When Your Flight Is Rescheduled, Make Sure to Check Your Options

For our pre-cruise winter break flights to Miami, I took great pains to find an option that wouldn’t require my kids to leave school early. Ultimately, that meant we booked a one-way American Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Miami with a layover in Charlotte that would depart IND at 7:30 p.m. We were going to get into Miami late and the layover was going to suck, but at least the kids would get a full day of school in.

Of course, all of that changed a few weeks before departure. American Airlines rescheduled our flight to leave Indianapolis at 5:30 p.m. with an even longer layover in Charlotte. This meant we would have to pull the kids out of school at around 2:00 p.m. to get to the airport on time, but it also meant we would be stuck sitting in Charlotte for three hours instead of just one.

Fortunately, I went ahead and checked to see if American had any new options they could book us on. And they did; a 5:30 p.m. nonstop from IND to MIA that would get us there at 8:20 p.m. They also had plenty of seats on this flight according to the AA website, so I called to see if they would switch us.

Since our initial flight change was two hours (7:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.), they happily changed us to the nonstop flight. It wasn’t ideal since my kids were going to have to leave school early, but at least we could avoid a layover.

When You Receive Notice Your Flight is Rescheduled

While each airline has their own set of rules, American Airlines notes in their official rules that they may change your flight without charge if your initial flight is rescheduled by more than 60 minutes or the flight changes from a nonstop to a connecting flight. There are a ton of other rules listed that can depend on your fare class and the type of flight you were rescheduled to, but that’s the gist of it.

On Delta, you may also be able to select a different flight if your schedule changes by 60 minutes or more, but your dates, departure, and destination must remain the same. On United, you may be accommodated to a different flight if your rescheduled flight changes by 30 minutes or more.

Other airlines have their own distinct rules, or they may be able to work with you if your flight is rescheduled to a new itinerary you don’t like. Either way, there are a few steps you should take:

  • Check online to see if other flights may work better for you.
  • Call the airline to see if you can be accommodated on another flight ASAP.

In addition to having the option to move to another flight with the same airline, you may also have the option to have your flight refunded completely depending on the length of the delay. Before you go that route, however, make sure you won’t have to pay significantly more to book a different flight to your destination.

The Bottom Line

If your flight is rescheduled and you don’t like what you’re stuck with, it’s usually worth calling to see if you can be moved to another flight. If the delay is long enough and space is available, you may be able to move to a flight that would have been a better option to begin with.

It’s always worth calling to ask if you’re unhappy, and the worst thing they can say is “no.”


Have you ever been moved to a different flight after a rescheduling change you didn’t like?

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