Shenanigans booking an AA flight

Old Jul 20th, 2004, 04:36 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,491
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Shenanigans booking an AA flight

Monday morning: found a decently low fare - $331 per person - for cross-country anniversary flight for me and spouse in October. Called spouse to get okay for times.

Monday afternoon: went back to AA.com, having been given spousal okay, and the fare was now up to $389. Mindful of reports here on Fodors that airlines play with fares during the day and even sometimes "track" those who keep checking the same flights, raising the rates to induce them to buy, I decided to check back this morning.

Tuesday morning: Fare now up to $429. Pfooey, says I. They are playing with me. So just for the heck of it, I checked Orbitz. Orbitz found fares on American for $329. although not for precisely the same itinerary (close, though -- 3 of 4 legs the same). Unfortunately, I was late somewhere and came back this evening to see what was what.

Tues. afternoon: I decide to go back to aa.com and not log in -- just do a search "anonymously" without my freq. flyer number. I first test the fare for the specific itinerary for a single passenger and get $329. I repeat the search but for 2 passengers, and the per passenger fare goes up to $381.

Clever Soccr decides to open 2 different browsers and book two individual seats simultaneously. Sure enough, each screen shows $329. I plug in spouse's FF number and Mastercard number, do the same for me. But when I hit "purchase" for spouse's ticket, a red flag and message pops up on my own ticket info saying "your fare has just increased to $381., what do you want to do?"

Now, I assume the idea is supposed to be that there was just ONE seat on that flight at the lower fare, but I just logged off and will wait until tomorrow morning to see what's what then before purchasing the other ticket.

BTW I checked the seating for all 4 legs of the itinerary, and all flights are wide open, so I'm not risking being unable to travel together. And after all, I really can't complain all that much about even $381, since I'm getting quotes of $600 and $800 on the same route for Thanksgiving. But the SPAM piece comparing selling paint to selling airplane seats doesn't begin to cover this silliness.

Stay tuned!
soccr is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2004, 07:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Couldn't you just buy the tickets at the lower price by not logging in or putting in a FF#, then add it to the record after purchase?
It does seem a bit off putting that a carrier would actually penalize one of their FFers..
Seamus is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2004, 08:26 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,312
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Soccr, $331/pp cross-country sounds a little high. Have you checked JetBlue or Southwest? I think both are running sales for less than $100 each way. I like www.bookingbuddy.com. You plug in your itinerary once and then you can check lots of sites and the major airlines without typing in the info again.
Betsy is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2004, 08:41 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,491
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Seamus, the notice that the fare had suddenly increased came after it originally showed the lower rate and I'd punched in all the credit card info AND clicked on "purchase," so I thought I'd locked in the lower price. After that, the lower price never showed up again. But I will try leaving out the FF number tomorrow to see if the games still seem to be on.

As to cheaper fares cross country, our airport is RDU, so we rarely have access to the cheap fares from NY or Wash or other coastal major cities. JetBlue, alas, does not yet serve RDU, and spouse insists on AA or UA and won't put up with SW's cattle call. Since spouse is "gold" status on AA, I can't really complain.

(Somebody tell JetBlue we'd love to have them here.)
soccr is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2004, 06:00 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've seen the same scenario on other airlines, and it seems to me they just have one seat at the lower fare, probably to make them come out at the top of the list on sites like travelocity or expedia. Once I put one of them on hold for almost two days, waiting for them to put a second seat up, but they never did so I let the hold expire, although I was tempted to buy a second seat at the higher price, as we would have saved about $50 on the combination.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 06:58 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,491
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Friday update: well, they GOT me. Or maybe Dear Spouse did by losing faith or patience -- asked me to just go ahead and BUY the ticket so we could be sure of traveling together. Since the fare hadn't changed, I did at $381. Sure enough, this morning the fare was back to $329. -- and for the heckuvit, I checked to see if it would remain the same for 3 people (to see if it was just the one seat, or what), and yes, sigh, it was still $329. per person.

Grumble grumble grumble.

I'd love to meet the programmer who thought up the details of a program that would play such an elaborate chessgame with fares and people "shopping."
soccr is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:28 AM
  #7  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 25,010
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
soccr-

Trying calling AA and tell them about the new low price. I've done something similar before (bought a ticket and then found a lower price a few days later) and they sent me a $ voucher for a refund. You may be able to get your $52 back.
yk is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 09:32 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It would be better if Gold AA hubby called Gold member phone number and politely requested the credit. Sometimes membership services can put requests through on the booking side to fix things. Did you keep any screen shots that show the fares you almost succeeded in booking? I'd show AA screen shots of the $381 price you booked at, and the $329 it dropped to (with requested seats, to show they had 3 seats at $329) to document your case.

Hubby might agree to settle for some kind of coupon in benefits (rather than a credit on flights; benefits are easier for member services to offer) - e.g. free lounge passes (does AA charge if you bring extra guests to the lounge?), some extra miles, drink coupons etc.
Kate_W is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:22 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If the lower fare allows fare rollover, it doesn't matter who you call, although nothing wrong with calling the Gold desk*. The OP will be offered a voucher for the difference, nothing more, nothing less. The voucher will be good for a year from date of issue and could be used on any ticket purchased from AA.

*BTW, there really is no dedicated Gold or Platinum desk. By calling the appropriate number, all you are getting is a pass to the front of the queue. Only Executive Platinums have a dedicated desk with some of the best AAgents available.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:47 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,491
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gold Spouse ( ) decided that it was worth upgrading to First Class and did so, even on stupid domestic MD80 flights to/from DFW, since it is our anniversary! But does that make a difference re: asking for rebate on fare? What do you think, AAFF?
soccr is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 12:10 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No it does not, provided the new fare allows rollover. Go for it, the worst they could tell you is no, but I have a feeling you wil have some funny AA money for future flights.

Good luck and have a great trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2004, 11:29 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have seen on line fares change a dozen times in a 24 hour period.
Diligence, mi amigo - especially after midnight.
M
mikemo is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2004, 04:04 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 249
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I used to work for AA in reservations and in Tech Support for the website maybe I can clear up a few things.
1) when you book online or with a live reservations agent someone else somewhere could also be pricing the same itinerary thus grabbing the last seat in a particular fare (travel agents, online aa.com, other passengers calling res etc...)
2) Orbitz has the same fares that aa.com has so sometimes aa.com could be out of that inventory but you might find it on Orbitz
3) It does pay to call and check back because tons of people make reservations which they put on hold and do not purchase. So when the time expires, the fare goes back into the system.
4) fares do change so that is also a factor to consider
5) Sabre automatically prices the lowest inventory for a fare available at that time. If you are online and are pricing seats over and over you are taking away that inventory.
6) lastly if you are having problems please don't hesitate to call res or tech support and ask them what is the lowest fare for that particular flight.
They will be more than happy to explain to you why you are getting discrepancies...you are putting yourself through way to much of a hassle....remember the agent can see what is going on and tell you why it is pricing a certain way. Remember they are there to help you and also get your business. Also I don't know if you are aware of this but we had access to other fares in the industry. Often times if I had a customer who needed particular dates and American's flights were full or fares where high..I could see who else offered similiar fares in the market and refer the passenger to another airline..to me that is truly giving the customer the best service.
I know it can be frustrating, but truly do call either res or tech support they are there to assist you.
Katherine is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2004, 07:32 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When booking online it is wise to check prices for one person as you did. If indeed only one seat was left at $331, if you had asked for fares with 2 travelers, the program would have quoted 2 at $389, not 1 at $331 and 1 at $389.

I had a similar experience several years ago when tagging along with husband on a last minute trip. I did call the airline and was told the online systems were correct--only one seat at that fare on that flight segment. So, being the cheapo that I am, I booked us out together on the same flight, but me back on a flight one hour later, hoping to get on his flight standby. Everything was overbooked, so I couldn't get on, leaving me with an extra hour or two in the airport on way home.

I always now check for 1 person, then 2 to see if the fare changes.
Kay2 is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2004, 02:16 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,491
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Update: still shenanigans but movement off dead center. Had been out of town and hadn't checked to see whether we could at least get both of us at the same fare.

But then I checked this morning and found they were quoting $279.90!!! We called the Gold desk and after a full 15 minutes listing to the Hold music and being told she'd be right back, we were told that they would adjust the higher fare down to the lower fare but that the $279.90 fare had been in the system when we booked and we didn't qualify because there was only 1 seat at that rate and there were two of us traveling. No amount of discussion seemed to change that, so we won a bit and lost a bit.

But THANKS to Fodorites, esp. AAFF, for encouraging us to pursue the whole topic. It remains stunningly capricious, but every tidbit of added savvy helps!
soccr is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2004, 08:51 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have had this exact same thing happen--higher fare if booking for 2 people than for one. What I did was call American--sure enough, there was only one seat available at the lower fare. I went ahead and booked 2 separate reservations--a little annoying to have 2 different locator numbers, but if you book online with AA.com, you get the online booking milage bonus for each reservation, rather than just once if they were booked together, so it pays off in the long run.
RachelG is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2004, 01:11 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Many, if not all, airlines offer companion fares. They are rarely offered or advertised, and cannot usually be booked online.
heretoday is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2004, 12:48 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 511
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Had the opposite experience when purchasing tickets YOW-STT during USAir's recent seat sale. Was quoted $478.00 when checking (using 1 person only) on both Travelocity and the USAir site. Booked immediately and, lo and behold, when I entered 2 travellers, cost became $451.00 per person (actually 478.00 + 424.00). Companion fare was what caused this. Unadvertised for sure, but definitely available and purchased on the web.
saharabee is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
wliwl
Air Travel
9
Jul 29th, 2009 10:34 AM
JameJamerz
United States
8
Jan 13th, 2008 01:09 PM
Rmoore116
Air Travel
28
Apr 3rd, 2006 06:44 PM
GreenDragon
Europe
13
Feb 2nd, 2005 11:07 AM
cdt
Air Travel
4
Jun 7th, 2003 06:10 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:26 AM.