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AA rebooked me on a flight landing 3 hours after my connection

AA rebooked me on a flight landing 3 hours after my connection

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Old May 15, 19, 6:04 pm
  #1  
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AA rebooked me on a flight landing 3 hours after my connection

And didn't inform me. OK, this is more of a rant than anything else.

I booked a first class award trip to Europe late last year, leaving next month. It routed me LAX -> AUS and then on to LHR via the dreaded code share (and subsequent "surcharges") with BA.

Earlier this week, I just happened to check the reservation, to ensure my wife's new passport details were correctly entered. On selecting the flight, I noticed a warning triangle with the notation that one of my flights had changed. Clicking on the link didn't really help, as that just noted that "A problem has occurred, please call AA for information"

So, I then checked the actual flight details. You bet they had changed. The original LAX -> AUS flight appears to have been permanently cancelled and so they had, helpfully, rebooked me on the next flight. The only problem is, that flight arrives in AUS about 3 hours *after* the BA flight has left. I didn't receive any notification at all about this "update".

Obviously I immediately called AA to ask what was going on. At first the agent didn't seem to understand what the issue was, as I had been rebooked on another flight in the same class of service. After pointing out the timing issue, I was put on a lengthy hold, at the end of which, was offered LAX -> PHX -> AUS as the only alternative. This departs LAX around 5 hours earlier than my original flight, which leaves me with some timing issues to resolve on that morning now. No explanation was given as to why I was moved to that particular flight based on the times, nor any reason why I wasn't contacted to inform me of the change, and as to be expected, no apology about what had happened.

I'd be interested to know what AA would (could) have done had I only discovered this the day before the flight, when I went to check in.

Cheers.
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Old May 15, 19, 6:21 pm
  #2  
 
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This is typical AA behavior when schedule changes happen, don't take it personally. The computer will automatically rebook you, oftentimes to flights with times that don't make sense like this. And depending on the timing you may or may not get an email notification.

What you can do is call AA and ask for something better, do not rely on the AA agent to tell you what they can or can't rebook you on. Flying LAX-LHR, call AA back and say that the now double connection and 5 hr earlier departure doesn't work and ask to be put on one of the LAX-LHR nonstop flights. I'm guessing there was award availability on the LAX-PHX-AUS routing, so the first agent rebooked you on that out of laziness. When AA changes the schedule you don't need award availability on the new flights in order to rebooked, but you may have to HUCA several times to get what you want.
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Old May 15, 19, 6:39 pm
  #3  
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Unfortunately, the AA IT system is built in layers over the old core of Sabre. Prior to bankruptcy, HP was to develop a new “Jetstar” PSS, but with bankruptcy and the AA - US merger it was decided to keep Sabre.

So: AA often does an atrocious job when ticketed passengers are subject to schedule (or equipment) changes, and all of us should “ride herd” on our tickets to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

When these things do occur, AA is usually pretty good at reaccommodating us - but it can be quite inconvenient. If you’d shown up three hours after your intended BA flight (not a BA “codeshare”, as AA awards are not booked as codeshares, but a BA flight operated by BA) had departed, AA would have rebooked you on the next flights with available seats to your destination, possibly prioritizing AA (regardless of award availability), and probably have worked out reaccommodation on BA, it’s joint venture partner across the Atlantic. That of course means you might have lost aone or more days of travel. (You might have been reaccommodated on the nonstop LAX-LHR flight as well, but that might have been challenging in First.)

When you fly BA as an award flight, BA charges you what they used to call fuel charges but now merely call “carrier imposed fees”. And if you fly on the way back originating in the U.K. on any airline you’re also charged the Airline Passenger Duty. See Carrier Imposed Surcharge / YQ: AA award on BA / British (& IB) & avoiding it

and

UK APD / Air Passenger Duty charged for UK departures (Master Thread)

Next time do what we do: check your flights periodically. AA has seasonal schedules and other changes, and with the grounding of the MAX 8s has been forced to cancel ~115 daily flights. And if flights go awry, as others say, be “helpful” by checking available alternatives (that’s where ExpertFlyer or TripIt Pro come in handy) and asking for improved routing.

Last edited by JDiver; May 15, 19 at 7:36 pm
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Old May 15, 19, 6:41 pm
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This is especially possible with schedule changes and partner segments since AA cannot automatically move you around as it does on AA metal so it does require a call to sort out.

You have one opportunity to request and accept a different routing on AA’s metal with this sort of change so I recommend calling in to request the direct LAX - LHR and by flying American you can request a return of the difference in the fuel surcharges to the original form of payment.
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Old May 15, 19, 6:52 pm
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Lack of notice aside, AA's frequent schedule changes should be generally looked on as an opportunity not a hindrance. Get a better routing and a refund of the BA fuel charges. Or if prices have gone down on tickets, it may be worthwhile to cancel the award entirely and just pay for the flight. I've done the latter on a number of occasions. More recently on a paid ticket, after a schedule change I switched from CMH-LAX-KOA flights to CMH-DFW-KOA flights that had C space available, and then immediately applied my BE upgrade certificates.
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Old May 15, 19, 6:52 pm
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As well as asking for LAX LHR non stop, look at other AA gateways to LHR (LAX-xxx-LHR) that have a better schedule. They have to get you to LHR in First
Link---> Where exactly does AA fly to Europe? Which routes have good business seats?
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Old May 15, 19, 7:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
As well as asking for LAX LHR non stop, look at other AA gateways to LHR (LAX-xxx-LHR) that have a better schedule. They have to get you to LHR in First
Link---> Where exactly does AA fly to Europe? Which routes have good business seats?
And if you’re traveling in the F and not the J cabin, consider how many FL Dining rooms can you visit in one trip:

LAX-DFW-MIA-JFK-LHR (four segment limit on award trip)
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Old May 15, 19, 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by enpremiere View Post


And if you’re traveling in the F and not the J cabin, consider how many FL Dining rooms can you visit in one trip:

LAX-DFW-MIA-JFK-LHR (four segment limit on award trip)
Thank goodness for that, or the OP might end up looking like Bibendum (the “Michelin man”).
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Old May 15, 19, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by eddiea View Post
... I was put on a lengthy hold, at the end of which, was offered LAX -> PHX -> AUS as the only alternative. This departs LAX around 5 hours earlier than my original flight, which leaves me with some timing issues to resolve on that morning now.
What did the agent say when you explained that that didn't work for your schedule?
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Old May 15, 19, 7:29 pm
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The best thing to do before calling is decide what works best for you and propose that option. LAX-PHX-AUS-LHR is a terrible routing and given AA has their own metal with F from LAX I’d have pushed for that.
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Old May 15, 19, 9:29 pm
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AA pulled something similar on me, although less extreme (just a too-short connection rather than an impossible one). My original flight was still there, just a changed flight #.

When I called, they tried to say, "Sorry, there's no award availability on the earlier flight." My response was, "Well, tough. It was there when I booked it originally. You'll have to force some space." Which they did, after putting me on hold for 10 minutes.
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Old May 16, 19, 3:56 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
As well as asking for LAX LHR non stop, look at other AA gateways to LHR (LAX-xxx-LHR) that have a better schedule. They have to get you to LHR in First
Link---> Where exactly does AA fly to Europe? Which routes have good business seats?
I should also note that BA is swapping back the 747 for the AUS-LHR route for the summer season, where F isn't as nice as the 789 that is used most of the year. I'd definitely see if AA can't accommodate from LAX directly on the 77W or perhaps the BA 380.

It's not like AUS is a difficult place to connect at, and I love my hometown AC. but getting to AUS and the AC are not going to impart any sense of "First Class" until you board the BA flight.
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Old May 16, 19, 4:20 pm
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Seems to be the way AA do it. Change your flights and no notification. Same happened for me for 4 different bookings.
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Old May 16, 19, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by DeepUnderground View Post
Seems to be the way AA do it. Change your flights and no notification. Same happened for me for 4 different bookings.
I have not had a single recent example where I did not get a notification via email from AA when I had a flight change, and I have an unfortunately large sample size the past couple months. I'd suggest you ensure your contact details and spam filters are correct as IME they do send notifications.
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Old May 16, 19, 5:25 pm
  #15  
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When there is a schedule change and the auto rebook does not suit you (whether, as here, because it does not work at all or it is simply not your choice), it falls to you to ask for something better.

Do not call AA until you have done the research to figure out what you want. Then call AA and ask for the specific flights with dates and numbers. AA will rebook onto any AA flight with F availability. It will also almost certainly be able to obtain space for you on BA.

But, it really is in your hands.
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