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BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

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BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

I just got off the phone with Delta; I will be flying to Juneau using Delta Award miles. When the agent said a flight number had changed on my first outward flight, I requested that they email me the corrected itinerary. My original reservations had been made in March; it is now the end of July and I will travel in about two weeks.

When I reviewed the Flight Itinerary, ALL my return flights had been changed, with no prior notice given to me by mail or email. Delta said it was because Alaska Airlines dropped the 1:00 AM flight from Juneau and put me on another which leaves at 4:19 PM the previous day. This was a complete surprise.

My earnest suggestion to anyone flying with Delta or Alaska Airlines is that they reconfirm ALL the flight information some weeks before they travel. I only found out about the changes to my flights through my own initiative, by calling the airline. If it had been the outgoing flight whose time had been moved up, I might have missed that and my entire expensive trip would have been severely and adversely affected.

And yes, besides stealing 8.5 hours from the end of my time in Alaska, the surprise change has of course made my total return travel time hours longer than it was with the original reservation. BEWARE! Your "confirmed reservations" may be subject to changes, and it seems to be your responsibility as the traveler to discover those if they occur.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

Thanks for your post.

Unfortunately this is not the case just with Delta and Alaska, though Delta is one of the worst culprits. It is wise to check your reservations about once a month and be pro-active in getting any schedule changes resolved. Note that there is am 8pm flight from Juneau to Seattle arriving 11.39 and I would request this flight in order to gain a better connection. But with schedule changes, the passenger must first do their homework to find out other options and suggest them to the airline. The airline will NOT be helpful in most cases in this regard.

Generally I book 8-11 months in advance so I get a lot of schedule changes between the time of booking and day of departure. My November trip had a similar schedule change from Juneau. Was supposed to depart Juneau about 8pm and have a 1+ hour layover in Seattle on my way to Minneapolis. Alaska Air changed their flight time from Juneau to Seattle and I had about 5 minutes too little in Seattle. Now I leave 7 hours earlier from Juneau at 1.45pm! In fact I don't lose just 7 hours but basically an entire day of eagle viewing in Haines (I was planning on returning that morning on the ferry from Haines and now must return the day before). Fortunately I was able to rearrange my schedule toward the front end of the trip to gain that extra day of eagle viewing earlier in the week.

With the mess the airlines are in, poor customer service, etc (ironically I am typing this as I am waiting on hold for an airline!), everyone must expect to do their due diligence with regard to their flights. If you read the Conditions of Carriage (when you buy your ticket you agree to them) you will see that the airlines take no responsibility for schedule changes. Not to give them any slack - they should contact passengers but the reality is they don't.

John

Kiawah Island...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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2. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

I'm not going to relate all the troubles we had 2 weeks ago on our way to AK, but one of our return flights was cancelled by US Air, they put us on another flight that left Las Vegas 5 hrs. before we got there. Spent 5 hrs. on the phone trying to fix that one.

In the end, we made 2 stops on our way from Ohio to Juneau, and 3 stops on our way home from Sitka to Ohio. We left Sitka yesterday at 2:15pm, got to Ohio this morning at 9:00am, it was a killer trip (and I don't mean that as in fantastic).

Over all, our troubles were a lot less than some of the others we heard during our 2 weeks up there. We heard from at least 2 others whose flights got to Seattle late and missed their direct connections to Juneau. Thus, they ended up taking the "scenic" route (the milk run, is what the locals call it), they stopped in Ketchikan,Sitka, and I believe one other location, before finally landing in Juneau.

MA
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3. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

That is really awful. You book things and have all your planning done and then things change without warning. That really stinks.

I just checked my reservation.

We are flying from Boston to Seattle and Seattle to Anchorage next Wednesday. When I put the ticket # in all the correct info comes up. I guess it hasn't changed. I certainly hope it doesn't.

I'll keep my eye on it. Thanks for the warning

Bette

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

I think this happens pretty frequently - sometimes they notify you, sometimes they don't. I just try to remember to check a week or so before as well as the day before just to be sure. Sometimes things change on your way back - you just never know with travel. With all the problems in the airlines at the moment, I only forsee more of this happening. Sad but true.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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5. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

I agree that it will happen more frequently with service reductions. I tend to check my flights about every couple of weeks and call the airlines when I notice a misconnect or a huge difference in my flight times.

Passengers need to be pro-active in this regard. Unfortunately airline reservation systems can't handle schedule changes well - having a flight that departs 5 hours before you even get to that airport is unfortunately not uncommon.

John

San Diego...
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6. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

Being the lowest of the low on the "perverbial totem pole" (FF tickets on a partner airline) I've been watching my flights on Alaska Airlines very closely.

We're flying 8/12 and 8/24 and so far a couple of the legs have changed by two minutes. I still don't feel we're out of the woods. Knowing all the problems with the airlines I tacked on two days on either side of the cruise in anticipation of problems. Traveling just ain't quite the leisure activity it used to be.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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7. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

>>Being the lowest of the low on the "perverbial totem pole" (FF tickets on a partner airline) I've been watching my flights on Alaska Airlines very closely.

That is how I almost always fly to Alaska (freq flyer tickets usually using at least one partner airline). If not that, then usually a bump voucher from Northwest.

>>Traveling just ain't quite the leisure activity it used to be.

You can say that again. But passengers can make it more pleasant on themselves - get to the airport early, check in online, bring snacks and an empty water bottle with you (fill up the water bottle after security) in case of delays, check alternate options before you leave for the airport in case your flight gets severely delayed or canceled, book through a local travel agent so in case of problems you have an advocate you can reach almost immediately vs. an online site or an airline where you are often put on hold for a long time and in case of major problems (strike, terrorism, huge weather problems) you can't even reach an airline, purchase a day or short-term membership to an airline lounge to be able to relax before a flight or during a layover or in case of a huge delay so you can find a quiet refuge and find almost instantaneous help in rebooking flights.

I could go on with more tips but none of the above steps takes more than a few extra minutes for each one. It keeps me sane with all of my flying.

John

USA
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8. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

John, please advise about this day membership to an airline lounge. Can we do it on the spot, if we get stranded, or is it necessarily done in advance of travel dates?

I go to Europe twice or more a year, and arranging this trip to Alaska has been more trouble before the trip than any trip I have previously arranged. I stopped using travel agents years ago, when they consistently failed to come up with cheaper rates than what I found from calling airlines directly.

I will probably just let go of my Delta Sky Miles, because it was hours of pain to book the trip and very expensive to set up an itinerary with a tour company. There was insufficient information or too many choices about unknowns online for me to book hotels and excursions myself. TripAdvisor Forums have a wealth of information, but it is like digging for coins in the sand on the beach to find what I need to know on such a large website; very time-consuming.

The latest news in my itinerary is that a Cruise West ship is out of commission, so that trip was cancelled.

I sincerely hope my experience in Alaska is beautiful and memorable, because now, before I have gone, I am seriously questioning the wisdom of my decision to go, after all the time and expense invested and anxieties from the changes in arrangements.

San Diego...
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9. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

FF13...I was sorry to hear you are one of those whose cruise was cancelled because of the grounding. I hope your alternative plans work out...what a thrash!!! And...I hope you were satisfactorily compensated...but most times even that doesn't bring any comfort. Cruise West has a new President on board...I wonder if the previous guy at the helm dropped the ball. We're sailing the Inside Passage with Cruise West in a couple of weeks on the Spirit of '98. I booked the cabin right under the bridge...good thing...the Captain may need a second set of eyes.

fti...thanks for the many tips. I've noticed the airline lounges are getting more crowded lately...possibly more day passes as you mentioned. I'll follow your suggestion of looking up alternative flights...that's a good one! Got the rest covered with the exception of the travel agent advocate. I booked FF ticket myself (still cost $50.00...grrr), but booked the rest with agent...so maybe there's some help there if need be. Thanks again for all your helpful information on this forum.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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10. Re: BEWARE! Itinerary changed - Alaska Airlines dropped flight

>>John, please advise about this day membership to an airline lounge. Can we do it on the spot, if we get stranded, or is it necessarily done in advance of travel dates?

Most airlines offer a day pass to their lounge for $30-$50/person/visit. NW offers a 60 day membership but the cost is going up tomorrow to $125. Still that is a great deal because the 60 day membership allows 2 guests and allows you to go into partner lounges. Can purchase day of right at the lounge. Note some day passes are "one visit" and some are literal "day passes" - day passes are best since they can be used in your departure and in your connection city, assuming both have lounges for that airline.

>>I go to Europe twice or more a year, and arranging this trip to Alaska has been more trouble before the trip than any trip I have previously arranged. I stopped using travel agents years ago, when they consistently failed to come up with cheaper rates than what I found from calling airlines directly.

Just my opinion but the problem was not travel agents in general but the one(s) you were using. I started using agents when I was in college (30+ years ago if I have to admit it!) and even in these tough times for agents I still find them worthwhile. Heck, some people on this board check all their flights every day for schedule changes. My travel agent does that for me. Most independent travelers don't use agents but I still see their value.

>>I will probably just let go of my Delta Sky Miles, because it was hours of pain to book the trip and very expensive to set up an itinerary with a tour company. There was insufficient information or too many choices about unknowns online for me to book hotels and excursions myself. TripAdvisor Forums have a wealth of information, but it is like digging for coins in the sand on the beach to find what I need to know on such a large website; very time-consuming.

I am not sure what you are saying above. Itinerary with a tour company and using Skymiles? Yes, that does sound confuswing!

>>The latest news in my itinerary is that a Cruise West ship is out of commission, so that trip was cancelled.

Too bad. Totally canceled or can you salvage the trip by doing a land only trip?

>>I sincerely hope my experience in Alaska is beautiful and memorable, because now, before I have gone, I am seriously questioning the wisdom of my decision to go, after all the time and expense invested and anxieties from the changes in arrangements.

Unfortunately changes happen but I am confident you will really enjoy Alaska. I hope the weather cooperates since that can sometimes affect our perception of our trips. My 10 day trip to SE Alaska earlier this month generally had rotten weather except for the first 2 days. But we survived and had a great time. After the trip my 16 year old nephew said he would consider it the best trip he has been on. And he has taken some nice trips before - Hawaii, Florida several times, and a marathon baseball trip.

John