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wliwl Jan 3rd, 2006 08:23 AM

A dumb question about airpline delays
When an airline posts that a flight departrue is delayed (awaiting inbound aircraft), can you count on that and go to airport late? They don't ever change it back, do they? Thanks.

weimer Jan 3rd, 2006 08:32 AM

In theory, yes you could go late but if the situation changes or they get another aircraft, they will leave without you. Probaly not worth the risk.

J62 Jan 3rd, 2006 08:37 AM

I have several times departed for the airport late when I knew the flight was delayed due to inbound aircraft, but that was only after I checked in online and had no checkin bags.

I think the airlines will still hold you to the must-checkin requirements else you lose your seat.

In my experience though, an airline rarely posts a flight as delayed until shortly before departure time, even if the inbound equipment is late. Frustrating to see a flight as 'on-time' 5min before departure and no aircraft in-sight.

For small airports it's easy to figure out which equiment will be used and check the inbound status (, but for larger airports I don't know an easy way to verify equipment. Planes don't just hop back and forth between 2 cities, but usually wind their way around the country as the airlines see best.

beachbum Jan 3rd, 2006 08:51 AM

I don't know if they ever change them back, but I don't know if they're reliable either. A couple months ago, when the monitor in SFO said my United flight would be delayed 45 minutes, I went into the nearby bar to watch a baseball game. I showed up at the gate at the originally scheduled departure time, thinking I'd still have to wait before boarding, and heard my name being called and asked to immediately board. They shut the door behind me as I got on.

GoTravel Jan 3rd, 2006 09:10 AM

You risk being bumped if the flight is oversold because the last person that checks in is the first person bumped.

Also, I'm almost positive that if you don't check in 30 minutes before your flight's scheduled departure, not the actual departure, the airlines will not allow you to board.

I think that is an FAA thing.

TxTravelPro Jan 3rd, 2006 09:18 AM

Absolutely NOT... you must check in at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time or you risk several problems.
1. The flight departs before you get there.
2. The flight could be very full and you could lose your reserved seat assignment if you do not arrive for the scheduled departure.
3. If for some reason your flight departs before you arrive, you would not only lose out on your outbound but your RETURN flight is automatically cancelled if you fail to check in for your departure on time. Yes, they can fix this but you could lose your seat assignment on your return if the flights are full.
4. Your flight could be cancelled suddenly and all present passengers could be reaccommodated to new flights. Not being there could affect your ability to get a same day or direct flight to your destination.
I am sure I can come up with other reasons.
Bottom line... DON'T DO IT!

TxTravelPro Jan 3rd, 2006 09:24 AM

Go, it is not true that the last person to check in is the first person bumped.
There is much more to it than that...
It is true that if you wait too long you could lose your seat assignment which could result in being bumped, but if everyone checked in, say, around 45 minutes prior and the flight was oversold, the airline generally asks for people to give up seats for a price.
Most oversold flights have a percentage of people that were allowed to book reservations but were not allowed to secure a seat assignment. It is this group that is most at danger... with AA this is last minute travelers and those who book on Priceline, Hotwire and other discount sites.
As a Platinum level AA customer I always have a seat assignment and even if I was the last person to check in, I would not get bumped... unless I checked in too late and lost my seat.

wliwl Jan 3rd, 2006 09:32 AM

Thanks everybody!

I'll tell my son to get there at the regularly scheduled time this afternoon. He's trying to show up at the last minute. This is the same child whose suitcase is still lost (over 3 weeks now) from a previous flight. I think he should just STAY HOME!

TxTravelPro Jan 3rd, 2006 09:37 AM

Poor guy... I have a mental picture of "Meet the Parents" and the scene where he refuses to relinquish his bag.

J62 Jan 3rd, 2006 09:42 AM

Not necessarily recommending it, but on-line check in does raise an interesting question. If you check in online, you have satisfied the airline requirement to do so and won't risk losing your seat.

If you're not checking bags, you don't have that worry.

If you print out a boarding pass, there is no other record of your whereabouts until such time as you board the plane.

If the flight is cancelled, you will be reaccomodated - I always use the airline 800# anyway, even if I'm standing in the airport. I'd rather deal with a calm, un-harried agend over the phone than wait in line at the airport anyway.

If, however, as TX points out the flight leaves on-time or ealier than you arrive, you're SOL, and likely out $ $ as well.

wliwl Jan 3rd, 2006 09:44 AM

Ha! He probably wouldn't care now - it's my suitcase and he hasn't got much to put in it!

Actually, I just received a check today from US Air Baggage Services for $150. That's "toward" my $2100 claim. Wonder when (if?) I see the rest of it.

TxTravelPro Jan 3rd, 2006 10:28 AM

Excellent point J62... I never use the self check in at home, so it never occurred to me. And when I worked at AA we did not have this tool available to customers.
Hmmm... I wonder.

GoTravel Jan 3rd, 2006 10:59 AM

Tx, I was writing in generalities not in specifics about being bumped. I do realize there are many particulars involving bumping.

gail Jan 3rd, 2006 12:27 PM

Fascinating question since I just experienced this today at Logan (Boston). They did change it back from original delay!

Son was flying Boston-Charlotte-Savannah. Delay posted at airport would have had him likely missing his connection - 12:15 flight had posted delay to 1 PM because of equipment and crew - also weather was bad.

In the end, flight boarded at 12:15, left well before 1:00 and he easily made connection.

wliwl Jan 3rd, 2006 03:00 PM

Talk about a moot point - his 4:15 flight is now scheduled to leave at 9:18. I sure hope it isn't cancelled. :(

gail Jan 3rd, 2006 03:40 PM

Hope so, too. I always get worried when a flight gets later and later, because then they sometimes cancel it because flight is "over" hours

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