Final Phases Of American Airlines Merger Reminds Us To Feed And Water Reservations

I’ve always been a big advocate that you own your reservations.  The airlines make promises, but in the end, if they don’t come through you’re the one holding a bad reservation.  The American Airlines merger has been mostly calm but we’re getting to some tricky parts, especially as they merge reservations systems.

I had evaded serious issues for the most part up until recently, bumps and bruises here and there. So, I figured today was a good day to remind folks to look at all their reservations and make sure things look the way they’re supposed to.  If not, take a few minutes to call and check.  And, if you want a chuckle, here’s a brief summary of the work I’ve done on one existing reservation since June 16th.

June 16th:  I get an e-mail about a schedule change.  The flight in question involves me on a revenue ticket and my wife and two children on an award reservation traveling with me.

June 17th:  I called to verify everything was okay with both records.  At that point, the answer was yes.

June 19th:  I received an e-mail notification that my outbound flight was changed from a nonstop flight to a connecting flight.  I received no notification on my family’s award reservation.  A quick check of the website showed that the nonstop flight we were on had changed from being operated by American to being a US Airways flight.  OK, no biggie other than a slightly crappier plane.  Just had to call and straighten it out.

The AAgent I spoke to had no problem moving me back onto the nonstop.  My family was another matter.  There was some shucking and jiving and a request to US Airways to try and fix it.  I hung up with the reservation in an “On Request” status.  If you’ve ticketed any US Airways awards out of an American account, you’ve seen this as a sort of holding area until US Airways can approve the award.  My understanding is that most of these, if not all, are looked at by humans.

June 26th:  The award reservation is still sitting in “On Request” status, so I call to check on it.  The AAgent I spoke with sees an issue with how it’s sitting in the queue and does a few things to reorganize it, saying she’s shedding the old flights so it’s just a straight request for a schedule change.  I’m pretty sure at least part of it is that the flight isn’t for a few more months and they’re prioritizing things by date.

July 2nd:  Still on request.  I call again and am told that the reservation looks fine, just still waiting for approval.  The AAgent agrees that they’re likely prioritizing by date.

July 5th:  I get an e-mail notification that our return flight has been moved from nonstop to connecting.  Back on the phone, but this time not as lucky since it’s a weekend.  The AAgent puts the nonstop back into my record while holding the connecting flight as well because she can’t get the seats back on the nonstop for my wife and kids.  She sends a request since it’s a Sunday and there’s nobody manning the liaison desk.  She mumbles something about having 2 seats but not 3.  I asked her about grabbing the two for now and she puts me on hold for a while before coming back and telling me to call back the next day.  I probably should have pushed a bit harder.

July 6th:  Morning call. The AAgent puts me on hold to call the liaison desk.  He comes back to confirm that I’m on the list to be dealt with but likely not at the top because it’s still a few months from date of travel.  I ask him if there are any seats available now and he confirms 2, but not the 3 I need.  I ask him if he’ll confirm the 2 and he seems hesitant to do so because it will leave one child on their own while we put in the request to “desire the nonstop” because of the schedule change that moved me off.  This is where it can help to have knowledge of the system but not talk down to the AAgent.  I said I really wanted to confirm the two seats we could just in case something happened while we were waiting.  And, could he please set up my other child’s record the same way they set up mine, holding both flights but without ticketing, while we waited for US Airways to respond.  He did all that and said I would need to call back another day to see if US had cleared the record.

July 7th:  I had it on my schedule to call today and check on the request but AA sends me an e-mail before I can call that shows both wife and one child have been moved from “On Request” to “Ticketed”. Yay!  I called to inquire about my daughter.  The AAgent put me on hold to check with the US liaison.  Shortly thereafter she came back with permission to ticket my daughter.  Interestingly, I learned that she had to redeposit the miles because you can’t change an AA domestic award to a US domestic award since US is still considered a “partner” in the current system.

It took her a few minutes to get my daughter’s record straight and it ticketed quickly thereafter.  I asked this AAgent about the outbound flight for my wife and kids that’s still showing “On Request” 3 weeks later.  It’s making me nervous, but each AAgent I’ve asked says the reservation looks fine, just waiting to be dealt with in queue.

So, 3 weeks later I’m mostly okay and still waiting.  Again, just a reminder for why you need to feed and water your reservations.

4 Comments

  1. Totally agree with you on keeping up on reservations. Lately I keep getting awards on AA or US bumped to less desirable flights or I will book flights with a comfortable connection and they move me to tight connections. Also having a bunch or trouble with BA awards moving on AA flights. You’d think they would have better things to do than move people to other flights for slight revenue or capacity gains. To make matters worse is the BA award phone lines are jammed lately as its hard to book AA awards online right now.

  2. Wow…Deja vu! Am taking fiance and two boys to Hawaii in Sept (booked in May). I’m on travel voucher and other three are on miles. Flying AA to LAX then connecting on US Air to Kona. Received email that our original departing flight that had us arriving in Hawaii before noon is changed and now gets us there at 9 pm, so we loose a full day on school vacation. Called, AA, they moved my reservation automatically but I had to request other 3 itineraries which are different record locator # be “requested” because the systems still don’t “talk” with each other and they need 48 hours to inform US Air??? 72 hours later, after they moved my itinerary and told me “shouldn’t” be a problem moving other 3, that AA just needed to talk with US Air, to confirm am told that the request was denied by the liason desk….we’re now cancelling the entire trip. Thanks AA, taking my miles and going to another airline, you $&*k!

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