Travel tip: Why is one itinerary so important?

You should always put your entire trip on one itinerary.  Here are two reasons why along with some real life pain caused by multiple itineraries.

  1. You should put all your flights on one itinerary because if anything goes wrong, the airlines will help you get to your final destination.  If you are on multiple itineraries they will play the blame game and nobody will be responsible for getting you home.   I ran into this last year flying home from the British Virgin Islands.  I booked a Denver-San Juan roundtrip ticket on Continental and a San Juan-Beef Island roundtrip ticket on American Eagle.  I booked them separately to save money.  On the way home my flight on American Eagle was delayed due to weather and I missed my Continental flight.  When I got to San Juan, I ran to the Continental desk but they said "Sorry, you were a no show.  We can get you out on the first flight tomorrow."  Now I was absolutely positive that the airlines had some kind of relationship where they could get me on one of the two American flights left.  It was that conviction that carried me through the next couple of hours.  After talking to Continental, I went to American.  They said they needed a piece of paper from American Eagle.  American Eagle said the delay was due to weather so it wasn’t their fault and they couldn’t help.  When I protested they said they could do something if I got a "ticket" from Continental.  At the Continental desk they printed every paper they could think of for me (they were very nice) but they wouldn’t sell me a paper ticket for $50 because they said they didn’t need it.  Two hours and many swallowed frustrated tears later, I finally got the right piece of paper from Continental, American Eagle took it and printed another piece of paper and American issued boarding passes for me.  Maybe this process would have been a lot less frustrating if the American Eagle folks had been nicer (they were extremely rude) or if they would have talked on the phone to the Continental agent.  I got her number and called her on my cell phone but the American Eagle folks wouldn’t talk to her and kept sending me back and forth.  When I finally got the right Continental "ticket" for American Eagle, the guy said, "Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?"  I was so, so mad, I couldn’t say anything.  I was completely speechless for the first and only time in my life.  I called Frank and told him if they arrested me for murder, that I did it, so hire an attorney!  If both my flights had been on the same itinerary I would have been automatically rebooked on the American flight and I could have spent those two hours reading a book instead of walking around the airport.  Here’s my path:


  2. The second reason you should be all on one itinerary is if you have multiple people traveling, you want to be sure the airline keeps you together.  A few years ago I was in San Francisco for business and I used my frequent flier miles to fly Frank out for the weekend.  As luck would have it, Denver had a big snow storm and the airport closed on Sunday.  I called and United said they could fly me home on Monday since I was a 100K flyer but they couldn’t get Frank home until Wednesday.  I pointed out that we were traveling together.  They said, nope, separate itineraries.  I pointed out that I had used my miles for Frank’s ticket so shouldn’t he get my status?  Nope.  So we ended up spending another three days in San Francisco!  If we’d been on the same itinerary they would have flown us both home on Monday.

So there are two very good reasons for keeping all your travel on one itinerary.  The airlines will make sure you get to your final destination with the people you are traveling with!