey Not Owl
06-16-2005, 04:14 PM
330 days in advance for the traditional carriers. American was the only one I knew that could hold the outbound, and create a fake return further out than the 330 day rule.

Southwest and the others, probably only when they have enough memory in their systems.


06-16-2005, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by Lynn
Also be aware that the airline systems will offer protection flights that are misconnects.

Am I missing something obvious or is "protection flight" technical, travel agent terminology?

Is it an alternative flight that passengers are automatically booked on if they miss a connecting flight?



06-16-2005, 04:43 PM
Duchan -

Yes, it is Travel Agent Speak:

"Hello Delta? We have a schedule change and we need you to protect our client on..........."

I usually say, "reaccomodate".

When I have a client standing in line at the ticket counter because his/her flight has been cancelled and s/he calls me for help" "there are 20 people ahead of me in this line!", I go into the record and "protect" him/her on the most appropriate flight - this way when s/he gets to the counter and is told there are no more seats on the next flight, s/he can say, "look at my record. My Travel Agent already did it!"

And that would be why s/he happily pays $35 for me to issue plane tickets! :lol:

06-17-2005, 03:47 PM
One of the airline computer system technician who was in our office several years back to do some repairs on our SABRE equipment told us that there are literally thousands of price and schedule changes put into the airline computer systems DAILY. It's all governed by the 'holy' Yield Management System that each airline uses...computers that work constantly to see how every flight ithe airline has is or is not selling, to recommend closing out lower fares if selling well or opening more lower fares if buyers need a bigger incentive to book. They are also constantly checking what other airlines are charging, what sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity are charging, and adjusting their (the computer) recommendations accordingly. Very little is under human control any longer and it is indeed a crapshoot.

06-17-2005, 06:09 PM
literally thousands of price and schedule changes put into the airline computer systems DAILY.

Our Worldspan rep says that they pause the system and update a minimum of 7 times daily due to the vast amount of fare/schedule update information received from carriers that are hosted. That's what makes it so fun...explaining to a client why a fare you quoted at 9:30a.m. is not there when they call back at 10:00a.m. :?

06-17-2005, 06:33 PM
In my experience, schedule changes usually occur 48 hours after issuing tickets and mailing itins. to clients! :roll:

And yes, schedule and rate changes do occur constantly, but the number of rate adjustments far exceeds schedule changes - thank goodness!

06-17-2005, 09:40 PM
I'd forgotton that 7 times daily thing, but I've heard and read it, too.

06-18-2005, 08:15 AM
In my experience, schedule changes usually occur 48 hours after issuing tickets and mailing itins. to clients!*

Aw, NWCTC, you are being too kind. We all know it happens while you are on your way to the post office. :lol:

Honestly, I can recall running tickets late in the day (after mail service) and having to put an updated itinerary in with the invoice after schedule changes the next morning before it finally hits the mail. Our clients probably think we're nuts! :? (Yeah, can't you get it right the FIRST time???)

06-18-2005, 10:07 PM
The most surprising schedule change I ever had was actually in transit. We were flying somewhere on USAirways from BWI and connecting in CLT. I checked our connecting flight time/flight number before we left on the 1st flight from BWI. We boarded our first flight and actually departed on time. Thirty minutes later we arrive in CLT about 5 minutes ahead of schedule. In that short amount of time USAirways had changed the gate and time of our next flight ... only a 20 minute connect time instead of 45 minutes. Fortunately our family flies a lot and were able to "get it together" fast enough to make the flight.

06-19-2005, 09:28 AM
You think that's strange ... last year I was on a flight that departed on time. However, because of a schedule change while we were in the air the flight had been cancelled and we were in a holding pattern for an hour while the pilots tried to convince the tower that we actually existed!

06-19-2005, 09:35 AM
If that was not so scary, it would be funny!

06-22-2005, 08:34 PM
This might give you an idea (clear as mud) on how and when --

Last night (Tuesday) ...

American filed which is basically a $5 one way / $10 round trip fare increase in most markets

United filed a 3% fare increase in most markets.

Today (Wednesday)

Delta basically matched what American did ($5 OW / $10 RT increase)

Tonight (Wednesday)

Northwest basically matched what United did (3% increase) - at 8:22 p.m. EDT tonight

Continental has done nothing - yet

US Airways only increased fares to/from the Caribbean

What happened to the $499 coach cap?

I can find a few markets where American, Northwest and United have topped the $499 one way walk-up cap

I can't find any market where Delta has topped the $499 one way walk-up cap

Next load Thursday morning about 10:30 a.m. EDT

06-23-2005, 07:57 AM
Ah, "who's on first?" :lol:

Sneaky devils. :evil: I booked tickets for 5 to Norway on NW/KLM on Tuesday, but the passenger did not want to purchase until Wednesday (after she talked to her husband.) I warned her that the fare would not be guaranteed (despite a ticket deadline within 72 hours.)

Overnight NW added a "Q" (fuel?) surcharge of $45.00 per person each direction into the pricing structure. No fare increase, just a mysterious "surcharge." It cost them $450.00 more to just wait overnight to discuss which credit card they wanted to use.

Buying airline tickets is like playing the stock market. Try to buy low because the numbers change like those on a digital clock. The system is completly out of control. No wonder nobody (including a savvy travel agent) will put airfare quotes in writing until purchase is completed. :?

06-24-2005, 12:44 PM
When I hold a ticket for a client-I say this is what the fare is now-I can only hold the seat, not the price for 24 hours...I've been burned to many times with rates changing over night-I've had tickets go up $5.00----$100.00. Very rarley do they go down overnight.

07-16-2005, 06:50 PM
i LOVE (read: hate) the sced. changes that force misconnects....i.e.- the clients are booked with a 90 minute connection, but the airline system automatically protectes them on a flight with a 15 minute connect.

we agents need to look REALLY close at our queues when these changes happen.

and i have never had a problem getting a ticket refunded for a client b/c the change was too drastic for their plans....even if it is only by 30 minutes.