I was pretty bummed last night upon discovering that a Continental agent inadvertently misspelled the names of 3/4 of the passengers on a complex award reservation, then being told that there was no solution to the problem. But the problem has been resolved thanks to a diligent Continental staff member.
Because I saw no harm in it, I did stop by a Continental ticketing counter in Frankfurt earlier today to see if a live person could correct the misspelled names on the tickets. The agent was very nice and did her best to help, but she was not empowered to make the change and her support desk in Houston flatly refused. I was able to get a copy of the record which verified that an agent error had occurred and that authority was granted to reissue the tickets with the correct names.
I called Continental back this evening and was connected to a wonderful agent who I could tell immediately knew exactly what she was doing. She listened to my explanation, verified it in the record (and with the record in my hand, I guided her to specific line numbers), then told me she would do her best to fix the problem. About five minutes later she checked back in, asking if it was essential that my routing stay the same. You could hear an audible sigh of relief as I told her no.
We were thinking on the same wavelength and I proposed she look into more direct Continental options that would need to be “adjusted” from an “Easy-Pass” award level to a “Saver-Pass” award level (half the miles of an Easy-Pass).
It took another hour to get everything done, but space was opened and while the four travelers bound for Asia may not have Lufthansa First anymore, they do have a much more direct routing. And you can bet that I tripled checked the names were spelled correctly on this ticket (they were) before it was issued.
The last day has been quite stressful dealing with this award reservation, but my story goes to show that with patience and diligence an airline will come to the rescue. I am still curious whether the names could have been changed on the original ticket (I tend to think the answer is yes), but was content to settle on the new itinerary and even save over $100/ticket on taxes by avoiding Europe.
I offer my thanks to Continental tonight for working with me to resolve this issue. They took responsibility for their mistake and remedied the situation–I couldn’t ask for anything more. Vigilance is critical in booking an award, but persistence is also important. If a carrier makes a mistake, it may take a little persistence–as my story has demonstrated–to address the issue, but most problems have solutions. Continental did the right thing this evening.