So you now have a airline reservation. You’ve done your seats and now all you have to do is kick back and wait for 24 hours before your flight, because that’s when you do your online check-in. Correct? Wrong.
STEP ONE - JUST BOOK IT
Let’s go ahead and say in this scenario, I am your travel agent who is booking your flights. You and I have discussed the flight itinerary decided if you should go coach, premium economy or business class. I have gone ahead and taken payment from you, got your frequent flyer number and informed you that your seat assignments are done and have gave you your airline reservation number (PNR) so you can bring your tickets over into your frequent flyer profile. Now you can view your upcoming flights on your app on your phone.
But you are not done. Here is what you need to do next and why.
STEP TWO - TSA/GLOBAL ENTRY DENIED
I can't stress how important it is for you to fill out all of the information in your airline frequent flyer mile profile, including putting in any TSA number, global entry, what type of seat you like and what not. They will also start to give you status by logging in the miles that you do you put in with them and that does indeed matter. Especially with our good friends at Delta.
STEP THREE - CHECK ON YOUR SEATS FREQUENTLY FOR CHANGES
Keep a close eye on your seats. The airlines are not required to inform you or your travel agent if the type of plane you were originally booked on changes, we call this a "change of equipment". When that happens all seat assignments go out the window and reservations are auto-assigned by a computer. Based on keeping people seated next to each other who are on a reservation and ideally what your seat preference in your frequent flyer account notes.
Have you ever checked into your flight and your travel partner is on one side of the plane and you were on another? Here is why. You had separate airline reservations. Let’s say you made your flight using frequent flyer miles on one reservation and your travel partner booked it, lets say, on an online site and has a separate reservation number. Now that the equipment has changed the computer will sit people as close together on one reservation. But because you have two separate reservations that are not linked together, poof, you two are split up. Again, with a change of equipment the airlines are not required to alert the travel agent or the traveler.
Just a side note, as a travel agent I would call the airline for you and have those reservations linked so they know you are traveling together. But this is something most people don’t realize. Bottom line, I check the seats on my Delta app several times before I depart. I often find changes that are very minuscule but could make or break my experience in flight. I suggest you do the same..
STEP FOUR - MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TICKET NUMBERS OR YOU DON'T FLY
Just because you see your flights online and in your frequent flyer account doesn't mean that you have a booked flight. Due to errors and miss connects with the airlines, sometimes you can have a "RESERVATION" but not a ticket. You need ticket numbers showing that it was finalized and confirmed and booked by the airline. One time in London, I flew all the way there and went to get on my connecting flight and was told "Sorry, there was a problem and your ticket was not ticketed. This flight is sold out but we can put you on another in 5 hours." So for now on, make sure you see your airline reservation number AND TICKET NUMBERS NEXT TO EACH PERSON ON THE RESERVATION. Each person needs ticket numbers.