I recently wrote about why you should always check your flight status, and if possible, the status of the inbound flight/aircraft.
Last month, I was scheduled to fly on United Airlines from Vail/Eagle, Colorado to Austin, Texas. The morning of my flight, I checked my flight status to see that my flight was on time. The inbound aircraft, however, was showing a 2 hour 45 minute delay. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, particularly when you have a three-hour layover. Also, when delays such as this happen early in the day, oftentimes the airline has the ability to swap out new aircraft.
Around noon, I noticed the airline wasn’t making up any time. The plane I was scheduled to fly on still had to return to Denver, do a quick flight to Durango, Colorado, back to Denver, and then finally to Vail/Eagle, Colorado only to turn back to Denver.
I decided to call United and see if perhaps they could put me on an alternate flight. When I got through to an agent, I explained the situation and asked if they could put me on an American Airlines flight (after all, I am Executive Platinum with AA and prefer to fly them!)
I was shocked when the agent suggested a couple of American Airlines flights three days after my scheduled departure! I thanked her and confirmed the flights that would work for me. She put me on hold for over 45 minutes (and checked in with me every eight minutes or so to update me) while she called American to confirm my seats.
After close to an hour after my initial call, the United agent came back and said that I had been confirmed on the American flights and read my my new ticket number and confirmation code with American Airlines.
I was surprised for several reasons:
- I had originally booked my ticket via one-way MileagePlus Saver Award (12,500 miles) on United Airlines. The terms of the ticket said “VALID UA ONLY” so I was surprised that United was so agreeable to rebook me on a different carrier.
- How easy the process was. Although I spent an hour on the phone, I didn’t have to persuade the agent to do this. She simply just ran with my suggested AA flights!
- I got full AAdvantage credit for these flights. It was a nice surprise to start off the year with free flight credit for elite status for next year! For those of you wondering, the flights posted to my American Airlines AAdvantage account as full-fare Y booking – meaning 1.5 EQP (elite qualifying points).
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