Have you ever wondered why airlines schedule their flights with those odd times. In reality there are several reasons. The primary is if their competitors flight with the same origination and destination departs at 233pm, then you schedule for 232pm. This places you above them in numerous booking portals and it is proven it will increase your chance of closing the sale.
Times play many other roles in the schedule game. One of several problems the public has issues with is the crossover flight. These are flights that depart on one day and land on the other. These can be a real nightmare for the novice traveler and the amateur transportation operator.
Often companies will add to the notes, “departs Tuesday, arrives Wednesday”
However, mayhem often ensues. A driver calls me at 112am at LAX moaning his party is nowhere to be found. He says the flight has been on the ground 90 minutes and he wants to go home. I call the client and explain we are waiting for them. They firmly claim I told your girl we are flying United 123 on March 2.
I kindly explain the flight on March 2 arrives on March 3, the flight departing March 1 arrives March 2. This issue works both ways.
Clearly, I am not debating for dollars but with experience and warmth if you present your case quickly and accurately they will understand, and the element of anger dissipates. Sort of anyway. Depending on the provider they will likely be billed after a paper trail analysis but the good news is they were not stranded. Now if it is the opposite where they arrive 24 hours early, we have a problem. The likelihood of having or securing a quick replacement car is slim or none and even if you can prove your point we have several issues.
Does everyone read their confirmations? The answer is an obvious no. Does everyone understand their confirmations? A resounding double no with a side order of F9, WN and B6. People don’t get it.
Worse yet, some operators don’t get it, I send an email stating order 123456*2 is Wed PM/Thur AM not Tues PM/Wed AM. The next night the order does not appear on the manifest and no car is there.
Same with the previous no show. One would think the office would follow up on no shows but it just does not happen all the time.
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. Simply use Military time. Blackjack players understand Army time, Poker players don’t. Once a week I am on YouTube explaining to a Long Island Lenny where the gas cap is on a sprinter. I gave up years ago trying to teach drivers Military time. It is simply not a viable option.
Also, for the record, this is not just a North American nuisance. Take for example SQ 32 leaves Singapore Friday at 925am and lands at SFO Friday at 940am. That is not 15 minutes. That is a 15 hour and 15-minute flight.
Now take QF 11 departing Sydney Thursday at 1010am and arrives the same Thursday in LAX at 700am. 13-hour, 30-minute flight on paper arrives 3 hours before it departed.
Although these examples are somewhat extreme the problems flight differentials cause is not.
Now I want everyone to remain calm during this next statement. We work with numerous companies and each of them work with numerous companies so we have a good view of the inner sanctum of the industry. Folks, there are many providers still using 1200am and 1200pm on their orders.
This is the first thing that needs to be corrected, I love 1159Pm almost as much as 1201am when placing orders. However, I just wonder if we collectively make 1150pm to 1210am the demilitarized zone. I strongly feel that at the minimum it could eliminate perhaps 50% of the booking errors.
Perhaps we can also convince the FAA and airline industry to adopt some changes. For every issue we have, they probably have a 100.
In 2005 The Hot Dog industry had a similar problem. The package of buns and hot dogs never matched. They got together formed a peace treaty and solved the problem.
When it affects us all, remember: Always think outside the bun.