Tuesday, July 24, 2007

AA Argh!

A cautionary tale . . .

American Airlines nearly gave me a heart attack. I was sitting here gathering all my paperwork to pack for our trip to Los Angeles. I checked in and printed boarding passes for myself, Wizard, Wild Thing, and Moose. WineGuy had a separate record because we used travel credits left over from our aborted trip last Thanksgiving. I went to check WineGuy in and found that he does not have an electronic ticket. What?

I called American Airlines reservations and navigated my way through their hellish automated system. The agent told me WineGuy's ticket was not paid for and that they were waiting for the travel vouchers. My blood pressure vaulted as I informed the agent that the ticket was, in-fact, paid for, but again she demurred. I asked to be transferred to a supervisor. Smartvisor (c.f., Stupidvisor) picked up the call. Smartvisor, who works for American Airlines not AA.com, looked at the record locators and couldn't figure out what AA.com did to create and pay for the reservation. Smartvisor came back on the line twice to tell me she had the entire electronic trail: the original tickets; their cancellation; partial usage of the credit for some travel in the spring; and the remaining credit left after that. The AA.com agent -- Shirley, whose name I have in contemporaneously written notes (date, time) from the night I made my reservations -- tried to apply the travel vouchers electronically; there was a small overage, which I paid for by credit card. The problem is that American Airlines computer systems do not have that capability, and Shirley made a giant mistake. Shirley told me the ticket was paid for and that the travel vouchers were no longer valid.

NOT. American asked for the travel vouchers to be produced. I can't. I destroyed them the night I made my reservations because Shirley assured me the vouchers were no good. I explained all this to Smartvisor. WineGuy's ticket was never issued although the airline held his reservation and seat. AA.com or American Airlines was supposed to contact me to correct the problem, but they never did.

Finally, after more than 30 minutes on the phone, and being disconnected in the process, Smartvisor just called to say that she authorized the vouchers to be reissued at the airport and for the original fare to be honored. She then called the local ticket office to issue WineGuy's e-ticket and processed the small additional charge to my credit card. I just checked WineGuy in online and printed his boarding pass.

Caveat emptor: Whenever you get on the phone with a service person, get out your pen and paper. Take notes of everything that was said or promised. Make note of the time and date of the call, and get the first and last names (and employee number) of the person with whom you spoke. If you're using travel vouchers, do not destroy them until after the trip.

Today, I pack. Tomorrow we leave for L.A. for a week. I am the last luddite (no laptop), so I doubt I will post for the next week. The Jeopardy! taping is July 30-31. Wish me luck and say a prayer for me to win, win, win!


Stuntmother said...

Good luck. Really. And let us know what happens (when you can).

Robin said...

Wishing you lots and lots of luck!!

Win, win, win!! I know you can do it.

Paige said...

Have a blast! I'm sorry for the near flightmare, but I'm sure it means that your travels will be smooth. Now, who's going to put your Jeopardy debut up on You Tube so those of us who are REALLY Luddites (no cable) can see it??

Break a leg!

Anonymous said...

Get lots of sleep. Eat well. Relax!

If the kids stress you out . . . dump them on WineGuy and go to the spa.

Enjoy this adventure. You will be great!


Sock Girl said...

Good luck and have fun!

Kel said...