Perfecting an award itinerary is an art requiring patience and skill. With the ability to make free and unlimited changes on United awards (1K/GS benefit only), segment by segment you can construct an ideal award itinerary.
As I mentioned earlier, when I booked my trip China the only flight with First Class availability on the return was a Air China flight from Shanghai to Frankfurt. I booked it, but CA’s hard product is a bit dated and I continue to receive e-mails from readers lamenting the lack of English proficiency of flight attendants and lackluster in-flight service.
Last night, I noticed that Lufthansa had opened up one seat in first class on thier n/s flight on the same route. Swiss also made available two seats via Zürich in first class. Since my brother will be traveling with me, LX was the obvious choice.
I called UA’s general reservations number and was connected to India, where an agent refused to modify my itinerary, stating that I would have to call the 1K desk because he could not waive change fees. I hung up on him and called back, hoping to get to Manilla.
Instead, I got an extremely kind women in Chicago who couldn’t understand why I would want to change from a n/s to a flight with a connection, especially when it added about $30 worth of taxes to the trip. She was (how shall I put this delicately…) a woman of advanced years and she enjoyed talking to her computer system, as she searched for my desired flights.
She was slow, but very humorous and very patient with my requests to check various flight combinations. Thankfully, StarNet blocking did not extend to the PVG-FRA flights and both the LH and LX flights were available. The North America – Frankfurt/Münich LH flights remain blocked.
It took almost a half hour to make the change, though I couldn’t get mad at the agent. She claimed that her system was acting up, and something must have gone awry, because she asked me for my MP number four different times during the call.
We finally got everything straightened out and she said, "Now I’m going on my break, but it was a pleasure to talk to you sir."
The pleasure was mine.
One step closer to a perfect award…