Dawson’s Creek alum Busy Phillips learned a frequent flyer rule the hard way last week. When a cancellation hit Delta Air Lines, Busy found her family trip primed for disaster.
For those catching up, Phillips threw a Twitter fit after Delta rerouted her daughter onto a different flight. It then took all day to figure out an itinerary that wouldn’t leave her nine-year-old stranded.
“Hey @Delta! Thanks for cancelling my flight and then rerouting us and separating my MINOR child onto a different flight than mine and having a 2 HR call time wait! You are terrible!” she wrote.
But Phillips could have spared herself the grief with a quick phone call to the airline — before she left her home. Her first mistake was booking her minor on a separate reservation. Booking separate reservations can complicate many facets of air travel.
If she would have been eligible for a frequent flyer upgrade, her daughter would have been left separated in the back of the plane. The separate reservations would have left Phillips and her daughter in the lurch for priority services like expedited security and baggage check, too.
Ideally, always book everyone travelling together on the same reservation, at the same time.
But, even when that’s not possible, there’s a simple way to combine separate reservations by calling the airline ahead and asking them to link itineraries, a practice Delta Air Lines calls “complete a party”. The representative will note family members traveling together and use courtesy when rebooking. Read: no nine-year-old daughters stuck in random midwest airports at 2am.
In case of the unexpected, do research yourself. Anticipating flight delays and calling in ahead of time can be the difference between a 30-minute delay and a 12-hour delay. Know your options before going to a gate agent or airline representative for help, and get on the airline’s website to look at what other flights might be available.
If you know exactly which flights have enough available seats for your family you will have a much better chance of all being rebooked together.
If you’re still concerned, keep in contact with the airline up until departure. As long as you’re polite and appreciative, many representatives will work with you to get you what you need.
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