I’ve redeemed a lot of miles in my day, and sometimes I can redeem millions of miles at a time without a hitch or anything entertaining. And then you have some days where you seem to end up with the call center agents that could double as (inadvertent) comedians. Case in point today, as I was trying to hold an award reservation with US Airways from San Francisco to Auckland.
For the first agent I explained I wanted to book an award ticket from San Francisco to Auckland. She responded with “what was the name of that airport?” I responded with “Auckland — alpha kilo lima is the airport code.” She responded with “I want to see what region that’s in, could you spell it out for me slowly?” I did that, and once we built the whole itinerary she said “oh shoot, hold on a second, I have a pop up on my computer that says ‘fatal error.’ I’m going to need to reboot.” She puts me on hold for five minutes and then comes back and builds the itinerary again. After she puts me on hold for a few more minutes she claims the routing isn’t valid. Why? “Cause ya can’t do all that travel on one ticket.” After a while I realized that this was the type of agent that wanted to find everything wrong with a ticket rather than actually try to make it work, so I hung up and decided to call back.
The next agent was as sweet as could be, though also lacking just a bit in the geography department. She was perfectly happy letting me feed her the flight numbers, and once the reservation was complete she said “let me check with a supervisor to be sure this is valid, because I’m not sure you can do this on a domestic award.” I asked for clarification, and she said “well I’m not sure you can go via Tokyo and Bangkok when traveling between San Francisco and Auckland, that’s a lot of travel for a domestic award.” Despite feeding her the flight numbers and airport codes, it appears as if she was a little bit confused between Oakland and Auckland. Surprisingly enough they’re not the same place. And the fact that she even let me talk her through a routing connecting in Asia if she thought this was an eight mile trip across the bay really confuses me.
After she realizes her mistake she tries to put it on hold, and says “shoot, my computer just sent me a message saying ‘fatal error,’ I’m going to have to reboot.” Seriously, twice in a row? What the heck?
Though the icing on the cake was when she read me back the itinerary and on the return flight from Asia to the US said “I’m not sure if that flight lands the same day or next day. I forgot whether there’s time travel in that direction or not.” I said that the arrival was probably the same day, and she said “oh, that makes sense. I once did a round the world trip, but I did it so I kept traveling in the direction without time changes.”
RIP US Airways. It’ll be a sad day when their computers do all their thinking for them.