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Award / awards and MCT / minimum connection time issues

Award / awards and MCT / minimum connection time issues

Old Jun 11, 15, 8:16 pm
  #1  
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Help! AA refuses to ticket award booking [MCT violation]

Hi all,

We're planning a long backpacking trip across Yosemite. Lots of logistics involved. A couple of weeks ago, I called AA and booked the following award itinerary as part of the trip:

American Airlines 2982
Grand Canyon (FLG)
August 14, 2015 09:10 PM
Phoenix (PHX)
August 14, 2015 10:02 PM

American Airlines 5893
Phoenix (PHX)
August 15, 2015 06:00 AM
Los Angeles (LAX)
August 15, 2015 07:26 AM

Alaska Airlines 2194
Los Angeles (LAX)
August 15, 2015 08:40 AM
Mammoth Lakes (MMH)
August 15, 2015 09:54 AM

The agent took my credit card info, said the reservation was confirmed and we were all set. We continued making arrangements for the trip, including a non-refundable hotel booking for the overnight in Phoenix, obtained a Yosemite wilderness permit, etc. A lot of things hinge on us being on these flights.

Today I logged onto aa.com and, to my surprise, noticed that the miles haven't been pulled and the reservation is listed as "on request" instead of the expected "ticketed". I called AA, the agent spent a long time going through the notes, and eventually said the issue was the connection in LAX. According to Alaska's rules, at least 85 minutes are required to transfer from Terminal 4 to Terminal 6.

As a frequent traveler who often makes the connection between these terminals, I absolutely disagree. Recently, LAX has re-opened airside tunnels between these terminals (see here and here) and a gate-to-gate walk takes 20 minutes at the most. Even when ~10 min is added for the airside bus ride from the American Eagle satellite terminal, this is a ~30 min connection at the most. American and US Airways don't require 85 minutes for it, but it seems Alaska didn't get the memo about the new airside tunnels.

Anyway, the AA agent claimed there's no way to override this, but I wanted to double-check here as well. When I booked this itinerary, I was told it was valid (I'm guessing they were going by American's rules, not Alaska's) and confirmed, and made numerous other bookings and arrangements based on that information. The only possible alternative itinerary would be to overnight at LAX, which is not currently available for award travel, and we would lose the pre-paid hotel in PHX. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 15, 15 at 7:32 pm Reason: Restore original post title
Darien-l is offline  
Old Jun 11, 15, 8:25 pm
  #2  
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MCT is binary. You are either within it or not. It's not waiveable. I would ask AA to force the space for the LAX flight as they sort of owe you one (even though they don't) and write off the PHX hotel as a lesson learned (don't book stuff until you have an e-ticket receipt in hand).
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:29 pm
  #3  
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Checking the MCT for AA-AS at LAX, it is indeed 85 minutes. If connection is less than that, then it is not allowed to be ticketed

Whether you agree with that being the time required doesn't matter
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:43 pm
  #4  
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Thanks for the quick replies! It's still AA's fault that they didn't catch this in the first place and gave me wrong information, right? Based on what I've read and my previous experiences, I thought "on request" meant that it's all locked in, confirmed, and waiting to be ticketed. It also would have been nice if they communicated to me about this issue instead of letting the reservation languish "on request". I'll call AA and see if they can force award space on FLG-PHX and PHX-LAX.
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:45 pm
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This is something they have zero flexibility with....my JL to AS connection in SFO was 5 minutes too short and they wouldn't book the ticket....we ended up overnighting in SFO and we'll cross out fingers that there is a 5 minute schedule change (in our favor) on either the AS or JL side between now and then
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Darien-l View Post
Thanks for the quick replies! It's still AA's fault that they didn't catch this in the first place and gave me wrong information, right? Based on what I've read and my previous experiences, I thought "on request" meant that it's all locked in, confirmed, and waiting to be ticketed. It also would have been nice if they communicated to me about this issue instead of letting the reservation languish "on request". I'll call AA and see if they can force award space on FLG-PHX and PHX-LAX.
They booked mine without issue even though it originally violated MCT...."on request" simply means that....it's a request which means you have to go back during the next day or two and check if it went through. The reservation doesn't languish forever...after a few weeks, they'll send you an email to call them. I'm sure this happens all the time....standard operating procedure with AA (unfortunately).
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Darien-l View Post
Thanks for the quick replies! It's still AA's fault that they didn't catch this in the first place and gave me wrong information, right? Based on what I've read and my previous experiences, I thought "on request" meant that it's all locked in, confirmed, and waiting to be ticketed. It also would have been nice if they communicated to me about this issue instead of letting the reservation languish "on request". I'll call AA and see if they can force award space on FLG-PHX and PHX-LAX.
You called, they charged you for that, and they screwed it up by violating Minimum Connection Time? I'd certainly call and request they address their mistakes.

"On request" means that: it's on request, but final ticketing process hasn't occurred. In this instance, it probably wouldn't ever have progressed to "ticketed".

We'll move this to the extant thread so you can continue there, now that you've garnered some answers. /Moderator
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Old Jun 11, 15, 8:51 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Darien-l View Post
Thanks for the quick replies! It's still AA's fault that they didn't catch this in the first place and gave me wrong information, right? Based on what I've read and my previous experiences, I thought "on request" meant that it's all locked in, confirmed, and waiting to be ticketed. It also would have been nice if they communicated to me about this issue instead of letting the reservation languish "on request". I'll call AA and see if they can force award space on FLG-PHX and PHX-LAX.
Whether there is "fault" might come down to how you asked the agent to search for availability. If you asked for them to search for Grand Canyon to Mammoth lakes and this was suggested, then there is an issue. If you simply asked for sectors piece by piece, I don't think this will necessarily be validated until attempting to issue it

It isn't very good that AA seems to lack in contacting the passenger to inform that it has failed validation

I don't see that the airline is going to "force" award space in this situation - it isn't an issue with a ticketed itinerary
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Old Jun 11, 15, 9:01 pm
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To the OP, I hope AA surprises us. Maybe it does the right thing and gives you an acceptable alternative. Please let us know.
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Old Jun 11, 15, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Darien-l View Post
Based on what I've read and my previous experiences, I thought "on request" meant that it's all locked in, confirmed, and waiting to be ticketed.
Nope. Not true. Not correct. Wrong. How else can I say it? No.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 12:54 pm
  #11  
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Water under the bridge for this OP, but the bottom line is that until you have an e-ticket confirmation, you don't have anything. Do not book anything you cannot cancel until you have the e-ticket. If time becomes of the essence, call the carrier, e.g. AA, and ask them to push the ticket immediately. It can be done. Or, in this case, not done.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 4:37 pm
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Just got off the phone with AA, and it looks like the outlook is cautiously optimistic. I got a great agent, who immediately understood what the issue was, agreed that an overnight in LAX instead of PHX was the only way to solve the MCT problem, and tried to force award space on the 10:45pm PHX-LAX flight by calling her support desk. However, they said they couldn't do it because that flight is operated by US, not AA. I then asked to speak to a supervisor, who said that there is a way to force award space on US, but it involves a formal request to a US liaison, and takes several days to go through. He said he's put it through, though, and that they would almost certainly honor that request. Thanks again for the help here -- I'll update again when the eticket is finally issued.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 4:51 pm
  #13  
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Holy cow! Just received an email from AA that my *original*, MCT-violating reservation has been ticketed! I went on the website to double-check, and, sure enough, it's ticketed, and the miles are pulled. I'm not sure what happened -- maybe they needed to ticket it before forcing award space with US? I would really, really like to keep it -- should I keep quiet or call AA to make sure they don't make any further changes to it?
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Old Jun 12, 15, 5:53 pm
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MCT is set by AA. Reservations specialists cannot over ride MCT but someone in ticketing can.
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Old Jun 12, 15, 6:08 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Pucnit View Post
MCT is set by AA.
You sure?
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