Why you should always keep an eye on flight bookings..

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.

I was checking my reservation to change seats when I noticed the change. Shares had kindly put me on the Newark – Dublin flight and booked a flight from Washington to Newark on the same day. However, notice anything wrong?!

This all happened during Storm Harvey so understandably United were very busy. I tweeted them about it but they said everything was sorted and didn’t spot the fact I left Washington 4 hours before I arrived.. I figured they were just swamped so I rang United Reservations. They quickly noticed the mistake, apologised and put me on the Orlando – Newark flight. Obviously its not a big deal but if I hadn’t have checked I probably wouldn’t have realised until I went to check in at Orlando airport.

It’s such a simple thing for United to implement, there’s no excuse not to send email notifications.

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