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Departures Board at Bangkok's BKK Airport

Last week, I flew to San Francisco for my first trip away from my family. Fortunately, it was only a 24-hour trip but when I saw rain in the forecast for a Friday at SFO, I knew there was a good chance of delays and cancelations. No matter what the weather is, I always sign up for the airlines’ flight notifications (most do it automatically these days) and I also use TripIt Pro. But neither of those are good unless you actually monitor your email frequently.

Luckily, I happened to wake up early and noticed I recently had received emails both from American Airlines (AA) and TripIt, stating that my 1:15 pm flight was canceled. I immediately called AA and they said they could put me on the 5:20 pm flight. I was like, “Whoa…I need to be home.” So they squeezed me in on the 3:55 pm flight. An hour later, I got another email (and a phone call this time), alerting me that the 3:55 pm flight was canceled too and they could put me on the 9:10 pm flight. I said that wasn’t going to work. It was 9:15 am and I asked if there was anything sooner. They said all that was available was the 10:15 am flight but it was delayed until 12 pm. I said I’d take it! The agent said it was full but when I asked for her to doublecheck, she discovered that a seat had just opened up.

Later at the airport, I learned from one of the agents that on days like these, when there are a lot of cancelations, inventory changes frequently because airlines (usually) automatically rebook passengers on other flights. Oftentimes, those flights don’t work for some passengers’ schedules (they may have a business meeting or an event that they will miss) so they call and get themselves put on alternate flights or cancel their flight altogether.

Bottom line: Constantly check your flight’s status, especially in bad weather. If I hadn’t, I would have arrived home 10 hours later than I wanted to.

Related: What to Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations



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