Etihad Cancels My Apartment, AA Doesn’t Care

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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.

It was only just a dream...
It was only just a dream…

 

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Happened to me too, my flight changed by 30 minutes and was rebooked on the 777 instead of my original flight which still operates with the same plane and flight number. I was lucky though, somehow, even though it showed zero availability on etihadguest, the AA agent I spoke to said he’ll send it back to etihad and I got the ticketed email 4 hours later.

    • Oh wow, nicely done. That’s very fortunate. All those calls and nobody seemed eager to do anything. Maybe I should’ve started with AA US?

  2. Wowzers, I went thru the emotional rollercoaster there with ya. Congrats for not giving up!

    Have you done the apartment before, you cancelled one before I believe? It’s freakin awesome. Ive managed to do 3 flights now, and maybe never again I guess w the AA deval. However I think Male-AUH-LHR in apartment class for 62.5k is still pretty sweet perhaps in the future I hope.

    The only thing is the shower is tiny and jammed next to the toilet…. But hey! so what. The inflight butler and chef and the personal space is mind blowing.

    Enjoy.

    • 3 haa? Nice. No this is my first time and it was booked for a random date so this may work out better if it happens.

    • And I agree with the Male flight but then I’d have to find a way to get to Male, spend $500 for a seaplane, and a hotel that charges too much haa

  3. Aha…. Yes I remember you weren’t a fan of the Conrad. I’m afraid it’s my favorite hotel on the planet. Different strokes! As a single guy I can imagine it being crap, but with the wife and 5 year old in tow, it works for me, between the amazing reef jammed with sharks rays turtles, the huge choice of restaurants, mantas at night. Oh… And the brat is at the kids club all day! I don’t mind overpaying for food when we eat like kings for late breakfast included, and with double points plus diamond it’s generates a lot of points for next time. Just me! Luckily we are all different 😉

    • hahah. next time park hyatt maldives. Be glad we are all different. Otherwise there would never be award availability.

  4. Indeed sir…. Take a significant other or at least buddy to the PH Maldives tho! Way more “rustic” and quiet than the Conrad!! I was very bored to be honest. Plus basically 2 restaurants vs 12. Purely my opinion again. I know Gary VFTW loves it there and it surely is a naturally stunning location.

    • Hmm, after Tahiti I think I’m island done for awhile. And surely you must not think that I went alone to the Maldives last time or Tahiti lol

  5. Mmmm silly me. You hide your partner/friend from the photos? Anyhoo….. I got you all off topic! Apartments rock, almost too much space. The PH Abu Dhabi was great also if you’re interested? I was shocked how nice the beach was and the water a great temperature in June and gorgeous color. Better than Miami perhaps. Diamond suite upgrade awesome too. Cheers.

  6. Are you EXP? There is an EY liaison that EXP desk was willing to reach out to to fix a different issue (AU agent typed name wrong) which was fixed within 24 hours for me. I am sure other desks can ping them too, but may not be as willing to as EXP agent. Sounds like you fixed it yourself though.

    • No, I have no status. I did get it fixed by combining it with another trip but it threw off a lot of stuff. Thanks for the tip. I’m sure there will be a next time.

  7. Hey, I just saw this post. Did you manage to get a flight before the 1 year since your booking expires? Do you know if they will let you fly anytime after? I dont see any availability for the A380 and my 1-year expires in a couple months ugh.

    • I found it eventually but it’s for a few weeks from now. I saw nothing from here till January when my booking expires. They won’t let you go past one year. Jerks

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