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Recovery when things go wrong on a Lifemiles award

Recovery when things go wrong on a Lifemiles award

Old Mar 7, 19, 6:59 pm
  #1  
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Recovery when things go wrong on a Lifemiles award

I flew on my first Lifemiles award redemption earlier this week, and unfortunately things went sideways. I would be interested to hear about others' experiences in similar situations. My original routing was BKK-CDG-FRA-IAD, with the first segment in Thai Royal First and the remaining in LH biz. Due to an technical issue at BKK and thanks to a longer flight time rerouting around Pakistan, my flight from BKK to CDG was 2 hours late upon arrival, and I missed my connection to FRA. After seeking assistance airside with no success, I eventually made may way to the check-in areas for both LH and TG. However, both airlines refused to provide any re-booking help, just shrugged their shoulders and said this isn't our problem.

Given how difficult it was to get the award booked in the first place, I had zero confidence in the Lifemiles CS being able to provide any timely resolution, especially since there was no longer award availability. I guess I (incorrectly) assumed that Thai would take responsibility for the recovery, given it was their flight that was late, and I was traveling in first class. I ended up being forced to book a separate ticket to get myself home from Paris, on United.

Any thoughts on what I should have done differently, other than apparently booking a connection with just over two hours? I plan to reach out to LM shortly about options, but wanted to solicit feedback from this group first.
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Old Mar 7, 19, 7:45 pm
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I once had a LH to LH connection which wasn't possible due to a delay in the first flight. LH after a little pushing booked me on EK on their own dime. Once the control of the ticket is with airport the operating carriers need to take charge.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 8:43 am
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Unacceptable! Unfortunately, you should have solved this at the airport, now it is going to be (much) more difficult. The CDG-FRA-IAD coupons are unused so Lifemiles will refund them but BKK-CDG costs as much as BKK-IAD so there will be very little miles refund (if any).

Thai was responsible so they should have rebooked you; the contract of carriage says that they are responsible for flying you to your final destination. The type of ticket doesn't make any difference. You should write to Thai explaning the situation (that the airport staff refused to rebook you) and that you want a compensation for the ticket you ended up booking.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 9:42 am
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It was, in fact, TG's responsibility as the late-delivering carrier to reroute you to IAD. Your sole recourse is against TG and short of suing in a Thai or French court, you are unlikely to find any relief.

I would send a note to TG noting that you were delayed on arrival and misconnected as a result of a delay caused by TG, that you asked TG to rebook you (provide the name, description and location of the individual with whom you spoke), and that he refused to rebook. Accordingly, ask that TG reimburse the cost of the replacement ticket you purchased from UA. Keep it to that. It will almost certainly be denied. With that denial, make a claim against your travel insurance.

While I appreciate your views of AV/LM, but they might well have helped out here. As the ticketing carrier, they did not have responsibility for the reroute, but you can't know without asking. It forecloses one route for you.

If you want to try suing TG in a French court, go ahead, but it seems not worth it. unless you have the skills and time.
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Last edited by Often1; Mar 8, 19 at 10:38 am
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Old Mar 8, 19, 12:58 pm
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If all else fails you can easily go to small claims if you reside in the US.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 7:46 pm
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I appreciate everyone's feedback. I believed at the time Thai should be responsible for my reroute, but 30+ minutes of discussion had yielded no movement on their part. I was also somewhat against the clock, as I knew there was a UA flight departing within the next 90 minutes, so I opted to rebook a MileagePlus ticket with them, as I was really needing to get home that evening. This was one of those instances where having access to miles comes in very handy. While I believed I would be able to file a claim for reimbursement, I was not willing to risk being out of pocket $3100 for the new ticket.

I plan to follow-up with both Avianca and Thai and ultimately my travel insurance provider.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It was, in fact, TG's responsibility as the late-delivering carrier to reroute you to IAD. Your sole recourse is against TG and short of suing in a Thai or French court, you are unlikely to find any relief.

I would send a note to TG noting that you were delayed on arrival and misconnected as a result of a delay caused by TG, that you asked TG to rebook you (provide the name, description and location of the individual with whom you spoke), and that he refused to rebook. Accordingly, ask that TG reimburse the cost of the replacement ticket you purchased from UA. Keep it to that. It will almost certainly be denied. With that denial, make a claim against your travel insurance.
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What? There is no travel insurance with award tickets?

So in other words, you are saying he is S. out of luck.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 7:16 pm
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If your travel insurance doesn't cover award tickets, you need to change your supplier.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post

I would send a note to TG noting that you were delayed on arrival and misconnected as a result of a delay caused by TG, that you asked TG to rebook you (provide the name, description and location of the individual with whom you spoke), and that he refused to rebook. Accordingly, ask that TG reimburse the cost of the replacement ticket you purchased from UA. Keep it to that. It will almost certainly be denied. With that denial, make a claim against your travel insurance.
Originally Posted by smilee View Post
What? There is no travel insurance with award tickets?

So in other words, you are saying he is S. out of luck.
That's not what Often1 said. He said that asking TG to reimburse the cost of the replacement ticket would most likely be denied. And then OP could use that denial as potential ammunition in his quest to seek recourse from a travel insurance provider (i.e. the credit card used to pay for taxes/fees would be one avenue worth looking into)
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Old Apr 9, 19, 2:39 pm
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Mine was easily solvable by the operating carrier (so it wont always be this easy) but went as follows

Booked via LifeMiles LAX-NRT-BKK. LAX-NRT was in NH F on NH5. NRT-BKK in TG F. Trip was about 3 weeks ago.

NH5 massively delayed on my DOD (saw online hours earlier) so overnight misconnect in NRT certain. So seeing that NH175 (scheduled departure 90 minutes earlier, but in this case ~3 hours earlier (11:20) due to delay on NH5) had F space went down to LAX at 8:20am at the checkin window and asked NH to switch me to NH175. Agent couldnt have been nicer, went in the back and came back with a boarding pass to NH175 after 5 minutes. Even put me in 1A on 77W after system had put me in 1D next to another passenger (the horror).

Not sure it would be so easy if another carrier was needed instead of NH but it was a painless and easy in person IRROPS handling on a Lifemiles F award.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 10:07 am
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Thai was responsible so they should have rebooked you before you departed BKK, or upon landing in CDG.
If it were me, I would stick my ground at CDG, talk to the station manager at CDG upon deplaning, either at the airside connections counter or landside check in gates.
The return flight of course was being prepped at that time you landed, so a station manager is definitely on duty.

Chalk it up to lack of preparation for options on your part, but I am not saying it is your fault. Just that you learn lessons in life.

Considering the technical issue back at BKK, that was the timing you should have started discussing a plan B with the TG F lounge team, They may even have reroute you onto alternative flights (MUC/FRA/LHR with F) just to avoid having you misconnect and then Thai being on the hook to pay LH/UA/Swiss etc. to fly you in business class. (LM is not involved here)
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Old Apr 10, 19, 1:41 pm
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The issue is there that carriers refuse to deal with/rebook award tickets of other carriers. As soon as the agent realises that the ticket is an award ticket, the agent will ask the pax to contact the issuer of the ticket for rebooking, even in case of IRROPS. TG is no exception to this practise. Had this been a revenue ticket, TG would most likely have rebooked the OP without fuzz. I doubt the OP would have gotten anywhere by insisting to be rebooked by TH at CDG.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
The issue is there that carriers refuse to deal with/rebook award tickets of other carriers. As soon as the agent realises that the ticket is an award ticket, the agent will ask the pax to contact the issuer of the ticket for rebooking, even in case of IRROPS. TG is no exception to this practise. Had this been a revenue ticket, TG would most likely have rebooked the OP without fuzz. I doubt the OP would have gotten anywhere by insisting to be rebooked by TH at CDG.
The method of payment is unimportant and the carrier is supposed to follow the rules. Insistence would likely have paid of. I have always been rebooked on my miss-connects, whether revenue or award.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 11:46 pm
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Indeed, TG should rebook but as the OP found out the reality is that TG will refuse to do it for award tickets of other carriers - often the argument will just be "Sorry Sir, but we can't do that".

This is a clear disadvantage of traveling on award tickets when things go South and rebooking is needed.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by Tokyoite View Post
Thai was responsible so they should have rebooked you before you departed BKK, or upon landing in CDG.
If it were me, I would stick my ground at CDG, talk to the station manager at CDG upon deplaning, either at the airside connections counter or landside check in gates.
The return flight of course was being prepped at that time you landed, so a station manager is definitely on duty.

Chalk it up to lack of preparation for options on your part, but I am not saying it is your fault. Just that you learn lessons in life.

Considering the technical issue back at BKK, that was the timing you should have started discussing a plan B with the TG F lounge team, They may even have reroute you onto alternative flights (MUC/FRA/LHR with F) just to avoid having you misconnect and then Thai being on the hook to pay LH/UA/Swiss etc. to fly you in business class. (LM is not involved here)
I'm afraid that you may have little experience with TG (or other Asian carriers), Thai culture and incompetence. In theory, things should have worked out as you describe - but the reality with TG in situations like this is sadly far from what should have been done. The OP already explained to have used 30+ min to try to convince TG at CDG to rebook the ticket but at no avail. I'm sure that during these 30+ min things were escalated to the person in charge for TG at the airport. What more should the OP have done?
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