Viviane Tran and her husband are flying from Washington to Tokyo on US Airways for their honeymoon in April. They’ve scraped together 240,000 Dividend Miles for the occasion to splurge for first-class seats.
And then they received the email. The one saying their flight schedule had changed. The one that threatens to destroy their carefully-planned postnuptial vacation. And they need your help fixing it — now.
As a reminder, From The Trenches is a forum case that’s being resolved in real time. It’s raw, it’s unedited and it can change at a moment’s notice. Tran’s case is playing itself out on social media and in our forums even as I write this. You can jump in with advice if you think you have a solution. I hope you will.
“I am at a complete loss as to how I can get a resolution on this,” she says.
Here are a few details: When Tran received the flight change notification, she thought it might be a good opportunity to change the name on her ticket back to her maiden name, since she can’t get her name changed in time for the flight.
“I called customer service, waited, finally was able to get someone on the line. I explained my situation to her regarding the need of a name change on my ticket.
She informed me that it is possible, since US Airways changed our flights and we have not accepted the flight changes. She went on to explain that she will have to release our seats back to the inventory and then have to reissue us our tickets.
I asked her what the risk is in us losing our first class seats altogether.
She said, “There is a risk, but let’s put it this way: In all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been able to reissue seats without much difficulty.” I asked the question again just to reassure myself that we will get our seats back.”
Ah, but this isn’t one of those years. This year, American Airlines and US Airways are consummating their own union, and it’s far from perfect.
Turns out the flight was operated by American — to a customer, a meaningless distinction, since American-US Airways has been pretending to be one airline for a while.
“I waited for at least 15 minutes when she finally came back and told me that we’ve lost our seats and she’s unable to re-book us on the same seats/flights because she DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO AMERICAN AIRLINES’ inventory!
I tried my best to hold my temper. Why in the world would you have the customer move forward with this decision if you CANNOT access American Airlines’ inventory?
I questioned her actions and advice. Tried my best to remain calm. When I realized that I was defeated and the best course of action was to just get on a flight (our lodging for Japan was already paid for and I’d rather not lose that in the process as well), I asked her to book us a flight, any flight, even if it is coach.
She placed me back on hold. Five minutes later, I heard a “click,” radio silence and then the line went dead. She hung up on me.
My husband and I are now without flights to Japan. We’ve spent money on hotels and the JR Pass, and we’re basically on the verge of losing $3,000 and all the time spent planning this trip.
What can I do to try to resolve this issue?
I’ve tried calling the 800 number; no resolution. I’ve tried social media. American Airlines responded and told me that they can’t help since US Airways is the issuer.
This is a truly horrible situation. Tran and her husband went from confirmed first-class seats to Japan to having no seats, thanks to what appears to be a merger-related hiccup. And then the airline hung up on her.
Tran is working this case on social media. Our advocates have responded to her cry for help with executive email addresses, but so far they’ve been unsuccessful. I also reached out to my US Airways contacts this morning to see if they can assist.
Cases like this really make my blood boil. Remember, US Airways is doing this to one of its best customers — someone who has flown enough to collect more than 200,000 miles. At the very least, the US Airways representative could have phoned Tran back to fix her reservation. But the silence from the airline is deafening.
If you know of any special techniques to fix Tran’s honeymoon, please jump into the forums now. Here’s the thread.
Update (10 p.m. EDT): Good news! We just received an update from Tran:
You did it again! Your article, your network, your staff, your forum, and everyone’s support proved successful! A CS Manager from American Airlines contacted me tonight and was able to re-book us our seats!
Thank you to EVERYONE that contributed to this triumph, thank you to all of your support and all of your well wishes. I know for sure that this would not have gained so much momentum if it wasn’t for you!
My husband and I are so grateful for everything that’s unfolded within the past few days, we cannot thank you enough, nor can words ever express our deepest gratitude! THANK YOU!