Now I’m part of the stranded crowd

So I’m travelling. Primarily for work, but I tried to squeeze in some personal time at the beginning and end. To accomplish this, I booked the last flight out on a Friday. I’ll bet you see where this is going already. Most experienced resources told me to leave really early for the airport because of traffic and security and other potential issues. On their recommendation, I left four hours early.

It only took me a hour to get to the airport, despite slow traffic. I got to my gate in a little over half an hour. Now I have two hours to kill. I hate that. So I bought some really crappy/expensive dinner, did some unsafe wireless web surfing, and bought a book. The Zune got some decent use also. Time passed slowly.

I made my way to the actual gate I was departing from and over the music in my ears, I faintly heard an announcement that mentioned my destination. This can’t be good. Well, to sum it up, there was a delay that would prevent me from making my connection. The choices provided to me were: take the first leg of the flight, stay at that location and get the next flight out in the morning, or stay here and take the next flight out tomorrow.

This is nothing new. It happens to people every single day, some in much more critical situations than me losing half a personal day at my destination. What makes me think is why isn’t there some sort of risk/reward involved in this? It must be well-known to more experienced travellers that the last flight out is the riskiest to be late or cancelled. But I booked this flight on a couple of factors: first of course was convenience. I would get an extra day at my destination. Second was cost. Now I can’t go back in time to verify that the flight I chose was cheaper than the alternatives, but I suspect it was.

Why don’t airlines factor in some sort of discount based on the likelihood that your itinerary will be altered? In my case, I booked everything for my day of travel. I might have paid differently for lodging or vehicles based on that date. If I knew that there was a high probability of my flight being messed up, It might be worth paying a small premium to secure your initial travel plans.

Maybe this concept is already in place and since I don’t travel enough, I didn’t notice it. Maybe I’d even still be cheap and sacrifice my schedule for a few bucks. I think they both have a good probability.

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