I have a redemption booking coming up, a oneworld award using American Airlines miles. It’s a first class award, and I booked it with (4) Cathay Pacific first class segments and a final segment on British Airways from London to Toronto in First Class.
One of the great frustrations of the American-British Airways partnership is that you cannot use American miles to book BA flights between the US and London, and vice versa. There really isn’t much lost for BA members, why would they want to redeem transatlantic flights on American? Award availability tends to be much better on BA, and BA offers a better inflight product.
But for AA members it’s a big hole in the alliance partnership.
The ‘workaround’ is to fly to London via Canada (Vancouver, Toronto) or elsewhere in North America. Perhaps it’s an extra flight, but award availability is often good.
I had planned to try British Airways First Class for the first time. I’ve flown BA business, and I do like the seat, they were legions ahead of the curve in going fully flat in business. I know that BA’s first class offering is a bit behind the times, but I stil thought checking out the Concorde Room at Heathrow followed by a nice hop across the Atlantic in the “good” seats seemed like a wonderful idea. It’s unlikely to compare to my (4) Cathay first flights on the same trip, but I was looking forward to it.
First, British Airways changed their winter schedule and pulled first class out of the Toronto market. It turns out that first class was scheduled to go away until the day after I was supposed to fly. So naturally, I changed my plans! Got myself back on a British Airways first class redemption — on the 747. (I wanted the earlier departure on the 777, but it wasn’t available.)
So I checked my itinerary this afternoon and would you believe, British Airways has once again pulled first class from the London-Toronto market! My 747 has now become a 767. And the earlier 777 doesn’t offer first class any longer.
I’ve extended my trip by a day. And I can’t even change it back if I wanted to, no award availability. So I’m going to keep things as they are, and unless BA has a change of heart in the very near future (highly unlikely) I will still have BA First Class on my to do list.
Yes, this is a minor worry in the scheme of things. But BA has changed this up on me twice since booking, I made changes to accomodate, and in the end I’m winding up without what I was after. I wouldn’t have booked the award this way in all likelihood, I’d have gone for American Airlines first class and gotten my second non-AA carrier (as required by the award) with JFK-Toronto on LAN, perhaps. But no routing changes to a oneworld award after ticketing, so it is what it is. And now my beautiful award, with all segments in first class, no longer has that perfect symmetry to it…