Airlines New Bait & Switch Scheduling–I’m Talking About You American Airlines

The airline industry continues to sink to new lows over recent years. Shrinking seats, shrinking legroom, shrinking services. Pay for bags, pay for food, pay for sneezing. Price increases as soon as you do more than one flight search.

Yeah, pretty sleazy. Just when you think they couldn’t go any lower…

I’m calling out American Airlines here because of my direct experience, but apparently, this has become yet another common sh*tty practice they all do.

Net effect: A flight that was supposed to be 12½  hours turned into 21½ hours without warning.

Following are just of few of the last-minute changes on a recent flight, and I do mean LAST MINUTE.

It was going to be a punishing long-haul flight with 2 layovers, so I purchased 4 months in advance and took extra care to find the best flight and layover times. So what did the best option wind up looking like?

The first Flight Departure of 10:30 AM changed to 5:30 AM, which changed the 1st layover from 1 1/2 hours to 5 1/2 hours! The second layover changed from 1 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

That’s an increase in just layover time from 3 hours to 9 1/2 HOURS! This increased the total travel time from 12 1/2 hours to TWENTY ONE FREAKIN’ HOURS!!

This abomination of changes was just the tip of the iceberg. See screenshot of texts I got (these are just for the return flight. I didn’t save all of the ones heading out.

Of course, by the time we were notified of this flight change, it was too close to the departure time to change

flights to a more reasonable time.

Here’s how the Center for Progressive Reform explains this Bait-and-Switch Scheduling:

During the last few years, airlines have increased their

reliance on “bait-and-switch” scheduling. They induce travelers to choose their airline based on advertised routes and schedules. They know that especially good routes are valuable and generally charge more for a good route than a bad one. Long after travelers have taken the bait, often paying more than the lowest available price to avoid delay-prone airports, long layovers, and multiple stops, the airlines simply switch around the schedule. While many of these changes can be minor, changing departure and arrival times by 10 or 20 minutes, increasingly airlines feel no compunction at all about completely tearing up the deal they made, adding stops, drastically increasing layover times, and routing the hapless traveler through a different city than she would have selected when she had a choice. They often make these changes just a few weeks in advance, when alternative flights are either not available at all or fiendishly expensive. These last-minute changes can destroy customers’ travel plans, causing travelers to miss scheduled meetings, forcing expenditures for extra nights in hotels, and fouling up rental car arrangements.

The airlines clearly plan in advance to take advantage of passengers with undesirable schedule changes. Although the airlines prominently advertise their routes and schedules on their own websites and those of third-party online travel providers, they bury a disclaimer in the fine print, stating that the schedule and route are not part of the contract with the customer. Of course, nobody reads these provisions.”

Despite several class-action suits, nothing seems to change. So what does this mean? The ol’ Buyer Beware.

What it means for me is that I will never be suckered again. I won’t look for the best take-off time. I’ll look for the majority of take-off times, which for our dinky airport, usually means 5 AM. At least I’ll have a fighting chance then.

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