cancelled flights

Frequent fliers and regular readers of Consumer Traveler are by now familiar with most of the things that can go wrong with joint tickets on airline partners. But, this recent Lufthansa/United debacle for one of my clients was a new one and resulted in his bag being checked onto a flight that didn’t exist; and, hadn’t existed for months.

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During delays at airports, especially weather delays, alternative flights are hard to find. Sometimes looking for “departed” flights that are still parked at the jetway can be a good alternative.

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Besides the billions in income, airlines benefit from travel agents when things go wrong during travels. Airlines have been cutting staff, which means less customer service. So having travel agents dealing with many customer service and flight rerouting problems is a bonus for the airlines.

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Instead of calling or lining up or even going online to have an agent rebook a flight where there has been some kind of travel disruption, travelers now get messages about possible or probable missed connections, along with a new alternate flight. The rebooking systems are good but, by no means, perfect.

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All the special attention in the world for this very frequent flier wouldn’t have averted a near disaster on her return when her flight from Europe was accidentally canceled.

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Sometimes the best laid plans of computers, especially when it comes to automated rebookings, don’t work out. A story that unscores the need for humans in the rebooking chain.

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While skipping a long line to talk to an agent may sound appealing, here are four times it’s not worth it. It’s not that the automatic program can never find an alternative, but it never hurts to double check when possible and be more pro-active.

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All U.S. domestic airlines, eventually, ended up offering waivers to change flights this past weekend with Hurricane Irene. In many cases, travelers had no choice — their flights were canceled. Some of those flights were automatically rebooked, sometimes not.

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Used to doing all of your travel booking? There are times when you should probably pay an agent fee, and here are four of them.

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United Airlines, the number one U.S. carrier to Hawaii, and an airline that was one of the first to the islands, had a serious mechanical delay resulting in a cancellation. You would think that it was their first time handling a cancellation!

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