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Petty AA: Denied earlier flight at LHR on SAAver award, got SSSS

Petty AA: Denied earlier flight at LHR on SAAver award, got SSSS

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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:21 am
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The New AA: How Petty... or How Unconnected to Commercial Realities?

Hello all,

The story is worth telling, although I would not believe it if I myself heard it:

Months ago, I booked a MilesAAver award in Business Class LIS-LHR-JFK for today, September 6, with a 5 1/2 hour connection in LHR as AA 141 (Dep 7.30 PM) was the only one showing availability.

Arriving Heathrow from Lisbon early today at around 1.45, I looked whether an earlier flight to JFK was available. It was, AA 107 at 5 PM. It showed an availability of J7 and a seat map with 12 available J seats on Expertflyer, and this only 3 hours before departure. By comparison, my AA 141, 2 1/2 hours later only showed J4.

Although I am EXP and there is no fee involved to return/exchange awards, my request to change flights was, as I expected, rejected at the Flagship FC counter, but I was told to call the AA EXP line, which I did. I mentioned the bigger availability on AA 107 than on AA 141 but it was rejected too.

I mentioned to the Flagship FC agent that courtesies were a 2 way street, that I had just previously been delayed 30 hours in early August between Manchester and New York, that I had requested and obtained compensation as per EC 261 but that I had not informed any of my traveling companions of the regulation, which they did not know about, during the 5 hours wait at the gate, and that I would most likely not be so discrete the next time. She seemed very interested and gave me a boarding pass for my flight with the mention "SSSS" ("Potentially suspicious passenger, Hold at gate for secondary inspection").

So I'll go to the gate early, I have time. But Lower and Cheaper... I have seldom seen.

O Mighty Caesar, Dost Thou Lie So Low...

Last edited by Cofyknsult; Sep 6, 17 at 4:03 pm Reason: Restore original post title
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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
Hello all,

The story is worth telling, although I would not believe it if I myself heard it:

Months ago, I booked a MilesAAver award in Business Class LIS-JHR-JFK for today, September 6, with a 5 1/2 hour connection in LHR as AA 141 (Dep 7.30 PM) was the only one showing availability.

Arriving Heathrow from Lisbon early today at around 1.45, I looked whether an earlier flight to JFK was available. It was, AA 107 at 5 PM. It showed an availability of J7 and a seat map with 12 available J seats on Expertflyer, and this only 3 hours before departure. By comparison, my AA 141, 2 1/2 hours later only showed J4.

Although I am EXP and there is no fee involved to return/exchange awards, my request to change flights was, as I expected, rejected at the Flagship FC counter, but I was told to call the AA EXP line, which I did. I mentioned the bigger availability on AA 107 than on AA 141 but it was rejected too.

I mentioned to the Flagship FC agent that courtesies were a 2 way street, that I had just previously been delayed 30 hours in early August between Manchester and New York, that I had requested and obtained compensation as per EC 261 but that I had not informed any of my traveling companions of the regulation, which they did not know about, during the 5 hours wait at the gate, and that I would most likely not be so discrete the next time. She seemed very interested and gave me a boarding pass for my flight with the mention "SSSS" ("Potentially suspicious passenger, Hold at gate for secondary inspection").

So I'll go to the gate early, I have time. But Lower and Cheaper... I have seldom seen.

O Mighty Caesar, Dost Thou Lie So Low...
You're an EXP, you should know better on two points:

(1) AA doesn't change international tickets upon request. IF there was availability on AA 107, then as an EXP you could switch a MileSaver ticket free of charge. But if AA 141 was on time, and there wasn't such availability on AA 107 (which is a Revenue Management decision), then you have no right to complain. The fact you threatened that if it was delayed you'd remind everyone of EC261 is frankly rather silly and the agent probably just moved you to get you out of their hair. Good for you. You badgered your way into a free change.

(2) Agents have NO power to award SSSS. Often, last minute flight changes trigger SSSS in the computer. But its a computerized decision.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:55 am
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That devious flagship agent probably called ahead to the gate to have them place your carry-on in the sizer too huh?
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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:58 am
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I am afraid you totally mis-read me:

I was NOT moved... and There WAS more availabilityon AA 107 than 141. And I wish you were right but in that case AA is: Changing my flight would have been a favor, not a right.

Also, since there was no last minute change of flights, I really do not see where else the SSSS could come from. I have been Explat since that rank existed and never had an SSSS in my life.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
I am afraid you totally mis-read me:

I was NOT moved... and There WAS more availabilityon AA 107 than 141. And I wish you were right but in that case AA is: Changing my flight would have been a favor, not a right.

Also, since there was no last minute change of flights, I really do not see where else the SSSS could come from. I have been Explat since that rank existed and never had an SSSS in my life.
The airline does not determine SSSS; and last minute flight/flight changes MAY trigger SSSS.

See posts: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...ing-pass-mean/
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:06 am
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There's definitely a way an airline agent can make you SSSS. At CDG the gate agent didn't like my answers to the "security" questions, went to the computer and reprinted my boarding pass with those lovely letters.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by andersonCooper View Post
The airline does not determine SSSS; and last minute flight/flight changes MAY trigger SSSS.

See posts: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...ing-pass-mean/
OP mentioned he's still on his own flight. OP, can you please clarify whether you had the original BP that was without SSSS but afterwards agent printed another one out for you on the same flight but with SSSS? Did you get the BP at all before entering the lounge?

I am wondering if the agents tried to change it, almost managed to change it, but she couldn't, so she reverted the itinerary back to your original reservation.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:12 am
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Haha - LHR strikes again! Can't say anyone is surprised. Best strategy is to smile and nod and move on with life.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
...that I had requested and obtained compensation as per EC 261 but that I had not informed any of my traveling companions of the regulation, which they did not know about, during the 5 hours wait at the gate, and that I would most likely not be so discrete the next time.
I bet that was a real thrill for them.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by PaulInTheSky View Post
OP mentioned he's still on his own flight. OP, can you please clarify whether you had the original BP that was without SSSS but afterwards agent printed another one out for you on the same flight but with SSSS? Did you get the BP at all before entering the lounge?

I am wondering if the agents tried to change it, almost managed to change it, but she couldn't, so she reverted the itinerary back to your original reservation.
Paul, I DID have the original BP but printed by a machine ahead of checking in at Lisbon airport (first flight to LHR). No SSSS.

I like to have a BP from the Operating airline, if only because it includes baggage tracking, scan to enter Fast Track etc... so I always ask for a new one (showing the old one) at the time connection point.

As to the agent at LHR, she tried NOTHING and seemed much more interested to check that her nails had dried.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post

(1) AA doesn't change international tickets upon request. IF there was availability on AA 107, then as an EXP you could switch a MileSaver ticket free of charge. But if AA 141 was on time, and there wasn't such availability on AA 107 (which is a Revenue Management decision), then you have no right to complain.
According to AA, LHR to JFK flights are eligible for confirmed same day change

https://www.aa.com/i18n/plan-travel/...day-travel.jsp

There is debate about whether MilesAAver tickets are eligible for same day fare only to flights with MilesAAver inventory or whether it is available for a wider variety of flights. Posters have indicated they have successfully been able to confirm same day flight changes on MilesAAver tickets when there was no MilesAAver inventory on their desired flight. Couldn't the OP tried to do SDC with agents until he got a sympathetic one?
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:56 am
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The philosophical discussion about two-way courtesies didn't do you any favors. That might have held true 20 years ago, but not in today's airline culture.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
... gave me a boarding pass for my flight with the mention "SSSS"
If it's any consolation, last month I originated at LHR in a party of two. One passenger had SSSS and the other did not. There was no difference at all in the pre-screening. In fact, the non-SSSS passenger's rollaboard was thoroughly searched. So I hope that your SSSS experience is as easy as ours was.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 11:09 am
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I'm not familiar with same day changes on award tickets, but having been SSSS'd quite a few times, I can tell you that it was NOT given to you by the agent. It's random, unless you've been traveling around some sketchy parts of the world. Then you get it quite often.

But also, I believe they should give you some leeway as you've flown 4MM+ with them. It's kind of f'd up that you've been with AA for so long giving them quite a bit of revenue, and still they wouldn't even consider bending the rules.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
...and obtained compensation as per EC 261 but that I had not informed any of my traveling companions of the regulation, which they did not know about, during the 5 hours wait at the gate, and that I would most likely not be so discrete the next time...
<redacted>

What did you think the agent was going to do after you said that? "Oh sir, thank you sooooo much for not doing that! Here you go, here's your earlier flight, and I bumped you up to First Class for being such a greeaaaat customer!"

I'm sure you're now a break room story for all of them to cackle about.
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Last edited by JDiver; Sep 6, 17 at 1:28 pm Reason: Overly personal characterization deleted
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