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I’ve written a few posts recently about my attempts to book a round the world trip for my wife and I.
- How does upgrading class of service work with AAdvantage awards?
- How important are lie flat seats?
- How’s this round-the-world (RTW) itinerary look?
Originally we had no real timetable for this trip, but between a couple of family trips we have going on early this year and the upcoming American Airlines devaluation in mid-March, it seemed like the best time for this trip would be pretty soon (February / March).
Most travel bookings are refundable, and even some airline tickets are not hard commitments. For instance, American Airlines (where I’m trying to book this) lets you put an award ticket on hold for free for 5 days, and Southwest Airlines cancellation policy is probably the best one out there! Despite all that, I seem to have a problem actually making reservations until I am ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY 100% CERTAIN that I’ve got everything all lined up. This has bitten me pretty hard in the past and I’m trying to get better at it.
So I called up American Airlines this afternoon to try and book the first half of my ticket, from Cincinnati to Singapore. I want to fly Cathay Pacific First Class, with backups of Japan Airlines first class or business class on either Cathay or Japan Airlines. First Class should cost 67,500 miles / person and Business Class costs 55,000 per person.
Neither Cathay or JAL have any business class award space for the dates I want in early March, but there is space on American Airlines to Shanghai. AA.com does not show Cathay or JAL, so the only thing it was able to show was the space from Cincinnati to Chicago and Chicago to Shanghai.
I researched on British Airways’s website the best flights that will take me from Shanghai to Hong Kong and then to Singapore, and wrote them down before calling.
On the phone with American
Once I had the flights I was looking for, I called up American AAdvantage and spoke to a ticketing agent. I know some people will say something like “I was on the phone with another agent and she gave me some flights but we were disconnected”, before feeding the agent the flights one by one, but I took a different approach. I told her where I was wanting to go, but she wasn’t really able to find any space available anyways, so I ended up having to pretty much feed her the flights anyways. She was able to find the flights from Cincinnati to Chicago to Shanghai, but couldn’t find the flight I wanted from Shanghai (PVG) to Hong Kong.
Eventually after a 5,000 minute hold (perhaps a slight exaggeration), she came back and said that she was able to find that flight (CX 369) but had put me on a middle of the night flight from Hong Kong to Singapore.
There are better flights, and we are legally allowed to have a layover in Hong Kong of up to 24 hours (SEE ALSO: Stopover, layover, open-jaw? What are they and what’s the difference?). The flight that I wanted leaves Hong Kong at about 4pm, which would give us most of the day to check out Hong Kong before continuing the award on to Singapore.
We ended up putting the award on hold, and I will call back later to try and change that flight
Again, I am 99% sure space on at least Cathay or JAL business class will open up in the 10-14 days before we fly, so 99% sure that I won’t actually have to fly this routing, but it’s at least comforting to me that I have this as a backup.