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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.