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Why do airlines change flights and dates - its a pain!

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tmurray

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I booked a flight in June for the Christmas holidays to Christchurch NZ from Melbourne (direct) with Virgin Blue (Pacific Air). I am flying out 3 days before XMAS. I have already organised accommocation and car rental, and was very alarmed to receive an email from Pacific Air that they had changed my flights and the departure times.

My previous (direct flight) back to Melbourne from Christchurch (4.30pm departure) was changed to a 2-route flight from Christchurch to Brisbane (early morning flight) (long delay in Brisbane) and departing from Brisbane to Melbourne arriving near midnight.

I explained that there would be no way I could meet this earlier flight as I would be at the bottom of the South Island. All they could do was offer me a flight the next day. Of course I have to book another nights accommodation at my expense!

I have noticed that Pacific Air have already starting to connect Melbourne departing flights to Christchurch NZ (and are re-routing them to Sydney or Melbourne) and vice versa from NZ to Melbourne re Syd/Bris.

Will there be more inconvenience for customers who have previously booked direct flights? It doesn't seem fare when the airline changed flights and departure times for no reason. (especially during XMAS holidays)

Do they not realise that customers have already booked early and have organised accommodation, car hire or connecting flights in NZ will be harshly disadvanted?

Any advice. Is this normal or has anyone experienced this significant convenience?
 

infoworks

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I have had it happen on "real" airlines (a recent SQ experienece which required me to stay an extra night comes to mind). As long as it's not as you are about to fly, they don't have to offer anything.
 

oz_mark

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Reading the T's and C's of bookings, one would think that all the airlines promise in return for taking your money is that they will get you from A to B when they can. I seem to remember that when Jetstar started up, Qantas moved a whole pile of people off QF flights onto JQ flights.

I would be sure that they haven't changed it for no reason. The further out you book the more likely the change.
 

JohnK

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oz_mark said:
I would be sure that they haven't changed it for no reason. The further out you book the more likely the change.
Most of my bookings are 4-6 months in advance but I refuse to book with budget carriers. I suppose I have been lucky so far and everything has gone according to plan. But I suppose you don't know when and if it is going to happen to you.
 

oz_mark

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JohnK said:
oz_mark said:
I would be sure that they haven't changed it for no reason. The further out you book the more likely the change.
Most of my bookings are 4-6 months in advance but I refuse to book with budget carriers. I suppose I have been lucky so far and everything has gone according to plan. But I suppose you don't know when and if it is going to happen to you.
Yes, I have had bookings that far out as well, and the most I remember changing was a flight got moved about half an hour. But problems as the OP had can happen on any airline.

Qantas, for example, are going through a flight firming exercise with QF19/QF20 that is being changed from 3x747 per week to 4x767 per week over Christmas.[/url]
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Welcome to AFF tmurray :)

FYI Virgin Blue is called Pacific Blue for routes outside Australia.

Unfortunately any airline can change their schedule - there are no guarantees. However, major changes (as opposed to minor retimings of eg 20 minutes) are less likely on established routes and major airlines when booked close to departure; and more likely on new routes, smaller airlines or larger ones in rapid growth mode (need to juggle a/c more), low cost airlines (routes arent as established and more vulnerable to changes to maximise their profits), when booked a long way in advance. Obviously these are just generalisations.

If your looking into alternative flights I suggest doing so quickly as christmas is peak period. Air NZ, Qantas and Emirates all fly Christchurch to Melbourne. Possibly Air NZ & Freedom Air also have flights out of Dunedin (may be to Sydney rather than Melbourne).

As Virgin Blue has caused the change to your itinerary, I would ask for other options that hopefully work in with your land arrangements. Good luck.
 

Anna

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In the past I have noticed that the start or finish of daylight saving has been a trigger for Qantas to change some of my flight times by an hour forward or back, but I have never had such a dramatic change on Qantas as tmurray has had on Pacific.
 

NM

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Yes, it does happen. And I am there is a reason for it! They don't make changes "for no reason". But the reasons will be for the convenience of the airline, not you :cry: .

Check your travel insurance. Major flight changes are covered in some travel insurance policies. This is why it is always a god idea to make sure you have the travel insurance in place early in the process and don't leave it until the last day before you depart to buy your TI policy. Many credit cards now include TI as a standard benefit, so that may also cover any unexpected costs incurred due to the airline's change.

This is also also good reason to try to select a carrier that has multiple flight options between the cities you want to connect. This is not always possible, but you have seen the risk first hand. Also note that you can incur significant delay and inconvenience due to operational delays (weather, equipment, industrial dispute etc), so once again selecting a carrier with multiple flight options, and ensuring suitable travel insurance is in place are key factors to minimise your unexpected costs.
 

JohnK

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NM said:
... This is why it is always a god idea to make sure you have the travel insurance in place early in the process ...
Not sure if "God" has anything to do with it but it is probably a good idea to get decent travel insurance early. :D :D :D
 

NM

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JohnK said:
NM said:
... This is why it is always a god idea to make sure you have the travel insurance in place early in the process ...
Not sure if "God" has anything to do with it but it is probably a good idea to get decent travel insurance early. :D :D :D
ok, so you caught out my por typig once again. Perhaps I was implying something about delays deemed to be an "Act of God"?? Nah, not even I can stretch the truth that far :p .

So much for my speeling checker - I need a typo checker :roll: .
 

N860CR

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I had the same problem with my SYD-CHC flights with Pacific Blue. Got an email a week or so ago which moved me onto SYD-BNE-CHC and return flights at different times of the day. Luckily it all worked out ok and after I called them they moved me back onto direct flights (interestingly the same ones I was originally booked on...)

Jetstar are much much much worse though. In 5 flights I've booked recently with JQ, all have been changed (4 in a major way). I'm in the process of trying to refund the 5th one now (which is what their conditions say) and they're making me fax through friggin train timetables to show I really am inconvienienced :roll:

Virgin can be difficult, but remember - they're always a world ahead of Jetstar!
 
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