In the business aviation world, last-minute schedule changes are many times inevitable. While schedule revisions can be more challenging in certain parts of the world, solutions are always possible with adequate planning and connections. Before submitting change requests – particularly in China, Russia, India, and other regions particular about revisions – it’s best practice to have a 3rd-party provider review the desired change to determine the best options for your trip. The following is an overview of what you need to know when dealing with last-minute trip schedule changes:
1. Recourse may be available in terms of last-minute changes
When possible, it’s best to avoid revisions to scheduled times. Best practice is to check in advance with your 3rd-party provider before submitting trip change requests. Advanced research is important as a contemplated schedule change may not be possible. Keep passengers informed as to realistic options for schedule revisions and associated delays.
2. Have a plan "B" available
Be prepared for alternate action in case a requested schedule change is not possible. In some cases, you may have to drop passengers and reposition to another airport for parking. In other cases, passengers may need to be taken to an alternate destination. You also have the option to delay the trip until all revised approvals (permits, airport slots, prior permissions required, etc.) can be obtained. It’s never recommended to depart to a destination without required approvals, as you may have to divert before arrival or receive penalties/fines if approvals have not been received prior to landing.
3. Consider proactive steps to maximize operating flexibility
One of your best tools is advance research. Know before you go what is possible in terms of schedule changes, and be aware of any special restrictions or procedures that may exist at certain locations. It’s best practice to have multi-entry visas (when possible) and a second passport on hand. You’ll need correct visa type for countries such as China and Russia. Visa issues are taken seriously, and you could be put in jail or deported if you arrive without a visa or with an expired visa.
4. Be aware of other issues when considering schedule changes
Some airports, including Changi (WSSS), require that you have a towbar available in order to operate. At some locations you’ll be required to show evidence of vaccination. If a yellow fever vaccination (with 10-day incubation period) is required, and you lack that vaccination, you may be quarantined or denied entry. Having an onboard pet can be problematic when diverting to some locations. Iceland, for example, will not allow pets off the aircraft, and Barbados may quarantine your pet if it comes from anywhere other than the UK.
Although last-minute routing and schedule changes may present challenges, if you work closely with your 3rd-party provider and/or local ground handler, solutions are usually available. In some cases you’ll be able to accomplish your mission by dropping off passengers and repositioning the aircraft to another airport. You might also consider delaying the trip while awaiting revised approvals. Best practice is to always have "Plan B" options available and to be proactive in maximizing operational flexibility. Contact us if you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip.