Wow, talk about about a close call! It came down to the wire, but a generous act of goodwill by a reader of this blog saved me a trip to Asia and saved my trip in Garuda Indonesia First Class for 90% off!
As the time limit on my held reservation drew to a close, I began making preparations to travel. Indeed, I spoke of priorities in my Christmas Day post and an internal battle raged for three days about what I should do. But thanks to Heidi’s insistence that this would be, if nothing else, a great story to write about it, I made plans to fly to Singapore last night.
I had a dinner party in LA and did not want to miss it, so the plan was to fly from Los Angeles to Singapore on United via San Francisco. It would mean I could leave my party at 7pm to catch an 8pm flight out of Burbank and then connect to Singapore. Ultimately I would arrive in Singapore early on 12/29, giving me the day to ticket before my hold expired.
One problem: only coach was available and the flight from SFO to SIN is 17.5 hours this time of year! In all honesty, I still would have done it if I had to, but it would have been painful.
I read on FlyerTalk that one person had success ticketing over the phone with the Amsterdam office, but I did not have similar success. In fact, I could not even get through to them. I later found out the problem was Skype…
Last night I determined I did not want to leave my party early, so I thought I could take a shorter trip to Amsterdam today if necessary, still arriving on the morning of the 29th, ticketing at the Garuda AMS ticketing office, then hopping right on a plane back to the USA (after a night at the Hyatt Place at the airport).
Thankfully, even that was unnecessary!
How a Loyal Reader Ticketed My Garuda First Class Reservation
A reader in Singapore, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent me a note offering to help ticket the reservation. I was a bit skeptical, but willing to give it a try because this isn’t an ideal week to travel.
I called the Singapore office and asked if would be possible for someone to 1.) buy miles on my behalf and 2.) ticket a reservation from my account without my physical passport or Garuda membership card.
Yes, I was told — I had to fill out a form available on garudamiles.com. What form? An authorization form.
The Garuda sitemap was useless, but via Google I found this page which has a number of forms on it. I still was not sure which form to fill out, but sent the following to my reader:
- Power-of-attorney form (ostensibly authorizing reader to act as my agent)
- Mileage purchase form
- Award redemption form
- Copy of my passport and (electronic) Garuda membership card
- Credit card information
Just a few hours ago I received the good news: the ticket had been issued. The only hitch was that my credit card was not accepted since it was not present. Instead, the reader graciously pre-paid the taxes and miles and I have paid back the reader via PayPal.
One thing the Singapore office mentioned: reservations can be ticketed over the phone via the head office in Jakarta. I still have not heard any success stories, but if your CITI miles have posted it will not hurt to try calling +62 (0) 21 23519999. Also try calling the Amsterdam office at +31 (0) 20 5502600 (perhaps even before calling the head office).
I am so excited to fly in Garuda First Class next year and look forward to writing about it! While it would have been mildly entertaining for me to live blog from a 17.5hr flight in economy class, I am so thankful to be sitting in my office this morning without the specter of an exhausting trip to end 2016. Jeff (Canadian Kilometers) offers another success story here.