Late February — it was about time for me to have my first mileage run of the year. Last year I had completed almost a dozen trips in January alone, the triple EQM award to San Fransisco was a great incentive. This year there weren’t any comparable deals, so I kept looking. I eventually found a trip I had taken many times before, Austin to DFW to Seattle to Portland to DFW to Austin for $240. Not great, but not bad either. I’d leave Austin early in the morning (6:10 a.m.) and be back by 10:30 p.m. It would be a long day, made even longer by the the fact that this was a mid-week flight and I would have to be up early the next morning to go to work.
The day started well, I got to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and got word that I had been upgraded to First Class for the AUS-DFW segment. Normally I would not be overly excited about an upgrade on a flight that lasts less than an hour, but I had a short layover at DFW and sitting in the front of the plane would get me off and on my way to the next flight more quickly.
I had an uneventful flight to DFW, got to my departure gate and was glad to see that I was number one on the upgrade list to First Class. An upgrade for a 4.5 hour flight, that’s nice!
My upgrade came through and I boarded the Boeing 737 for the flight to Seattle. I was looking forward to one thing: watching a movie. I got a Kindle Fire HD tablet for Christmas and had loaded some movies on there for the trip. The first was a classic movie, an all-time great, that I had never seen from start to finish: The Godfather. I set the Fire on my food-tray, plugged in the headphones, and started to watch it. The only problem was that I did not realize The Godfather was a three-hour movie. By the end of the second hour, I was hoping someone, anyone, would make Don Corleone an offer he could not refuse if it would end the film.
While I joke about it, all it all I was pretty happy with the experience. The Fire was easier to carry around than a laptop, gave me an HD picture, and still had 70% power left when the movie was over. So, it was a good experience.
I did have to pause in the middle of the movie for a delicious breakfast.
It was soon time to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC). It had been a smooth flight and we arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. I had a 90 minute wait before I took my Alaska Airlines flight to Portland. I spent that time in the Alaska Airlines Board Room, eating some snacks and catching up on my email.
I soon made my way to the Alaska Airlines departure area for my short one hour flight to Portland aboard a Dash 400.
We landed on time in Portland. leaving me with another one hour layover. Shortly after we arrived though I received a call from AA flight status letting me know that the Portland-DFW flight would depart 30 minutes late. I had a one hour layover in DFW for my Austin flight, would this delay cause me to miss my connection?
I called AA’s Executive Platinum desk and explained my concerns. The representative listened as I explained my story, then laughed and said “You don’t have anything to worry about sir, your flight to Austin is also going to be late.”.
I received the upgrade to First Class for the Portland-DFW flight which left 35 minutes late. We had a smooth flight to DFW where I connected to my Austin flight which also departed 35 minutes late. I should have been on the ground in Austin by 11 p.m., but it was almost 11:30 when we finally landed and well past midnight by the time I got home. This might have been okay for a Saturday flight, but on a Tuesday when I had to get up for work the next morning, it was not much fun.
But I did earn 4,775 EQMs and a total of 9,548 miles, so it all had a purpose. I never left the airport — my next mileage run however will give me almost a full day in Seattle, so I look forward to that. In the meantime, I continue to look for good deals, which appear to be few and far between. But I’ll keep looking!
We’re two-thirds of the way through 2012, and I must say it has been a pretty good AAdvantage year for me.
I’ve earned Executive Platinum status through February 2014.
I’ve used many of those miles to purchase a trip for later in the year when my wife and I will visit Bali, Indonesia. We’ll fly First Class on American Airlines from Austin to Los Angeles, then Business Class on a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER to Hong Kong. Then we’ll again fly Business Class on Cathay to Bali. This flight was originally on a 747-400 and we were seated upstairs. But Cathay, like many other airlines, is starting to ground the 747-400 to reduce costs. So now we are on a “regional” 777-200.
The difference between this plane and our LAX-HKG plane is that the 777-300ER is a three-class aircraft (First, Business, and Economy), and business class seating is only four seats across per aisle; it is Cathay’s most luxurious aircraft. We’ll be in a forward section of the plane that only has two rows for a total of eight passengers.
The 777-200 is a two-class aircraft (Business and Economy), and business class is seven seats across per aisle. In other words, while it will be nice, it will not be as luxurious as the 777-300ER is or the 747-400 would have been. I’m sorry that we won’t be on the 747 for that flight, it may have been our last opportunity to fly on one of the most iconic aircraft of the 20th century. Japan Airlines, British Air, and Cathay Pacific are just some of the airlines that are grounding the 747-400 in place of more fuel efficient aircraft. Boeing has launched the 747-800, but so far only Lufthansa has ordered the aircraft for passenger service (several companies have ordered it as a freighter). Since Lufthansa is not a Oneworld partner with American Airlines, the chance of me flying with them is very small.
And that’s it for me for the rest of the year. I don’t have any other trips planned, no mileage runs on the calendar. What a difference from earlier in the year when I was flying so much!
I’ve looked for some 2012 mileage runs, but have not found many good deals. With that I have decided it make more sense for me to put my into flying and re-qualifying for elite status next year. I’ve seen some January-February R/Ts to Seattle for $235 which is good, but certainly not great. I may book some of those as we get later in the year if I can’t find anything better. I’ve looked at Flyertalk.com and seen some interesting deals (Honolulu to Chicago to Helsinki, Finland and back) but not found any that I can get to work from Austin.
I’ll keep looking, something is bound to show up. However, I think AA is probably holding off on any special deals until it emerges from bankruptcy and possibly merges with another airlines.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corp, the parent of American Airlines. The total value of my holdings is less than $90.
I knew I had earned Executive Platinum status, my boarding passes for my Chicago Flights listed me accordingly. But when I got home from the trip I found my Executive Platinum kit from American Airlines had come in the mail — now it was official!
The first thing I noticed was my EXP booklet.
I’ve received Gold and Platinum booklets from AA in the past — they were both printed on standard glossy paper. This booklet however was different, printed on a thicker, textured paper that helped to give it a more luxurious feel. No doubt AA wants to make its highest level elites feel very elite.
I also received a set of two EXP luggage tags and an ID card which not only identified me as an EXP, they also had a logo in the upper right-hand corner that showed that I also have Million Mile status with AA.
I look forward to traveling and taking advantage of the EXP benefits (which run until February 2014), but so far I only have one trip booked, our vacation in Asia in October.
I have only one problem on the account. An EXP starts with 8 system-wide upgrades (SWUs). According to AA, I have already used one of those and have 7 remaining. I called to ask about that, maybe I had used one without realizing it?
AA Customer Service checked, gave me the name of a lady I do not know, and said the SWU was used to upgrade her ticket for a flight from Heathrow to JFK last month. Obviously, someone screwed up somewhere, I am the only person who can request upgrades on my account and I did not do this one. AAdvantage Customer Service said they would note that and conduct an investigation to see what happened. They told me it might take two weeks, that was 10 days ago. In the meantime, my SWU balance remains 7.
This might be a huge deal if my wife and I had several trips planned, but we do not, nor do I see any coming soon. The best use of the SWUs is on a long trip, such as Hawaii or Europe. and we are not planning that right now. Still, I’d like to know that my account is correct, and hope they can fix this soon.
One week later the SWU was put back into my account, I now have eight,the correct amount. Thanks to AA customer service for helping with this!
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, The total value of my holdings is less than $90.00.
My goal for a large part of this year has been to earn Executive Platinum Status with American Airlines. To do that I would need to earn at least 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles, (EQMs), something I would normally not be able to do. But this year is different, I’ve earned me double or triple EQMs on virtually every flight I have taken, allowing me to accumulate miles much faster than I normally would.
I started the weekend with almost 94K EQMs. I’ve had several years in which I have flown 50-60 thousand miles and earned that many EQMs; so I have never before had an EQM total as high as this.
I had booked one more trip to San Francisco (SFO) to take advantage of the double EQMs between Dallas and SFO. This trip will give me 11 SFO trips so fat this year. I like San Francisco, but not that much!
MY last two mileage runs (SFO and Portland) had enough of a layover that I was able to leave the airport and go into town. This would not be one of those, my longest layover was 1 hour 10 minutes, at SFO. This was a get-out-there and then get-back type of trip.
I boarded the 6:30 a.m. American Airlines flight from AUS to DFW. As I was checking my email I got a message from another FlyerTalk user, Mike, who told me he was on my all of my flights today and we could meet at DFW. Sounded like a good idea! We described what we were wearing so we’d recognize each other. We had a smooth flight to DFW, arriving a few minutes early, something all of my flights would do this day!
I met Mike when I deplaned and he offered to take me to the United Airlines Club in Terminal E. That sounded like a great idea, I had never been in a United Club, so I looked forward to it. We would not be able to stay long though, our layover was little more than an hour.
I wondered how the club would compare with American Airlines’ Admirals Club and the answer is a definitive “better and worse.” Each club offers a place to rest and get away from the normal terminal noise and congestion, so that is a draw. The AC however has a much more luxurious feel to it (this might be different if I was visiting a different United Club, such as the one at O’Hare, for example.). The chairs and sofas at the Admirals Club look much nicer, more modern, more comfortable. The chairs I saw at the United Club did not look like chairs I would want to sit in for several hours.
The one place where the United Club excelled was in the food selection. Their self-serve area offered cereal, muffins, bread, bagels (with a toaster!) and a coffee machine that not only offered regular and decaf, it also offered espressos and cappuccinos. Can I get these items at the Admirals Club? Maybe, but if they offer them they are not out in the self-serve area where I can just grab them and go. So, this advantage goes to the United Club.
After a short visit we made our way to the gate for our flight to SFO. The plane was one of my favorites, a 767, and I had a window seat in the exit row. Bad move on my part.
While the flight could not have gone better, I have to say I have never been as cold on a plane as I was on this flight. I have sat in window seats in the exit row dozens of times and not had any issues with it, but there was something different about this one. I just could not get warm. Maybe it was because it was a 767? Maybe we were at a higher altitude? I don’t know, but I was so glad when we landed at SFO and I could get away from that uncomfortably cold seat.
I took Mike to the beautiful SFP Admirals Club, and have to admit I actually stood for a short while in front of their fireplace, trying to warm up. Hot tea helped a lot!
While we were in the AC, we met another FlyerTalk member from Austin who was also on our flights. He was excited, with the flight that day he would earn Platinum status.
The AC was very relaxing. so much so that we lost track of time. The other Austin flyer came up to us saying we had to run if we wanted to catch our flight back to DFW. We told him that couldn’t be, we still had another hour. “Really? Well enjoy yourselves, my flight is getting ready to leave!” I looked at my watch, which was still on Austin time, and realized he was right.
The three of us ran to the gate where they were already boarding Group 3. Fortunately, my First Class upgrade came through and I had a much more comfortable flight back to DFW than I had had earlier in the day.
We had a smooth flight to DFW. landing 10 minutes early. I had an easy connection to my Austin flight which also landed early, and I was home by 8 p.m., much better than some of my earlier trips this year when I did not get home until almost midnight.
This was a totally uneventful mileage run, I didn’t even take any pictures. Great service by American Airlines, which went four for four. I had four flights and every one of them arrived early.
The following day my miles for the flight posted, giving me 97,078 EQMs for the year. Now I just had to wait for my bonus miles for the SFO-DFW flights.
Two days later I had to let my dogs out at three o’clock in the morning: while they were busy outside I picked up my iPhone, visited the AA application, and saw the following.
I had 100,006 EQMs and had earned Executive Platinum status!
I called the Executive Platinum desk that morning, they had already submitted my wife and I for upgrades to First Class for our Chicago trip later this month. Later this year we will fly to Asia on Cathay Pacific business class. Normally that would allow us to use Cathay’s business class lounge in Hong Kong — with EXP status we will be able to use the First Class lounge, and American’s Flagship Lounge in Los Angeles. So, we will get some benefits from my new status. For a detailed description of Executive Platinum status. you can read AA’s brochure with all the details.
I’ve made a lot of trips this year, it’s time for me to spend some time at home. I’ll do some more mileage runs, I just don’t know when.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines. The total value of my holdings is less than $90.
There are a lot of things that I can control when I do a mileage run. I can choose my airline, my destination, the day I travel, what time I fly, and I can even choose where I will sit in the plane. The only thing I cannot control is the weather, and that fact played a big role in my most recent mileage run.
My schedule was the same as previous trips: depart Austin at 7:40 a.m. for DFW, take an 11:10 a.m. flight to San Francisco (SFO), fly back at 2:30 and take a 9 p.m flight from DFW to Austin, arriving at 9:50 p.m. and sleep in my own bed that night At least that was the plan.
Everything started well, my flight to DFW departed on time, and other than the screaming baby two rows away whose parents did not see any need to quiet her down at any time during the flight, was a good flight.
I arrived at DFW and changed terminals for my SFO flight. Shortly after I got to the gate the departure time changed from 11:10 to 11:45. The gate agent said there was a weather hold on all flights to SFO due to heavy rain and very high winds. I had been down this road before, and hoped that the delay would not be very long, but knew that it probably would be.
Over the next hour the departure time was pushed back time and again. I spoke with some of the American Airlines staff and found out how the delay works. Once the FAA reopened SFO, they had to prioritize which aircraft should land first. First priority went to those flights from China, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, etc. that had spent two hours circling over the Pacific Ocean. They needed to land as soon as possible. Next priority were the flights from London, Frankfurt, Dubai, etc. that had been circling over Canada for two hours, they needed to land ASAP. Next priority were the non-stop flights from the East Coast that were already in the air. Final priority was a flight like mine that was still sitting at the gate. As the lowest priority, we would not be leaving soon, so all I could do was wait.
I had used the AA iPhone app for my boarding pass and wondered if they had fixed the problem with e the app where it would not give me a boarding pass because the flight was late. No they hadn’t. I tried to get my pass but got the message that the flight “is already departed” even though it was still sitting at the gate. They really need to fix this problem, they are an airline and there will be delayed flights — their app needs to know what to do in that situation. I had the gate agent print the boarding passes for my remaining three flights. I’ll go back to using paper boarding passes rather than electronic on my next trip, at least I know they will work!
I was chatting with the gate agent when a man came up with his two boys, they looked like they were five and seven years old. He asked, the GA, “Is there enough time for us to ride the train around the airport for 45 minutes?” The GA smiled and said, “Sure, have fun, but be back in an hour.” Apparently, if you are at DFW with your kids and they are bored, the Skylink train between terminals is a great way to keep them entertained.
At 12:40 we finally started to board the aircraft, a 767-300, one of my favorite planes. My upgrade to First Class had come through — I got a seat that was more like an international Business Class seat than a domestic First Class. The seat had a foot rest, could move in a variety of directions, and could even go completely flat to serve as a bed. Very nice! Even though I was in a bulkhead seat I still had a place to put my bag in front of me instead of having to put it in the overhead bin.
We completed the boarding process and pushed away from the terminal at 1:00, but the pilot announced that to get in our slot in the line of aircraft heading for SFO, we’d have to wait until 1:43 p.m. to take off. So, we taxied to the far end of the airport and then sat and waited. At 1:40 we began to taxi, and precisely at 1:43 we went wheels-up. This was two and a half hours after our original departure time. I knew I’d have no problem catching my return flight at SFO, it would be the same plane, but my late night connection at DFW to AUS was starting to look a bit shaky.
The first part of the flight went very smoothly, they even served lunch.
We soon arrived in the San Francisco area. The pilot announced that the rain had stopped, but there were sill high winds, gusting to more than 50 mph. Because of this we would not make our normal approach from the east but would instead fly to Sausalito and then approach from the north. Normally the pilot tells the flight attendants to prepare for landing when we’re 10-15 out; this time he told them to buckle in while we were still 35 minutes away from landing.. After he said that he announced, “That’s the last you’ll hear from us on this flight, we’ll be very busy here in the cockpit.”
The last 20 minutes of the flight were very bumpy as the plane was tossed about by the heavy winds. I did not see anyone use their motion sickness bag in first class, but I would not be surprised if someone did in coach, it was that bumpy. We eventually reached the airport and as we came in over the harbor I saw something I had not seen befoe at SFO — whitecaps in the harbor. The plane was shifting left and right, but the crew kept it under control and we actually had a smoother landing than I have had on some other flights. Our original arrival time was 1:15, we arrived at 3:00.
We got to the terminal, I was the first one off the plane, and as I entered the terminal they were already announcing the plane’s departure for DFW. I had enough time to run to the rest room, make a quick call home, and then return to the gate.
We were scheduled to leave at 2:30, but since we did not land until three that wasn’t going to happen. We eventually started to board at 3:30 and took off at 3:55. The pilot announced we would land around 9:15, not good for me, my Austin flight was scheduled for 9. All I could do was hope that we would catch a good jet stream and be able to make up for lost time.
I had one good and one bad thing happen on the flight. The good thing was that while they would not serve a meal, they would serve a snack. I didn’t mind that, their snacks are a lot more than just a small bag of chips.
I had a chicken panini sandwich, salad, pita chips, and hummus. Not bad for a snack!
The bad thing was that the reading light for my seat did not work, nor did it work for the lady in the seat next to me. We showed the flight attendant our problem, a challenge since the flight attendant call button didn’t work either! She played with a series of switches in the forward area of the plane, but the only way she could get our light to work was to turn it on for every single passenger on the plane, not a very popular decision for those who hoped to sleep on the flight and strongly expressed their displeasure, Can’t say I blame them, I probably would have done the same thing. So, I had no way to read. I used the flashlight app on my iPhone for a while, but is designed to be used for only a few moments at a time and really uses a lot of battery power, so that did not work. I would not be able to read on this flight. I sent a complaint message to AA.com the next day — they apologized and gave me 4,000 miles. Thanks!
I hoped we would make up for lost time on the trip back to DFW, but I was out of luck. My flight to Austin was scheduled for 9:00; we didn’t land at DFW until 9:15. When I turned my phone on and looked at my itinerary, I saw AA had reserved a seat for me on a flight at 7:50 a.m. the next morning. I’d have to spend the night at DFW! Darn!
When we finally got to the gate, I got off as quickly as I could and checked, maybe, just maybe, I could make the 9:25 flight to Austin. Unfortunately, it was at another terminal and by the time I got there it was long gone. Next flight was Sunday morning.
I went into the Admiral’s Club, maybe I could spend the night on a sofa there? No, I couldn’t, they would close at 10 p.m. However, the lady behind the desk did her best to help. She explained that AA could not pay for a room for me when the delay was an “act of God,” but they could get me a discounted rate at a nearby hotel. I didn’t have much choice but to accept her offer. She gave me a voucher for The Grand Hyatt at DFW for $75 for the night. I thanked, her and the next day, sent a note at AA.com thanking AA for the voucher.
The hotel is close in, with an entrance in Terminal D. I checked in and saw other people who had missed their flight but had not asked AA for help walking up and asking for a room. With no reservation and no voucher they paid $180-$200 for the night. My $75 seemed pretty good!
I went to my room and quickly went to sleep. I woke up early Sunday morning and checked out, my total bill was $84. That was a big hit on a trip that only cost $220, but there was not much I could do about it. My almost-empty plane left DFW at 7:50 a.m., I was back in Austin an hour later, and home before 10 a.m.
It was a long weekend. In my years of travel I have come home from Bangkok, Frankfurt, Brussels, Dublin, Helsinki, Honolulu, and, when I was in the military, Baghdad and Kabul, but I had never needed to spend the night at an airport hotel before.
The good news was that I earned the regular mileage for the flight and the double EQMs for the DFW-SFO leg, giving me almost 81,000 EQMs for the year. With the two mileage runs I currently have scheduled I’ll be at 94,000 EQMs and will just need one more trip for Executive Platinum status.
The double EQMs bonus to SFO and LAX is in effect until the end of June. I’d get more miles for a trip to SFO than LAX, but it seems that every SFO trip I have had this year has had some sort of problem, either a delay or a cancellation, so I’d rather go to LAX. But when I add up the numbers, a trip to LAX would leave me with just over 99,000 EQMs, while an SFO trip would give me 100,009 EQMs. Only nine over the goal, but nine is enough. So, I’ll check the schedules for one more SFO trip.
In the meantime, I now have over 245,000 AAdvantage miles in my account and can look at taking my wife on a trip to Asia near the end of the year. A business class ticket is 110,000 miles each, so I now have enough for a trip. I just have to hope seats will be available when and where we want to go. And that is why I do mileage runs.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR, the parent corporation of American Airlines. The total value of my holdings is less then $75.
My last mileage run went very badly; I had problems checking in, problems with gate changes, flight changes, equipment changes and numerous delays of my flights to/from Los Angeles. I was not happy with the way things turned out, so, the day after the trip, I went to AA.com, clicked on Contact AA, then went to Customer Relations and selected Compliment/Complaint/Comment.
A new window popped up where I entered the relevant information (name, flight number, date, PNR number, etc.) and then began my note, I had 1500 characters to tell my story. The three items I wanted to focus on were:
- My problems checking in at the airport when the iPhone app would not display my boarding pass, forcing me to turn back from the front of the TSA security line, and then the self-serve kiosk would not let me check in either.
- The numerous delays of my flights to/from Los Angeles. It’s one thing to say a flight will be delayed, it’s something else when you change the departure time, then change it again, and again, and again, and again — that only serves to make your passengers more frustrated than they already were.
- And finally, I wanted to know why I had a reservation for flight 1113 from DFW to Austin, but ended up on flight 1550.
I sent the message, and received a reply the following morning. This is how the issues were addressed in my reply from AA Customer Service:
Problems checking in: “I know it was frustrating to not be able to use your mobile boarding pass to get through security. We will continue to work to improve this feature to avoid such incidents. Your feedback will help us to do just that.”
That is a good response. I am glad to know they are working to improve the app, and that my feedback will help. Good job!
Numerous delays: “Also, we recognize how important on time departures and arrivals are to our customers, and we are committed to spending the resources necessary to achieve substantially higher levels of as scheduled departures. Still, with so many variables affecting our operation, there will be occasions when delays are encountered despite our best efforts. I especially regret that you experienced two such disruptions.”
I don’t know if the customer service reps have pre-written letters that they use, but that paragraph sounds like it came from one. I’ve sent a message about delays in the past and received a reply that actually explained what went wrong, There may have been a mechanical issue, a crew member was late, whatever the reason they at least tried to explain it to me. I got none of that this time. Bad response.
Change from flight 1113 to 1550: not even mentioned in the reply, very bad response.
“As a gesture of goodwill, we have added 5,000 bonus miles to your AAdvantage® account. This adjustment will be reflected in your account very soon.” Thank you, I appreciate that.
And finally “I assure you that we will continue to strive to focus on on-time flight departures. When you travel with us again, we will do our best to get you to your destination as scheduled.”
So, I was happy with their response to the problems with check-in, think they could have done a better job of explaining the flight delays, and appreciated the 5,000 bonus miles. I was not happy that my final question was ignored.
So, I waited a few days to see if I would hear from them again and when I did not, I wrote back. I thanked them for working to improve the iPhone app, I thanked them for being devoted to on-time service, and I thanked them for the 5,000 bonus miles. I then pointed out that I had not gotten an explanation of why my reservation was changed without me being notified, and I wanted to know why that occurred.
Three days went by and I did not receive a response to that message. Now I was getting annoyed.
I wrote a third time, pointed out that my previous letter had been ignored, and asked when was my reservation changed, why was it changed, and why wasn’t I notified? I had a reply the next morning.
“Thank you for contacting us again. Our records (show) that the change from flight 1113 to flight 1550 was a change in schedule, made on December 25. (Emphasis added) We realize that schedule changes can be an unexpected — even unwelcome — event for those of us who carefully plan itineraries and count on the airline to operate as scheduled. In fact, most schedule changes are negligible; flight times are often recalculated by just a few moments due to seasonal fluctuations in weather patterns or as more direct routes of flight open up. On the other hand, we must occasionally realign flight schedules altogether. In all cases, we try to work with our customers to minimize any inconvenience, and I am sorry we weren’t more successful this time. I regret, too, that you were unaware of this change.”
So, my reservation was changed two months before departure — yet AA did not send me an email, text message or robo-call to let me know. Nothing was highlighted on the website to indicate a change when I pulled up my reservation, so I continued to believe that my itinerary would match the written confirmation that AA had sent me when I purchased the ticket. I really don’t care that “most schedule changes are negligible,” if my change was negligible I wouldn’t be writing. There is an important phrase in this message, a phrase that will seem very important shortly, “On the other hand, we must occasionally realign flight schedules altogether.,”
I was still not satisfied with this. How often should I double-check the flight number and departure/arrival times on my reservation to be sure there had not been an unannounced unexplained change?
So, I called the AA Platinum Desk, asked for AAdvantage Customer Service and when I was connected to them, asked to speak to a supervisor. They placed me on hold for a moment and then connected me to a supervisor named Steve. Steve was great!
I explained what happened and said I did not understand why my flight had been changed and why I had not been notified. Steve looked through the records and confirmed that the change had indeed happened on December 25, but now he was puzzled. “Whenever a change like this occurs, ” he said, ” there is normally an explanation — the flight was changed due to a change in equipment, need for a larger/smaller aircraft, changes to AA’s flight scheduled, etc. There is no explanation here as to why your flight was changed.”
I was glad to hear this seemed odd to him too. And then he added, “Your original flight, 1113, was not cancelled, It flew that night and in fact left DFW late so you might have even been able to make your original connection if the change had not happened.”
If my original flight was not cancelled, what did “we must occasionally realign flight schedules altogether” mean? There was no realignment! My original flight was not cancelled! The original reply with this comment was not worth the paper it was not written on!
I heard Steve type for a while and then he said, “I am a supervisor. I am supposed to be able to solve problems and get answers. But in your case, I am sorry that I cannot give any answer, I have no explanation of why your flight was changed and why you were not notified. This is not the way we should treat our valued customers.”
Thank you Steve, I appreciate that, and I appreciate the fact you were honest with me and did not give me even more meaningless answers.
I learned some important lessons from this trip:
- Don’t trust that your original itinerary is correct. Check and re-check your schedule as your trip approaches
- Don’t use the iPhone app for your boarding pass, get a printed boarding pass instead. (If you have to call AA Customer Service about your trip afterwards, they may ask for your ticket number. That’s not available on the electronic boarding pass, but is printed on the paper boarding pass.) I’ll have more comments about the iPhone app in a future post.
- If you are not satisfied with the answer you receive, ask again.
I have another mileage run at the end of the month, I hope it goes more smoothly than this one. And, if AAdvantage customer service reads this, I hope they will take my comments to heart and look to improve their service.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, American Airlines’ parent corporation. The value of my holdings is less than $100.