5 Little-known airline rules every Executive Assistant should know

Wait with check-in.

Flights cannot be changed or cancelled while the traveller is checked in. If you think there is a good chance that plans will change or the traveller will miss their flight, then select the seat, but wait with check-in. Until the last possible moment online check-in is still open (2-3 hrs before departure). You can sometimes check the traveller “out” again, but the airline tech here is not 100%. So you may risk sitting on hold with the airline staff and it’s not always guaranteed they can assist last minute.

They missed their flight, now what?

On many semi-flex and fully-flex tickets, you can still change or cancel the flight after departure. So even if they are checked-in and you can’t change the flight in time, there’s a good chance you can still change it or cancel for a refund. Even after the flight has departed. There is usually a no-show fee applied to the change or deducted from the refund.

Cancelling the return leg seldom pays off

When you book a return flight, cancelling the return leg for a refund is not always necessary, some business flights are the exception. Many times one-ways are the same price or more expensive than a return flight. In these cases, there is no refundable value on the return portion of the flight. The best would be to cancel the flight without applying for a refund, then use the return leg at a different time in the future. This works only if the flight is a flex fare.

Changing a tickets departure and/or arrival airports

On most fully flex tickets, not only can you change the flight time, you can also change the routing of the flight. So if you’ve cancelled a return leg in order to use the residual value later, check if the ticket is re-routable and then apply the value towards a different routing. With the same airline of course.

Check the flight number if miles matter

If your executive is miles conscious, its good to know that most airlines don’t give full mileage points to codeshare flight segments. So if you want the full amount of miles, check the flight numbers. (Not always) but generally, 2 and 3 number flight codes are operated by the airline themselves, where 4 number codes are codeshares, operated by partner airlines.

Ahoy creates software and services for executive travel planning, booking, changing, and assisting. See how we help assistants manage heavy travel schedules.