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Old Jan 19, 99, 11:07 am
Original Member
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Houston, Texas, TEXAS
Posts: 1,510

On the seemingly normal late evening of January 12, 1999, it all began by dialing the Gold Elite line. One ring, the line answers with the "menu" prompt. I press 1 and the recording says "One moment please, while we connect your call". One more ring and the agent answers (great response).
I say, "I would like to see about getting some rewards from Houston to Phoenix on January 14, 1999". The agent responds positively and I indicate that I would like to use an "EE0S" award for my wife, Sarah, and an "A0AA" award for my son, John, for which I will purchase a roundtrip ticket and upgrade him to first class. I give the agent my OnePass number and pin code and we begin the process. The first flight that I request has no reward seats available. The agent suggests that she look to see if any flights leaving on the 14th and returning on the 17th have reward seats available. Voila, the agent finds 2 first class seats on CO 2660 for the outbound and CO 2277 on the return (both Code Share flights with HP). Great, as I think how fortunate we are to find desired award seats on a flight with such short notice. I was informed by the agent that since the dates were so close, the reward certificates and purchased coach class ticket must be sent by overnight delivery via Airborne Express, and there would be a $35 charge for each, for a total of $70. I say, "Whoa", in my Texas drawl, "Why not send both in the same overnight envelope for only $35"? The agent says, "Just a moment, let me check". The agent returns to the phone and says, "Sorry, we cannot send them in the same overnight envelope". I express my displeasure with this arrangement. However, since my wife and son are going to a funeral and we must have the certificates and ticket by tomorrow (the 13th), what else is there to say, but OK? So, all arrangements are made and everything is all set, right? WRONG!

The morning of the 13th arrives and around 10:30 a.m., the Airborne truck arrives with an overnight envelope. I sign for the delivery and open the envelope, expecting that CO found a way to include everything in one overnight package. Great, I thought, these guys are good. They saved $35 for me by sending everything in one envelope. Reaching into the envelope, I find a roundtrip ticket for my son, which I had purchased, and certificates for his upgrade. Looking into the envelope again, to retrieve the first class reward certificates for my wife, I see that there is NOTHING else in the envelope. I am able to stop the Airborne person and ask if there is another envelope for me. The Airborne person gives me a disgusting look and says, "If I had another envelope for you, I would have given it to you". (Real nice guy).
So, I think, we could have a problem here. But, alas, I have the confirmation number from the agent I spoke to last evening and, with this I can find out about the missing certificates and the status of the reservation. Picking up the phone, I dial the Gold Elite line with the same scenario as above, except I have to hold for the next available agent. ( Ever wonder how the "next available agent" knows they are it ). The agent answers and I tell my story and say that I have the confirmation number for the reward reservation and how do we get the first class ticket since there are no certificates in my possession. The agent takes the confirmation number and "poof", there is the reservation. The agent says that there was an internal code omitted from the reservation and certificate and that, to never fear, she would "fix" the coding and my wife could pick up the first class ticket at the airport. Also, the agent said that there would be no charge for this since it was CO's error and the extra $35 charge would be reversed. ( Why would there be one in the first place, if there were no envelope )?

The 14th arrives and we leave for IAH thinking that everything is great. I give my wife the confirmation number and tell her to go (as instructed by the agent ) to the CO first class check in and get her ticket. After dropping off my wife and son at IAH and beginning my drive back, I begin to wonder if everything is OK. Meanwhile, back at IAH, the CO first class staff cannot find my wife's reservation, even with the confirmation number. So, the CO people send my wife to the HP ticket counter and tell her that, since it is a code share flight, the HP counter would have her ticket. My wife goes to the HP counter and, lo and behold, HP cannot find her reservation or ticket. ( Is this another one of those "wild goose chases"?) So, my wife asks the ticket person to get a supervisor, and, after a few minutes, the supervisor shows up. My wife then re-explains the whole story to the HP supervisor, who keys-in a few "magic" codes and up pops the reservation and a first class boarding pass is issued. You'll learn the definition of "magic" a little later.

The flight is running a little late, so the 2:06 p.m. flight leaves around 3:00 p.m. with my wife and son in first class. So, now it appears that everything is back to normal and the rest of the trip will be just fine. My wife and son attend a very emotional funeral for her favorite Aunt on Saturday, January 16, 1999. After spending some time with the family my wife and son return to the hotel for the evening.

They sleep late on Sunday, January 17th, since their return flight to IAH is scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. departure. After having lunch and doing a little shopping ( of course ), my wife and son head back to PHX.
Arriving at PHX around 5:00 p.m., they head to the HP counter ( apparently they thought they learned this by having to go to the HP counter at IAH ), to pick up their boarding passes. My son had a paper ticket and all went well with his check-in. So, my wife gives the HP counter person her confirmation number and expects that a boarding pass is forthcoming. HOW WRONG SHE WAS!

Much to my wife's surprise, the HP counter person told my wife that her reservation had been cancelled and that she was not even on the flight. Now, I think we can bring back the meaning of "magic". Apparently, the "magic" codes used by the supervisor at IAH had really been "magic". Although my wife, indeed, was on the outbound flight, and in first class, somehow the "magic" codes changed her whole reservation and cancelled her from the return flight. The HP person told my wife that the flight was full and since she did not have a reservation, could not board the flight. Well, the word "no" is definitely the wrong word to use. So, my wife went through the whole story again and explained that she was "not" going to stay in Arizona because she was a Texan and intended to return there on the 6:05 p.m. flight. Well, here we go again. Another round of supervisors, another explanation, and another "magic" code by the supervisor to get her on the flight, albeit in seat 22E. So, NO FIRST CLASS RETURN for the first class reward mileage that was deducted from my OnePass account. However, the positive thing is that my wife is back in Texas and safe and sound.

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