I’ve been looking around for flights for our next trip a few weeks now.
I decided that we would use miles again and was leaning toward heading to Europe. About a week ago I started thinking about Asia. I tossed the idea out there to Kim to see if she would consider it. We haven’t been to the region in a few years and it’s been way too long!
I did some searching on American Airlines and United and didn’t find any flights worth considering so I turned my focus back on Europe.
When I got home late Saturday night from a barbecue I had an e-mail from my friend Dennis- the Lufthansa Flyer. The subject of the e-mail was Singapore Glitch… Hmmm, interesting…
I read the e-mail and found out that Singapore Airlines was doing system upgrades all night and Saver Elite Awards were open to bookings on Star Alliance carriers. This was big news considering these awards are usually blocked out to Star Alliance partners, only being available to their own frequent flyer program.
I started dreaming of heading off to Asia in business class instead of going to Europe. Nothing against Europe, I do love it but I’ve been there around 15 times! I ended up spending the next 2.5 hours searching for flights to various places on a few select dates. I came up empty handed. (Asides from that, I am not sure that I would’ve woken Kim up at 2:30AM to see if she wanted to go to Asia.)
The next morning I mentioned the possibility of going to Asia to Kim and she was all for it. Even though the Singapore Air bookings were supposed to stop at 10:30AM I decided to look for some flights again. Once again I didn’t find anything.
I decided to try one last time to find flights for us. What do you know, I found a couple of great options! I went ahead and made the reservation for Kim, Lucas ( traveling as a lap baby) and myself. I was eagerly awaiting the confirmation- I instantly received an e-mail that United was processing the reservation. I had read on Flyertalk and Milepoint that many people were getting ticketed in 5 minutes. I went out for a jog and came back a little over an hour later and I still did not have my flight ticketed. I started to think that this trip was not going to happen so I decided to call United to see what was going on…
Here is a rundown of calls I made to United:
- The customer service agent told me that Singapore Air was not giving United the seats so my flight was not happening. When I started questioning her she got very nasty and annoyed. Since I wasn’t getting any answers that made sense from her, I asked for a supervisor. I was told to hold and she then proceeded to hang up on me.
- The CSA told me that my flight to Singapore was not available anymore and offered to try to find me a flight for the following day. After a brief hold she said that I had the flight and would receive an e-mail confirmation. I wasn’t confident that I would be ticketed for the flight and waited for the confirmation email.
- An hour or so later I still did not have an e-mail regarding the changes to my flight. I decided to call United for a third time. This was the best call yet. The CSA told me that I was flying from NYC-Cairo. (Cairo was supposed to be where I was connecting through). I explained the situation and she told me no, the only thing she had was NYC-Cairo. After asking some questions and telling her about the previous calls, she told me that she saw the Singapore flight but it was not available and I am not getting it. I then asked for a supervisor and she clearly told me not to hang up. I was placed on hold until hanging up 45 minutes later.
- This call was made from my cell phone while on hold with call #4. This CSA was very nice and saw availability for my original itinerary. He was working on helping me out and I was placed on hold. Then with my luck, the call dropped! Not his fault, blame AT&T!
- On my final call the CSA transferred me to the international desk where I got really great service.The CSA answered the phone and greeted me with his first & last name, a first during my evening of calls. He saw my flights immediately but did not understand why I wasn’t ticketed within 5 minutes. After two holds of 5-10 minutes each, I had my flights and my UA online account changed to say ticketed!
Good thing that I did not give up. If I had listened to the first few CSAs I would still be looking for a flight for my end of summer trip.
Thanks to a little perseverance, we are flying to Singapore for 120,000 miles + tax. The flights were valued at a little under $14,000 (not that we would EVER pay that kind of $ for a flight).
Next up is working on the itinerary and booking a couple of cheap flights around SE Asia. I have a good idea of where we should be going and will write about it after the final decisions have been made.