Ronald A. asks,
I’ve got an Aeroplan award ticket for two booked for next Spring on Turkish Airlines and Brussels Airlines (Istanbul-Brussels-Washnigton Dulles). The Brussels Airlines flight has had a huge schedule change which causes a misconnect in Brussels, so I’ll need to rebook.
It looks like there is nothing with saver availability in business class for my dates on Brussels Airlines for the transatlantic segment, so I’d imagine they’ll want to flip me over to Austrian, which has availability, but that has fuel surcharges on a normal booking.
Will I be charged the fuel charges for an involuntary rebooking like this due to a schedule change?
Also, given that it’s a huge schedule change, is there any chance they can contact revenue management at Star Alliance (or something to that effect) and request that Turkish open up two business seats on the nonstop Istanbul-Washington Dulles flight? What happens if I wait and call Aeroplan on a day where there is no saver award availability at all, meaning they have to open something up in order to accommodate me? Will that increase the likelihood of getting the nonstop on Turkish? (Or will Air Canada just open something up on their own metal?)
In general it’s really tough to get partner airlines to open up seats.
If you book an award through one program, they have access to the saver awards offered by their partners. But they don’t have the ability to open up space on other airlines.
There are generally ‘alliance liaisons’ and there are times when they can get their partners to act. It’s been done, it isn’t impossible, but it’s rare. Usually this only works where there’s been a mistake on the part of the partner.
When there’s no saver award inventory, the airline presumes they’ll sell their seats or at least don’t want to open up awards. Opening up the space is a costly thing for the partner airline to do. They won’t do it as a favor, only when they really have to make good.
If you were on a partner flight that had a change, the connection became illegal, but being re-accommodated on a different flight from the same partner would fix things that can often be done.
Switching partner routing, as in this question? Far less likely. Turkish isn’t going to open up space on their non-stop flight because of another partner airline’s schedule change.
I told Ronald A. that he’s much more likely to get a change done without additional fees — Aeroplan accommodating him by changing his flights but not adding fuel surcharges for the airline he changes onto — since it’s effectively an involuntary re-route. That could take supervisor involvement, sometimes you have to hang up, call back even.
Aeroplan doesn’t add fuel surcharges onto Turkish awards. They do add fuel surcharges to awards for flying Austrian. In this case, they should move the passenger onto Austrian and re-issue the tickets without adding on those junk fees.
Interestingly, if you fly an outbound with Aeroplan, then make changes to the ticket after departure, no fuel surcharges are collected for the change even when moving to a carrier where Aeroplan normally bills you those.
Here’s what happened when Ronald A. spoke to Aeroplan. Unsurprisingly,
They put me on Austrian with no fuel surcharge and obviously no change penalty.
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