Checking Your Itinerary & Double Checking Your Boarding Passes

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28/02/2009 – Checking Your Itinerary & Double Checking Your Boarding Passes

Today while checking in for my evening flight from Paris (CDG) to Amsterdam (AMS) I was reminded of how important it is to not only check and confirm your reservation at the time you make it, but double check your boarding passes as you receive them.  Frequent travellers tend to take it for granted that our boarding pass will be correct, and while there have been some glitches from time to time, today the problem was significant.

When I checked in yesterday afternoon at New York’s JFK the counter agent had somehow changed my reservation to a flight 12-hours earlier.

How did I not miss this error when glancing at my on-ward boarding pass?

The flight I was swapped onto had an identical flight number, flew between the same airports, with the same boarding time, and nearly identical departure & arrival times….only 12 hours apart.

The correct flight I booked:
Flight: KL 1240
Depart: CDG @ 7:30pm
Arrive: AMS @ 8:50pm
Boarding @ 6:50pm

The incorrect flight I was inadvertently swapped onto:
Flight: AF 1240
Depart: CDG @ 7:20am
Arrive: AMS @ 8:40am
Boarding @ 6:50am

As Air France & KLM are one company, Air France-KLM,  and it is not uncommon for airlines to adjust schedules by a few minutes, I overlooked the 12-hour difference in the flights.  I didn’t discover this error until shortly after 5:00pm when I handed over my boarding pass to enter Air France’s lounge, only to be told I had missed my flight by half-a-day.

While Air France’s lounge staff were anything but helpful, and wanted to charge me a US$200 change of ticket fee, the friendly people at Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue were very helpful in quickly sorting out the problem and reissuing me a new ticket with the correct flight.

It is uncommon for multiple airlines to operate identical flight numbers, on identical routes, with nearly identical schedules.   However these incidents happen and there could have been a lot less stress involved had I noticed this problem at the time I was handed the boarding pass, yesterday, in New York.

Next time you are handed your boarding pass check it, then check it again…and if there is a problem, no matter when it is discovered, be calm and polite. Screaming will get you no where.

Happy Flying…from KLM’s Crown Lounge at AMS.


  1. Well, Air France staff is absoutely EXCELLENT, however, their frequent flyer program, Flying Blue, is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE, you should to go to Flyer Talk and see how many upset flyers there are in this program!

  2. Glen,

    In general I have found Air France & KLM’s staff to be easy to work with. Of the two negative encounters I have had with Air France, both were encountered at CDG’s Terminal 2F.

    On the other hand, I like AF-KL’s Flying Blue. I had formerly been a Delta Platinum and Northwest Gold flyer and chose to leave both programs and switch my miles to AF-KL Flying Blue. In the case of what I encountered Saturday afternoon when flying AF-KL, the staff was absolutely terrible. The airline representatives had no interest in assisting me and would not even admit there may have been a mistake in regard to the confusion of the flight numbers, and flight times.

    Once I was able to speak with a Flying Blue supervisor the problem was rectified in a matter of minutes.

    I am aware that FlyerTalkers trash talk Flying Blue. They also trash talk virtually every other frequent flyer program in existence (with the exception of BMI’s Diamond Club, I am a BC-DC Gold flyer). Each program has its ups and downs, some are very good, some are terrible and I find in my experience that Flying Blue has been a good program.

    Happy Flying!


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