"You are telling me that I bought a ticket two weeks ago and now you are refusing to let me board this flight?" Ouch! Welcome to a growing problem in the world of corporate travel. During this time of economic uncertainty, airlines have reduced schedules and size of planes which has led to a rampant overbooking problem. This situation arises when more tickets are sold than seats on the plane and it especially hits business travelers who stray from their core airline. Example: A traveler normally flies USAir and Delta and maintains some level of frequent flyer status with both carriers. A trip arises to Dallas and American Airlines has the best schedule and fare. The traveler chooses American but mysteriously, seat assignments are not available at the time of booking. This is the FIRST clue of trouble on the horizon! Because the traveler is working late the night before the trip, he or she fails to check-in online within 24 hours of the flight. This is the SECOND clue things are not going to go well! Finally, because the traveler has "been around the block a few times" he or she doesn't worry about arriving at the airport one hour ahead of the flight and arrives a slim twenty minutes before departure. Uh oh! You guessed it, no seats left.
How do you avoid this situation?
Be aware of your carrier and if it is not your regular "status carrier" pay special attention!
Try, with Aladdin's help, to have seats assigned at booking.
Check-In online the day before your flight! Check-In online the day before your flight! Did I say, Check-In online the day before your flight!?
If check-in the day before does not allow for seat assignment, you MUST arrive at your gate 1 hour before the flight to beat others who are unassigned seats.
Finally, I urge all travelers to understand that connection times need to be at least 1 hour and 15 minutes for domestic flights and at least 2 hours for connecting flights to international. Anything less and you run the risk of major disruption.
Let us know if you have questions and thank you for your business!