Oh how I love the employees of the airline industry…

So I made an award reservation a few weeks ago for a quick trip to Hong Kong and Bali in Business Class over the summer with my friend AJ (probably United’s youngest “special,” aka Global Services member). It’s entirely tentative so I just booked something so that there would be something in my record, and then as a 1K with United I can make as many changes as I want for free. So today I decided to switch part of my award over to Air Canada for PVG-YYZ (Shanghai to Toronto) on their new 777-200LR with the new Executive First product, featuring fully flat beds much like Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic, since I’ve heard great reviews about it and have flown Singapore more times than I can count. I also got around to calling the various airlines to select seats and get confirmation numbers for each airline. A few of the highlights of my calls:

  • United agent starts the call with, “First I’d like to thank you for being a loyal hundred million mile flyer with us, Mr. [Lucky].” I never cease to impress myself, what can I say?;) 
  • When trying to switch a DPS-SIN-BKK-JFK/EWR-CLT-TPA routing to DPS-SIN-PVG-YYZ-ORD-TPA, the agent says “Mr. [Lucky], I have to inform you that you will be charged an around the world mileage ticket if you choose to do this.” I asked her why and she said “Because you’ll be crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean.” I asked her when I would be crossing the Atlantic, and she said to Toronto. I gave her a quick geography lesson and we were once again good to go.
  • The same United agent didn’t understand the difference between a stopover (defined by United as a stop of 24 hours or more) and a layover (a stop less than 24 hours), and informed me that I already had two stopover. I explained to her that in fact I was only in Singapore for 18 hours, and therefore it wasn’t a stopover. She checked and confirmed I was correct. Later when I wanted another 20 hour stopover in Chicago she again questioned me, but then came back and said I was right. Maybe she had memory problems?
  • Unfortunately Singapore Airlines swapped out our HKG-SIN to a regional 777-200 from the 747-400 it was originally supposed to be, which would have had Spacebeds in Business. He repeatedly referred to the 772 as an “Airbus 777-200.” I unintentionally laughed out loud the first time he said it, but of course the agent didn’t get it.
  • The Singapore Airlines agent kept asking “Would you like to sit on the upper deck or lower deck?” I told him I would take row 18, and he said it didn’t exist and that only rows 11-14 were on the upper deck. I asked him if he was sure it wasn’t a 777, and all of a sudden he seemed enlightened. Did I mention it took him about half an hour to select a few seats for me?

I think I had my fair share of entertainment for the night.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I had 4 flights last week, and I particularly enjoyed when the F/A from ATL to ORD mentioned “due to UA policy, no conjugating is permitted at the front of the aircraft”.

    Sitting in 1A that day, I wondered what kind of show I was missing out on, if UA did not have such a policy to not allow conjugating.

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