Preventing Unacceptable Flight Connections

The situation that required preventing unacceptable flight connections.

I have two special long-time clients anticipating a life-long dream for three weeks in Brazil on an “upper premium” cruise.  The cruise line was offering an unbeatable offer for air fare down to Rio de Janeiro and back from Miami – where the cruise ends.  My special guests are in their 80s and I try to take special care to enure all transfers, and everything in between all points are covered for them.  I received the air schedule, and the flights down to Rio de Janeiro are as expected with an overnight flight out of Miami.

The problem is with the flights coming back up from Miami.  See for yourself:

Date Sat Apr 19 Departs

5:45pm from Miami, FL (MIA)
Arrives 7:50pm in Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Flight DL 2373 | 2h 5m
LAYOVER in Atlanta, GA 1h 55m

Newark Liberty International Airport Logo.

Newark Liberty International Airport Logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–  You change planes in (ATL)
Date Sat Apr 19
Departs 9:45pm from Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Arrives 11:59pm in Newark, NJ (EWR)
Flight DL 2415 | 2h 14m

Does this sound like a reasonable way to go home after getting off of a a three week cruise?  Would you enjoy this flight itinerary?  Now, imagine doing this flight connection in your mid to late 80s.  Remember, I claim that I will eliminate you travel stress!  Read on to see what happens.

The first attempt at preventing unacceptable flight connections

I immediately started researching one-way air from Miami back up to Newark; flights were expensive as this is the day before Easter.  I found numerous connecting and direct flights with availability.  I called the cruise line to strongly but politely request changing the flights for my guests.  They told me they would charge a $175 per person “air deviation” fee.  I will reveal a cruise industry insider’s tip right NOW!  The “air deviation” fee is cruise line lingo for actually putting you on a flight that you’d like as opposed to putting you on whatever flights they feel like.  (I rarely recommend cruise line provided “free” air but in some cases it is the way to go.)

The cruise line got back to me stating that there were no other flights available.  REALLY!  I told them to cancel the air back up to Newark and I”d take care of it on my own.  A little while later, I noticed that they issued a refund for ALL of the flights.  I called back desperate and asked them to reinstate the whole air itinerary.  Remember, this case was one of the rare instances where the cruise line supplied air to Rio was unbeatable.  They put all of the flights back on and that was it for round one.

The second attempt at preventing unacceptable flight connections

OK, it’s now day 2 and I feel great that my dear clients’ air to Rio is back on but I can’t have them coming back the night prior to Easter at Midnight from Miami.  I carefully analyzed direct flights and flights with one stop from Miami back up to Newark.  While the direct flights were crazy expensive, some of the better connections were via Tampa with a change of carrier which meant claiming and checking 3 weeks worth of luggage in with another carrier…forget it!

The final results for preventing unacceptable flight connections in this case

I decided to check flights from Fort Lauderdale up to Newark.  I found a great direct flight on Jet Blue.  While the cost was still high it was less than the direct flights from Miami and my guests would get back to Newark at a reasonable time with no stops.  The clients approved the new flight; I booked it and made sure that the cruise line just canceled the air from Miami back up to Newark.  Now my clients will just need to take a roughly thirty mile transfer up to Fort Lauderdale.

JetBlue Airways Flight 506 320

Ft Lauderdale (FLL)

Newark Liberty (EWR) 01:45pm – Sat, Apr 19

04:52pm – Sat, Apr 19 Nonstop Coach

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