How do I get in contact with a specific AC?

 
Old Aug 11, 09, 6:52 pm
  #1  
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How do I get in contact with a specific AC?

OK, I'm an AC member, and I'm meeting someone at my local AC, except it's on a day that I'm not travelling. Usually all I needed to do was get in touch with my local AC via the phone and let them know 24 hours in advance in order to get through security.

But, recently the 1-800 number listed on the back of my AC membership card changed their phone menu options so I can't get in contact with my local AC anymore! There's no more option to enter in the three digit number of my airport. How am I supposed to get in contact with my local AC now?

There are only three phone menu options now:

1. Join or renew AC (long wait time due to 70th anniversary?)
2. Just re-directs to AAdvantage desk and
3. Book Conference Center

I pressed #3 and did get in touch with an Executive Center personnel who said "oh, normally all you have to do is just go up to the ticketing counter and show them that you're a non-travelling AC member." But per the rules listed on AA.com, that's not the case.

Q: I would like to meet someone at the airport, but I'm not flying today. Can I get through Security to get to the Admirals Club lounge?

A: No. However, when you are not traveling and plan to meet someone for business purposes, you must call 24 hours in advance, to the specific lounge you will be using. We will arrange for Security clearance with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow you to get to the lounge. This opportunity is available for Admirals Club members only, and you will be required to show your Admirals Club membership card, along with a government-issued photo ID.
Sounds easy enough, but it's frustrating that you can't contact that specific lounge anymore!
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Old Aug 11, 09, 7:19 pm
  #2  
brp
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Unfortunately, you can't contact specific ACs, as you noted. I'd call back to the main number and, if they tell you about "just showing up," remind them of the text you quoted here and let them know that you don't feel comfortable with "just showing up."

Cheers.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 7:30 pm
  #3  
 
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I ran into the change about 10 days ago. I called and used option 3 and talked to a "real" person but she was in Chicago. I explained I needed to get my husband into LAX AC on my day of travel. She took my info and phone number and called back saying she booked it. She told us to go to the ticket counter to get a boarding pass. We did that and it worked but took a while to get the pass.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 8:55 pm
  #4  
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This was a change that occurred during the past year (since summer 2008). Premium Services management decided that AC AAngels were spending too much time on the phone helping their frequent customers (who had become their "buddies" and had been given the clubs' direct lines), instead of helping customers standing in front of them in person.

So, gradually, the domestic clubs have eliminated the ability to call a specific club. Instead, AA has increased the hours of Admirals Club Customer Service, which is based at the Executive Center at ORD (and possibly also at DFW). Theoretically, for a non-traveling member seeking club access for a "business meeting," you are supposed to call these folks in Chicago, and they will "book" you on a fake flight departing from your desired airport. Then, when you arrive at that airport, you can go to the ticket counter and get a "boarding pass" for that fake flight (to AVS TEST / HQ) to proceed through security. We've heard mixed reports on this new system....sometimes it works flawlessly, like at ORD (not surprising, since they've used the fake flight technique for a while, even before the phone system change). But at the smaller stations with clubs, the TAs haven't heard of it and go through the whole rigamarole because the specific club wasn't notified 24 hours in advance.

I actually think it's a good idea to standardize the non-traveling member access (instead of everybody doing it differently....currently, at JFK you have to see an agent, but at LGA you just flash your AC card at the checkpoint).

What would be REALLY wonderful is if the "fake flights" would allow kiosk or online check-in!!!

What would be SUPER SUPER wonderful is if we could book ourselves onto the "fake flights" via AA.com whenever we wanted non-traveling security access! That would be awesome! But I'm guessing that won't happen.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 10:01 pm
  #5  
 
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About 2 months ago I needed access to the ORD Admirals Club on a day when I was not traveling. I phoned and used option 3. I spoke to a representative (at an unknown location) who gave me a 6 digit Record Locator number.

Two days later, I arrived at ORD and entered the Record Locator number in the automatic check-in machine. It immediately issued a boarding pass with my real name, a fictitious flight number, First Class, seat 1A on a 777 to BIL (Billings, Montana) leaving at 11:59 PM !!!

The boarding pass worked perfectly at the TSA inspection point. The TSA personnel made no comment. The system worked flawlessly, and I got a unique boarding pass worth saving.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 10:13 pm
  #6  
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A few years ago I needed to access the SJC AC for some reason (renewal, I think) when I wasn't flying. I didn't arrange in advance,but I went to the TA, told them what I wanted to do,they called the AC, and it was OK. The TA gave me a BP from Headquarters to Sabreville. Wish I'd saved that one

Cheers.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nums View Post
About 2 months ago I needed access to the ORD Admirals Club on a day when I was not traveling. I phoned and used option 3. I spoke to a representative (at an unknown location) who gave me a 6 digit Record Locator number.

Two days later, I arrived at ORD and entered the Record Locator number in the automatic check-in machine. It immediately issued a boarding pass with my real name, a fictitious flight number, First Class, seat 1A on a 777 to BIL (Billings, Montana) leaving at 11:59 PM !!!

The boarding pass worked perfectly at the TSA inspection point. The TSA personnel made no comment. The system worked flawlessly, and I got a unique boarding pass worth saving.


Great news! I hope this system works (or soon will work) nationwide! It seems like the trick is to get the PNR code from the club rep at ORD before hanging up.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 11:18 pm
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"Danger Will Robinson, danger!"

Either you know about "it", or you don't.

My concern here is that a "shadow" perk has being dragged into the sunlight, perhaps threatening it's continued existence.

And as you ponder that thought, please remember, this thread started asking about direct phone access to the AC, something that has been "disappeared".

Just sayin'
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Old Aug 11, 09, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
My concern here is that a "shadow" perk has being dragged into the sunlight, perhaps threatening it's continued existence.

And as you ponder that thought, please remember, this thread started asking about direct phone access to the AC, something that has been "disappeared".

Just sayin'
What's the "shadow perk" you're referring to, accessing the AC when not flying?

That's a published benefit, as long as you "plan to meet someone for business purposes" as outlined in AA's FAQ.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 5:40 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by videomaker View Post
What's the "shadow perk" you're referring to, accessing the AC when not flying?

That's a published benefit, as long as you "plan to meet someone for business purposes" as outlined in AA's FAQ.
If that is the case, then I stand corrected.

But I do miss that personal phone "touch" to the AC when things were not going well.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 7:17 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
Either you know about "it", or you don't.

My concern here is that a "shadow" perk has being dragged into the sunlight, perhaps threatening it's continued existence.

And as you ponder that thought, please remember, this thread started asking about direct phone access to the AC, something that has been "disappeared".

Just sayin'
Being able to access the Club on non travel days is not a shadow perk. It is a standard published benefit of AC membership.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 9:56 am
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What we have here, is a failure to communicate
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Old Aug 12, 09, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by Score8 View Post
What we have here, is a failure to communicate
Gee that's new on this board.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 2:04 am
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Originally Posted by Dallas49er View Post
But I do miss that personal phone "touch" to the AC when things were not going well.
I called the central 800 number and they actually transferred me to the AC that I needed to reach.

During the call, we lost the connection. Since she had my AAdvantage number and contact info, the AAngel called me back. The number showed on the caller ID. I guess I can now call at least one AC when I need to.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 1:47 pm
  #15  
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Thanks all for your input. I'll type up a report here on my experience in getting into the AC without being on a flight.

As I said before, I called the Executive Center and the agent told me that they'll get in contact with the LAX AC although all I needed to do was to go up to the TA counter to get in. I cited the rules that it wasn't the case so promised to call me back later. I never did receive the call back.

Went to my home airport and went up to the counter. Ticket agent was unhelpful; she initially gave me the cold shoulder saying she wasn't supposed to do that and that I was supposed to contact the airport's AC directly. When I cited that I had no direct way of reaching the AC due to the change made in the 1-800 phone menu options, she gave me a huge sigh and called the AC.

After a few minutes on the phone with someone at the AC, she said I was lucky that I was on the list for that day and printed me a fake boarding pass from Sabre Field to Headquarters. But before handing me the boarding pass, she said it wasn't her job to give these out - that it was the AC's responsibility to come down and give it to me personally. What? How on earth does the AC know when I'm supposed to come and how am I supposed to call them to let them know I'm here when there's no way to get in contact with them? I was already scrapped for my meeting time so I just said thank you and went on my way.

Now for those of you who know LAX, it's one of the airports where the TSA actually scans the BPs before going through the screening. When the TSA took my BP and scanned it, it gave a red beep. The TSA agent was confused so he looked at my BP and said that this wasn't a valid BP because the departure city said Sabre Field instead of LAX. I politely said that this was a BP issued to get into the AC and showed him my membership card. He called over his supervisor and after a few minutes he let me through.

Ugh, so much hassle just to get into the AC on a day I'm not flying. Next time, I'll insist on having a meeting landside!
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