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Flying on AA into Sicily

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I live in a small town in Illinois, and our only airline is American. I am trying to book a round trip ticket to Sicily -- into Catania, out of Palermo. I was unable to do it online with the multi-city feature, and then called the Platinum desk for help. After about a half hour, the agent was unable to get me anything.

I will fly to Chicago on American Eagle and from there on the AA flight to Rome, but to and from Rome, it looks like I will have to buy a separate ticket. I hate to do this because I know I will have to eat the ticket if we miss the flight, so I will leave plenty of room for the transfer.

Vueling and Air Berlin fly into Catania and Palermo -- they are partners with Iberia, which is also part of the One World Alliance with American. But Vueling and Air Berlin are not part of One World, so they don't code share with AA. It seems my choice is to book my entire flight on Iberia, which code shares with all of the airlines including AA, but I hate to do that because it's a lot of miles to give up for my yearly totals for status.

I know that on at least one previous occasion, when American didn't fly into my destination, they booked me on another airline, so why can't they do that now? I will call and speak with a supervisor but thought I'd check to see if anyone else had any experience with this. Thanks.

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