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April 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Why You Had Better Confirm Your Flight Itinerary

from the April, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Too often, even with their flight itinerary in hand, travelers expect things to go just as that piece of paper states, knowing, however, that bad weather or a mechanical problem may cause a delay. But that's not enough if you're traveling in Third World countries, especially in and out of small airports.

If you haven't confirmed your itinerary long before your flights are scheduled to depart -- at least a couple of times -- you could be in for a big surprise, as I was once while traveling to Papua New Guinea. Certainly, an airline should inform you of a cancellation, and when it doesn't, you may suffer the consequences, as subscriber Carol Cox (Mexico Beach, FL) found out. She wrote to share her story.

"I just returned from 28 days in Indonesia and want to tell you about a problem we had with Garuda Indonesia, which is leaving many travelers scrambling for flights at the last minute.

"On March 20th, we four travelers showed up at the Sorong airport to catch a flight to Ambon, only to learn the flight had been canceled two months prior. None of us had been notified. I don't know if it was the fault of Nusatrip, whom we booked through, or Garuda. The airline acknowledged it had not notified us, and a customer rep in Sorong provided us with a hotel and meals after some additional negotiations, then booked us on a Sriwijaya flight the next day.

"We learned this wasn't an isolated case. Another passenger taking the same flight from Sorong to Ambon on another day found out four days before her trip that her flight had been canceled two months earlier. And a couple of Aussies flying from Lembeh to Ambon learned three days before their flight that it had been canceled at least a month earlier. All these trips were booked through various travel agents, and the passengers were not notified in a timely manner. Our host at Dive Into Ambon said a lot of flights had been canceled."

So, bottom line: Confirm all your flights a week before you leave home, then confirm again a couple days before each one is scheduled to depart.

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