Airline schedule changes, help??

Aug 12th, 2008, 03:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 516
Airline schedule changes, help??

Hi experienced Fodor's travelers. In May, we booked a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Greece in late Sept. using Northwest FF miles. East coast US to Athens. Initial itenerary was via Newark to CDG to ATH, and home direct from ATH to EWR (Newark) flights were on NW's partner, Continental. About a month ago we got our first schedule change email indicating that the flight home was canceled and we were now leaving ATH at 4:50 am and spending 8 hrs in Amsterdam/Schiphol. After researching what we could do in Amsterdam in that time we were resigned to it. Now we get a second schedule change email moving our Amsterdam to EWR flight up so that we only have 3 hrs in Schiphol but now have 9 HOURS IN EWR before our little connecting flight to Portland, Maine.

We are flying home on Oct. 4 and I believe what is happening is that Continental is reducing service to Greece after Oct. 1.

Looking for any help/advice on how to get this dreadful schedule changed. I have researched other flights from Teh through JFK, ATL or CDG and also to Boston on NW's other partners (Air France, Delta, etc.) Does anyone have experience on how to get them to change to a more pleasant schedule?
cindyj is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 03:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,220
Besides reducing flights, Continental is also pulling out of Skyteam, so you can write them out of the picture if you are booking through NW.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:22 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
What you have been offered is what is most convenient to the airline, not you.

If you can find a better routing then ring the airline and say you want to do that instead.
alanRow is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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Posts: 74,118

Ditto AR.

Also, you should be able to cancel without penalty.

Check and for other flights.

ira is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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cindy - See my reply in Airlines forum.
dfr4848 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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Posts: 425
Cindy - I hope you get this resolved to your satisfaction. I had the same thing happen to me earlier this year with Northwest. We had booked a trip to Jamaica with FF miles 11 months in advance. They changed our departing flight to a schedule that would make us layover in Detroit OVERNIGHT then get to Jamaica 24 hours after originally scheduled. I spent a lot of time on the phone with many people from NW, and my options ended up being either to take their schedule change, get my miles refunded and rebook on another carrier, or change my travel date to a day earlier. We ended up going down a day earlier, but we had to book another night of hotel. The guy at NW just kept telling me that I "need to learn to be more flexible", and that I should "be happy to have another day of vacation".

I realize that schedule changes can and do happen on all airlines, but I was very unhappy with the customer service provided by NW. I won't fly them again.

I hope you are able to work something out without having to spend too much money or time. Worst case, if you end up with the 9 hours in Newark you could always head over to NYC for a few hours. Only problem with that is you'll be tired after a long flight and may not want to do anymore sightseeing!

Good luck.
sherhatfield is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,011
I had a similar situation and ended up having to stay overnight in London on my way to Croatia to accommodate the flight changes.

I would call the airline and see if they have any advice. If you get a nice, helpful agent they should work with you and may offer other options or alternatives such as laying over in a different city.

Best wishes and good luck,
tcreath is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,220
Another possibility is to WELCOME a long layover somewhere, slightly more than 24 hours if possible, and spend a night in an interesting new city.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 12th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
With a Continental connection in Newark, you HAVE to have a contingency plan. Worst for us was when our flight was late arriving and our connecting flight to MHT, the last of the day, was cancelled. All the hotels were booked. We were unable to retrieve our bags. And, we were not rescheduled until Tuesday, from Saturday (the planes are small)! We ended up renting a car and driving home (to NH). Fortunately, we were fully reimbursed for the car rental with travel insurance.

Flights were booked about six months in advance, and were changed three times in both directions. Actually, it was a good thing we ultimately were scheduled to connect in Newark rather than Cleveland, as it turned out.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,301
Can you move your Newark to Portland flight to the next day and get a room at a Newark Airport hotel (we've done this and it's an easy shuttle back and forth to the Marriott).

Failing that, ask Continental for a lounge pass so you can spend the day in comfort.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 03:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 516
Thanks to all for the help/advice. I will be researching options and calling NW tonight. We are well aware of the EWR problems as most of the FF miles are connections through there. Having driven home from EWR several times due to cancellations, my husband would certainly appreciate a change. I was actually starting to look forward to seeing Amsterdam again as we have only been there once, in 98, with kids in tow. I'd love to add a day, too. Our original plan was to come home Sat and recover Sun, but I'll just keep pushing it. Maybe that will allow my secret desire to spend 3 nights on Santorini rather than only 2, but that would also require changing our Aegean flights from Santorini to Athens!
cindyj is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 516
I know I shouldn't have double posted, but I also posted my dilemma on the Airlines forum. (I just wasn't sure how many folks watched that forum.) A kind Fororite suggested that I check This is a very helpful site that provides all the options for a trip using SkyTeam partners.

So armed with my list of options, I called the NW FF number and a very nice young man, Cody, rebooked us on Delta flights from ATH to ATL and then another direct flight from ATL to PWM. The best news is that we're leaving ATH at 12:30 p.m. instead of 4:50 a.m. and arriving home at about the same time!!!

I can't emphasize enough how helpful you all were AND how nice NW was. I think the length of the layover was the kicker, and the fact that I had a solution in hand when I called was key!
cindyj is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 82
I called Continental about changes to my flight home from Paris. They cut flights on my return and the flight they put me on wasn't good for me.

They were able to put me on an Air France partner flight. And didn't charge a change fee.

I would call the airline and see if there is a partner flight that better suits your needs. Since they are the ones who changed you, there should be no change fee.
lola618 is offline  

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