I Stumbled on a Free Flight Hack During a Recent Long-Haul Trip

I Stumbled on a Free Flight Hack During a Recent Long-Haul Trip

Changing your flights once booked can be a particularly arduous and expensive process. The pandemic has clearly brought that to everyone’s attention. In saying that, during a recent international trip of mine, I did come across a pretty useful truth that I don’t think many people are aware of.

I was recently in Berlin for a work trip, and just before I began my long journey back home, I noticed that my connecting flights made zero sense.

I was given a one-hour gap between two flights on an international trip, and the tickets weren’t connecting, meaning I had a tiny window of time to make my second flight. Then, between flights two and three (it was a long journey), I had an eight-hour gap to deal with. Yuck.

Yes, I should have questioned this before I left, but it was a last-minute trip, so I didn’t.

Anyway. Once I arrived at the airport and checked in for my first flight, I decided to hunt down the help desk for the airline I was flying with – Lufthansa – and I mentioned I was worried about making my second flight. The team member behind the desk very kindly asked to look at my boarding pass and asked if I’d like to be moved onto an earlier flight.

I, unaware this was an option for me, softly asked if this flight change would cost me anything additional. The answer was no, so I jumped at that opportunity, and they seamlessly swapped me across.

This move meant I was able to board an earlier flight out of Berlin, and had a more comfortable transition between my first and second flight (which was to Singapore).

When I landed in Singapore, I walked straight up to the information desk and told them I had an eight-hour wait before my flight to Sydney departed. “Would there be any chance I could be moved onto an earlier flight with the same airline?” I asked. They took a quick look, and let me know there was space on an earlier flight, so I was able to cut my layover time in half.

Neither of these flight changes cost me a dollar. And had I not asked, I would have had no idea this was even an option for me.

Now, I’m not suggesting this approach to changing flights is going to work for everyone all of the time. There is also every chance that different airlines will be less flexible. I was just incredibly lucky that there was availability with the same airline in the same fare class on the same day to the same destination I needed to get to.

I was also already checked in and was physically at the airport when I asked. But, in any case, if you’re ever stuck with shitty transit options, or you’re worried you won’t make a connecting flight, it’s good to know you can ask and see what’s possible.

Especially if you, like me, feel a little rusty in the travel department.

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