I logged in to my husband's account, only to see some messages at the top of the screen about flight times changing and that our reservation could not be accessed at this time. I scrolled down and saw that our second connecting flight was moved a few hours earlier, and our first flight to the west coast was moved out 3 hours, making it impossible to get to Honolulu on those original flights.
I admit, at first I panicked. What does this mean??? Why hadn't American Airlines changed us to flights that would still get us to Hawaii? Is it because we booked the super-saver award seats on frequent flier miles and we were the last priority to change?
I decided to call American Airlines, even though it was the day before Christmas and I was sure the phone lines would be swamped with current travelers. We had several presents under the tree that required us to be in Hawaii, and I wasn't comfortable giving those out without being 100% certain we were on a flight.
After waiting on hold and being transferred, I finally got through to an agent and explained the situation. The agent said she would try to find us different flights, but she didn't sound very hopeful. After about 15 minutes, she said our only option was to fly out the night before our original departure date, have a 6-hour layover at LAX in the middle of the night and depart on an early morning flight.
I was both relieved and horrified at the same time. The agent said if we didn't agree to this flight, we would be refunded our miles, which would mean our trip to Hawaii would be canceled. So I was relieved that she found us a flight. But at the same time, I was horrified that we were now flying on a red-eye flight with a middle-of-the-night layover at LAX (my least favorite airport) with 3 kids who don't sleep on airplanes. And I was confused why they couldn't put us on different flights, since there were many flights to Hawaii at more normal times that were not sold out. The agent explained that those other flights had no more award space available, which is what we needed.
To be clear, we would totally do the red-eye flight and night layover in order to get to Hawaii. We have flown on longer flights in way worse conditions with newly-adopted kiddos, and somehow we survived. But not without many tears of frustration and grumpy parents and kiddos.
I asked to be transferred to a supervisor and tried to remember those old words of wisdom, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." I politely explained my situation to the supervisor, who immediately said she was going to take some steps to get us on a direct flight to Honolulu during daylight hours. Yay! Really??? She said she had to work with another department to request more award space on a flight, and then we would be re-ticketed to the direct flight.
|Hawaii or bust!|
So I guess the moral of the story is...don't forget to check your seat assignments, and be nice to the phone agents!
Has anyone else experienced an involuntary flight/schedule change on an award ticket? What was the outcome?