For the last couple of weeks the American Airlines website has intermittently been having problems with booking awards. Sometimes it will just error out, or it will be slow.
Also recently American’s call center agents haven’t been able to see Etihad award space correctly. Search for the awards correctly on the Etihad website, American generally does have access to the same saver (“Guest”) award space Etihad offers to its own members, call American agents and they will say they don’t see the space.
We’ve had multiple instances in the past where American agents couldn’t book Etihad space. Sometimes it’s all Etihad space. Sometimes it’s restricted to first class award space. It’s always been an IT glitch, and it’s always resolved itself.
Last week I raised the issue with AAdvantage, and they told me they couldn’t replicate the problem. But it’s absolutely real — I’ve experienced it, and readers have emailed me consistently about it.
That’s incredibly frustrating because:
- Etihad has one of the best quality inflight products of American’s partners.
- Etihad has outstanding availability, generally, in premium cabins.
- Etihad flies to a number of North American cities — New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto
Fortunately there’s a workaround. Several members of Flyertalk have been calling American’s Australian reservations center and getting the awards booked. I do not know why, but agents outside the U.S. seem to see inventory correctly while US call center agents do not.
Reader Scott K., for instance, emailed this morning.
Hey Gary-looking at availability on E[tihad] and their website for the fall is showing plenty of award mileage space. Tried calling A[merican] and they said no availability. Any suggestions? Have you heard of any issues?
I suggested that he call American reservations in Australia (which is English-speaking naturally, and open 24/7) to book the award space.
He got back to be that he “got 2 F[irst Apartment] seats on the A380.”
So if you’re seeing award space on the Etihad website, but American’s US reservations center can’t see the space, try Down Under.