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American Airlines canceled my direct flight to Madrid / seeking guidance for getting to Oviedo as planned

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Camino Primitivo
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

IMG_5F56A95E320E-1.jpeg
1656938928761.jpeg

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

IMG_8950.jpg

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

1656939491226.jpeg


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
 
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JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
Hi Mike- first - you scared me! I am flying JFK-Madrid this Friday 😂. But for your question, do JFK. Charlotte is a sweet airport and is a hub for American, but the general advice these days is a few connections as possible. There is also an Iberia/AA code share flight about an hour later from JFK. If anything goes wrong there are more option for fixing it from JFK. BUEN Camino!
 

Bala

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015, 2018, 2022
Mike, I live in Chester County and have traveled out of all the various airports within reach. Tough call, but I would take the connection through Charlotte over leaving from JFK. It's very expensive to get to and you never know what kind of traffic issues you'll run in to. Even in good traffic, you could probably be in Charlotte by the time you get there. Plus, once you board in Philly, it's American's responsibilty to get you where you're going. If you're stuck on the Cross-Bronx Expressway, well.... (sweated that out too many times 🤪).

If you do decide JFK, be sure to look into how you would get there, the cost, and the extra time needed if you go that route.

You've probably already done this, but just in case- check BWI, Dulles, and Newark airports to see if they have anything. Amtrak goes directly to Newark and the other two are much less of a headache to get to than JFK. Good luck to you. It's a difficult time to travel, but somehow things end up working out OK.
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Hey Mike, that’s a tough call! In April, we took the PHI-MAD flight with no problems. As we were coming to Philly from northern NY, we made sure that the connection time (BTV-PHI) to catch our Madrid flight was sufficient for any reasonable unforeseen delays (we chose to get to PHI several hours early and wait). What makes me nervous is the relatively short time you have in Charlotte to catch your connecting flight to Madrid. But, if the flight is on time, an hour ten “should” be enough time. I went through JFK last week on my way to the west coast. What a nightmare! Arrived in SLC two hours after my connecting flight had left. Spent the night in the airport! Honestly, with all the cancellations and delays these days, it’s a difficult situation for any traveler. Can you fly from PHI to JFK? Seems easier then driving. Or, is there an earlier flight out of PHI to Charlotte? Better to wait a few hours there than risk missing your connection. I would call American, if you haven’t already done so, and have them work with you on other options instead of just accepting the changes that they’ve suggested. Good luck.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Or, is there an earlier flight out of PHI to Charlotte?

Great minds think alike. :p My first thought was to see what earlier flights there would be from PHL to CLT. I second the idea that going through Charlotte is preferable to JFK, and with a comfortable connection time, I think it’s far preferable for the reasons you’ve stated.

I am sure AA will rebook you, here is a screen shot of the possibilities for Sept. 12. I thnk the 6:25 and 8:33 are probably overkill, but you do have options!

18FEEBD5-542F-4F1F-9BC8-A41C7455AC40.png
 
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Thank you, @Grousedoctor and @peregrina2000 ... I had not thought of simply booking an earlier flight to Charlotte from PHL.

At the end of the day, my primary concern was missing that Charlotte flight to Madrid. In this scenario, if there are unforeseen delays Charlotte-Madrid (thereby missing my Madrid-Asturias flight), I *should* have train departure options to Oviedo.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo
I wanted to throw out another option to the group regarding a nonstop JFK-Madrid.

It appears there are AA options, but the flights are operated by Iberia.

What are your experiences flying Iberia? I only wanted to go this route so long as they would be an reliable enough option. Is there more risk using them?


1656949694439.png


So my decision will come down to either:

- keep the existing reservation but get an earlier flight from PHL to Charlotte (***which AA was able to secure for me, by the way ... I took the 8:33-10:27 am to be safe.***)

- or, do one of these nonstop JFK-Madrid flights that are operated by Iberia. Is there more risk using them?

Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

Pilgrino21

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Thank you, @Grousedoctor and @peregrina2000 ... I had not thought of simply booking an earlier flight to Charlotte from PHL.

At the end of the day, my primary concern was missing that Charlotte flight to Madrid. In this scenario, if there are unforeseen delays Charlotte-Madrid (thereby missing my Madrid-Asturias flight), I *should* have train departure options to Oviedo.
You might want to read up on this article as it's very helpful to capture where we are and how to be minimize headaches: https://thepointsguy.com/news/tips-flight-attendant-summer-travel/

My first instinct was to agree with @JoanL to get there with as few stops as possible. I'd even say to avoid making connections in Europe right now (can't believe I'm saying this but it's crazy over there with cancellations rn).

Then again, if you're only worry about making the connection in CLT is time in between, then like someone and the article said get there on an earlier flight. With so much volume out of JFK that flight can get cancelled too. A backup Iberia flight is not a guarantee (assume it will be full). I read another article where it said avoid JFK at all costs unless you want a delayed or cancelled flight.

For all it's worth, the itinerary that AA gave you is in a better class (Main Cabin Extra/Premium Economy). It doesn't solve your anxiety before and after but you will be more comfortable during flights. If you call customer service, make sure to retain that MCE seat if possible. It makes your day a bit longer but if this is a slight trade-off so you can get to Madrid then do so.

Trains tend to get booked too so keep an eye on those. Have a bus option as Plan D. Lastly, if you can, bring your backpack as carry-on to avoid misplaced or lost baggage. You and your backpack should arrive together in Madrid. These aren't ideal times so plan as best as you can and prepare for anything.

Pack your patience, too. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just to say that it looks like American has cancelled its flight to Madrid from Philadelphia more broadly. I was scheduled to take that flight on Sept. 6 and I just got an email saying I am now going out of Charlotte too. The Charlotte flight had not been flying for a couple of years, and I’m glad they’ve reinstituted it.
 
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CAJohn

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Just a note of caution. If you have a round trip ticket as part of this deal and the Oviedo flight is part of that deal, your return trip can be cancelled if you do not take the Oviedo flight. If the Oviedo flight is a separate one way flight, then it does not matter if you take that flight or take the train.

Airlines will cancel the rest of your trip, if you do not take all the flights on the reservation (even if your reason for not taking one of the flights is their fault).

Many people have been burned by this. Airlines do this to combat "hidden city" or "hidden destination" schemes. Too complicated to go into here, but you can google the practice.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo
Just a note of caution. If you have a round trip ticket as part of this deal and the Oviedo flight is part of that deal, your return trip can be cancelled if you do not take the Oviedo flight. If the Oviedo flight is a separate one way flight, then it does not matter if you take that flight or take the train.

Airlines will cancel the rest of your trip, if you do not take all the flights on the reservation (even if your reason for not taking one of the flights is their fault).

Many people have been burned by this. Airlines do this to combat "hidden city" or "hidden destination" schemes. Too complicated to go into here, but you can google the practice.
Thanks for the heads up. I am not impacted as this is a one-way ticket.
 

JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Great minds think alike. :p My first thought was to see what earlier flights there would be from PHL to CLT. I second the idea that going through Charlotte is preferable to JFK, and with a comfortable connection time, I think it’s far preferable for the reasons you’ve stated.

I am sure AA will rebook you, here is a screen shot of the possibilities for Sept. 12. I thnk the 6:25 and 8:33 are probably overkill, but you do have options!

View attachment 129022
Hey Mike, that’s a tough call! In April, we took the PHI-MAD flight with no problems. As we were coming to Philly from northern NY, we made sure that the connection time (BTV-PHI) to catch our Madrid flight was sufficient for any reasonable unforeseen delays (we chose to get to PHI several hours early and wait). What makes me nervous is the relatively short time you have in Charlotte to catch your connecting flight to Madrid. But, if the flight is on time, an hour ten “should” be enough time. I went through JFK last week on my way to the west coast. What a nightmare! Arrived in SLC two hours after my connecting flight had left. Spent the night in the airport! Honestly, with all the cancellations and delays these days, it’s a difficult situation for any traveler. Can you fly from PHI to JFK? Seems easier then driving. Or, is there an earlier flight out of PHI to Charlotte? Better to wait a few hours there than risk missing your connection. I would call American, if you haven’t already done so, and have them work with you on other options instead of just accepting the changes that they’ve suggested. Good luck.
If you choose the Charlotte option and arrive earlier, at least it’s a small, very pleasant airport to spend time in 😎
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2013, Oct 2017, May 2022
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
Mike - I have taken that flight from
Charlotte and it’s good. Charlotte is a nice airport, smaller than JFK. If you can avoid JFK I would. It’s big, crowded and can be hard to navigate. Charlotte is also a AA hub. Not that that will make a diff though. We flow from Norfolk, has a pleasant layover in Charlotte - lots of places to eat or sit - and took that flight to Madrid.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
Hi Mike,
We live near Ephrata and previously in Chester County. We’ve taken the Philly-Madrid and JFK-Madrid multiple times. Frankly the Philly connection was best. I’d do that route given the options.
Best of luck and Buen Camino.
 
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jazzhorse

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
General FYI: there is a Minimum Connection Time for every airport (90 minutes for Charlotte if an international flight is involved) and your AA rebooking violated that which means you had every right to request an earlier AA flight with no penalties. You've already wisely rebooted. Contact AA if you have incurred any costs with the rebooking. Ironically my direct flight from CLT to MAD last year was canceled and I was rerouted through JFK with a 40 minute connection. 😧 So thankful someone informed me then of MCT and my rights. And yes, Premier main cabin is worth it for a transatlantic flight!
 

wsivilli

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
plata,
sanabria
Northern route
Primitivo
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
Just a question, I am flying to Philadelphia on 7/11, then the direct flight to Madrid. Did they let you know about the cancellation before you left? Or when you got to Philly? Thanks.
 

Bob K (Phoenix)

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I'm in the same boat: plan to fly via PHL on 26th Sep which is now cancelled. Interestingly, it looks like the non-stop to Madrid is back by mid-October!
 

wsivilli

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
plata,
sanabria
Northern route
Primitivo
I'm in the same boat: plan to fly via PHL on 26th Sep which is now cancelled. Interestingly, it looks like the non-stop to Madrid is back by mid-October!
Bob, thanks for your response, I’m also flying from Phoenix, but haven’t had any email from AA that my trip from the hub to Madrid has been canceled?
 

Bob K (Phoenix)

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Bob, thanks for your response, I’m also flying from Phoenix, but haven’t had any email from AA that my trip from the hub to Madrid has been canceled?
I haven't pulled the plug on the ticket yet, but was following this route on Google Flights, and noticed it was gone! Options now include long (4-5 hours) layover in CLT or DFW. Don't really want to fly on Iberia, as have good status on AA.
 
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wsivilli

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
plata,
sanabria
Northern route
Primitivo
I haven't pulled the plug on the ticket yet, but was following this route on Google Flights, and noticed it was gone! Options now include long (4-5 hours) layover in CLT or DFW. Don't really want to fly on Iberia, as have good status on AA.
Thanks again Bob, like you I have points with AA and have cancelled 3 times since 5/9, due to crazy connections. I was hoping this was the one.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
As I seem to recall last summer summer/Fall American Airlines wound up canceling flights out of DC and Charlotte as well, and rerouting through Miami or JFK!

Perhaps with additional traffic those flights will operate? OR is it staff shortages? My instinct, given what happened last year with American would be to secure a flight from an airport where the flight is most likely to depart from!! That is JFK! I usually advise against this because of traffic. But given the airline pressures, I would simply take Amtrak to NYC and the metro to JFK!

Or, cancel AA get a refund, take amtrak to Newark, NJ, take short shuttle ride to EWR book RT EWR TO MAD, non-stop. EWR is United’s hub. The flight is often late arriving but it not cancelled often.
 

wanderlustesq

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
I just returned from doing the Primitivo and took the identical flights AA has changed you to. I was able to make the Oviedo flight. It was a really long delay in Madrid customs and I still made it. I booked my Madrid to Oviedo flight separately because it was cheaper.

Charlotte was BY FAR the better way to go because they have relatively few international flights and getting through customs was EASY. Can’t say that about JFK!

If you only do a carry on, you’ll be fine in connecting in Charlotte. Charlotte is a busy airport and their flights always leave late!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
I haven't pulled the plug on the ticket yet, but was following this route on Google Flights, and noticed it was gone! Options now include long (4-5 hours) layover in CLT or DFW. Don't really want to fly on Iberia, as have good status on AA.
4-5 hours layover is infinitely better than some of the short layovers I have seen. (50 minutes? riiiiight.) If I am checking any luggage (tube with poles? the packs?) I will make very sure to have at least 2 hours at each plane change. That way the stuff is pretty likely to make the next flight. With tight connections, you might make the flight and find that your necessary equipment is arriving on the next airplane afterwards. ;-)

Buen camino
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013
I wanted to throw out another option to the group regarding a nonstop JFK-Madrid.

It appears there are AA options, but the flights are operated by Iberia.

What are your experiences flying Iberia? I only wanted to go this route so long as they would be an reliable enough option. Is there more risk using them?


View attachment 129025


So my decision will come down to either:

- keep the existing reservation but get an earlier flight from PHL to Charlotte (***which AA was able to secure for me, by the way ... I took the 8:33-10:27 am to be safe.***)

- or, do one of these nonstop JFK-Madrid flights that are operated by Iberia. Is there more risk using them?

Thoughts?
I flew AA/Iberia to Madrid this April and had a wonderful experience. Lovely crew, great service & on time. Good luck in Madrid Airport on return home. You need to make sure to allow time for long distance to connecting gate & check points. I barely made my return flight. Good luck & Buen Camino!
 
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CPURKS

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future Camino Frances
Good morning, fellow pilgrims.

I am hiking the Primitivo in mid-September.

American Airlines just canceled my nonstop flight from my closest airport (Philadelphia International Airport, a transatlantic hub for AA).

I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the new reservation made by the airline (screenshot below) that involves a connection in Charlotte ... or consider driving to a less-convenient airport (JFK) that is still offering nonstop service to Madrid.

My overall goal is reaching my destination, Oviedo, so I can begin my Camino on the day originally planned.

Full details are below, and I'd really appreciate anyone's guidance on next steps in what is (and obviously will continue to be) an ever-changing situation that is beyond my control.

Background

I live in Lititz, Lancaster County (South Central Pennsylvania), about a 1.5 hour drive to Philadelphia International Airport.

I originally booked a flight itinerary that involved a nonstop/redeye flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Madrid the afternoon of September 12, followed by a nonstop 11:50 am - 12:50 flight from Madrid to Asturias Airport on September 13. I was going to take a bus to Oviedo afterward.

Flash forward to the present, American Airlines just notified me that my original flight has been canceled, and my new one involves a connection out of Charlotte (see screenshot below).

View attachment 128994
View attachment 128997

A Potential Alternative

I performed a search on AA and noticed that JFK still offers non-stop service to Madrid (screenshot below).

I'm wondering whether I should call AA and request to get a seat on this flight.

Full-disclosure: I have never traveled to / used JFK before for flights. I was originally trying to avoid it when I booked my original flight from Philly.

View attachment 128995

In Closing

Basically, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Would you all agree that the bigger risk in either scenario is keeping my existing reservation and running the risk of a delay from PHL to Charlotte, and missing my flight from Charlotte to Madrid?

In terms of getting to Oviedo, I guess I'm less concerned about making the second flight to Asturias Airport because I know there are a couple train trips available to Oviedo (screenshot below).

View attachment 129009


Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Mike
I know United has direct nonstop out of Dulles in Virginia to Madrid 6pm daily arrive 8am. Just another option.
 

KJFSophie

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American Airlines cancelled our trip from Boston to JFK three hours before the flight as we were getting ready to head to the airport. From JFK the flight was to Madrid then Oporto. Our first thought was simply to find another flight to JFK and follow thru with other flights on ticket. After literally hours on hold and chat, we were told when any leg of the flight is cancelled, the entire ticket is cancelled. We ended up having to fly from Boston to Ohare in Chicago to Madrid. It was a nightmare with very little time to sprint through airports ( and international flights screenings ) to make the connections. Make sure whatever you get for a travel plan includes lots and lots of time between connections...I'd rather linger in an airport than stroke out from stress...lol Instead of arriving in Porto at 7am, we arrived at 9:30pm...but we made it!
 

ThisIsTheWay

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I would do literally anything to avoid a connection in Charlotte. I've had 4 issues with flights connecting in CLT this year alone.
 

wsivilli

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I would do literally anything to avoid a connection in Charlotte. I've had 4 issues with flights connecting in CLT this year alone.
Just an update re this thread. I left Phoenix on 7/11 to Philadelphia, then picked up my direct flight to Madrid in the same terminal, very easy. So not all flights for AA out of that hub have been cancelled.
Good traveling
 
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General FYI: there is a Minimum Connection Time for every airport (90 minutes for Charlotte if an international flight is involved) and your AA rebooking violated that which means you had every right to request an earlier AA flight with no penalties. You've already wisely rebooted. Contact AA if you have incurred any costs with the rebooking. Ironically my direct flight from CLT to MAD last year was canceled and I was rerouted through JFK with a 40 minute connection. 😧 So thankful someone informed me then of MCT and my rights. And yes, Premier main cabin is worth it for a transatlantic flight!

Can you please direct me to where the MCT policy for international flights is available online? I don’t see anything official on the CLT website. If AA violated the airport’s policy I would definitely like to get my money back for the new reservation.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
I wanted to throw out another option to the group regarding a nonstop JFK-Madrid.

It appears there are AA options, but the flights are operated by Iberia.

What are your experiences flying Iberia? I only wanted to go this route so long as they would be an reliable enough option. Is there more risk using them?


View attachment 129025


So my decision will come down to either:

- keep the existing reservation but get an earlier flight from PHL to Charlotte (***which AA was able to secure for me, by the way ... I took the 8:33-10:27 am to be safe.***)

- or, do one of these nonstop JFK-Madrid flights that are operated by Iberia. Is there more risk using them?

Thoughts?
If I understand correctly, you initially stated you were not thrilled about going through JFK--listen to your instincts.

Secondly, it seems you were mostly worried about making connections and you have solved that by choosing an earlier flight from Charlotte. As already stated by others, once you are checked in, it is up to AA to get you to your destination.

As to Iberia, I have read several complaints by pilgrims that Iberia customer service was poor. This, I believe was connected to lock down and travel being cancelled, but that could also be in the present where people were having trouble contacting Iberia, getting help changing flights, refunds, etc.

Separately I wonder if AA gave you a reason for the cancellation--was it simply that they changed their schedule? I have had this problem many times with AA because I tend to book well in advance. I, too, fly AA in September, but coming from the opposite end of the US from you. Waiting for the Dreaded Email from AA....

Wishing you safe travels.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Can you please direct me to where the MCT policy for international flights is available online? I don’t see anything official on the CLT website. If AA violated the airport’s policy I would definitely like to get my money back for the new reservation.


My understanding is that thte MCT gives you a remedy only if you miss a connection that was scheduled under the minimum. If you make a short connection, you have no damage, so why would you have a claim for compensation?

Are you saying that you would like to cancel your AA flight and switch to Iberia? If you want to fly on Iberia from JFK, my guess is that AA will rebook you. Iberia and American are partners. But I’m not sure why that is preferable to the routing you have now, with plenty of time for the connection.
 

trecile

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Separately I wonder if AA gave you a reason for the cancellation--was it simply that they changed their schedule? I have had this problem many times with AA because I tend to book well in advance.
This can happen with any airline, especially when you book well in advance. I understand that they change their schedules a couple of times a year (in normal times, during the pandemic changes are much more frequent), so if you book before one of these regular seasonal changes there's a much better chance of your flight schedule changing.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
This can happen with any airline, especially when you book well in advance. I understand that they change their schedules a couple of times a year (in normal times, during the pandemic changes are much more frequent), so if you book before one of these regular seasonal changes there's a much better chance of your flight schedule changing.
Yes, trecile, that's exactly what I said.
 
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My understanding is that thte MCT gives you a remedy only if you miss a connection that was scheduled under the minimum. If you make a short connection, you have no damage, so why would you have a claim for compensation?

Are you saying that you would like to cancel your AA flight and switch to Iberia? If you want to fly on Iberia from JFK, my guess is that AA will rebook you. Iberia and American are partners. But I’m not sure why that is preferable to the routing you have now, with plenty of time for the connection.
No, I’m very happy with keeping my existing itinerary (i.e., taking your advice and purchasing for an earlier AA flight from PHL to ensure I have plenty of buffer time to make my CLT-Madrid flight in the late afternoon).

When AA canceled my direct flight (PHL-Madrid) they gave me a flight with an 1hr 10 minute connection time at CLT and didn’t offer an earlier flight for free. I had to pay AA for an earlier flight to CLT, and it was very expensive.

A pilgrim on this thread said CLT has a 1 hour 30 minute Minimum Connection Time, and that I should have been offered an earlier flight for free since what they offered was less than the 1 hour 30 minute threshold.

I was not going to call AA seeking a refund unless I saw that Minimum Connection Time policy available somewhere on the CLT airport website.
 
Last edited:

Marbe2

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No, I’m very happy with keeping my existing itinerary (i.e., taking your advice and purchasing for an earlier AA flight from PHL to ensure I have plenty of buffer time to make my CLT-Madrid flight in the late afternoon).

When AA canceled my direct flight (PHL-Madrid) they gave me a flight with an 1hr 10 minute connection time at CLT and didn’t offer an earlier flight for free. I had to pay AA for an earlier flight to CLT, and it was very expensive.

A pilgrim on this thread said CLT has a 1 hour 30 minute Minimum Connection Time, and that I should have been offered an earlier flight for free since what they offered was less than the 1 hour 30 minute threshold.

I was not going to call AA seeking a refund unless I saw that Minimum Connection Time policy available somewhere on the CLT airport website.

Did you ask to speak to a supervisor? Rarely do I just accept what the first airline agent tells me if I am not in agreement with what they are telling me….ask for a callback from a supervisor or wait till the supervisor is available and state your case politely. It also helps if you have belong to its mileage/loyalty program.
 

wsivilli

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This is hopefully going to help others and possibly you.
Having a credit card with AA is helpful, When you sign up you are usually given 50k in points to use. I have used the card for big purchases and then paid it off before incurring interest and also to validate the points offered with card. There is a certain amount you have to spend within 90 days or 6 months, not remembering which, but it’s worth it.
My original flight was scheduled for 5/9, through Philly then direct to Madrid. Through my own mistake I had to cancel. It cost me 32k in points plus $5.60. No problem, my points were returned plus my $5.60. I kept trying, 3 more times but couldn’t get the flight I wanted but had booked it anyway thinking I might go. Each one I cancelled with the same results, my points put back and my $5.60 refunded.
Finally I found the direct flight from Phoenix to Philly, then direct to Madrid. I left 7/11 and arrived in Madrid on 7/12. My bus leaves tomorrow to Bilbao at 10 am, it’s 4 hours and I’ll be back on the Camino on Friday.
If you travel a lot or a little, learning how to use air miles will help anyone use their programs to your own benefit. Understand the rules and things you would buy anyway can be used to your advantage.
Pick only one airline that has a good rewards program and flies internationally, don’t spread yourself out with different airlines.
Good luck.

Did you ask to speak to a supervisor? Rarely do I just accept what the first airline agent tells me if I am not in agreement with what they are telling me….ask for a callback from a supervisor or wait till the supervisor is available and state your case politely. It also helps if you have belong to its mileage/loyalty program.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
When AA canceled my direct flight (PHL-Madrid) they gave me a flight with an 1hr 10 minute connection time at CLT and didn’t offer an earlier flight for free. I had to pay AA for an earlier flight to CLT, and it was very expensive
I misunderstood, sorry. I am surprised that American made you pay for the rebooking. I agree with @Marbe2 that you should have spoken with a supervisor. When AA has automatically re-routed me (and this has happend pretty frequently in the last few years), I always check out the alternatives before I call them. If I find a better connection and schedule, I have all the info ready and have never had any problem or extra charge.

I would call back and use all your interpersonal skills to work your way up the food chain. And let us know how it goes.

Having a credit card with AA is helpful, When you sign up you are usually given 50k in points to use. I have used the card for big purchases and then paid it off before incurring interest and also to validate the points offered with card. There is a certain amount you have to spend within 90 days or 6 months, not remembering which, but it’s worth it.
American Airlines has totally revamped its “frequent flyer program.” It is now based almost totally on money spent, not miles @flown. The card itself is pricey, about $400 a year, but it does give a few perks.

A friend described the change to me in the following way — The Aadvantage program used to be an airline frequenty flyer program, now it’s a credit card program that happens to own an airline.
 

wsivilli

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I misunderstood, sorry. I am surprised that American made you pay for the rebooking. I agree with @Marbe2 that you should have spoken with a supervisor. When AA has automatically re-routed me (and this has happend pretty frequently in the last few years), I always check out the alternatives before I call them. If I find a better connection and schedule, I have all the info ready and have never had any problem or extra charge.

I would call back and use all your interpersonal skills to work your way up the food chain. And let us know how it goes.


American Airlines has totally revamped its “frequent flyer program.” It is now based almost totally on money spent, not miles @flown. The card itself is pricey, about $400 a year, but it does give a few perks.

A friend described the change to me in the following way — The Aadvantage program used to be an airline frequenty flyer program, now it’s a credit card program that happens to own an airline.
Couldn’t disagree more, not accurate info.
I misunderstood, sorry. I am surprised that American made you pay for the rebooking. I agree with @Marbe2 that you should have spoken with a supervisor. When AA has automatically re-routed me (and this has happend pretty frequently in the last few years), I always check out the alternatives before I call them. If I find a better connection and schedule, I have all the info ready and have never had any problem or extra charge.

I would call back and use all your interpersonal skills to work your way up the food chain. And let us know how it goes.


American Airlines has totally revamped its “frequent flyer program.” It is now based almost totally on money spent, not miles @flown. The card itself is pricey, about $400 a year, but it does give a few perks.

A friend described the change to me in the following way — The Aadvantage program used to be an airline frequenty flyer program, now it’s a credit card program that happens to own an airline.
Couldn’t disagree more, not accurate info. They should do some research rather than our info.
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peregrina2000

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Couldn’t disagree more, not accurate info. They should do some research rather than our info.
Out.
Could you be more specific with what you think is inaccurate about what I said? You may be right, and I very much want information on the forum to be accurate, but I’m not sure which part of what I said you are referring to.
 

wsivilli

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Could you be more specific with what you think is inaccurate about what I said? You may be right, and I very much want information on the forum to be accurate, but I’m not sure which part of what I said you are referring to.
Sure, I’ve had my Advantage card for about 15 years. I pay $100 for the annual fee. When I signed up knew that I had to use the card within the first 6 months, spending $1000 within that time frame to receive the points which was 50k.
For me it was easy since I had several home projects to do so I paid for them with card, then just paid off the balance upon receiving my statement, who wants to pay interest?
I did the same thing earlier this year with another home project.
Maybe things have changed since I first signed up but my own experience has been pretty simple. As I mentioned before, canceling the day before a trip and getting my points and a full refund the day before traveling has been without any objections of any kind.
 

peregrina2000

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Sure, I’ve had my Advantage card for about 15 years. I pay $100 for the annual fee. When I signed up knew that I had to use the card within the first 6 months, spending $1000 within that time frame to receive the points which was 50k.
That clears it up, thanks. I should have been clearer that I was talking more about elite status (gold, platinum, exec platinum, etc) rather than the straightforward collecting of points to get miles for flights.

To get any sort of elite status on American now, you essentially have to get an American Airlines credit card. Before 2020, so long as you had flown 50,000 miles you got Platinum, 75,000, Executive Platinum, etc). That program is gone. You collect points from flying, and points for using the CC, but to accumulate enough points solely by flying to get status is now extremely difficult.

To get miles on American, as a way to “purchase” frequent flier flights, you can accumulate them via credit card points or purchases with an American CC. Those stay in your account so long as you are active and have flown within the last 18 months (maybe some other time frame, but there is an expiration date only if you stop flying). They have nothing to do with whether you are a gold, platinum, etc flyer. Sorry for the off-topic discussion.

Anyway, this isn’t @michaelporourke’s problem now. His problem is figuring out how to get American to refund the hefty surcharge they imposed when rebooking him on a flight that goes through Charlotte with a short connection time, rather than his original non-stop flight from Philadelphia. I still agree with @Marbe’s advice to call back, explain the problem, and then ask to speak to a supervisor.
 

wsivilli

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That clears it up, thanks. I should have been clearer that I was talking more about elite status (gold, platinum, exec platinum, etc) rather than the straightforward collecting of points to get miles for flights.

To get any sort of elite status on American now, you essentially have to get an American Airlines credit card. Before 2020, so long as you had flown 50,000 miles you got Platinum, 75,000, Executive Platinum, etc). That program is gone.

To get miles on American, as a way to “purchase” frequent flier flights, you can accumulate them via credit card points or purchases with an American CC. Those stay in your account so long as you are active and have flown within the last 18 months (maybe some other time frame, but there is an expiration date only if you stop flying).

Anyway, this isn’t @michaelporourke’s problem now. His problem is figuring out how to get American to refund the hefty surcharge they imposed when rebooking him on a flight that goes through Charlotte with a short connection time, rather than his original non-stop flight from Philadelphia. I still agree with @Marbe’s advice to call back, explain the problem, and then ask to speak to a supervisor.
Yes thanks for your input. I did have a platinum card along with normal card. I signed up to receive additional points, but didn’t want to pay the $200 annual fee at that time and canceled it, but did get the points.
Your also on point in suggesting they go to a higher level, now retired but in my former life as a Director for a too 5 company, by the time it reached me, we generally made generous accommodations to a reasonable request, which this seems to be. I wish them the best for a quick resolution.

Buen Camino
 

Pilgrino21

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Frances
When AA canceled my direct flight (PHL-Madrid) they gave me a flight with an 1hr 10 minute connection time at CLT and didn’t offer an earlier flight for free. I had to pay AA for an earlier flight to CLT, and it was very expensive.

I was not going to call AA seeking a refund unless I saw that Minimum Connection Time policy available somewhere on the CLT airport website.
I wished you had mentioned this critical info at the start. When the airline cancels or reschedules your original itinerary, you have leverage and this is the ideal time to request an alternative flights that work for you, for free. You can even request a refund and cancel altogether. If I remember correctly, you were asked if you accepted the new itinerary. I think you can still adjust as necessary but you didn't need a separate ticket altogether. If the airline refuses to accommodate, you can hope there is a schedule change again to be entitled for any additional changes. Airline status helps but in this scenario you should be okay.
 
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Marbe2

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I wished you had mentioned this critical info at the start. When the airline cancels or reschedules your original itinerary, you have leverage and this is the ideal time to request an alternative flights that work for you, for free. You can even request a refund and cancel altogether. If I remember correctly, you were asked if you accepted the new itinerary. I think you can still adjust as necessary but you didn't need a separate ticket altogether. If the airline refuses to accommodate, you can hope there is a schedule change again to be entitled for any additional changes. Airline status helps but in this scenario you should be okay.
Yes, when the airline reschedules or cancels, one does have the option to get a refund, which is why I suggested [22] that if OP couldn’t get a flight to his liking he get a refund and fly non stop out of EWR on United!
 
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I wished you had mentioned this critical info at the start. When the airline cancels or reschedules your original itinerary, you have leverage and this is the ideal time to request an alternative flights that work for you, for free. You can even request a refund and cancel altogether. If I remember correctly, you were asked if you accepted the new itinerary. I think you can still adjust as necessary but you didn't need a separate ticket altogether. If the airline refuses to accommodate, you can hope there is a schedule change again to be entitled for any additional changes. Airline status helps but in this scenario you should be okay.

I didn’t accept the new itinerary; I received an email stating that “there’s been a change to your trip” with the new itinerary.

I don’t travel often and am very inexperienced. I would have pushed back had I been more seasoned about all the matters discussed on this thread, MCT policies, etc.
 

Marbe2

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I didn’t accept the new itinerary; I received an email stating that “there’s been a change to your trip” with the new itinerary.

I don’t travel often and am very inexperienced. I would have pushed back had I been more seasoned about all the matters discussed on this thread, MCT policies, etc.
seems American Airlines is making many changes…because they may not have the pilot as in these smaller hubs.

I live in PA, though closer to EWR than you are. I would book a flight direct to MAD. Amtrak from Philly Newark station and shuttle to EWR will take less time than having to wait at PHL A few hours before boarding, taking a connecting flight that could be iffy.
It takes from Lancaster a little over 3 hrs to get to EWR. You will spend more time getting to Charlotte with waiting time in PHL. There are several options pby train to EWR.
 

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Pilgrino21

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Frances
I didn’t accept the new itinerary; I received an email stating that “there’s been a change to your trip” with the new itinerary.

I don’t travel often and am very inexperienced. I would have pushed back had I been more seasoned about all the matters discussed on this thread, MCT policies, etc.
What's your current itinerary now? Still staying with American? Or sounds like you may have ended that American option with the latest round of changes.

Many have suggested other airlines. With the current situation of air travel, I would assume that any one of those flights may be subject to delays and cancellations too. One advantage you have is your trip is still farther away. Who knows what the situation would be if you flew out of Newark, Charlotte, DC, or NY.

Whatever you end up picking, hopefully you are armed with more information. If nothing else, be prepared to make your travel day short or long. These days, uncertainty is the norm unfortunately.
 
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Just closing this news feed with two final updates:

- I spoke with a very kind AA customer service person just now. He said I should never have been charged for the earlier flight. They are going to submit a refund request. Thank you, everyone!

- I'm keeping my current itinerary (i.e., early AM flight from PHL to Charlotte to ensure I have enough buffer/connection time for my late afternoon flight to Madrid). I've been hearing horror stories from colleagues who recently flew out of JFK to Spain or Portugal.
 
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Pilgrino21

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Frances
Just closing this news feed with two final updates:

- I spoke with a very kind AA customer service person just now. He said I should never have been charged for the earlier flight. They are going to submit a refund request. Thank you, everyone!

- I'm keeping my current itinerary (i.e., early AM flight from PHL to Charlotte to ensure I have enough buffer/connection time for my late afternoon flight to Madrid). I've been hearing horror stories from colleagues who recently flew out of JFK to Spain or Portugal.
Good news. Things have a way of working themselves out somehow, which is no different in life and on the Camino. Go with your instinct if nothing else. Best wishes going forward. Feel free to DM me if you need to reach out directly.
 
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