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Need a TA's advice on airline booking


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#1 Maura

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 07:50 PM

I could use some input from a TA or anyone else who has done this before...

Ok, here's the deal:

FI has enough American Airlines frequent flyer miles for two tickets for us to Cabo for our wedding. He did some online simulations of possible flights we could take and everything on the way there was one connection (usually in Dallas at DFW) and the way back was direct. We are fine with connecting on the way there.

Our question is this:
We would like to fly first class if possible, by doing upgrades and paying for the upgrade but using the miles to book the tickets. We don't want to spend a ton of money on upgrades. The issue is that my FI is tall and has a back problem and is uncomfortable sitting in coach. My FI seems to think that using a TA might get us a better deal because TAs have access to booking codes that we can't necessarily get booking our tickets online by ourselves. Is this right? Can we do it that way? If we can't we will just book our tickets online without upgrades and fly coach, but my FI is skeptical about whether or not I will be able to hang my dress if we fly coach.

What has been your experience? Is it feasible that we could book our tickets this way or no?

Thanks in advance

#2 h&a

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    Posted 30 January 2008 - 08:31 PM

    This isn't really answering your question, but just a suggestion... have you ever tried booking the emergency exit row in coach? My FI is also really tall and we always make sure to call ahead to the airline to request the emergency exit row or we make sure we're one of the first to check in to get those seats (depending on the airline some won't prebook the emergency exit row). Usually there is a lot more leg room w/ the emergency exit row (just be sure to double check that the emergency row reclines... if there are two emergency exit rows one in front of another the first one won't recline for safety). If that's not available I'll usually ask if it's possible to have a row of three to ourselves if it's not a full flight so that he can stretch his legs... I used to be an airline check in agent and flight attendant and usually if you're friendly and sweet they can be quite accomodating :)
    Sorry... that didn't really answer your question but just an idea in case it helps :)

    #3 cheese_diva

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      Posted 30 January 2008 - 08:44 PM

      With United you can't get an upgrade if you book a free ticket with your miles.. I booked a free flight once and Matt got upgraded to First Class (nobody next to him) so I asked to be moved and it was a no-go because of my ticket... not sure if it's the same with all Airlines.
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      #4 coreyphil

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        Posted 30 January 2008 - 09:00 PM

        Maura -

        I can't answer the upgrade questions --- but - we're flying American down on free tickets, too (coach); and, the American Group Reservations rep told me that I will definitely be able to put my dress in the closet. I called because the lady at the dress shop recommended calling ahead and letting them know that I'd be traveling with my wedding dress. The airline lady said that it would be no problem. She said they are always really excited to have brides ...

        and, if depending on your layover in dallas ... FI and I could always come and take you two out for a drink! (if the layover is short, we'll just have to wait until the next time we're in chi-town) ...

        #5 becks

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        Posted 31 January 2008 - 12:23 PM

        Hi Maura:

        I'm a bit of a frequent flier/points whore, so I'll share what I know.

        Basically, you've got two options... you can pay cash for your coach ticket and use points to upgrade to first, or you can use points and to get first class seats.

        If you use points to get your economy ticket, you won't be able to upgrade - period. You are at the bottom rung of their ticket codes and upgrades aren't allowed. Even when I had super-deluxe-platinum status, if I used points to get an econ ticket, I could never get an upgrade; not even when first was empty.

        Either way, your best bet is to call the airline's frequent flier number and work with them directly. If you don't like the answer you get, call back and talk to a different agent 15 minutes later. Not all of the customer service reps are great with the customer service, but the ones that are will bend over backward to get you what you need. Sometimes, there aren't seats available, but call back every few days and see what opens up.

        Good luck!!!

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        #6 edna

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          Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:29 PM

          Hi Maura!
          I was checking the same for our HM, and is true with AA you can't get upgraded if you get a reward ticket, you have to book coach and upgrade with the 500 mile per segment ticket and the $30 USD for each if you don't have them already in your account.

          If your FI is a Exec, Gold or Platinum both of you will get upgraded if there is availability.

          HTS...

          HTS

          #7 ACDCDCAC

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          Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:47 PM

          Hi Maura, I'm not a TA bit since I work for an airline and do this for a living I thought I'd give you my two cents :)
          I just called AA's ticket counter and asked them, their response is that once you book a mileage award the only way to upgrade is to call the AAdvantage phone line and have them redeem more miles for the upgrade. Basically you might as well redeem a first class mileage award if you had the mile to begin with. No cash upgrades allowed on mileage awards. (BTW same policy is true where I work as well-Alaska Airlines)
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          Hope this helps!

          #8 Maura

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          Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:58 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by coreyphil
          Maura -

          I can't answer the upgrade questions --- but - we're flying American down on free tickets, too (coach); and, the American Group Reservations rep told me that I will definitely be able to put my dress in the closet. I called because the lady at the dress shop recommended calling ahead and letting them know that I'd be traveling with my wedding dress. The airline lady said that it would be no problem. She said they are always really excited to have brides ...

          and, if depending on your layover in dallas ... FI and I could always come and take you two out for a drink! (if the layover is short, we'll just have to wait until the next time we're in chi-town) ...
          perfect thanks corey, i think this is what we will do -- book the economy tickets on miles and just call to say hey i'm a bride, can i hang my dress in the closet... i think jose is realizing all the extra stuff we could do if we dont have to pay cash for the plane tickets, and i know he would rather have a nicer room during the whole stay, which is what we'd probably use the money for anyway.

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by becks
          Hi Maura:

          I'm a bit of a frequent flier/points whore, so I'll share what I know.

          Basically, you've got two options... you can pay cash for your coach ticket and use points to upgrade to first, or you can use points and to get first class seats.

          If you use points to get your economy ticket, you won't be able to upgrade - period. You are at the bottom rung of their ticket codes and upgrades aren't allowed. Even when I had super-deluxe-platinum status, if I used points to get an econ ticket, I could never get an upgrade; not even when first was empty.

          Either way, your best bet is to call the airline's frequent flier number and work with them directly. If you don't like the answer you get, call back and talk to a different agent 15 minutes later. Not all of the customer service reps are great with the customer service, but the ones that are will bend over backward to get you what you need. Sometimes, there aren't seats available, but call back every few days and see what opens up.

          Good luck!!!
          thanks for explaining rebecca! i love your suggestion that if i dont like the answer i get to call back and talk to someone else. hopefully theyre as nice to me as they were to corey!

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by DougsGirl
          Hi Maura, I'm not a TA bit since I work for an airline and do this for a living I thought I'd give you my two cents :)
          I just called AA's ticket counter and asked them, their response is that once you book a mileage award the only way to upgrade is to call the AAdvantage phone line and have them redeem more miles for the upgrade. Basically you might as well redeem a first class mileage award if you had the mile to begin with. No cash upgrades allowed on mileage awards. (BTW same policy is true where I work as well-Alaska Airlines)
          AAdvantage phone contact:
          USA or Canada
          1-800-882-8880
          24 hours a day
          Hope this helps!
          ah abbie i was hoping you'd chime in! perfect - you are such a doll, thanks for calling to clear up the question!

          #9 MelanieS

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            Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:07 PM

            I always ask for the bulkhead seats when we are checking in. These have tons of legroom, but usually don't have a very big window.




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