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Major QF Schedule Change on Award Itinerary Booked through AA. Advice?

Major QF Schedule Change on Award Itinerary Booked through AA. Advice?

 

Old Jun 21, 10, 2:03 pm
  #1  
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Major QF Schedule Change on Award Itinerary Booked through AA. Advice?

In October 2009, I used 250K AA miles to book two J award tickets on AA/QF:

Aug 28 - TPA-MIA-LAX on AA LAX-BNE and BNE-AKL (Aug 30) on QF
Sep 18 - AKL-LAX on QF LAX-DFW-TPA on AA

Two days ago I was unable to pull up the itinerary on AA.com because of a "change in the itinerary made outside of AA.com." I called the EXP desk and found out that, among other things, QF would not operate QF16 on Aug 28. Therefore, we had been rebooked on an LAX-SYD-BNE-AKL routing that left 5 minutes to connect in BNE on Aug 30. On the bright side, our new itinerary had us on QF12 (an A380) between LAX-SYD. However, the next BNE-AKL flight on Aug 30 would involve a 9+ hour layover in BNE.

I asked the agent if we could be rebooked on a SYD-AKL flight on Aug 30 or even the LAX-AKL nonstop on Aug 28. No J award seats were available SYD-AKL until QF49 that leaves SYD at 6:20 p.m., putting us into AKL at 11:25 p.m. on Aug 30. This would involve a 12-hour layover at SYD and about 45 hours of travel/airport time after our departure from TPA.

The agent suggested taking seats in Y on QF55, leaving SYD at 9:25 a.m. and arriving AKL at 2:30 p.m. I declined, on the basis that (a) I was redeeming miles for J tickets and did not want to accept Y seats on any segment, (b) after a transcon TPA-MIA-LAX flight and a 15-hour flight from LAX, I did not relish the idea of 3 hours in Y in a QF 737, and (c) we had booked these reservations and had been ticketed for eight months before we knew there was a schedule change, and QF had a responsibility to accommodate us on flights near the times and in the class of service we had booked.

The agent said she would send a note to the "Qantas liaison," explaining what had happened and asking if they could open 2 J seats on QF55 or on the LAX-AKL flight. In the meantime, she said that I needed to confirm seats so that I would have something. I took the J seats on QF49 with a 12-hour layover in Sydney.

This morning, I called the EXP desk again and asked if there had been a reply from the QF liaison. The agent said there had not. I asked when we might know something, and she said "It could be awhile, probably not before July."

At this point, changing dates or arrival cities in NZ in not an option. We purchased AKL-CHC-AKL roundtrip tickets on NZ (Aug 31 outbound, Sep 16 return) in April and have made some other travel arrangements.

I understand that QF award seats are scarce, but this is not a voluntary itinerary change on our part. Like I said before, I think QF has a responsibility to reaccommodate us on flights that get us into AKL in our ticketed class of service at or near the time we had originally booked. Am I being unreasonable?

Does anyone have suggestions about what our next move is, or are we at the mercy of QF and its liaison?
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:10 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Flying Buccaneer View Post

I understand that QF award seats are scarce, but this is not a voluntary itinerary change on our part. Like I said before, I think QF has a responsibility to reaccommodate us on flights that get us into AKL in our ticketed class of service at or near the time we had originally booked. Am I being unreasonable?

Does anyone have suggestions about what our next move is, or are we at the mercy of QF and its liaison?
Yes, you are being reasonable, but that doesn't change the fact that they don't actually have that responsibility. They will let you cancel, of course. AA are generally pretty good about rescheduling...but this really is out of their hands and up to the liaison.

Cheers.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:11 pm
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Have you been to Sydney before? If not, that 12-hour layover isn't so bad. You can take an AirportLink train to Circular Quay and visit the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and take a ferry to Manly or a bus to Bondi. Great city.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying Buccaneer View Post
However, the next BNE-AKL flight on Aug 30 would involve a 9+ hour layover in BNE.
If you accept this option, does the rest of the itinerary still work? Is this a daytime layover? If so, I'd be tempted to accept it and make the best of it if it keeps you out of coach. If you hold out for Qantas to respond and don't get the answer you want, you could be at risk of losing the alternative routing.

Have you been to Brisbane before? I've been to Brisbane quite a bit over the years, most recently last year after OzFest, and you could easily occupy the layover time there by taking the train directly from the airport into the city. PHOTOS You could even go all the way down to the Gold Coast if you wanted to. Brisbane has a pretty good network of ferries, buses and train to get around.

I did the A380 last month to SYD and slept a good 8 hours, so you might find yourself well rested and able to make use of the time in Brisbane.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by SAT Lawyer View Post
Have you been to Sydney before? If not, that 12-hour layover isn't so bad. You can take an AirportLink train to Circular Quay and visit the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and take a ferry to Manly or a bus to Bondi. Great city.
Yes, 11 times.

I will probably follow your advice, in any event, if nothing changes.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
If you accept this option, does the rest of the itinerary still work? Is this a daytime layover? If so, I'd be tempted to accept it and make the best of it if it keeps you out of coach. If you hold out for Qantas to respond and don't get the answer you want, you could be at risk of losing the alternative routing.

Have you been to Brisbane before? I've been to Brisbane quite a bit over the years, most recently last year after OzFest, and you could easily occupy the layover time there by taking the train directly from the airport into the city. PHOTOS You could even go all the way down to the Gold Coast if you wanted to. Brisbane has a pretty good network of ferries, buses and train to get around.

I did the A380 last month to SYD and slept a good 8 hours, so you might find yourself well rested and able to make use of the time in Brisbane.
I've been to BNE a few times, but the LAX-SYD-AKL routing is a little preferable, even with the 12-hour layover in SYD. I think I would rather be "stuck" in SYD for 12 hours than in BNE for 9, given that both alternatives get into AKL around the same time.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:35 pm
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Have faith in the QF liaison--I had to go through something similar a few months back. It took a few days of waiting & wondering, but I've found them to honor reasonable requests. I had been booked in F on SFO-SYD, and they then downgraded service to just J & F on that flight. After about 10 days of waiting, the QF contact with AA switched our 2 tickets to F seats on the LAX-SYD flight. Also ended up switching the 2 F seats to the A380 flight (day of departure, thanks to ExpertFlyer!), but that's another story. Good luck.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:35 pm
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This exact thing happened to me two years ago, and AA was able to work with Qantas to open up two seats on a different flight to get me to my destination. Took about two days before they called me back on it, but they did it. YMMV.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:37 pm
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If you get stuck at SYD for 12 hours and do not want to leave the airport, QF has a very good F class lounge. Sit down table service and spa on site. You could take a long shower, eat a good meal and take in some of the salon services to work out those long flight kinks. The lounge IIRC is large enough that should be able to squirrel away for a nap.

As other posters have said premium awards for AA flyers are hard to come by on QF. AA cannot force QF to open up two J seats.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 2:43 pm
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I did get some photos of the Qantas F lounge in Sydney when I was through there three weeks ago. PHOTOS
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Old Jun 21, 10, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
I did get some photos of the Qantas F lounge in Sydney when I was through there three weeks ago. PHOTOS
Thanks tom911, and everyone else for your feedback. I will let you know what happens.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 7:09 pm
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During a recent trip to that area, I wanted to make a few changes to our itinerary. I called AA, who said no availability. I tried QF check-in agents at the airport. The same day changes were easy, the agents just typed a while and did it. A change from one day to another (SYD-AKL) took a long time. The initial answer was no, but after much conversation between me and the agent and then between the agent and her supervisor, they finally said yes. On that flight, there were two other passegners in a 25 or so seat J section.

Relevant flights were in J and I'm AA PLT. In each case we had to explicitly acknowlege that they might not have enough meals for us. Not a major price.

So there's always hope.
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Old Jun 21, 10, 10:35 pm
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Would AA be able to route you via NRT on JL or via HKG on CX? I know it's a lot longer, but if you have to choose between sitting in SYD or being on the go, maybe the connections work via East Asia?
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Old Jun 22, 10, 3:44 am
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While you are probably not being unreasonable, one of the following is probably going to happen..

1. You and the airline reach an agreement on replacement flights
2. You get a full refund.

Changes happen, but they don't contractually entitle you to the flights of your choice or flights close to your original ones. Capacities have been reduced and you are not the only one in this situation for even this one flight.
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