Airline schedules change regularly, and not only because of the weather. The airlines use a complex matrix called ‘Airline Scheduled Planning’ to fix flight timings. They use a software and feed in the historical data for a flight’s departure, arrival and block time for each specific route on a specific day. The software analyses this data and suggests a schedule for that flight. Flight schedules are mapped out several months in advance by the schedule planning teams at the airlines, so factors like bad weather, runway construction, or other unexpected events will affect departure and arrival times.
When do airlines make their flights available for sale? US airlines typically open their booking window around 330 days in advance, but the early bird in this case doesn’t usually get the worm. I have known schedules to change significantly.
Where ever or how you book your airline flights, double check. I regularly monitor all the reservations I make. I also get a message from the airlines when there is a schedule change, but not always cancellations. If there is a significant change I let you know immediately, if it is only minutes I usually wait until 14 days prior to departure. For sometimes, there are several changes, and I do not want you all to get confused with which is the correct itinerary.
Also, within 24 hours of departure check your schedule. Suddenly the pilots or flight attendants may not be available. I once was sitting on a plane to depart for Seattle and a flight attendant was drunk from the night prior. We had to wait 12 hours until the carrier brought in an extra flight attendant.
Last week a client called letting me know there were ice storms in Dallas. Changed his JFK departure to allow for five hours in Dallas; thereby unlikely to miss his connection. The following morning, the first thing I did was check his flights. Called him, and when he answered the cell phone he said he was already half way to the airport. I said turn around as your flights are cancelled. He had not double checked. He got out two days later and got to stay three days longer! In the end it was easy for him. But having double checked might have made it even easier.
How to double check? First go to the airlines website, put in your confirmation number (letters and numbers) and your name, and your flight will come up. If this does not work for you, call or email me any time. There is also a 24-hour number on every itinerary. You can call it too!
Any way you double check, DO double check. Flying is unpleasant enough, airports are crowded enough, so help yourself along and double check!