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"Not all flights" for flight passes?

"Not all flights" for flight passes?

Old Sep 10, 20, 2:08 am
  #1  
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"Not all flights" for flight passes?

How can I get a ticket issued from a flight pass, where availability in the required booking class is given, but the travel time seems to exceed flight pass algorithm rules? The travel time is so long because few flights are going.

The situation:
Back in February, I bought a Flight Pass for flights between Western Canada and Europe in Economy Class. Requirement: Availability in booking class V, operated by AC/ACx/ACr. But now the Air Canada agent tells me that "not all flights" are eligible for Flight Pass bookings, even if booking class V is available. They never said that when they sold me the air pass.

I am trying to use a segment of my Flight Pass for departure Sept 26 from YXY to BRU - one of the few European destinations Air Canada is still flying to. However, when I try to use the flight pass, the AC website throws an error: "RC=400 component=EIPĒ Whatever that means. On other days, that error does not appear, but it still doesn't work.

There is availability in booking class V in a single fare: "
SHOULDER SEASON MIDWEEK ECONOMY OW V UNBUNDLED FARES APPLIES FOR ONE WAY FARES FOR ADULT".
Sept 26 AC 8890 YXY to YVR
Sept 27 AC 304 YVR to YUL
Sept 27 AC 832 YVR to BRU, arriving Sept 28

The problem, I presume, is the 23:15 layover in YVR, or the arrival 2 days after departure, one of which must throw the flight pass algorithms off. (There is another routing available in V with a simliarly long layover in YUL and identical total travel time - also a now-show on the flight pass interface.)

It is not that I'm trying to pick a weird routing. Actually, that is the most straightforward routing these days, as so few flights are going and Air Canada has, unusually, moved the YXY flight to the early morning.

I had one agent tell me that they'd be happy to book it for me, but I'd cost two credits, which is robbery. The same agent said to call again and talk to other agents, maybe one would do it for a single credit. So I called back later. That agent checked with the helpdesk and then told that there is nothing anybody can do because "that is how the system is built" and "not all flights" are available to flight pass holders. Even though there is availability in V in a single fare.

I offered to buy the ticket as a normal ticket, then exchange a flight pass credit for a refund. That was denied. I suggested that we first book YVR-YUL-BRU and then immediately add the YXY-YVR leg. Denied as well.

The agent suggested going through Customer Relations but added that it may take 40 days to get a response. Useless.


What to do?
sokolov is offline  
Old Sep 10, 20, 8:13 am
  #2  
 
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Just take AC306 on Sept 26 YVR - YUL should work fine (may have to call in).

Your domestic connection needs to be within X hours OR the next flight available. You are trying to skirt both these rules, so itís going to throw an error.

Your international connection can be up to 24 hours so doing the longer layover in YUL isnít skirting any rules.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 8:45 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Sean Peever View Post
Just take AC306 on Sept 26 YVR - YUL should work fine (may have to call in).

Your domestic connection needs to be within X hours OR the next flight available. You are trying to skirt both these rules, so itís going to throw an error.

Your international connection can be up to 24 hours so doing the longer layover in YUL isnít skirting any rules.
I can't get the FP system to pull up any YXY-BRU itineraries within 3 days of Sep 26.

I didn't get the impression @sokolov was trying to gain a free stopover.

YVR-BRU is bookable, YXY-BRU is not, presumably because of the crappy connections.

I would call and push back. Even act dumb. "The flight pass website is giving me errors, but the regular website shows options. I don't really care what time the flights are, I just need to get to Brussels."
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Old Sep 10, 20, 11:59 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I can't get the FP system to pull up any YXY-BRU itineraries within 3 days of Sep 26.

I didn't get the impression @sokolov was trying to gain a free stopover.

YVR-BRU is bookable, YXY-BRU is not, presumably because of the crappy connections.

I would call and push back. Even act dumb. "The flight pass website is giving me errors, but the regular website shows options. I don't really care what time the flights are, I just need to get to Brussels."
I would add that the help desk has a great deal of latitude (no pun intended) in these situations. I don't really think you need to be SE or flying on a B fare either. I don't buy that they couldn't fix it. They definitely can if they want to. It sounds to me that they didn't want to -- because it was either too much hassle or they were told not to.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 2:55 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Sean Peever View Post
Just take AC306 on Sept 26 YVR - YUL should work fine (may have to call in).
Tried that, too. No dice.

​​​​
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Old Sep 10, 20, 2:59 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by ridefar View Post
I would add that the help desk has a great deal of latitude (no pun intended) in these situations. I don't really think you need to be SE or flying on a B fare either. I don't buy that they couldn't fix it. They definitely can if they want to. It sounds to me that they didn't want to -- because it was either too much hassle or they were told not to.
I've called twice so far. I was wondering if there's some lingo to use to get to a person who can make this happen when I call the next time. I only want what I've paid for. I would prefer no stopover, of course, but it's not possible given the current flight plans.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 3:41 pm
  #7  
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Have you tried acting dumb? You don't know which flights you want. You don't know the connection cities. You just want to fly A to B on a certain date. Or the day after.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 3:52 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Have you tried acting dumb? You don't know which flights you want. You don't know the connection cities. You just want to fly A to B on a certain date. Or the day after.
I would also advocate trying this approach. Itís often surprisingly effective.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 6:22 pm
  #9  
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I got the ticket issued! It took another 90 minutes on the phone (measured from the time I got to talk to an agent).

I was prepared: I had the error code from the flight pass webpage, "RC=400 component=EIP”", which appears for Sept 26 searches, but not for, say, Sept 27, where it just told me that not flights were available. (The agent didn't know what those codes meant either.)
AND I had actually booked the itinerary as a normal ticket under a different name in Economy Flex, booking class V, on the Air Canada website immediately prior to calling in. (That was easy thanks to Google Flights.) So then I could reference the booking code and tell them that that's what I wanted to book using the flight pass. (I will cancel the normal ticket within the 24 hour period.) Luckily, I did not fill up the V basket with my ticket.

Is it OK to mention agent names here? She was great, understood the problem, managed to get someone from a different department (she did not say helpdesk but something else which I didn't understand) to work on this to try to manually build the itinerary. That person confirmed that the problem were, indeed, the long layovers, which were not to be expected when Flight Pass systems were originally programmed. (I get that.)

After a long while she said it didn't look good, but that they would keep trying. After about 70 minutes on hold I was told it would work, but that for flight passes it was a special lot of work to manually build itineraries, so it would likely take another 15 minutes. 20 minutes later it was all done.

Thank you to all who replied in this thread.
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Old Sep 10, 20, 6:57 pm
  #10  
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sokolov, glad it worked out for you. Hopefully this will get flagged and AC will look at fixing the FP system so that others don't have to endure this mess.
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Old Sep 11, 20, 10:10 am
  #11  
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The "National Resource Desk" is probably where you ended up to be helped with the FP issue.
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Old Sep 11, 20, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
The "National Resource Desk" is probably where you ended up to be helped with the FP issue.
Yes! I think she said Resource Desk!
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Old Sep 11, 20, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
I got the ticket issued! It took another 90 minutes on the phone (measured from the time I got to talk to an agent).

I was prepared: I had the error code from the flight pass webpage, "RC=400 component=EIPĒ", which appears for Sept 26 searches, but not for, say, Sept 27, where it just told me that not flights were available. (The agent didn't know what those codes meant either.)
AND I had actually booked the itinerary as a normal ticket under a different name in Economy Flex, booking class V, on the Air Canada website immediately prior to calling in. (That was easy thanks to Google Flights.) So then I could reference the booking code and tell them that that's what I wanted to book using the flight pass. (I will cancel the normal ticket within the 24 hour period.) Luckily, I did not fill up the V basket with my ticket.

Is it OK to mention agent names here? She was great, understood the problem, managed to get someone from a different department (she did not say helpdesk but something else which I didn't understand) to work on this to try to manually build the itinerary. That person confirmed that the problem were, indeed, the long layovers, which were not to be expected when Flight Pass systems were originally programmed. (I get that.)

After a long while she said it didn't look good, but that they would keep trying. After about 70 minutes on hold I was told it would work, but that for flight passes it was a special lot of work to manually build itineraries, so it would likely take another 15 minutes. 20 minutes later it was all done.

Thank you to all who replied in this thread.
It seems you were finally able to reach a knowledgable agent who was able to understand your problem and fix the issue. Some agents are great - I had a concierge recently override the maximum connection time on a flight AND get it upgraded for no extra credits over and above the combined credit charge. It's helpful to be polite and persistent.
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Old Sep 12, 20, 7:22 pm
  #14  
 
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For the record, NRD can absolutely manually book flight pass routings. In fact, it becomes a regular PNR issued with a credit pulled out manually (this will mean having to call in for a lot of things).

I really like that approach of being dumb. Not that you should have to, but people can get extremely defensive when you put in their face that you know more than them, and it becomes counter productive.

The reason why the agents are blocking is because there's FP abuse, and the default answer becomes "if the FP engine isn't showing it, it's not eligible" (which is funny because it will apply to that vast majority of requests, and yet you get ridiculous routings showing up).
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Old Sep 12, 20, 11:06 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by SparseFlyer View Post
For the record, NRD can absolutely manually book flight pass routings. In fact, it becomes a regular PNR issued with a credit pulled out manually (this will mean having to call in for a lot of things).
Indeed, I was told I would have to call in for any changes. But I can live with that.
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