Gardening at Night

No, not the REM song from the 80’s (this is a good reference to make sure I’m reaching my target audience here) – I’m referring to rechecking my upcoming travel reservations. This has become so important because Covid is causing so many route cancellations and flight changes.

We currently have plans to visit Baltimore, Portugal, Ireland, Montreal, New Mexico and Kenya in the next nine months or so. I’m pretty sure we’ll be adding some other short trips as well. The problem with juggling so many trips, some of which are booked with cash, some with airline credits and some with miles, means that it’s hard to keep track of all the changes that occur, especially when the flights are many months away.

For example, just last week, Southwest changed the times of our flights to and from Baltimore next month. Then Air Canada changed the time of our flight to Toronto (connecting on the way to Portugal) and our flights back from Toronto (connecting on the way back from Ireland). British Airways also changed the time of our flight from Portugal to London from 11am to 7:15am (ugh). Not only did the flight times change, but I also received a notification from Expert Flyer that our British Airways flight from London to Atlanta had been downgraded from a 787-10 to a 787-9 (which means the old seat instead of the new suite in business class).

Expert Flyer is a great service that can save you the bother of constantly checking your reservations. You can set up alerts for flight time changes, aircraft changes, award availability and seat availability on almost every airline. The paid service costs $99 per year, but it allows up to 200 alerts to be set at any given time. If you are going to manage the travel logistics for your family, it is worth the cost.

Remember to garden your reservations by checking on flight changes and cancellations. I’ve seen many examples where airlines do not proactively reach out about the changes, especially when you have booked a partner award (Example: Using American Airlines miles to book a British Airways flight or vice-versa). Don’t be that person who goes to check in for their flight only to find out it already left this morning.

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