Subject: Re: Getting your way with airlines 2
Hi Dolores AND Ziners,

Gail gave you excellent information and advice!

I would add that travel agents (TA) are usually fantastic for getting you prices and even flights that you could NOT get when dealing with an airline directly, but TA sometimes fail to clearly convey all restrictions (or problems you could encounter) with your ticket. I say this partly because airlines sell tickets to some TA in bulk and those bulk tickets (BT) are usually more restrictive than what you'd purchase from the airline directly.

FYI - ANY online service or web-site that is not The-Name-Of-The-Airline.com is a TA! Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Cheap Tickets, etc., should be treated as though they're a TA that CAN get you better prices and flights, but be sure to ASK about ALL restrictions before buying or giving your credit card number out.

If A1 had the info about A2 in their computer system as one whole reservation (for all flights), then it sounds like they should have done a better job putting you on the new second flight AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. Find the actual ticket number for each flight and if the first three numbers are the same then that means A1 probably needs to remedy this for you. If the first three numbers are different then, unfortunately, you have no options. If anyone is ever traveling on two different airlines in the same day you should avoid having separate tickets.

As a rule of thumb - If YOU tell the airline you want to make a change (voluntary) and they ask for more money, that's one thing. If the airline tells YOU that you need to or must make a change (involuntary) and they EVER ask for more money, then something doesn't seem right. Don't EVER give more money until you've THOROUGHLY researched everything with everyone! Verify, verify, verify ahead of time.

When anything is EVER changed re-verify ALL(!) information before going to the airport. The airline calls you and tells you that your flight changed by five minutes and you don't think anything of it. What they didn't do is ALSO tell you that your precious seat assignment was wiped out by the change. Finding out AT the airport that you owe more money or that your aisle seats are gone is not the time that something can be done for you. At least not to your complete satisfaction. Verify and re-verify everything. Even my own airline says, in their recording while you're on hold, that you don't need to reconfirm flight information. I think they say that simply because they don't want the added expense of paying someone ten to twenty dollars an hour to go back over everything with you. Again, if you were my relative or best friend - verify - ahead of time! Just don't make the airline employee repeat everything three times for you. 8^)

Always find out the exact reason for a delay or cancellation of a flight, even if it is troublesome to find out. Being told that the flight is late, simply because the plane was late arriving to the airport you're leaving from, doesn't cut it. Someone at the airline CAN trace that plane back to when it was first delayed and if it was something within their control (like any mechanical failure) then the sky is almost the limit for you! HAVE them pay your hotel, food and other airline flight if that's needed! Pick the other airline and/or flight time you would've chosen if money were no object (staying within the same coach or first class cabin you bought originally). However, if your flight is late because the plane you're using was delayed to due bad weather elsewhere (something outside the airline's control) you're stuck with the SAME airline and on whatever flights/days where they have seats available and only for your original cities.

Remember that even the best airline or TA can and will make mistakes. How you RESPOND will often determine what is done for you. For example, if I know a child can hear their parent being the least bit rude to me or raising their voice at me - they don't get squat. I don't want their child to learn that is what you do when you want to get your way. Well, what they DO get is the most courteous and professional no they've ever heard. 8^)

Gregory in Houston