So back in February I discussed the great award tickets booked for my in-laws at only 90,000 American Airlines points per ticket.
Well each ticket was on a separate record locator number with American. As booked in February, for 90,000 points in business class, they are flying:
Orlando – Miami – Lima (Stopover)
Lima – Santiago (Stopover)
Santiago – Mendoza (Stopover)
Mendoza – Santiago – Miami (Stopover – drive back home to Orlando, 2 months later buy a one-way ticket for $75 from Orlando to Nassau)
Nassau – Turks & Caicos (Stopover)
Turks & Caicos – Miami – Orlando (Trip Over)
Well something strange happened. In March, partner carrier LAN had a schedule change that impacted a couple of their flights. The flight times only changed a little bit. For my father-in-law’s ticket, everything was normal with the new flights noted. However, my mother-in-law’s ticket fell apart. Unbeknownst to me, American had forgotten to debit my AAdvantage account for the miles required nor charge my credit card for the taxes and fees for her award ticket. Thus when the schedule change occurred, none of the LAN segments came back as confirmed. Even though I had e-mails from American showing this itinerary as ticketed. And American did not communicate this drop of segments to me nor her. I found out by randomly checking her record locator on their site this weekend. And this was totally independent of American’s massive system failure yesterday.
I called American to try to get her original segments back. The first agent said points were never deducted for this ticket and that there was nothing they could do. If LAN did not have award availability for these seats, then she would have to pick a different date or time to fly. This was obviously unacceptable considering I had ticketing confirmation from American, and her husband was flying at these already set dates and times.
I asked to speak with a supervisor, and the supervisor who came on was wonderful. She was very confident, knowledgeable, friendly, and as the French would say sympatique. She acknowledged that American’s computer system never deducted the mileage, and the ticket had fallen apart. She would re-request with LAN on the following weekday for them to re-open those seats to her so she could travel with my father-in-law as originally booked.
Sure enough, she called me the following weekday and said she spoke with LAN. She said, regrettably, that LAN was refusing to allow those seats to be re-opened, even though this was a serious error caused by the booking system of their partner, American. She tried and tried, escalated, and escalated, and they would not budge! This is where I started to scramble in my head to think of workarounds. What a nightmare! These award tickets I had booked for my in-laws had totally fallen apart due to a rogue computer glitch.
Amazingly, the supervisor had thought through options already. Good options. Here is what she sorted out:
- For any flights on LAN that were showing as having available award ticket inventory, she would reconfirm them on those originally scheduled flights.
- For the 1:30AM Lima – Santiago, seats were no longer with LAN. But they were on the 12:30AM Lima – Santiago, which she locked in for us.
- For the 9PM Santiago – Miami, seats were no longer available with LAN. So American opened up availability in business class on their own 7PM Santiago – Miami. So that was fixed.
- Santiago – Mendoza was available with LAN for re-booking. But Mendoza – Santiago was not! This was a real dilemma as these one way flights were currently showing as $600! But this supervisor had an incredible solution I never thought possible. She noted that while Mendoza – Santiago was $600, Santiago – Mendoza – Santiago was only $250. She would then take my credit card information and buy these LAN flights on an American Airlines ticket for me to pay out of pocket. The rest of the award ticket could stand as-is. And she would provide me with a $300 transferable American Airlines travel voucher. Then, somehow, she could re-ticket this entire morass, revenue flights AND oneworld explorer award flights into the same record locator. And that is what she did! She took a credit card for the taxes and fees, and LAN Santiago – Mendoza round-trip flights and deducted 90,000 miles from my account and we were on our way!
Amazingly, I know have a record locator for my mother-in-law that includes a OneWorld Explorer award, AND two paid revenue segments. I received 2 different confirmation e-mails, one for the revenue tickets and their price, one for the award ticket and their taxes and fees, and one for the $300 voucher redeemable for American or subsidiary travel for one year.
Anyone else ever have a similar experience?