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When should I show up for a delayed flight?
July 19, 2012 12:38 PM   Subscribe

I just got a text alert from the airline that my 8:40pm flight (it's 3:30pm now) has been delayed until 10:20pm. Should I go to the airport in time for the 8:40 departure, or can I get there an hour and a half later?
posted by bluefly to Travel & Transportation around United States (15 answers total)
 
Get there for the 8:40 departure. I know - it's really, really, really annoying. But this is how my co-worker just missed her flight back to the office yesterday!
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Are you checking a bag? In my experience, you still need to check your bag within 45 minutes of the original flight departure. I have seen tons of people burned by this.
posted by muddgirl at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh, and I manage travel for about 300 air trips/year so there are my credentials.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2012


I also have missed a flight because I relied upon one of those "your 8pm flight is delayed until 10pm" messages hours and hours before I needed to be at the airport. Now I just got with the original schedule and bring a good book and have a drink.

Unless there is a blizzard, then I rebook the flight and stay an extra day.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2012


Ah, ok. I'll go early *sigh* Thanks frequent fliers!
posted by bluefly at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2012


Just to nth the responses above. I missed a flight (and ended up sitting in an airport all day because the next several flights were full) because of this trick. God alone knows why they send you the alert. I asked several of the staff (this was Southwest) and they all basically responded with astonishment and disbelief that anyone could be such a moron as to think that a message telling you that your flight has been delayed and will depart two hours later could actually mean that your flight has been delayed and will depart two hours later. In my case, they simply found another plane and had it leave at the originally scheduled time. For some reason they can send you a cellphone text telling you that the flight is delayed, but it is impossible for them to send you another text saying that it's been undelayed.

Why yes, I am still pretty peeved about it, now that you ask.
posted by yoink at 1:01 PM on July 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


I just got another alert saying the flight is still delayed but not as much as before! I don't know why I even signed up for these... I will be going on time!
posted by bluefly at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2012


Yeah, you can't win. I show up two hours before and I usually spend more time in the airport than I do on the plane.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2012


Let me join the chorus-go the original time. My son had to cool his heels at the airports an extra couple of hours because the airline told us his flight would arrive THE NEXT MORNING. And we were in Fayetteville, and he was flying into Raleigh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2012


I just got another alert saying the flight is still delayed but not as much as before! I don't know why I even signed up for these... I will be going on time!

Sounds like United to me -- they can send 15 messages for same flight moving the departure tome back and forth without rhyme or reason. United has been really bad with their notification system since the Continental merger/ takeover.
posted by zeikka at 1:28 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, you have to get there early lest the airline declare you late for your flight and cancel your ticket.

If you want a more accurate picture of your flight, look it up on FlightAware. That's a view of what the pilot is telling air traffic control is going to happen. At least for US domestic flights, is is often closer to reality than what the business tells its customers.
posted by Nelson at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The airline's position on this is you should be hanging around the departure lounge as they could go board and take off at any time after the originally scheduled departure.

I once missed a plane because I used a 2 hour delay to step away to buy a magazine. 15 minutes later the flight was booked and gone - it wasn't even announced to the rest of the terminal. Even though the next gate agents were making fun of the one who screwed me over (with me standing there!), it didn't matter - I had to wait for the next one.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:33 PM on July 19, 2012


I am about 80% sure that these messages exist for the sole purpose of fucking your day up for the cruel masturbatory pleasure of the airlines. Pretend you never received any such message and get to the airport at the time you were already planning to arrive. Any other decision will result in madness and betrayal.
posted by elizardbits at 1:35 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The possibility also exists that they'll track down a plane, but it will have fewer seats than the original plane. One hopes that having turned up on time for the original flight and having checked in would give some advantage in this situation. (The likelihood of this, I don't know. Such a thing happened once, but it was back in the sands of time when airlines gave you vouchers for food when they delayed the flight, where 'the sands of time' was like fifteen years ago.)
posted by hoyland at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2012


I just got another alert saying the flight is still delayed but not as much as before! I don't know why I even signed up for these... I will be going on time!

It's important to sign up for these because sometimes flights are actually cancelled (not just delayed). When this happens the airline will send you a text with instructions on free rebooking. You'll want a heads-up so you can rebook before everyone on your original flight grabs all the decent seats/flight times.
posted by vorfeed at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2012


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