Very Nervous About an Upcoming Flight

I’ve got a major first class award redemption coming up, one that’ll definitely be worth a report here, involving some of the better carriers in the world and some amazing hotel rooms, not to mention a very famous restaurant.

But I couldn’t start the award out of my home city, and so I’ve booked a separate ticket to connect up to the start of the award. That always makes me nervous, because in the event of irregular operations that causes a misconnection the onward carrier isn’t responsible for re-routing you.

When I booked my flight, I gave myself better than a six hour connection. And there was a flight an hour after the one that I booked as a backup.

But since that time the ‘backup’ flight has been pulled from the schedule. There’s no good option to get between my city and the start of the award if my flight is cancelled.

And wouldn’t you know it? Weather reports aren’t looking great — forecast in DC is rain and thunder, forecast in my destination city is rain and wind.

Moreover, I’m flying United Express (a regional jet operated by Shuttle America). From Dulles.

So I’m getting nervous…. I can switch to a flight about five hours earlier, so I’m monitoring the weather, hopefully things will clear up, but I really don’t want to give myself a 12 hour layover and I’ve got folks visiting in town before I leave, I’d hate to bail on them as well.

This could get ugly.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Eric – Did El Bulli in 2008 (and they don’t open for the season until April). This time it’s Fat Duck.

    @John – I know, I know. I really don’t want to… I’m monitoring weather and seat availability.. and at least my current flight is Shuttle America.

  2. In a case like this I would have reserved an airport hotel for the previous night(I don’t like to be nervous..)

  3. Good luck! You’ll probably make it, but I know the feeling. Have been reading your site since your first year, and wanted to thank you for just helping my friends (also previous El Bulli diners!) with their award tix to Korea and Japan. At first I started giving them all kinds of tips, then I realized most of those tips had come from you–coupled with their lack of planning time, that led to the obvious recommendation that they simply make use of your award booking services! They have reported to me this morning how pleased they were with your efforts, so I’m pleased, too. Thank you and safe travels!

  4. I once almost missed a flight to Japan due to the fog at SFO, but I luckily still made my connection. I now travel to SFO and stay in the downtown area taking the BART the night before any day time flight to Asia.

  5. Just looked up Fat Duck on wikipedia. Now I like a great meal as much as the next guy, but I would not eat there for free! Just plain weird stuff.

    Nonetheless, would be interested in reading about your stomach’s walk on the wild side.

  6. I agree, Ed.

    From Wikipedia:
    Food scare, closure and reopening
    On 27 February 2009, Blumenthal closed his restaurant indefinitely after a number of customers reported feeling unwell along different times.[3] By 3 March the source of the outbreak was still unclear but sabotage had been ruled out. A spokesman for the restaurant said “All this leads us to believe that it [the health scare] has not come from the restaurant and we expect to be given the all clear.”[4] On 6 March it was reported that 400 people had stated they had felt unwell after eating at the restaurant.[5] Boxing promoter Frank Warren said he was “very disappointed” with his treatment after becoming sick following his visit. He said “Everything was fabulous about the evening – the food, the setting, the service, it was unbelievably good but unfortunately, afterwards, all of us were ill”.[6] The restaurant reopened on 12 March 2009.[7] The causes were later given by the Health Protection Agency as staff members working while infected with Norovirus and sewage-infested oysters from an Essex supplier and the restaurant was criticised for its cleaning methods and response to the incident. Reports of illness totalled 529 from “late January”[8] [9]

  7. Ooh – looking forward to your review of Fat Duck. They were closed for the holidays when we were in London this past December.

  8. Back in 2001 we were returning to SFO from Dublin on a paid ticket from Dublin to LHR (Aer Lingus) and a First Class award on United LHR-SFO. The Aer Lingus flight was seriously delayed and we missed the United flight. United re-routed us through IAD instead. Kind of a disappointment flying domestic 1st class IAD to SFO instead of nonstop, but at least they got us home without any hassle. It sounds like either the rules have changed or United didn’t have to re-route us. Or maybe the return trip is different.

  9. @ed — looked up Fat Duck on wikipedia, too.

    “On 27 February 2009, Blumenthal closed his restaurant indefinitely after a number of customers reported feeling unwell along different times.”

    I started feeling unwell, just reading the wikipedia description. 🙂

  10. but I would take the earlier flight. I learned my lesson after a disastrous start to my trip to Asia in Jan 2010.

  11. On a positive note, ime better that your UX flight is operated by Shuttle America as opposed to Mesa ;o)

  12. Have a safe trip. End the anxiety and take the earlier flight. Looking forward to reading your reviews!

  13. Probably more of us would have recognized it if you’d said “the becon and egg ice cream” place instead of its proper name.

  14. hi,

    about the re-routing thing.
    even on two tickets, if you checkin baggage, and the first carrier checks it through to your final destination, i have always been re-routed in case of a delay or cancallation of the first paid flight.

    someone told me , if they interline the baggage they are responsible for re-routing too.

    works, but i cant say if its a legal base there. maybe anybody knows?


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