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How do I buy a ticket today that I KNOW I will want to change on flight date?

How do I buy a ticket today that I KNOW I will want to change on flight date?

Old Jun 15, 2019, 12:52 pm
  #1  
925
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How do I buy a ticket today that I KNOW I will want to change on flight date?

I am flying from ATL to SEA on Delta on 6/27. I no longer have DL status. I can choose from six nonstop flights at 12:05pm, 1:40pm, 3:15pm, 5:40pm, 7:24pm, 8:45pm. I have absolutely no idea what time my meeting will wrap up, hence can’t figure out which flight is best.

What are your strategies to buy a ticket now, knowing that you will want to fly a different flight time on the day of travel? How can I purchase the cheapest ticket that will give me the right to fly on ANY of these six flights on a space available basis on the day of flight when I actually get to the airport?

And any tricks to actually getting a non-middle seat on a change made on day of flight?
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:06 pm
  #2  
 
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With no status - good luck, especially on a hub route (ATL). SDC with no status is $75, SD is within 24 hours of your flight. To get SD confirmed, you need the same fare class available (unless in purchased F cabin, only need a seat in that cabin). Else, you still pay the $75 to standby and most likely accept that middle seat at T-0 with no overhead space left.

My $0.02 is take the latest flight that you are 100% sure you can make. Then, play the game at the airport and see if you can get a confirmed seat on an earlier flight. If you can't confirm a good seat, take the $75 saved and hang out in ATL to wait for your booked flight.

To do it otherwise will potentially result in having to change to a later flight because you can't take the booked flight and hope. I would take certainty over hope when traveling from ATL.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:12 pm
  #3  
 
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Confirmed Same Day Change is available in coach so long as there are seats for sale in the same fare bucket your purchase and in First so long as there are seats available. A $75 fee applies that is waived for Gold or higher medallion members. See https://www.delta.com/us/en/change-cancel/same-day-flight-change.

When I need to do this I try to book/upgrade to F for maximum flexibility.

Obviously, this is all subject to availability which you won't know until 24 hours before and even then it can change right up until each flight departs. I would book one of the later flights if you think your meeting might go the full day and then call to change as soon as you know it is wrapping up. If it doesn't work you will at least have a way home that day.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:21 pm
  #4  
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Not sure how you can you know will need to change your flight when you don't know when the meeting will end. Maybe your originally booked flight will be just fine, or maybe your meeting ends with just enough time to make the 7:24 PM flight, but you decide the $75 SDC/SDS fee and having to rush is not worth getting home 1:20 earlier. Since you can't SDS to a later flight with no status, booking the latest possible flight will give you the most options on a main cabin fare. Buying up to a C+ fare will give you more options as you can SDC to any flight as long as there is an open seat in main cabin or C+ without having to have original booking class inventory on the flight (however, you will still be subject to the $75 SDC fee).

Seems like there are other issues to consider like rush hour traffic and how you are getting to the airport.
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Last edited by xliioper; Jun 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:47 pm
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You're going to have a hard time doing a SDC on that flight on a thursday unless you buy something higher than whatever bucket they're selling now. Bumping up to F is probably your best bet.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:53 pm
  #6  
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Book the flight you know you can make. That way, you have a ticket home. If your meeting ends early, try to SDC. It will cost $75. Won't likely work on that route, but it's your best shot.

You can pretty much count on a middle seat on a Thursday, but one never knows.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 1:58 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68
You're going to have a hard time doing a SDC on that flight on a thursday unless you buy something higher than whatever bucket they're selling now. Bumping up to F is probably your best bet.
Booking a C+ fare will give you similar privileges (you can SDC to any open C+/main cabin seat without inventory restrictions) and will likely be considerably less pricey.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 2:03 pm
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It's (much) more common for C+ to sell out on these flights, though.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68
It's (much) more common for C+ to sell out on these flights, though.
But you can still SDC to a main cabin seat if that is the case. But, looking at fares, the differential is not all that great as I imagined --
$538.30 for C+ vs. $673.30 for F (and $454.30 for main cabin). The 5:45PM and 7:24PM flights are currently $555.30 in main cabin (Q fares).

Last edited by xliioper; Jun 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 2:47 pm
  #10  
925
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OP here. So today I am going to buy the last flight of the evening (which will most likely be later than I want). And I think I will get a C or higher fare bucket for that flight. Then when I get to the airport, I will ask the ticket counter or the gate agent to move me to the next available flight with an aisle seat and expect to pay $75 more for the change fee for the privilege.

Right? Any more wisdom or suggestions? Any differences if I was Silver? Thanks!
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 3:07 pm
  #11  
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Do you mean C+ fare (short for Comfort+)? Those actually book into the W fare class. There's an additional underlying coach class for W fares, but it's not relevant for SDC purposes.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 3:10 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by 925
OP here. So today I am going to buy the last flight of the evening (which will most likely be later than I want). And I think I will get a C or higher fare bucket for that flight. Then when I get to the airport, I will ask the ticket counter or the gate agent to move me to the next available flight with an aisle seat and expect to pay $75 more for the change fee for the privilege.

Right? Any more wisdom or suggestions? Any differences if I was Silver? Thanks!
Book the latest flight that you know you can make. If that is the last flight of the evening, then yes.

Day of, once you determine that you can make an earlier flight, call and see if they can confirm you on something earlier.

No difference for Silver (the $75 is waived for Gold and higher)
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 3:14 pm
  #13  
925
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Originally Posted by xliioper
Do you mean C+ fare (short for Comfort+)? Those actually book into the W fare class. There's an additional underlying coach class for W fares, but it's not relevant for SDC purposes.
I didnt understand the C+ abbreviation. That makes a big difference. Thanks for pointing out that it means Comfort Plus.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by 925
OP here. So today I am going to buy the last flight of the evening (which will most likely be later than I want). And I think I will get a C or higher fare bucket for that flight. Then when I get to the airport, I will ask the ticket counter or the gate agent to move me to the next available flight with an aisle seat and expect to pay $75 more for the change fee for the privilege.

Right? Any more wisdom or suggestions? Any differences if I was Silver? Thanks!
No difference for Silver SDC is only waived for Gold and above.

You might consider buying the 3pm flight in F for $673 (DL 2580). If your meeting ends early enough, you get to enjoy F for about the same price you would have paid for C+ and the SDC. If not, you have the most SDC options for $75 more.
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Old Jun 15, 2019, 3:33 pm
  #15  
925
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Originally Posted by rucksack
No difference for Silver SDC is only waived for Gold and above.

You might consider buying the 3pm flight in F for $673 (DL 2580). If your meeting ends early enough, you get to enjoy F for about the same price you would have paid for C+ and the SDC. If not, you have the most SDC options for $75 more.
that works great for me IF I can SDC for a later time. But if only earlier, then that wont work at all. Which way does it work?
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