The most frustrating part of booking an award trip is when a telephone call to the airline is required. Some agents are quicker than others, but generally telephone awards just take a long time to book. I type this as I wait (33 minutes and counting) to speak to an Air Canada Aeroplan reservations to book an award. Thankfully, I can multi-task…
Earlier tonight, however, I set a new personal record by booking three complex awards with United Airlines in under 15 minutes. The agent was great and is the reason for this post.
I did not have more than a few seconds of hold time tonight and was promptly connected to a lady at the Global Services desk in Dearborn, which often (sadly) translates into bad service. Not tonight! The first award was a ten-segment award originating in East Aisa. Of course, I had researched availability beforehand and the agent was quite effective, telling me to relay to her what I wanted segment by segment as she checked for space. She found all the flights I wanted to and booked the reservation. Next came a Southeast Asian award with four segments–all flights were on Thai and the agent found the space before I even gave her the flight times.
Finally, a nine-segment award from the Midwest to Australia had to be booked. I feared this one would be problematic because the routing involved some backtracking and exceeded the maximum permitted mileage (though not by more than UA’s 15% allowance). Nope–the agent found the segments and booked the flight. All was confirmed!
Throughout the process, the agent was friendly, talkative, and of course highly efficient. In one sense it is sad that such treatment merits a blog post (as it should be standard), but I was beyond impressed–it was so refreshing to deal with a well-trained agent.
I trust that as the United/Continental merger continues to progress, res. agents will be retrained on how to search for awards and valid award routings.