Combine Award & Paid Tickets

Old Nov 29, 16, 4:17 pm
  #1  
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Combine Award & Paid Tickets

I am thinking of booking my family of 3 on AB with the routing JFK-DUS-ZRH. There are 3 award tickets available for JFK-DUS, but only 2 for my desired DUS-ZRH connection. What I would like to do is book wife and child on an American Airlines award ticket from JFK-DUS-ZRH. Then book myself on an AA award ticket for the same JFK-DUS flight and separately purchase (<$100) myself a ticket for the DUS-ZRH flight they will be on. This should keep all 3 of us on the same flights, barring irregularities.

Are there any obvious problems with this plan? I realize that we will be on separate PNRs and that if the JFK-DUS flight is cancelled for some reason, my first ticket only calls for me to end up in DUS. This seems to me like a minor risk as I could always buy a new DUS-ZRH ticket if I was forced to. Would I be able to check-in at JFK all the way to ZRH? Would that help to avoid a missed connection in the case of a delay? Anything else I'm missing? Thank you for any advice.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 4:26 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by EightBall View Post
I am thinking of booking my family of 3 on AB with the routing JFK-DUS-ZRH. There are 3 award tickets available for JFK-DUS, but only 2 for my desired DUS-ZRH connection. What I would like to do is book wife and child on an American Airlines award ticket from JFK-DUS-ZRH. Then book myself on an AA award ticket for the same JFK-DUS flight and separately purchase (<$100) myself a ticket for the DUS-ZRH flight they will be on. This should keep all 3 of us on the same flights, barring irregularities.

Are there any obvious problems with this plan? I realize that we will be on separate PNRs and that if the JFK-DUS flight is cancelled for some reason, my first ticket only calls for me to end up in DUS. This seems to me like a minor risk as I could always buy a new DUS-ZRH ticket if I was forced to. Would I be able to check-in at JFK all the way to ZRH? Would that help to avoid a missed connection in the case of a delay? Anything else I'm missing? Thank you for any advice.
Seems like a sound plan.

Hand a "TCP note" in your and their PNRs to indicate you're together.

As you'll be flying on separate tickets you'll not be able to through check your baggage. Can you let your bag be registered to one of your companions? If so, you'll have solved that problem.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 7:08 pm
  #3  
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Only drawback is a major delay that mis-connects you onward flight. Your family will be protected but you may have to purchase a new ticket if AB isn't sympathetic. Technically they don't have to honour the onward ticket any longer. OW used to have an agreement to do this on separate "connecting" ticketed flights but now it's at the onward airline's discretion.

Also agree that all checked bags should all go with the award holders and not with your if allowances provide for it.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
Only drawback is a major delay that mis-connects you onward flight. Your family will be protected but you may have to purchase a new ticket if AB isn't sympathetic. Technically they don't have to honour the onward ticket any longer. OW used to have an agreement to do this on separate "connecting" ticketed flights but now it's at the onward airline's discretion.

Also agree that all checked bags should all go with the award holders and not with your if allowances provide for it.
Definitely put the checked baggage with award holders. Even if there's a fee. Collecting and rechecking is a pain and will seriously mess with your minimum connection time required. I learned this the hard-ish way yesterday on two separate tickets AMS-LGW-TPA and it made for a very stressful connection.
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Old Nov 30, 16, 8:25 am
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All of the suggestions posted above are good, and your plan should work well. But let me mention two other possibilities. 1) If AB has award availability on a later DUS-ZRH flight that day, you might consider booking JFK-DUS-ZRH award travel for yourself on the later flight. If a seat on the earlier flight opens up, you can change at no charge, since the origin and destination would remain the same. 2) Is an award seat available JFK-ZRH (AA) or JFK-TXL-ZRH (AB) that day? If so, and if you don't mind splitting up, you might gain additional options.
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Old Nov 30, 16, 12:50 pm
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Thank you for all the suggestions.

I would expect that we would only have two checked bags in total, so we could easily check them with my wife and son to have them go through to ZRH.

I did think about splitting us up having 1 or 2 go on the direct JFK-ZRH flight. But with the overnight flight and travelling with a 3 year old, I think it would be best for all of us to stick together if possible.

However, the idea of booking myself JFK-DUS-ZRH with a later DUS-ZRH connection sounds like a great idea. As was mentioned, I could always change the ticket if a seat on the earlier flight opens up. The next flight is about 4 hours later, so I wouldn't be too interested in waiting behind at DUS while the family moves on. But I don't see why I still couldn't purchase a ticket for myself DUS-ZRH and skip the last leg of the award ticket if necessary (again, I'll have no checked baggage). Furthermore, this should also offer me some protection in the case of a delay with the original JFK-DUS flight as my award ticket would maintain my final destination as ZRH.

Thank you again for all the great ideas!
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