When I book flights I tend to check the reservation every so often to make sure nothing has changed. How frequent I check depends on the airline and where I booked. If I book through a online travel agent like Vayama or BudgetAir I’d rarely check it same goes for Ryanair and Ethiopian. They tend to be very good at sending emails for any changes to the flight schedules. On the other end of the scale is United Airlines – I’m a fan of United but one area they need to improve is sending email alerts for changes to flight schedules. It has happened quite a few times to me and I’ve never received an email. I only noticed the change when I checked my reservation. The same can be said for Delta.

United’s reservation system Shares auto-rebooks in case a flight is cancelled or if a schedule change means the original routing will not work or violates minimum connection time. This is great in theory but Shares is very old and very buggy. I recently booked flights to Orlando going through Newark on the way over and Washington on the way back. As it turned out the Washington to Dublin flight got cancelled during the winter. This happened the day after I booked.

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United operate flights to Chicago, Washington and Newark airports from Dublin and are continuing to grow their presence in Dublin. (Chicago and Washington are seasonal) On these international flights United offers free in-seat entertainment with a selection of movies and tv shows to watch.

On some of their domestic flights they offer¬†DIRECTV which allows you to watch live US TV on the aircraft. I’ve used this service before on United and JetBlue and was very impressed. There are over 100 channels on the United DIRECTV including History, FX, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, ESPN. There is something quite novel about watching live sport at 35,000 feet and it is a great way to pass the time. Obviously, I’d prefer it was free as is the case with JetBlue however with United you have to pay unless you are in United First. It costs $5.99 for flights up to 2 hours and $7.99 for flights longer than 2 hours. However, if you prepay you can get a pass for your flight for $4.99 no matter how long the flight is. I know this is only a saving of $3 but I wish I heard about it earlier. You pay online on your credit/debit card and then swipe this same card on the aircraft. It will recognise that there is a credit against the card and you will not be charged again. This fee covers one flight if you are connecting you will need one pass for each flight.

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