I’m not a gambler. I guess that’s why I’m not a fan of going to Las Vegas. On the other hand, I’ll gladly earn fewer rewards points for a purchase if the card provides better insurance coverage. I guess I’m willing to pay to limit my downside exposure but I don’t want to take risks for a large return.
That’s why I’m totally happy about spending $19 extra for coverage that I didn’t have to use on a recent trip.
The coverage I’m talking about is Freebird.
The concept is amazingly simple. If your flight is delayed by four hours or more, or if it’s canceled outright, you can rebook on “any” flight available to your destination for free, no matter the cost of the ticket.
Now for our most recent trip to Texas, I had a choice of airlines. I could book a flight on American with a connection or I could book a direct flight on Frontier. The Frontier flight was significantly less expensive and had preferable times. I am also very leery of booking with American because of their labor troubles and the last thing I wanted to be was delayed at a hub city due to “mechanical issues.”
I booked on Frontier because of the two choices, they seemed to be the more reliable option. Welcome to Bizarro World.
The one major complaint people have when booking on Frontier is how they handle things when something goes wrong. Whenever I try to say that Frontier isn’t that bad, I always get a comment from someone who was stranded when their flight was canceled and they couldn’t get another flight for days. That’s because Frontier often only has one flight a day between cities and those flights might not even run every day of the week. As an Ultra Low Cost carrier, they won’t rebook you on another airline. You have to wait until there’s an empty seat available to your destination.
That was my fear when booking our flights. There’s only one flight from Orlando to Austin per day and if that got canceled, there was no other option with Frontier.
That’s where Freebird came in handy. For only $19 per ticket, I could insure against the worst possible scenario. If our flight was delayed by more than 4 hours or canceled, I could rebook on another airline for free. I hope I’d never have to test that service but it was nice to have the peace of mind that we’d still be able to start our vacation.
How did it work?
Fortunately, I didn’t get to test out Freebird on this trip. What I will say is that their technology to monitor flights is better than anything else out there.
A few days before the trip, I received an email reminding me of the coverage and what to do if we needed to rebook.
The morning of our flight, I simultaneously received an email and a text message alerting me that our flight was delayed.
Now, that was the extent of the delay. We ended up leaving 45 minutes late but for Summer travel from Orlando, that’s not bad at all.
We tried to take like 10 selfies with us smiling and excited but one (or both) of us always looked terrible so we figured we might as well just look terrible on purpose. 🙂
We never got to thoroughly test out Freebird. That doesn’t mean that I feel my $19 went to waste. For any flight where you really need to get to your destination, it’s a small price to pay when the other option is a last-minute ticket can cost hundreds of dollars.
If I was booking a positioning flight or if there was a major event I didn’t want to miss, I’d pay the money again in a second. Freebird also opens up a whole new set of flights to us where the only thing keeping up from booking before was the fear of “what happens if the flight gets canceled.”
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary