I’ve been answering a lot in the comments, on twitter, and over email — British Airways is able to book award travel on American Airlines flights presently.. they just can’t do it on their website. You have to call. If you search online you just get back that there’s no availability.
British Airways Should Post a Notice About Award Seats That Won’t Show Online
British Airways should put a bolded notice on their website that American Airlines awards aren’t bookable, and that members should call if they’re interested in those awards. It would save a great deal of confusion.
People Assume What’s Online is What’s Available, and That’s Not Unreasonable
Most people I encounter think that if they enter where they’re starting from and where they’re going on an airline website, the website will tell them what awards are possible. That’s a reasonable supposition.
- That’s largely what the websites lead members to believe
- That’s how websites are supposed to work, and usually do work.
Indeed, it’s not unreasonable to believe that a company with the technical prowess to make very heavy pieces of metal fly with people inside would have the technical capability to display available award seats. Or at least if they don’t, the airline would have the technical capability to display on the website whatever caveats are needed.
It’s one thing perhaps for an airline not to show all of the options that are available online, when there are options. It’s another thing to report back:
- That no awards are available, when awards are available (just not showing on the website)
- That awards are only available at a higher price, when saver awards would be available if you called.
Members either get frustrated, unable to use their miles, or they get overcharged. (Come to think of it, perhaps airlines’ lack of disclosure is – from their perspective – a feature not a bug.)
United Needs to Be More Transparent, But History Doesn’t Give Much Hope
As far as airline websites go for booking awards, United’s is pretty good in that it displays available space on most partners. But it doesn’t display them all, and sometimes certain partners drop off. They even intentionally removed access to Singapore Airlines awards from their website.
You’d think a notice when Brussels Airlines space can’t be booked online would make sense. But since United went out of its way to mislead members about the removal of Singapore seats, transparency isn’t the order of the day.
American Discloses… But in the Wrong Place
American Airlines has a page listing the partners that are bookable on its website. That’s good… but they should link to it, with a bold disclosure, when you’re searching for seats.
American will let you book awards online for:
- American Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- US Airways
Apparently ‘you asked’ for US Airways awards, but haven’t ‘asked’ for Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Etihad, Qatar, Iberia, LAN, or any number of the other myriad partners.
No doubt IT improvements have played second to integration with the US Airways merger but it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen any improvements. That’s actually ok, as long as members are told what to expect.
It’s Important — and Easy — to Better Inform Members
A simple notice on the award search page that says “not all award seats are displayed at AA.com, for more details see [LINK]” would suffice I think. Otherwise members get the wrong information, that’s nothing is available, or they get overcharged. And that’s dishonest.