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Freebird travel protection & rebooking service

Freebird travel protection & rebooking service

Old Aug 13, 16, 9:47 am
  #1  
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Freebird travel protection & rebooking service

Does anyone have experience with Freebird?

It's been popping up a lot recently as a sponsored post in my Facebook feed. (Disclosure - I have nothing to do with the company). The basic premise is that it's an add on 3rd party service that you can buy on a per trip basis. If your flight is canceled, delayed by 4+ hours, or if you miss a connection, you use the app to rebook onto any available alternative.

Highlights from the FAQ at https://www.getfreebird.com/faq:
  • Price is currently $19 one way or $34 roundtrip.
  • Can buy it up until 2 days before departure.
  • Domestic US trips only.
  • They pay for the new flight as a regular one way ticket. You do earn miles for it, and your original ticket remains valid for you to get a credit or refund if you want.
  • If you don't use their service to rebook a covered flight, for example, if the flight that the airline auto-rebooked you onto is the one you want, then Freebird sends you a $100 gift card instead.
  • They use "the same search engine as leading travel sites such as Kayak, Orbitz", so I'm thinking Southwest flights might not be an offered alternative.

To me, the pricing is high enough that I wouldn't want to be buying it for every trip. But used selectively, I can see some situations where there's value, like if my trip 3 days from now faces dire weather forecasts, or if I'm flying a carrier like Spirit or Southwest that doesn't have their own interline agreements.

Last edited by swag; Nov 11, 19 at 7:28 pm
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Old Aug 13, 16, 10:47 am
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Interesting. So you just rebook through the app, and it's done in a minute or two? It sounds like it's mainly only valid in situations where the airline should be rebooking you anyway, correct? Your example scenarios at the end seem like about the only ones where it would make a ton of sense.
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Old Aug 17, 16, 4:55 pm
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Thinking about using this for those 35 minute connection flights. Anyone use it yet?
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Old Aug 17, 16, 5:34 pm
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copying berkshire hathaway? http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...ease-pain.html
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Old Aug 20, 16, 8:42 am
  #5  
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Turns out only 1-hour and longer connections are supported, but they let you use it even if you got 2 separate tickets. I am still unsure of the segment limit, but it seems to be 2.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 10:34 am
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Tried the Service, Was Amazing

I read about Freebird a while back, but finally tried it out a couple ofv days ago.

First of all, who if anyone, is a competitor to Freebird? I did look at berkshire Hathaway but I thought it was way too complicated even to get a quote especially relative to the ease of Freebird! I suppose premium credit card insurance might be a competitor but:
1. They absolutely will not pay for new flights with trip delay insurance, only hotel, meals, ground transportation, and incidental purchases like clothing medicine or a phone charger; and
2. Most importantly, it is a nightmare to file a claim. A massive amount of paperwork, getting documentation from the airline, etc. etc. and then even if you file it all correctly it may take weeks to get the reimbursement and likely follow up calls and emails.


So unless you tell me otherwise, Freebird has no competition!


So last week I protected my itinerary for two people
Fri Apr 19 on WN
ICT-STL
STL-BOS
and a return on Sun Apr 21 with the itinerary in reverse. It cost $68 for roundtrip protection for two people. A oneway trip per person is $19 and roundtrip is $34 slight savings per person.

I filled out my flight information on
http://getfreebird.com

although the faster and easier way to do it as I found out was to forward your confirmation email to:
[email protected]
(this is very similar to how you would forward an itinerary to TripIt.)

I have had cancellations on Southwest every week for the past 3 weeks so I thought my odds were good to be able to really use Freebird.

All looked on time, and we boarded in ICT and took off to STL. Just as the plane was descending in to STL, at the same minute, I got text messages from Southwest and Freebird saying that the WN flight from STL to DTW was cancelled.

Normally with Freebird you get a link in your text message where you can choose the same or next day flight on any airline that you want to rebook on, and I did get that.

Then a few minutes later I got a text from Freebird customer service saying that a Delta flight from STL to DTW was the only remaining flight in the day and they were going to proactively book me on that because if they waited until after I arrived in STL there might not be enough time to book the ticket. They told me to text them back if I wanted the Delta ticket or otherwise they would void it.

I texted back that certainly I wanted the Delta ticket, and with in a few minutes they sent me the Delta PNR.

By the time WN opened the door in STL I was fully rebooked on Delta with a new Delta PNR and I had 47 minutes to make the connection from T2 E4 to T1 A2 which involved going outside security, taking a bus to terminal 1, and gifuring out that it had the unusual design of having the TSA checkpoint on the first level.

One limitation of freebird is they don't have fields to enter your KTN which is really bizarre. While getting on the bus I was checking in for the Delta flight because I wanted to make sure I got checked in before the OLCI cutoff and I could not immediately find where to enter the KTN in the Delta app check in flow.

I know also there is a nuance with Delta where if you check in on the main desktop site, it will then not let you access your mobile boarding pass in the app; so I wanted to ensure I avoided that possible pitfall.
Also I had texted my KTN to Freebird, and at the same time, they were on
hold with Delta trying to have them enter my KTN in the Delta PNR.

I told the friend I was with we should use the printed WN boarding passes with TSA Pre at the Delta terminal at STL. Typically you are able to enter any terminal and concourse with a same day boarding pass out of the same airport. We checked in at T1 TSA, and the man said we were flying on Southwest. I told him we had been rebooked on Delta, and he said he wanted to make sure we didn't have any trouble in the gate area not having a Delta boarding pass. I told him our fflight was leaving in 10 minutes, and then he said he would let us through.

We then boarded the Delta flight again making the 47 minute connection with less then 10 minutes to spare.

I then sent a Twitter direct message to Southwest asking them to refund my original ticket due to the irregular operation. I was traveling on points and my friend was on my Southwest companion pass which is a a free ticket. They said that since we had partially used the tickedts they had to process the refund through a back end mechanism and they sent me a case number but the full original 15,000 points were deposited in to my Southwest account before the end of the night.

Freebird also offered to take care of getting my Southwest refund for me, but as I am a very detail oriented person I wanted to do it myself; but many people would be very happy to have Freebird take care of these nuances and details for them.

The tickets Freebird purchased on Delta were K class fares and cost $295 each. I was able to get Delta miles for the oneway trip and get all my Southwest points back. If I had paid for the Southwest ticket, they would have also refunded the entire amount paid. So it was not a bad spend of $68 as I got about $600 in value.

It was incredible how quickly freebird handles the reaccommodation. Even if Southwest had an interline ticketing agreement with Delta, with they do not, there is no way the reaccommodation would have been processed fast enough for me to make the 47 minute connection going to another terminal and re-clearing security. The reaccommodation would have taken 5 to 10 minutes at the gate even if Southwest had there smartest quickest agenbts with no line and if they did it immediately and did not have any computer glitches and did not have to call Delta or call the internal help desk.

So a key part of Freebird is this notion you can book the new flight in 3 taps through their rebooking flow. I found the Freebird rebooking flow to be faster than other mobile booking channels.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 1:23 pm
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WOW , Impressive ,
if you had luggage what would have happened ?
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Old Apr 22, 19, 2:41 pm
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As an old Lynrd Skynrd fan, I would hesitate to buy "Freebird" travel protection....
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Old May 22, 19, 2:46 pm
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Luggage

If you already checked your luggage and then had an irregular operation where say you switched to another airline in the connecting city, you would have to work with each airline to try to forward and retag your bagb. Or more likely your bag would just arrive via the original itinerary and carrier that it was tagged on.

A couple of pointers on bags:
1. Always carry enough clothes and supplies in your carry on for 1-2 days so it won't matter as much; and
2. I keep a Tile Pro tracking device attached to my bag so I can track them. Any other Tile user can also add tracking data. Lets say your in JFK and your bag flew to ORD, if the tiled bag got near any user at ORD that was running the Tile app, you would get an alert or be able to see your bag location was last updated at ORD because there was a tile user at ORD.

This feature may sound theoretical but there are tons of Tile users and many times I get Tile updates from the community as they say.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:13 am
  #10  
 
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jetsetter thanks for sharing your Freebird experience!
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Old Nov 1, 19, 12:52 pm
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There certainly is another choice other than the Freebird app. I use Cranky Concierge all the time, especially in winter when connecting through northern hubs. Cranky has live persons who monitor their clients' itinerary and re-book for them in case of cancellation or mis-connection. They cover domestic and international travel, they also have an award booking service and are licensed as a travel agency for booking flights. When I use their service they text me with gate numbers or changes, tell me if flights are on time, etc. This is very helpful when connecting. I've been using Cranky Concierge (I ALWAYS use them for international travel) for more than 7 years now, never a problem. I once had a fairly complex international award booking and the first flight cancelled. They worked for hours to make sure I made my international connection in SFO. Their rates have recently increased, but IMO their service is still worth the cost.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 8:01 pm
  #12  
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As with most things, it depends. Are you flying into/out of hubs? Are there tons of rebook options available? Or are you in or out of a small airport, with minimal rebook options? Personal or business travel?

I used it a couple years ago for personal travel right before Thanksgiving. We live in a smaller market, nearly everything requires a connection, and we were flying to another small market. Used the Freebird rebook on the way home, the Wed before Thanksgiving. United got us to Denver 3 hours late...... And the only rebook they could offer was on Saturday. Freebird put us on Delta (so another connection....) but got us home the next day.

Freebird also has live people who text you, and sometimes they are pretty witty.

I would use it again for a similar trip.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 5:43 pm
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my bad

Last edited by pilsn3r; Jan 7, 20 at 2:07 pm Reason: more info
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