CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Airlines are surprising customers weeks, or even days, before flights, changing itineraries, flight times, connections or even connecting cities. The changes are causing vacationers to wonder why it’s happening.
Jon Myers is planning a fall trip with friends to Colorado, and he found a great fare on an American Airlines flight from Cincinnati, connecting through Dallas, to Colorado. “It left at 4:10 in the afternoon, a perfect time,” he said. A few weeks later, he received a flight change notice. “I got an email from American Airlines, saying we have changed the departure time on your flight from 4:10 in the afternoon to 7:50 in the morning, which is eight hours and 20 minutes earlier,” he said.
Not only does that mean he has to get up before 5 a.m., but it could affect his rental car plans during a year when rental cars are scarce and expensive.
Why so many changes this year? This summer, airlines are changing flight times for tens of thousands of travelers, according to reports by the Washington Post and The Points Guy. The reports say American, United, Delta, Southwest and other airlines are still rebuilding their schedules after the pandemic.
With no dependable business travel, companies are constantly adjusting flights to meet fickle vacation demand. American Airlines told the Post, “Labor shortages and the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand has led us to adjust a fraction of our scheduled flying.” Myers thinks there should be some sort of rule against it. “Four months in advance, changing it eight hours and 20 minutes? No no no,” he said.
The Points Guy said if this happens to you:
Request a better flight at the same fare.
Ask for a full refund if the flight times no longer work.
Ask for some miles as compensation for your troubles.
Myers just hopes it doesn’t change again. “So far, they haven’t changed the return flight.” The Points Guy said until regular business travel returns, don’t be surprised to see airlines continue to juggle their schedules. So double-check your flights frequently so you don’t waste your money.