Subject: Check your flights!

I'd like to illustrate the importance of checking on your air travel reservations periodically, although I imagine most of you know about this. I booked a trip to Rome well in advance on American Airlines' Web site. When I asked to go from Kansas City to Rome, it offered an itinerary with a 1.5-hour layover in Chicago O'Hare. Along with most Ziners who've expressed an opinion on the topic, I'd prefer to get more time, so I thought I was astute in asking for separate segments KC-Chicago and Chicago-Rome. That let me get a 3.5-hour layover at the same fare.

I liked to call that reservation up periodically on the Web site; at a certain point I got an error message something like unable to view, possibly because of changes made outside of and advice to call a phone number. I procrastinate in making phone calls, so I looked at the online timetables and saw that the first flight had been replaced by one with a different flight number that left five minutes later; I figured that was the whole change. When it got to be a month in advance, I figured I should call and confirm this. I heard there would be a long hold for the Web support desk, so I used the voice recognition line to confirm my flights; I found I had been changed to the later flight, now with less than a 1.5-hour layover. For all they knew, I might have had a meeting planned at O'Hare during my layover. I called back in the early morning and got an agent who nicely changed me back to the earlier flight.

Having the shorter layover would probably have worked out, but I prefer to have this peace of mind. There have been other occasions when I've only learned because I checked of departure times made notably earlier, or of segments cancelled days in advance. Some people say they've been notified more regularly if they've booked through the airline rather than a travel agent, but I've had this problem in both cases. OTOH, I have a trip booked to Asia in November on Northwest, and I've gotten periodic mailings informing me of minor schedule changes for that trip.

Andrew Missouri