Best Laid Plans Foiled By Flight Cancellations, Part 2

We don’t go on big trips that often so I try to make the most of them when I can. For our upcoming trip, I was able to book a flight on Singapore from JFK-FRA, with a continuing flight to SZG. To get home, I booked a flight with Delta from FRA-MCO.

I’ve already written about how Delta messed with our flights home by canceling the FRA-DTW segment of our flight (for 3 weeks).

Apparently, that wasn’t the only monkey wrench to be thrown into our plans.

Sharon and I were out watching a show the other night when her phone buzzed. This was during a show where the theater tells ahead of time to turn off your phone (which I always do). Well, Sharon just turns her phone on silent which means it still vibrates and I felt it buzz (and buzz and buzz) sitting in the seat next to her until the call ended.

When the show finished, I asked her who called and she said it was an 800 number so it was probably a spam call. However, they did leave a voicemail.

She started to listen to the message and said it was from United Airlines so obviously it was spam since we aren’t flying with United at the moment. However, I knew that I used Sharon’s MileagePlus miles for our upcoming trip.

United called? CRAP!!!!!

I tried to log into her United account from my phone but the app was deleted by my iPhone! Why don’t I listen to my own posts?!?! (Note from Sharon: what a doofus…)

After re-downloading the United app, I couldn’t find our flights on her account. When I eventually found our flight info on TripIt and entered the reservation number on the website, it said that our flight was canceled. WTF!!!!!!!

This needed to wait until we got home. We decided to call even though it was well past midnight. I would be at work the next few days and the flight was booked under Sharon’s account so she’d have to be the one calling and she wanted me to be home for the call (Note from Sharon: on top of having a moderate amount of phone anxiety, I had NO IDEA of what these flights encompassed, or even what my frequent flyer number was [remember, he’s the points & miles geek in the house, not me]. I wanted him home so I could refer to him if needed)

While she called the number from the voicemail, I started looking at what happened to our flight on my computer. For our trip, this reservation was the last piece of the puzzle when space for the flight from FRA-SZG opened up and I booked tickets for 8,000 MileagePlus miles. I didn’t want to see this flight disappear as it took us to the first city of our itinerary. There was no other easy way to get there from Frankfurt.

With a quick search on Google Flights, I was able to find that the non-stop FRA-SZG flight on Austrian was ending on November 30, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 12.00.35 AM

On December 1, 2019 and thereafter, the flight would be operated by Lufthansa.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 12.00.44 AM

What I also noticed was that the flight schedules were identical and I know that both airlines are Star Alliance partners. I provided the information to Sharon and she was able to get the United call center agent to re-book us on the Lufthansa flight with the same times of our previously canceled Austrian flight.

While I would have liked to fly to Salzburg on Austrian on their Embraer 195 with a 2-2 configuration, we’ll now be flying on a Lufthansa A319 with a 3-3 configuration. It’s only an hour flight so the slimline seats won’t be too much of an inconvenience.

Oh well, it’s not like I had a choice. At least it’s still a non-stop flight for 1 hour to get us to our destination.

Final Thoughts

Our experience shows why you need to keep on top of all your travel reservations, especially if you’re dealing with award tickets on alliance partners. In this instance, the United phone rep was knowledgeable and offered us an equivalent flight, but that’s not always the case. You need to know what options are available and feed them to the phone agent if necessary.

Most importantly, don’t let your spouse ignore phone messages from an airline that you’re not currently flying with, if she doesn’t know that you used those miles for a partner airline reservation.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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