View Full Version : Can You Book A Flight and Fly On Same Day?

03-25-2013, 06:32 PM
Hi guys,

In my WIP, my character (In UK) gets a phone call from my other character (In USA). Is it plausible for him to just book a flight on a day or do you have to wait?

I read somewhere about having to wait 72 hours before you can fly but I think I've confused myself - last minute flying is not something I've done.

Basically how quickly can you book a flight and fly?

Sorry if this is a bit confusing. If you need any clearing up just ask and thanks for your help!

03-25-2013, 06:39 PM
If you have the cash and the time and the paperwork and there's a seat available you can walk up to the airline desk and buy a ticket to anywhere.

Not sure about US Visa requirements (believe it can be waived under certain conditions of travel) but assume it would have to be a return ticket.

I'd walk into the nearest Travel Agents and ask - they'd be only too happy to show how much they know.

03-25-2013, 06:41 PM
Yes, but it costs.
Your character needs to have a valid ESTA or visa

03-25-2013, 06:44 PM
Thanks! :)

03-25-2013, 06:52 PM
Yes. It's expensive, and if it is international, you have to have that stuff sorted. I returned on a same-day booked flight from NZ to the US. It was pricey, but I did it.

03-25-2013, 07:07 PM
As long as there is a seat, it's easy to do. I've done it several times on the phone on my way to the airport. If there isn't a seat, sometimes you can get creative. For example, NYC to LA might be full, but NYC to Dallas to LA might work very nicely. Mid-week is a lot easier then weekends. Forget holiday weekends.

Getting tickets at the desk can be an interesting experience. You showing up with no ticket and wanting one can cause them to become baffled. If you pay in cash at the desk, be aware that they don't have any change and have to go hunting for it. It can take them twenty minutes or more to get you five dollars in change.

Security will take a heightened look at you. You may have to explain what you're doing to them.

And looking at Travelocity, it's now 11:00 AM EST. I can leave Logan Airport in Boston tonight at 7:15 PM EST arriving at Heathrow in London at 9:05 PM London time by Aer Lingus for a nice price of $683. So in slightly more then 24 hours I could be in London, no visa required for a short stay.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

03-25-2013, 07:46 PM
Thank you!

James D. Macdonald
03-25-2013, 07:56 PM
Yes, but it'll cost you plenty.

Alpha Echo
03-25-2013, 08:07 PM
As the others have said, absolutely. There's no waiting period. :) But it's pricey.

Chris P
03-25-2013, 08:28 PM
I've done it too, going from US to England.

Short story: Weather caused me to miss my connection, and the airline said they couldn't get me out until Saturday (this was Wednesday evening). I got on Expedia and found a flight leaving about 12 hours later. When I called the airline, they couldn't rebook me on those flights because one leg was a non-partner airline. So I told them to cancel my Saturday itinerary, credit it my account, then book me on the flights I saw on Expedia. They said "Sure, no problem" and didn't even charge me for the difference in fare.

A handy tip if you ever find yourself in that situation. Once the money was mine again and not theirs they couldn't push me around anymore.

03-25-2013, 08:32 PM
It may be pricey. It may be cheap. Depends upon how many seats are available and how close to takeoff you are. I've gotten some wonderful prices, and I've gotten screwed. The price for today is about ten dollars cheaper then getting a ticket in two weeks. And if I go to the weekend, the price goes up about fifty dollars.

And you get what you pay for. I found the cheapest with one stop in Dublin. If I flew direct via Iberia I could leave tonight at 6:55 EST and arrive in London with no stops at 5:15 AM London time. Cost would be $1,345. As I said, you get what you pay for.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

03-25-2013, 08:57 PM
Those are the type of bookings an airline likes...

03-25-2013, 09:21 PM
If saving money is important, or if you just want to add another layer, you can book through a travel agent. Sometimes they can get you a good deal, or call in a favor.

Also, I know that for business travel with a lot of the large companies, they have their own travel agent and/or actual contracts with airlines to get them a better deal. My dad used to work for AT&T/Bell Labs, and he had to fly quite regularly on business. Always the same airlines (Braniff and later Continental, if I recall correctly), and the company paid the travel costs, but they got a lower price for using the same airline for all their employee travel.

03-25-2013, 10:32 PM
I've kind of always done this, heh; I'm not much of a planner - and it is NOT always more expensive, though it's certainly always possible (if there are seats).

As above, sometimes it is very expensive. Sometimes, however, if a plane isn't full, and you're within a day or so of a route that most people don't book last minute (like overseas) or less of a route people do, you can get really cheap fares on at least some airlines.

03-25-2013, 10:52 PM
I have a friend who did this about ten years ago - he arrived at the airport with a large amount of cash, went up to the flight desk, and said "I need to be on your next flight to (I forget where.)" He said it a was less satisfying experience than you'd think, but he did get a seat.

03-26-2013, 12:14 AM
There's always flying standby. I did that once from the UK to the States. Not voluntarily. A huge storm took out my train and I had to take the world's most expensive taxi to the airport. Missed my flight. You sit in a room and wait until there's a seat available on a flight going in the right direction. I ended up in Chicago.

03-26-2013, 12:42 AM
Definitely possible. And if the stars line up, it can be done inexpensively (speaking relatively, of course).