Two days ago my friend messaged me to say that Emirates had changed his flight and he would no longer be flying Shower Class. They changed the equipment to a 777. Since he had two legs booked in first, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I flew JFK-DXB then DXB-PVG. During the second flight, I skipped the shower and didn’t go back to the bar which are the two major differences between the A380 and 777.
Yesterday, I told my same friend that it wouldn’t shock me if the same thing happened to my Etihad Apartments reservation.
Today, I woke up to the email saying there was a schedule change. Half asleep, I checked the app and at first couldn’t tell what the change was. Often times airlines change a flight by five minutes and send out a notification. I looked again and saw that the equipment had changed from the greatest product in the sky today, the Etihad Apartment, to a 777-200.
Wide awake, I called AA’s service number in Australia. Here’s how the call went:
Agent: Sir you made this booking the 15th of Jan. You’ll have to fly before then.
Me: What is Jan? As in January? What happened to the ticket?
Agent: That flight was cancelled.
Me: I’ll call you back.
Then I called AA’s service number in Singapore:
Me: What happened to my ticket? I checked Etihad’s site and they are still flying the A380 that day. They didn’t cancel the flight.
Agent: Actually what happened is that your flight changed by five minutes and the system automatically cancelled your ticket. Now there’s no availability on that flight.
Me: You’re joking.
Agent: Sorry sir. We can issue you a refund if you wish.
I hung up the phone and paced around the room. What is happening today? Are gringos falling from the sky?
First British does me dirty now I’m getting the royal treatment from American or Etihad or both. These strange events happen so frequently that I am no longer surprised. When I book award flights I never get excited until I receive an email that says the reservation has been ticketed. When I received that email, I still cannot rejoice as flight reservations mysteriously disappear. At the airport, I still can’t rest because I make unremarkable mistakes like I did in Iceland or am put through visa hell even when it isn’t my fault. This year of travel has been so erratic that I question whether I should hold off blogging about trips until they’ve been completed. It all started with the trip report That Champagne Lifestyle from LAX-NCE then MXP-LAX which isn’t happening. Then the trip report, The Next Episode, which was supposed to make up for the Nice trip was destroyed by today’s news.
So what to do now? Cry? Sue? Give up? There’s no consumer arbitration claims for situations like this and feeling sorry for one’s self won’t make the booking return. The only thing to do is get back online and neurotically start searching availability. That can do attitude quickly disappears as week after week Etihad shows that all A380 flights are sold out.
First Voice in My Head: What if I called AA in the US? Maybe they would credit me the difference in miles and I could book for next March which is the only time I’m finding availability.
Second Voice in My Head: Sure buddy and the Lions are going to the Super Bowl this year.
With a steel in my spine Harbaugh attitude, I continued to search backwards and forwards until I found two apartment tickets. Then I called AA Australia.
Agent: Sorry our systems our down. Please call back later.
So I called AA Singapore.
Agent: Sorry sir that flight is not showing availability.
Me: Yes it is.
Agent: No it is not.
Me: Yes it is.
Agent: No sir, I only see one seat.
Me: You are mistaken.
Agent: Oh, here we go. I see them now. That will be an additional 19 Singapore dollars.
The tickets currently show on request. I’m not going to celebrate or feel good because they still have to ticket them. If that happens then I won’t get any rest between now and the date of departure as I stare at my phone waiting for this to happen once again.
No trip report title for this one. I can’t take another letdown.