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Stranded by "Broken" AS Partner Award Overseas, Forced to Buy Duplicate Ticket

Stranded by "Broken" AS Partner Award Overseas, Forced to Buy Duplicate Ticket

Old May 4, 23, 8:37 am
  #1  
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Stranded by "Broken" AS Partner Award Overseas, Forced to Buy Duplicate Ticket

Curious if this has happened to anyone else and if so how you dealt with it.

Last year I used AS miles to book a modest partner award for Mrs. BearX220 and me on EI / Aer Lingus BHD-EDI (Belfast-Edinburgh). Everything came back confirmed, EI PNR included, and EI was even able to assign us seats.

No hint that anything at all was amiss until T-24, last week, when the website would only allow Mrs. BearX220 to check in. We got to the airport and I was refused a boarding pass because, according to the contract / SwissPort staff, Alaska had "failed to attach the e-ticket to the boarding pass" (didn't make sense to me either really), and there were no EI managers at that station to talk to. The agent's only advice was to telephone Alaska Airlines, but it was 400am in Seattle and the flight was leaving in an hour. I ended up buying a duplicate ticket on the spot in order to travel with my wife.

I am not certain which airline to go after for reimbursement -- AS or EI -- but had this been a partner's premium cabin longhaul instead of a short-hop regional service my out-of-pocket cost would have been mind-boggling. This was all the more frustrating because there was zero inkling anything was wrong (I checked and rechecked the reservation between booking day and travel day, as I always do) but something was badly broken and it makes me queasy about using AS miles for high-priced partner awards.

Any insight, advice, diagnostics, or similar stories to share?

Last edited by BearX220; May 4, 23 at 8:47 am
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Old May 4, 23, 8:42 am
  #2  
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So one of two tickets on the same reservation was kaput?
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Old May 4, 23, 8:57 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff
So one of two tickets on the same reservation was kaput?
Exactly. One redemption, one PNR, two tickets on the booking, one fine, one kaput.
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Old May 4, 23, 9:23 am
  #4  
 
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I've had this happen with other partners before (QF with AA) where ticket was originally attached, AA's reservations page showed confirmed, but I wasn't able to check in, got to the airport, and was told that there was no e-ticket in the reservation, or something similar. Middle of the night in Australia, so couldn't get in touch with Qantas in time and had to rebook on AA for more miles. Hoping you don't get foisted off by each airline blaming the other, but suspect that's what will happen.
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Old May 4, 23, 9:42 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by BearX220

I am not certain which airline to go after for reimbursement -- AS or EI --
I’d probably start with AS because

- they sold you the ticket
- they are your “home airline” with good customer service reputation
- they are probably more responsive to DOT complaints

Not sure what regulator would be responsible for EI flights within the UK - the UK or EU/Irish equivalent of the DOT?

How much did the revenue ticket cost? Would you be okay with getting reimbursed with AS travel certs?

In any case, a scary experience - most of my AS partner awards are long haul J tickets that would be expensive to replace at some foreign airport. AS should be interested in identifying the root cause… and fix it.

Last edited by notquiteaff; May 4, 23 at 9:55 am
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Old May 4, 23, 9:50 am
  #6  
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AS, most likely after a schedule change, had a hiccup with the linkage of a new ticket to the reservation. Happens all the time, not AS-specific. I always travel armed (probably not the best term these days) with all of my ticket numbers. Sometimes that is all it takes - the partner airline finds the ticket swimming around somewhere and can apply it to the reservation. That's the best case. The next best case is that you can get in touch with the issuing airline, whether on the phone, or at the airport - this isn't always possible in time to fly.

I've learned from experience. So far, I've not been burned, but there have been some touch/go moments. Those are the moments I miss paper tickets, where the operating carrier could simply staple the flight coupon to the BP, and everything else was sorted out behind the scenes afterward.
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Old May 4, 23, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff
Id probably start with AS... How much did the revenue ticket cost? Would you be okay with getting reimbursed with AS travel certs?
Thankfully, and to my great surprise standing there at the check-in counter fiddling with my phone, less than 100. Imagine if I were in Tokyo trying to check in for my homebound JL F flight. Scary indeed. No on the travel certs; AS can either reimburse me for the duplicate ticket or one-half of the two-seat miles-plus-money redemption cost.

Originally Posted by Eastbay1K
I always travel armed (probably not the best term these days) with all of my ticket numbers. Sometimes that is all it takes - the partner airline finds the ticket swimming around somewhere and can apply it to the reservation... Those are the moments I miss paper tickets, where the operating carrier could simply staple the flight coupon to the BP,
Exactly. And I do bring a folder of "trip paper" with me on treks like this. In this case i had e-ticket numbers but it didn't help. I suspect the proficiency level of the Swissport contract agents played a supporting role here too; they did not seem to have much in the way of system forensic skills, could only do a few simple things at the keyboard, and after 10 or 15 minutes became Irish-grade stern and irritable over all this. in any event it was a perfect storm of IT trouble, staff not up to the challenge, and a ticking clock. i have begun my quest for help / justice with AS.
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Old May 4, 23, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by BearX220
And I do bring a folder of "trip paper" with me on treks like this. In this case i had e-ticket numbers but it didn't help. I suspect the proficiency level of the Swissport contract agents played a supporting role here too; they did not seem to have much in the way of system forensic skills, could only do a few simple things at the keyboard, and after 10 or 15 minutes became Irish-grade stern and irritable over all this. in any event it was a perfect storm of IT trouble, staff not up to the challenge, and a ticking clock. i have begun my quest for help / justice with AS.
We bring paper too but it obviously didn't help you in this alarming situation. A similar circumstance in some other location could be ruinously expensive.

I hope you report back on the results of your quest.
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Old May 4, 23, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K
AS, most likely after a schedule change, had a hiccup with the linkage of a new ticket to the reservation. Happens all the time, not AS-specific. I always travel armed (probably not the best term these days) with all of my ticket numbers. Sometimes that is all it takes - the partner airline finds the ticket swimming around somewhere and can apply it to the reservation. That's the best case. The next best case is that you can get in touch with the issuing airline, whether on the phone, or at the airport - this isn't always possible in time to fly.

I've learned from experience. So far, I've not been burned, but there have been some touch/go moments. Those are the moments I miss paper tickets, where the operating carrier could simply staple the flight coupon to the BP, and everything else was sorted out behind the scenes afterward.
Ironically, isn't AS getting rid of the kiosks which allow the printing of paper ticket receipts (to include the ticket number) as well as paper boarding passes ?

My 1980s method of transcribing all travel details (date of issue, ticket number, flight numbers, amount charged, passenger info, etc.) to a separate, printed itinerary have saved my bacon on multiple occasions. It's a sad occurrence when so many electronic methods fail, and paper alone provides a resolution, even if rarely.
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Old May 4, 23, 12:46 pm
  #10  
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I would seek compensation from Alaska.
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Old May 4, 23, 12:50 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by BearX220
Curious if this has happened to anyone else and if so how you dealt with it.

Last year I used AS miles to book a modest partner award for Mrs. BearX220 and me on EI / Aer Lingus BHD-EDI (Belfast-Edinburgh). Everything came back confirmed, EI PNR included, and EI was even able to assign us seats.

No hint that anything at all was amiss until T-24, last week, when the website would only allow Mrs. BearX220 to check in. We got to the airport and I was refused a boarding pass because, according to the contract / SwissPort staff, Alaska had "failed to attach the e-ticket to the boarding pass" (didn't make sense to me either really), and there were no EI managers at that station to talk to. The agent's only advice was to telephone Alaska Airlines, but it was 400am in Seattle and the flight was leaving in an hour. I ended up buying a duplicate ticket on the spot in order to travel with my wife.

I am not certain which airline to go after for reimbursement -- AS or EI -- but had this been a partner's premium cabin longhaul instead of a short-hop regional service my out-of-pocket cost would have been mind-boggling. This was all the more frustrating because there was zero inkling anything was wrong (I checked and rechecked the reservation between booking day and travel day, as I always do) but something was badly broken and it makes me queasy about using AS miles for high-priced partner awards.

Any insight, advice, diagnostics, or similar stories to share?
Just to reiterate what I am seeing. I had something like this happen the the other way around. I had this happen with a Sea to HNL route booked with Avios but on Alaska Metal, and is actually surprisingly common with award bookings. Essentially, when there is a schedule change or a flight number change the airline issuing the ticket (in your case Alaska) needs to reissue the ticket, which is essentially a confirmation that you have accepted the schedule change. While normally you would do this online, airlines have issues doing this online for flights operated by partners (I also had this issue come up with Avianca issuing a rewards ticket flown by Eva Air).

While it is odd that it only happened to one ticket, it is definitely something you need to be aware of. When flying on a ticket booked through a different partner I generally now check in T-24 so I have plenty of time to fix any issues that may come up during the checkin process. I am not sure exactly what your recourse is, but Alaska has great customer service so they will likely find some way to take care of you.
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Old May 4, 23, 1:33 pm
  #12  
 
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Always always get the ticket # especially after a schedule change or flight change. Ticket # is the only thing that would get you a boarding pass. All the other stuffs such as payment receipt, PNR # are just for decoration.
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Old May 4, 23, 4:24 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Thichbay
Always always get the ticket # especially after a schedule change or flight change. Ticket # is the only thing that would get you a boarding pass.
I had and supplied the ticket number. It didn't do any good.
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Old May 4, 23, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220
I had and supplied the ticket number. It didn't do any good.
I think the poster may have been suggesting getting the operating carrier to tell you the ticket number they have after each schedule change (that involves re-ticketing).
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Old May 4, 23, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220
I had and supplied the ticket number. It didn't do any good.
Interesting! Were you able to pull up your reservation using your tkt # on AS website?
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