Continental Airlines announced last week they will start charging passengers for changing flights within 24 hours of the original scheduled departure. In other words, they’re finally doing what every other airline has done for ages by charging you if you arrive at the airport super early and want to hop on an earlier flight. I flew Continental recently, and I can tell you that several passengers were not happy about the move.
For years, passengers have been purchasing the lowest fare ticket for a given day, and then showing up at the airport when they want to depart and flying standby. Or others, I used to do this consistently on American, finish up business deals early, return the rental car and hop on the first flight out. No more of that, unless you are willing to fork over the ticket change fee.
This change only applies to restricted fare tickets. Those of you who are paying full fare, you can still change your flight time at will (provided seats are available). The fee will be $50 per passenger, or $25 for Continental’s OnePass Platinum and Gold Elite members. This fee will apply to all itineraries wholly operated by Continental, including Continental Express, Continental Connection and Continental Micronesia. What if the flight is “full” and you’re put on standby? You’ll only be assessed the fee if you’re given a seat on the earlier flight.
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The press release states:
The same-day change option is available 24 hours before the original scheduled flight and remains available until that flight is closed for check- in. Inside of this timeframe, customers may select another flight that departs earlier, later, or even on a different day, so long as it departs no more than 12 hours from when the request is made.
You can make your same-day flight change by checking in at continental.com, contacting the airline’s reservations office, at a Continental airport kiosk or with a Continental representative.
What’s the moral of the story? Stop being cheap and pay for the ticket on the flight you want to take, not the less expensive flight.