Random post, I know. But I think many less-than-frequent fliers may not be aware that a lot of airlines offer travelers the opportunity to change to an earlier or later flight on their day of travel with a confirmed seat (if available) for a relatively small fee.
Yesterday, I got a later than planned start on my 50 mile drive from my family home in North Carolina to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). Faced with the need to make a couple of stops on the way, I knew I was pushing the envelope for making my scheduled 3PM departure. Add in the need to re-fuel and return the rental car, and it became apparent that the math just wasn’t going to work.
I stopped at an I-40 rest area and reached for my iPhone. I first did a quick check of flight availability from RDU to DCA which showed “all 7’s” on later flights. (Note: For those that don’t know, airline availability is displayed from their reservations systems in a series of letters and numbers, i.e. Y7…. meaning there are at least 7 seats left to sell in the “Y” fare bucket.) Then I called American’s Platinum Reservations number. When I reached the agent, I asked if there was “same day confirmed” availability on a later flight to DCA. There was, and the agent confirmed my seat for the flight I wanted. Cost: $50 dollars, which I think is a bargain in the world of airline fees.
I then continued my drive to the airport without worry, and without danger of a speeding ticket. You can read the scoop on American’s same-day flight change options here. Other airlines offer their own similar programs: