Airline schedule adjustments occur on a regular basis — the additional upfront you e-book, the larger the possibilities you will have a major change to your flights because the departure date approaches, given how usually airways tweak their schedules.
Whereas there are many conditions the place you may make schedule adjustments work to your benefit, the exception is on companion airline award tickets, the place schedule adjustments are virtually all the time an enormous headache. On this submit I needed to share one such scenario I am at present coping with.
My Qantas companion award ticket downgrade
In late February 2023, Qantas launched a bunch of award seats in all lessons. I managed to e-book a Qantas top quality award on the Airbus A380 from Sydney to Los Angeles utilizing American AAdvantage miles. I used to be enthusiastic about this, since Qantas top quality awards are typically close to not possible to seek out, and on high of that I have never reviewed Qantas A380 top quality in a few years.
I have been within the technique of planning the remainder of my journey, although over the weekend I hit a roadblock. On April 15, I obtained a schedule change notification from American, informing me that I had been downgraded from top quality to enterprise class on my flight (you will see the affirmation states that “P” is premium financial system, however that is a recognized glitch , as that is the primary class fare code for Qantas).
So, what is going on on right here? Nicely, for sure days within the coming months, Qantas has taken the Airbus A380 off the Sydney to Los Angeles route, as a substitute changing it with a Boeing 787-9.
I observed that the A380 continues to be scheduled to function the route on each the day earlier than and the day after my authentic flight, so it ought to be an inexpensive request to be rebooked on a type of flights.
In these sorts of companion award ticket schedule adjustments conditions, this is how that often works:
- Airways do not typically have a strategy to straight open award house on companion airways in these conditions
- Nonetheless, airways have liaisons that work between airways, in order that there are methods to make affordable requests in conditions like this
- It is usually not an immediate course of, however the intent is that within the occasion of an involuntary schedule change, an agent with one airline can put in a request with one other airline for a seat to be opened
Anyway, that is how issues are alleged to work. That is not essentially how issues truly work, although, particularly with the primary attempt.
My expertise attempting to get rebooked
This morning I picked up the telephone and known as the American Govt Platinum desk. I defined to the agent that I used to be involuntarily downgraded, and requested for a request to be made for Qantas to open award house on the identical route both the day earlier than or after.
She mentioned she’d verify, and he or she put me on maintain for nicely over 20 minutes. A fast tangent — why is that half of brokers appear to verify on you each two minutes once you’re positioned on maintain, whereas different brokers do not verify on you in any respect — on this case it was the latter, which was in all probability an indication of how this is able to go).
After being on maintain for an prolonged time period, the agent knowledgeable me that Qantas is unwilling to rebook me on a special flight. The rationale? The agent claimed it is as a result of I accepted the schedule change. I requested the agent for extra particulars about once I allegedly accepted the schedule change, and he or she claimed that I did so on April 5. I defined that:
- I used to be first notified in regards to the schedule change on April 15, lower than 48 hours earlier than I known as American
- I deliberately did not “settle for” the change in any approach, for apparent causes
I assume the agent wasn’t making this up, although it does not really feel good to have somebody basically accuse you of getting authorised one thing two weeks in the past, when that merely is not the case (each by way of the timeline and by way of accepting the change).
To the agent’s credit score, she mentioned they had been capable of open up top quality award house on American:
- Airways usually do that in conditions with companion award ticket schedule adjustments, because it’s usually the simplest resolution
- That being mentioned, I’ve flown American’s 777-300ER top quality, and it isn’t nice, to place it mildly (and by no means thoughts that the gentle product has been downgraded considerably since then)
- For that matter, American should not need to open top quality award seats by itself flights, when it ought to be Qantas fixing the scenario it created
You possibly can guess that I will be calling once more later. I am in all probability probably the most anti-phone particular person on earth, and I’m going nice lengths to keep away from telephone calls. As you would possibly anticipate, I am already dreading this, as I am positive it will not be fast.
Whereas I e-book tons of companion award tickets, for my very own travels I are inclined to e-book final minute, so I do not cope with schedule adjustments fairly often anymore. I get messages on a regular basis from readers about their frustration with schedule adjustments on companion award tickets, so I simply wish to say “I hear you.”
I am going to report again if/once I get this resolved. Who is aware of what the final agent famous in my document, which could even make this extra of an uphill battle (one thing like “passenger refused to simply accept different supply”).
A part of what makes this all so irritating is that you simply’re principally taking part in a sport of phone (actually and figuratively), with the telephone agent you are speaking to relaying particulars to somebody in a special division, who’s relaying particulars to somebody on the different airline (usually not in actual time), so rather a lot can get misplaced in translation.
Whereas it is easy to make many schedule adjustments work in your favor, one main exception is companion airline award tickets, which generally is a actual headache at occasions. Airways have liaisons by means of which they’ll request that companion airways open award tickets when there are involuntary schedule adjustments, however the problem is definitely getting a good agent on the road, having them advocate for you, and many others.
I do not suppose my request is unreasonable. I booked a Qantas top quality award. Qantas downgraded me. I would nonetheless prefer to fly the airline, route, and cabin I booked, and I am prepared to maneuver to a different date, despite the fact that it is much less handy. Sadly they’re one way or the other claiming that I accepted this schedule change almost two weeks in the past, which merely is not true, as I did not study it till two days in the past.
In the event you’ve not too long ago handled a companion airline award ticket schedule change, what was your expertise like?