MAJOR Issue: oneworld Award Booked by AA - Use Travel Center?

 
Old Aug 5, 08, 8:10 pm
  #1  
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MAJOR Issue: oneworld Award Booked by AA - Use Travel Center?

Mods - please don't move this to the Oneworld Forum. My questions and concerns are with AA and the way they are handling my situation. Thanks.

Long story short - I booked a complicated OW130C itinerary for myself and a companion about 3 months ago, which leaves in about a week. Our trip was supposed to start in LAX and end in SEA - which was done to get as close to the 20,000 flown miles rule without going over to the next higher award level. Part of our trip also includes flying into KIX and out of NRT. Apparently, this means my ticket has two open jaws and is thus not a valid routing.

During my research for this trip, I actually got some information here on FT that this would not be allowed, so I was very specific when booking it to make sure that it was OK. Obviously, they booked (and ticketed it). I've made 3 or 4 date and class of service changes since the original ticketing and each time it was reissued without problem - aside from some minor unrelated tax issues I ran into.

Today, while searching availability, I saw that a flight had opened up business class the same day that I had coach seats on a later flight. I excitedly called up AA, who was able to book the J seats. I assume it then went to get reticketed/reissued.

Several hours later I received a cryptic email from AA telling me to call them, which I immediately did. 1 1/2 hours on the phone later, I have no resolution. The agent and supervisor were completely inflexible on allowing me to keep my routing as is. They refused to acknowledge that it had been ticketed (and reticketed several times since) like this for months. They INSISTED that I must drop the LAX/SEA open jaw. I agreed to be flexible and let them change it to both starting and ending in LAX. Unfortunately, this puts me over the 20,000 mile limit to the next higher OW award level. Last I heard, the supervisor is going to talk to the OW liaisons and get back to me tomorrow.

Here's my problem - I booked this trip in good faith. I had no intent to deceive AA, in fact I specifically asked about this issue when originally booking it and AA had several chances to correct this issue prior to now. So here I am a week before traveling, a significant amount of non-refundable travel plans booked, with a ticket in flux. What options do I have here? What if I get a call tomorrow and am told that they will not let me travel? Honestly, if they can't make an award ticket work for whatever reason, I truly feel that they should book me separate tickets or whatever it takes to make this trip happen, as originally booked.

Sorry for the lengthy post - just wanted to get the facts out there for some decent advice. I would appreciate any assistance or senior contacts at AA that you might refer me to. Normally, I wouldn't be so concerned, but with so little time to rectify this, I feel like I need to be proactive. Thanks for any advice.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 9:01 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by troyb View Post
Here's my problem - I booked this trip in good faith. I had no intent to deceive AA, in fact I specifically asked about this issue when originally booking it and AA had several chances to correct this issue prior to now. So here I am a week before traveling, a significant amount of non-refundable travel plans booked, with a ticket in flux. What options do I have here? What if I get a call tomorrow and am told that they will not let me travel? Honestly, if they can't make an award ticket work for whatever reason, I truly feel that they should book me separate tickets or whatever it takes to make this trip happen, as originally booked.
And I'm sure AA realizes this and will try to make this happen for you as much as possible, but time is running short for AA's oneworld award desk to work on it. And as you're aware, 2 open jaws is against the rules. Just because the mistake has been unenforced in the past doesn't mean you're entitled to the benefits of that oversight.

Especially true since there has been a recent change to oneWorld award rules, which probably came with refresher training for people on the oneWorld award desk. That may well have been your downfall.

If they can't make the award ticket work for you and you can't/won't come up with the extra miles, you should be aware that their only legal obligation is to refund your miles and paid-taxes. That would be the case even if you end up with non-refundable hotel/tours that depended on the ticket.

In short, you should prepare for the scenario where you'd take off on the first leg of the itinierary and continue to work with AA to fix the rest of the itinierary.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 9:19 pm
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umm, it sounds like the moral of this story is that if you do manage to get an award routing which you should not, then for heaven's sake, don't go monkeying around with the routing and classes of service. The OP may not get this resolved, but it is hard to sympathize when the OP has made so many changes and finally got caught on the illegal routing. FWIW, I do hope the OW desk is able to resolve this to the OP's liking.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by nd_eric_77 View Post
umm, it sounds like the moral of this story is that if you do manage to get an award routing which you should not, then for heaven's sake, don't go monkeying around with the routing and classes of service. The OP may not get this resolved, but it is hard to sympathize when the OP has made so many changes and finally got caught on the illegal routing. FWIW, I do hope the OW desk is able to resolve this to the OP's liking.
I appreciate your comment at the end about hoping they resolve it to my liking, but I'm not sure I agree with the rest. I specifically, and I mean specifically, asked about this particular issue on more than one occasion. If I was told no when I made the original reservation, fine. Same for when it was originally ticketed or after my first couple changes. I really wasn't trying to get some illegal routing - quite frankly, if I was trying to do something against the rules, it would have been more significant than leaving a simple Osaka - Tokyo leg off so that I can take the Bullet Train.

Now, with days to go until departure, when there has been ample opportunity to inform me of this, I think its unfair to tell me that essentially, they have made a mistake and I may have to suffer. Hopefully it gets worked out, but for now I'm pretty nervous.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 10:13 pm
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will dropping the Osaka Tokyo open jaw and keeping the LAX-SEA open jaw keep you under 20K? If so, it seems that might be the better option at this point.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by troyb View Post
During my research for this trip, I actually got some information here on FT that this would not be allowed, so I was very specific when booking it to make sure that it was OK.
<snip>
Here's my problem - I booked this trip in good faith. I had no intent to deceive AA, in fact I specifically asked about this issue when originally booking it and AA had several chances to correct this issue prior to now.
Your research told you that you did not have a legal routing. You knew this, and specifically asked. Unfortunately, you ran into a case where you knew more than the agent.

From a Customer Relations standpoint, they should take care of it - perhaps you can suggest that they re-issue at the higher award level and then "bonus" you the difference (ie net cost to you = 0). Of course, they don't have to. It was never a legal routing, which you knew, and that's hardly good faith.
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Old Aug 5, 08, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by troyb View Post
Mods - please don't move this to the Oneworld Forum. My questions and concerns are with AA and the way they are handling my situation. Thanks.

Long story short - I booked a complicated OW130C itinerary for myself and a companion about 3 months ago, which leaves in about a week. Our trip was supposed to start in LAX and end in SEA - which was done to get as close to the 20,000 flown miles rule without going over to the next higher award level. Part of our trip also includes flying into KIX and out of NRT. Apparently, this means my ticket has two open jaws and is thus not a valid routing.

During my research for this trip, I actually got some information here on FT that this would not be allowed, so I was very specific when booking it to make sure that it was OK. Obviously, they booked (and ticketed it). I've made 3 or 4 date and class of service changes since the original ticketing and each time it was reissued without problem - aside from some minor unrelated tax issues I ran into.

Today, while searching availability, I saw that a flight had opened up business class the same day that I had coach seats on a later flight. I excitedly called up AA, who was able to book the J seats. I assume it then went to get reticketed/reissued.

Several hours later I received a cryptic email from AA telling me to call them, which I immediately did. 1 1/2 hours on the phone later, I have no resolution. The agent and supervisor were completely inflexible on allowing me to keep my routing as is. They refused to acknowledge that it had been ticketed (and reticketed several times since) like this for months. They INSISTED that I must drop the LAX/SEA open jaw. I agreed to be flexible and let them change it to both starting and ending in LAX. Unfortunately, this puts me over the 20,000 mile limit to the next higher OW award level. Last I heard, the supervisor is going to talk to the OW liaisons and get back to me tomorrow.

Here's my problem - I booked this trip in good faith. I had no intent to deceive AA, in fact I specifically asked about this issue when originally booking it and AA had several chances to correct this issue prior to now. So here I am a week before traveling, a significant amount of non-refundable travel plans booked, with a ticket in flux. What options do I have here? What if I get a call tomorrow and am told that they will not let me travel? Honestly, if they can't make an award ticket work for whatever reason, I truly feel that they should book me separate tickets or whatever it takes to make this trip happen, as originally booked.

Sorry for the lengthy post - just wanted to get the facts out there for some decent advice. I would appreciate any assistance or senior contacts at AA that you might refer me to. Normally, I wouldn't be so concerned, but with so little time to rectify this, I feel like I need to be proactive. Thanks for any advice.
I had almost the exact same scenario occur on Delta a few years back. I never tried to change the ticket....but about a week before travel they advised me of the problem (I was not so smart as to know all the rules when the ticket was issued...I went with the agent and her suggestions). They would never back off from their position...two supervisors stated they would bring it up in a training session, but I was out of luck. They had completely screwed my ticket and my plans.....yet they would change nothing and there was no flexibility at all. Admittedly I was not a big Delta flyer, as I am on American. I was lucky to be able to get a ticket from American with a few changes and took the trip. I had to pay fees for the ticket as it was less then 21 days to flight time, but that was OK. After all was done, I wrote a letter to Delta detailing all that happened. They gave me 5,000 miles....that were added to what I had and I got another ff ticket. There have been about 515 odd miles sitting in that account since then.,...due to expire in December. I hope Delta goes out of business and I lose the miles that way......better than the time limit.
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Old Aug 6, 08, 12:44 am
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It is hard to paint AA as the bad guy in this one.

If the routing is and always has been against the rules then giving AA several opportunities to spot the mistake and correct it wasn't a great idea, especially as you freely admit you've known about the problem from before you even booked the ticket.

If you end up benefiting from a mistake on their part then be happy, but you can't complain if they spot the error because you keep making changes.

I hope you get it sorted out but if you can't close one or other of the open jaws without going over the 20K limit then you may have to come up with the extra miles.
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Old Aug 6, 08, 12:45 am
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Maybe you could get them to switch it back to the previous ticketing, where you flew coach instead of business on the other flight.... other than that, I don't see how AA has any responsibility to honor a new ticketing with illegal routings when you were the one who changed the ticket.

When I see subject lines like "MAJOR Issue ...", I think there has been a terrorist attack or something, or at least AA canceled your ticket and kept your money/miles without telling you. I guess we all have different standards for what major means.... some people here feel that their nuts being served at 70 degrees instead of 72 degrees is a major customer service oversight.
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Old Aug 6, 08, 12:51 am
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Originally Posted by r415 View Post
Maybe you could get them to switch it back to the previous ticketing, where you flew coach instead of business on the other flight....
I think the OP has already tried that, but since that routing isn't valid either I doubt the staff had much option once they had spotted the problem.
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Old Aug 6, 08, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by Mark_T View Post
It is hard to paint AA as the bad guy in this one.

If the routing is and always has been against the rules then giving AA several opportunities to spot the mistake and correct it wasn't a great idea, especially as you freely admit you've known about the problem from before you even booked the ticket.

If you end up benefiting from a mistake on their part then be happy, but you can't complain if they spot the error because you keep making changes.
I don't really agree with this reasoning. If you go back and re-read the OP's post, he says he got information from FT that his routing would not be allowed. While FT is a great resource, it is not the be-all and end-all of information, rules & regulations. So it seems reasonable that the OP walked into this situation thinking it might not be allowed, and when booking, specifically asked AA if it would be allowed.

In other words, the OP alerted AA to the fact that his request may not be valid. Apparently, AA told him that it was, in fact, valid. They ticketed him. Upon multiple occasions, when given the opportunity to not reticket him, they continued to give him a valid ticket. They subsequently caught their error in allowing the ticket in the first place. It really seems to me that in this case, AA had ample opportunity to 1) not make a mistake in following the rules in the first place and 2) had multiple opportunities to fix their mistake to comply with their own rules. The OP relied on AA's advice to make his travel plans. Seems like an exception should be made in this case to allow the OP to travel using his current itinerary.

-z
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Old Aug 6, 08, 1:59 am
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Originally Posted by zski1 View Post
The OP relied on AA's advice to make his travel plans. Seems like an exception should be made in this case to allow the OP to travel using his current itinerary.
and it may well be that AA will reach the same conclusion, but I don't think it is fair for the OP to make out that AA is causing the problem when he knew right from the start he had an invalid routing and was only depending on AA's mistake to hang on to that routing.

To continue to make changes each of which force a review of the 'legality' of the routing and then complain when the inevitable happens and the mistake is spotted seems somewhat disingenuous.
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Old Aug 6, 08, 2:45 am
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Frankly I find this thread more than a little discouraging. Maybe because I'm at the end of a long day.

Regardless of whether we think the OP is getting his just desserts (and I don't at all), I wonder if we could be a bit more helpful. I for one do think he is facing a "major issue", though I respect and admire the fact that there are those on this board who could have a RTW trip that leaves in a week canceled and not think it was a big deal.

OP, did you see HNL's suggestion amongst all the other discussion? That was my first thought, as well. As cool as the bullet train would be, if I had to choose between paying an extra 40,000 miles and flying NRT-KIX, I'd take the latter. If the extra 306 miles will put you over the magic number, of course, that's a moot point.

Have you tried calling at different hours of the night to talk to different supervisors? Have you tried escalating above supervisor level? Have you tried e-mailing AAdvantage customer service? Those may be some other tacks to take. Writing to the head honchos at AA will not get a response in time, even if they bothered to write back.

McFlyPHL's suggestion of adding a 20,000 bonus to your account per ticket in order to smooth things out is a good one, too. Just make sure you bring it up with them instead of waiting for them to suggest it.

We all hope you can get this sorted out. Tell us how things go!
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Old Aug 6, 08, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by troyb View Post
Long story short - I booked a complicated OW130C itinerary for myself and a companion about 3 months ago, which leaves in about a week.
What is your definition of a complicated itinerary?
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Old Aug 6, 08, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
From a Customer Relations standpoint, they should take care of it - perhaps you can suggest that they re-issue at the higher award level and then "bonus" you the difference (ie net cost to you = 0).
I had a similar situation with an AA OneWorld ticket.

A senior supervisor finally credited my AAdvantage account with 30,000 to make the trip valid. It took an awful lot of argument and threats though.

As much as I hope your situation works out, I have a sneaking suspicion that AA will not be too accommodating in this case.
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