Schedule changes are typically considered to be a bad notification to receive for an existing travel booking.
For me, receiving a schedule change email like this:
Dear Mr. Moli,
We’re sorry, as a part of your itinerary has changed.
This change also affects any customers you are traveling with on this booking.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Is one of the best emails I receive in my inbox.
Many of us are frustrated with the idea of receiving a schedule change email, especially during COVID when flight reliability decreased drastically. As a result, this email often causes fear in the minds of the people. I have a reverse strategy, I absolutely love schedule change email, especially as someone who purchases a lot of travels using miles.
Peak Season Travel – Leveraging Schedule Changes Effectively
Finding award redemptions, in Business Class, between the second week of December and the first or second week of January, is the hardest redemptions in the world of points. However, over the years, I have used schedule change emails to travel on the perfect itinerary, between any two destinations.
Schedule Change Email
I was looking to find a flight home, from Bangkok to Vancouver, however, I struggled drastically. I just could not find any award availability, in the first week of January to take me home.
Eventually, after many hours of going through countless route permutations, I ended up with the following itinerary, from Bangkok to Boston, via Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and London:
Now, even though I absolutely love flying, I do not love flying so much to end up on such an itinerary. I had booked this itinerary in June 2022, and was confident, that there will be at least one flight change from June 2022 and January 2023.
Much to my excitement, on November 2022, I woke up to that email in my inbox!
It had the exact wordings I was looking for. One of my flight schedule changed, causing me to miss my connection. I jumped on a call with Air Canada immediately.
Finding the Perfect Flight
My phone call with Air Canada was quite straightforward. They told me that I was re-booked and everything is sorted out, but I shared with them two concerns:
- My change of flight from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi is causing me to miss some appointments in Abu Dhabi
- I also need to get back to Vancouver instead of Boston
My agent offered me one of two routings home:
- Bangkok to Vancouver on the Air Canada non-stop flight
- Bangkok to Vancouver, via Delhi, on the Air India flight
- Refund my flight for a complete refund
The first two options were exciting for me, however, going via Delhi, where I can meet my brother on the way was more exciting. In this situation, option number 2 was only offered due to existing award availability. If there was no Option 2, Air Canada would have routed me on their non-stop flight from Bangkok. That would have been the perfect itinerary, for my journey home. Typically, an itinerary like that, flying the non-stop from Bangkok to Vancouver, would typically go for in excess of 400,000 Aeroplan Points in Business Class. As my change would have been through a schedule change, I would not have paid any difference in Aeroplan points at all.
This travel hack is extendable to any destination that Air Canada flies. If there is a schedule change, even a small schedule change that has no material impact to your schedule, Air Canada will allow you to rebook on any Air Canada flight within the same week. This even extends to last seat availability on any Air Canada flight.
How do I make use of this? Quite simple, when I want to fly from Delhi to Vancouver, I will find the most complicated itinerary. As long as I have booked my flight more than six months in advance, I can typically expect to receive a schedule change email that will allow me to re-book on Air Canada for no price difference. Once I get the email, it only takes a few minutes to be rebooked on the Air Canada flight home.
Air Canada is happy because I am happy. I am happy because I just booked a flight that typically goes for 400,000 miles, one way, in Business Class for just 90,000 to 110,000 miles.