Fixing a Travel Mistake

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yikes!  I checked out my itinerary for tomorrow and I'm scheduled to leave Augusta tomorrow after 4pm - the last flight to Dallas and the last flight from Dallas to Des Moines.  "What's the big deal?" you ask?  Sure, I would get to sleep in and have plenty of time for brunch, but I would also be putting myself in a prime spot to miss a connecting flight and potentially not get home tomorrow night as planned.

When your first flight is delayed, it isn't too much of a problem to catch your connecting flight.  Between DFW and DSM, there are plenty of flights - if I miss one, catch the next.  As flights throughout the day are delayed or canceled, flights back up and the last flight home lacks a back-up plan.

No worries - with a little bit of research, I can fly standby and potentially get home 8 hours earlier than planned.  Okay, here is my current itinerary -

American Airline's policy is that you can only sign up for standby at the airport.  Hmm...tough call.  Do I wake up extra early and gamble not getting a ticket?  Time to check my odds.

I start by going to the airline's website, and start the process of making a new reservation for tomorrow from Augusta (AGS) to Des Moines (DSM).  Don't worry, this process won't require your credit card or any other information to be provided. 

Search for a one-way ticket (why waste your time searching for a phantom return flight?) and enter the date of your flight.  When the search results are displayed, I can expand the flight details which will allow me to view available seats

Yeah, when the flights are under 50% sold...the odds are in your favor.  Standby priority is usually based on your status with the airline and the price of your ticket - full fare travelers outrank deeply discounted tickets (think priceline, etc).  If you don't have status with an airline but there are five or more seats, I'd say your odds are pretty good at getting on those flights.  With status, you can feel pretty comfortable with even less.
For comparison, here is the 8:15pm flight from DFW to DSM. 

So, I've got my bags packed  (yup I packed the night before, surprised?) and I'll head to the airport around 5:30 in hopes that I can catch the stand by flight!  Fingers crossed, and wish me luck!

Update: I made it home early, back in Des Moines before 11am!  When checking in at the airport - I forgot that American Airlines gives you the option to do confirmed standby for $50.  This would mean that no matter if there were only one seat available on either of my flights, I would have an assigned seat.  Luckily, I knew that the flights weren't full; after declining the confirmed seat, the machine spit out my tickets with seat numbers!

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