A few weeks ago, I wrote a post outlining how I reacted to a flight delay from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Washington Reagan. That post was incredibly popular, probably because I suspect i have a lot of friends and family that are surprised I can somehow weather through delays and cancellations with a fair amount of ease (well, at least they think it’s ease…).
So, fast forward to this past Saturday from Washington Reagan to La Guardia. For those in the know, there was a ton of ice and cold weather on the east coast on Saturday morning, forcing my flight to La Guardia to get canceled. Originally scheduled at 10a, I received the notification on cancellation around 8:15a or so.
Already driving to the airport, I decided to continue forward. At this point, I had two choices:
- Cancel the entire trip, and receive a full refund (because of the weather delay)
- Continue forward, trying to find a new flight.
I opted for the second option. In looking, I was in a bit of a pickle. I had an event at 3:00pm, and there were limited options. The noon La Guardia flight was also canceled, and both subsequent flights to JFK were oversold.
In reviewing ExpertFlyer, the service I use to see how many seats are available on flights, I found 1 seat to Raleigh/Durham and one seat from there to JFK. It was an odd routing, but would get me to New York. That said, I wasn’t happy with this plan – not only would it put me into JFK at 4:30, but the chances of a delay from DCA to RDU, and then a delay from RDU to JFK would have been fairly high. This was the only flight to NY that had seats left, so I decided to book this flight by calling American. The key takeaway here is that I saw a flight with seats and I grabbed it. Even though it wasn’t ideal, it would get me to New York. So, when there’s a flight delay, you at least want to be re-booked onto something that would get you to your final destination, even if it isn’t ideal.
I continued to the airport, and placed myself on the standby list for the first flight to JFK, which was still scheduled on-time. Unfortunately, this flight left after the flight to Raleigh, so I had to make a decision – continue to Raleigh and risk a cancellation to JFK, or take a gamble and risk a standby to JFK, which would have gotten me to NY a lot quicker. I asked the Admiral’s Club agent info about this JFK flight:
- Where was I on the standby list? I was number 3.
- Are there any passengers at risk of misconnecting and not making that flight, thus opening up seats? There were three, all connecting in from Cincinnati.
I took a risk and went with it. Waiting a few more minutes, I actually moved to the number 1 spot on the list (not sure what happened to the original 1 and 2). So, the odds were in my favor. But I didn’t stop there. I set an ExpertFlyer alert for any open seat on either one of the JFK flights. If a confirmed seat opened up, I wanted it. And it did. It was for the second flight, but it would still get me to JFK.So, I had several options now:
- Standby for the first JFK flight. Risk missing it, but…
- Have a confirmed seat on the second flight.
At this stage, I went down to the gate at departure time to see about clearing the standby list, and I did. I was number 1 and two seats opened up. Awesome!
In the end, I got to NY by around 3p with a minor ATC delay. It worked, all because I stayed on top of my flights, and positioned things to make it work for me.
I know a lot of this may be confusing, so if you’ve got questions, comment below. I’m going to continue this series when I have an interesting operational experience, that way it hopefully teaches you guys something and better allows you to react.
Looking for the best way to earn miles and points quickly? Visit the "Credit Cards" drop down on the main menu bar above for the hottest deals! Want to learn more and stay up to date on the latest tips, tricks and deals? Join My Travel Tips Facebook Page! This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.