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Alaska disappointing handling over an award ticket regarding viral outbreak in china

Alaska disappointing handling over an award ticket regarding viral outbreak in china

Old Jan 25, 20, 8:35 am
  #1  
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Alaska disappointing handling over an award ticket regarding viral outbreak in china

Curious what you guys think of this.

Due to the viral outbreak in china we would like to change a trip exiting china on Feb 3 to an earlier date or from another city outside of china. We made 4 calls in total toward Alaska. As the routing is complex (one of those early SQ award fares) I knew changing would be difficult, so each time I was trying different ways to see how to maybe make it possible. And that included different traveling dates, different exiting cities, getting rid of one leg see if it facilitates the change. On the third call the agent did find a way to change the city whilst following all the rules but it triggered a reprice of 35000 additional miles. I told the agent Iíll think about it and call back later. She says sheíll note it down so that I can call back.

So on my last phone call I called back to see how that change would works. I got transferred to an agent at international partner desk. Right off she very bluntly told me I wonít be able change the ticket at all because thereís notation on the ticket by a manager saying that this is a system error ticket and cannot be changed, you either fly it or cancel it. Then she accused me of calling multiple times taking advantage of Alaska trying to get to different people to see if I can get a different answer. When I made clear that wasnít my intention for my different calls and asked why with the third agent it was possible, she couldnít give me an answer.

I want to make clear that throughout all my previous calls nobody has told me itís forbidden to change. As almost a whole province in china of 50 million people on lockdown, my intention was simply trying to find any possible way to get out earlier as possible But still keep the original travel plan as situation is only getting worse. All previous agents were beyond polite and helpful, and I believe i was comprehending and cooperative as well. Really disappointed on last agentís accusatory tone, especially after the possibility was found on the third call. Itís one thing that Alaska donít want to help with people thatís stuck in china, itís another thing of accusing them of taking advance of alaska when we are simply trying to get out of China. A big dent on my impression of Alaska.

At the end of the day itís not even about money and miles. Obviously we can just find another ticket out. But as Iím a methodological person, I prefer to exhaust all possibility of one option first before moving on to the next. A new ticket with a new company and a new routing would change the original plan drastically.

The attitude that I felt from Alaska in the end on how to handle it was such a shock since I always felt Alaska had been very good on treating their customers right. Thatís why I am and had been MVP Gold 75K for a couple of years now. Am I being too harsh and pushed too hard on a ticket thatís ďsystem error routingĒ?
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:06 am
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I definitely side with Alaska here.

Especially if youíre taking advantage of a mistake fare and using tons of their time to make changes to it. I couldnít imagine calling 4 times to try to get someone to reroute me for free when I already had gotten an amazing deal.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:11 am
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That's the risk you take when abusing the system. Same if you buy something on "sale", change triggers a reprice.
I'm guessing there may be notes in your PNR so you probably burned the bridge already
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by pl840502 View Post
Right off she very bluntly told me I wonít be able change the ticket at all because thereís notation on the ticket by a manager saying that this is a system error ticket and cannot be changed, you either fly it or cancel it.
Can you expand on what the agent meant here? Was the ticket mispriced somehow?

Does the State Department have any travel warnings up against travel to your destinations?
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:31 am
  #5  
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I'm confused and it would help to know the current dates and routing for the AS award ticket.

USA State Department has issued a Level 4 (do not go) travel warning for at least part of China. Many USA State Department employees and their families are being quickly relocated out of China, but I don't know how far beyond the Wuhan area this extends.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:55 am
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The current routing and the changes youíve requested would help in knowing how reasonable you are, likewise for Alaska. If you want better suggestions for what you could do, that information is pretty important.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Can you expand on what the agent meant here? Was the ticket mispriced somehow?
Alaska + Singapore Airlines (SQ) Partnership

starting at about #306 for the backstory.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by pl840502 View Post
As the routing is complex (one of those early SQ award fares) I knew changing would be difficult
This is the part earlier posters are reacting too. When you take advantage of a mistake fare (and these particular awards did involve deliberate exploitation of a known pricing error), one of the known risks is you may not be able to change it.
Originally Posted by pl840502 View Post
On the third call the agent did find a way to change the city whilst following all the rules but it triggered a reprice of 35000 additional miles. I told the agent I’ll think about it and call back later. She says she’ll note it down so that I can call back.
It's likely the agent had a different interpretation of the call, and notated the record accordingly. Probably something like "mistake fare, change offered with reprice, passenger unwilling to pay additional miles for requested change, no further changes to this ticket."
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Old Jan 25, 20, 11:20 am
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Based on your post history, you arenít a stranger to booking mistake fares or trying to change them.

You may be receiving more ďattitudeĒ from AS because you booked the ticket knowing it was an error, and then continually called back despite receiving a fair offer that reprices a similar changed ticket to its value. They might not have been as harsh on a regularly priced ticket.

IMO you should just let this go as a hazard of booking an error fare and quickly book something that routes you away from China since avoiding the coronavirus seems to be the higher priority than this dispute.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 11:37 am
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If I may add a quick note, it sounds like the third agent who said it would take another 35000 miles had essentially found a new ticket you could do and accounting for canceling the existing one and issuing a brand new one at today's mileage pricing. Op, mind telling us what you had originally? Sounds like you had a ticket out of China priced at SE Asia. Is that the case? Would the same ticket with North Asia pricing take 35k more miles? If so, then just fly the original ticket or cancel and do the new award with the additional 35k miles. For the attitude issue, just mark it as a bump in the road and move on.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by pl840502 View Post
On the third call the agent did find a way to change the city whilst following all the rules but it triggered a reprice of 35000 additional miles. '

So on my last phone call I called back to see how that change would works.


At the end of the day itís not even about money and miles.
You've wasted Alaska's time on at least four calls. They figured out an option for you - and it costs 35,000 additional miles. And each time that takes the agent offline while the agent figures this out.

You called back and asked how it works....they already told you how it works - you pay 35,000 miles and take the new flights. That's it.

And yeah, it is about money and miles....that's what got you into this in the first place.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 12:16 pm
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I'd take the 35k offer and run
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Old Jan 25, 20, 12:21 pm
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Clearly AS is noting each call, what you asked for and what was offered. That was reviewed by a manager and a determination was made that the ticket should never have been issued in the first place. Not much AS can do about that.

When you finally got the reroute offer, I would have jumped on it on the spot. Alternatively, there is no reason AS should change your ticket for free, but presumably your travel insurance will cover a ticket at least out of the danger zone.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by JumboJet View Post
I'd take the 35k offer and run
For 35,000 miles, I'd run to the airport and get out of China ASAP in the absence of further information.

However, OP appears to live in TYO, so unless availability is a problem, there should be cheap tickets (perhaps using LCC/ULCC) from major mainland China airports to Japan, and once in (most parts of) Japan, there are bullet trains to Tokyo. Problem solved.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by WebTraveler View Post
You've wasted Alaska's time on at least four calls. .
Not debating the ethics of what the OP is trying to do but I have always been taught that if you don't get the answer you want on the first call....call back again...and maybe even again if need be...until you do get a CS agent who can remedy the situation. So I am not sure it is a " waste" of AS time. They are getting paid to answer calls.
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