IROPS or Irregular operations is something that most people dread. This weekend I’m on a very leisurely trip to Prague from the UK. I booked my tickets last June knowing this weekend was MLK day weekend and I would have Monday off work. I got the round trip tickets for about $130.00 USD on a LH “K” class the lowest price class with LH, they do not earn any miles for me with UNITED, but I still get my Star Alliance GOLD benefits, like extra baggage, lounge access and middle seat blocked until needed on LH. My routing was a simple Manchester - Munich - Prague and back via Frankfurt all on Lufthansa.
Last night I drove to the Manchester airport about 2 hours from my house, I had some friends flying out on LH to Munich yesterday afternoon and noticed their flight was delayed for over 3 hours, I also noticed the MUC-MAN flight did not depart 4 hours after the scheduled time, this would be their aircraft. I then noticed their flight was canceled, I called them and told them what to do, they tell me “but they say we are still going” I said act NOW! This was because of a very quick and heavy snow storm over Munich. A few hours after waiting in like (told them to call) they were re-booked on the flight at 0715 the next day. This happened to be my flight. I told them to call and ask for the Singapore airlines flight from Manchester to Munich. (SQ operates a SIN-MUC-MAN-MUC-SIN service), the would not book them on this. The good news for them Lufthansa provided Meal vouchers at the airport, a hotel room with dinner and did more then most airlines would do in a weather related situation. I was worried about this flight for them because it was a mess in Munich and no flights were taking off. I was keeping an eye on the late MUC-MAN flight, this aircraft overnights in MAN and then will fly back to MUC at 0715. After many delays and after midnight in Germany that flight and our flight was canceled.
I quickly got on the phone with LH calling both the UK and US line at the same time. The US line picked up first and the agent said I would need to go to the airport because I checked in. I did check in online 24 hours before. I told him NO, he would help me. He said he could not as I was checked in (for a canceled flight) I went on Lot Polish airlines webpage knowing that I can check out on their system. I then told the agent I was checked out, he once again told me I needed to go to the airport, I told him it was after midnight in the UK and I was no longer checked it. After he told me there was no way I could check out, he noticed I was no longer checked. I so wanted to hang up but I did not want to be back on hold. I told him I needed to get from MAN to PRG. He offered me flights via Frankfurt with 6 hour connection times. I wanted a SWISS flight via Zurich and I could see there was space. Once I gave him the flight numbers and times he could “see it” and did booked me on that. I was rebooked at a Y class as there was not many seats on the Zurich to Prague flight. I was happy I would now be getting miles with UNITED and because it was a Y class I would also get a bonus on the PQMs. I went to bed..
I meet up with my friends in the morning at the airport who wanted to get to Munich for their ski weekend. I told them the Singapore flight is operating, I could see the SQ 777 sitting at the gate, and it was already in Munich and would be heading back in a few hours. They decided to go via Frankfurt to Munich on LH. 2 out of 3 LH flights to Munich for the day were already canceled. The SQ flight arrived in Munich early and the MAN-FRA flight was delayed and no word yet if they made the flight to Munich.
Oh well.. Now for me, my MAN-ZRH swiss flight was 20 min late departing but we arrived on time, a rushed to my next gate and arrived just in time for boarding. When I boarded I was given a new seat number and I was upgraded to Business class ;) I got to Prague 45 min later then my original flights, i’m going to get extra miles and PQMs on the Y class booking and got to fly Swiss European Business class. I really like Swiss and too me it has become my top pick over Lufthansa.
It worked out for me, but I think the key to all this is knowledge is POWER! Some people think knowing all this airline stuff is a waste of time. I got to my destination and others are sleeping in airports. Do not depend on the system.