I missed the funeral.
My best friend, Bob, was gone. I had to fly from Florida to New York in the middle of a December snowstorm.
I was five hours late — a “no show” for the memorial service.
Not my fault. Or was it?
Maybe. In my grief, I forgot a few things.
• I neglected to check the weather, the flight cancellations, and didn’t verify my flight number.
• I failed to find out that my airport terminal was undergoing major construction, which re-routed passengers to another side of the airport.
• I overlooked my emails, but then again, my airline failed to notify anyone of its schedule changes. But late is late and I could have avoided this had I been thinking clearly.
Don’t let this happen to you. Passengers miss their flights too often. On some flights, the number is said to be as high as 10 percent. Airlines sometimes overbook their flights because they know some of their passengers will be “no shows.” But catching your plane is often as simple as paying close attention to the confirmation you get when you book a ticket.
Remember to double-check the date, departure time and flight number, or DDF.
Check the date – then check it again
When you’re booking, before to clicking the buy button, make sure you’ve checked and re-checked the date (year matters, especially if booking at year end for next year), and departure time (is it a.m., p.m., or 24-hour time?).Check twice to avoid errors.
Next, you should verify your flight number, terminal and use the airline phone app.
Check the spelling of your name
Is your name spelled correctly? Does it match your ID? Are you sure you provided your proper email address and contact phone number when booking? Make sure the confirmation email doesn’t end up in your Spam file.
Keep checking your info
Check your flight regularly prior to the day of travel. A good rule of thumb is to review it weekly and as you get closer, say the last three to five days, check daily. Flights can be changed without notice and how and where you are traveling may be affected by weather, causing cancellations or delays.
If you must make a change because of an error, call the airline or travel agency immediately. Don’t wait. You may be more likely to get corrections when it’s within 24 hours of making your purchase
If you’re like me in my nongrieving state, you will have read all the fine print on your ticket, e-ticket or the information about airline regulations, known as a “contract of carriage”. Of course, most passengers do not read or even review this basic information, which often gets them into trouble.
What are you going to do the next time you have to go to that funeral, visit family or a vacation spot? Make DDF your new mantra for travel. You will book it, and before hitting the “accept” button, you will check your DDF: date, departure and flight number. And then you’ll do it again.
Use technology if available. Most airlines have a phone app where you may receive timely info.
By taking these steps, you’ll ensure a smooth flight, and unlike me, you won’t miss the funeral.