Saturday, December 24, 2005

Flight Delays

It took longer than expected to fly to Dallas, but the reality is that it was a self-inflicted problem... I got to the airport and just missed my original flight. I left in the morning with a razor-thin margin of extra time, and it took longer than expected to park.

Orlando airport has two terminals, with a satellite parking lot for each one. Unfortunately, the lot for my terminal was full, so I had to drive back through the airport to the alternate lot. I caught the shuttle soon enough, but by the time it dropped off passengers at the closer terminal and made it to mine, I had the sinking feeling I would miss my flight. With an extra 20 to 30 minutes I would have made it, but I lost that time with my parking issues.

I did find out something interesting. I've had to reschedule flights on the same day a handful of times, and I've never had to pay extra. But flights vary wildly in cost, so how could this be? I never really thought about it, until the very helpful agent told me what was going on. Airlines can make same-day flight arrangements and give them to you for the price you originally paid, even if the new flight would have cost a lot more, as long as those tickets are booked within three hours of the new departure. Basically, extra seats on flights can be moved around this way, but only within a three hour window of time. I had the option of paying an extra $450 to guarentee a spot on the next flight, or wait 15 minutes and trying again (it was 12:10 pm and I was trying to change to a flight at 3:25) with the small risk the flight would sell out. The agent did give a solid hint that selling out wouldn't be problem, so I chose to wait and got that flight. It only cost an extra $30 because this new itinerary stopped in Atlanta, where my original itinerary was direct, and the airline passes the extra landing fee on.

So I waited... and that 3:25 pm flight was delayed until 5:30 pm and then to 6:00 pm and then 6:15 pm. These delays made me miss two connecting flights so by the time I made it to Atlanta, I had to wait until 10:35 pm to fly to Dallas. I ate dinner in Orlando before departing, and in Atlanta all I felt like eating was a strawberry milkshake that tasted absolutely horrible. Not a great diet day.

Oh well, next time I'll add in an extra 30 minutes to handle holiday parking crowds.

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