Keri, Bill, and I were all on a flight together that was pushing back in just enough time for us to make our connection. That is–until a ground stop was put on flights out to Philadelphia and we were sitting on the tarmac.
Since we were allowed to take our phones out at that point, I sent out a tweet asking for help searching our options.
I knew as soon as we got off the plane, we’d be reticketed on something by the agent. So why was I asking for help with routes?
The gate agent’s incentive is to get you booked. On something. That will get you to your destination.
This is without knowing what you want and what your priorities are. It is really rare that you’ll get everything you want with a re-booking, so it is incredibly important to know what you want the most, and what flight route will get you there.
I once flew to Las Vegas on three legs in the middle seat in the back of coach because I had a business meeting I really needed to get to. The Gate Agent assumed I’d want to keep my non-stop and first class seat, so had me in first class on a non-stop flight that would get in 10 hours later than what I ended up flying.
I made sure to figure out what the weather was in areas I’d stop in and made sure there was room on each of the legs. (If you are risking three legs in a rebook, definitely check the weather. Getting a delayed/cancelled flight on your first leg in PHL won’t help you get there any faster!)
But how do you know where you can fly to with available seats?
I use KVS to find availability, and I determine legs based on where I know the airline tends to fly to. For example, with my flight to Las Vegas, I pieced together an itinerary that send me down to Charlotte, across to Phoenix, and then to Las Vegas. I had to hit two hubs to make it, but I saw seats and I was willing to do it.
When I’m flying west in general, I try to think about how far west I know the airline tends to go from where I am, then see if there are flights that connect through there. You have to piece things together yourself, because US Airways wouldn’t show you DCA-CLT-PHX-LAS as a way of getting to Las Vegas on its own.
I use KVS to search whether or not there are seats on the way.
I could get on that 5:30pm flight to Charlotte. How do I know this? There’s availability in coach according to this listing.
KVS costs money and can be confusing to use at first, but you get used to interpreting the results. On searching and interpreting the results, stay tuned for part 2 to this post!
But I want to take a second to thank reader Chris G. and Seth from the Wandering Aramean for helping us find availability during this specific situation. We were armed and ready with flight information by the time we landed in Philly!