SWISS First Class Awards Cancelled, Aeroplan is “Not Pleased”

This week Swiss made first class award space broadly available. Usually Swiss first class awards are offered only to Miles & More elite members, but a couple of times recently they’ve opened these seats to partner members who have had no issues with their bookings or travel.

However this time it appears reservations have been cancelled, and it’s been tough getting answers about what’s going on. Some readers report Swiss telling them they didn’t cancel. Aeroplan says they didn’t do it.


Credit: SWISS

Make no mistake this was not a mistake fare, members booked award tickets at the published price for the route and cabin. The US Department of Transportation requires airlines to honor tickets purchased, though in the case of mistake fares has said they won’t enforce their published regulations provided that the airline cancelling cover any costs the passenger incurred in reliance on the booking.

Live and Let’s Fly is threatening to sue Aeroplan and wants everyone to pressure them in social media.

Personally I’m giving them until the beginning of the week since cancellations happened at the end of the week and there’s likely little they can manage over the weekend. That’s what they’re asking for. And they assure they are very unhappy.

Here’s what Aeroplan tells me:

I can assure you that we are not pleased with the situation.

Our members are our priority and Aeroplan will assist affected passengers. We are investigating the situation as to what exactly happened and why these reservations were cancelled. Working with Swiss and Air Canada, we should know more about that early next week.

So for those readers who booked these awards, let’s hang tight until the beginning of the week to see what they work out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. DOT needs to go back to the “price paid must be honored” rules. Between this and the Virgin Australia fares recently, it’s getting ridiculous. If they want to make a carve our for truly egregious mistake fares (ie, $20) then fine, but airlines are taking advantage of the situation now.

  2. I booked two seats for Swiss First (A330) through Aeroplan. I just checked my reservation on Swiss.com and it’s still what I booked.

  3. @Daniel – I completely agree, but that DOT pro-consumerism is not going to happen in the current administration which treats every federal agency as existing to serve the needs of big corporations and ultra-rich political donors instead of serving the best interests of our citizenry. Just look at the latest tax bill and the vote on net neutrality if you want a couple of recent examples.

  4. I hope the folks who bought these award tickets get to fly. It’s a bit rich for the airline to argue that we made a mistake by offering seats that our award program would indicate should be available. Like can you imagine AA cancelling your award reservation with an argument that “we almost never offer standard award seats in summer to Europe, so it was an obvious mistake when you were able to book one”?

    The biggest problem these flyers will likely have is that, from my experience, communications between airlines on award tickets is horrific. If you’ve ever had anything “go wrong” with an award ticket on a partner airline, you probably know that. Nobody knows how to pick up a phone and call somebody to make it right, and the systems are generally institutionalized to be unhelpful.

    That said, it’s hard for me to imagine caring about this enough to go to court. Go book another airline. Or, God forbid, fly coach. This opportunity is hardly the deal of a lifetime.

  5. Actually a foot note under AP’s reward charts specifically states:
    “SWISS First Class is not available for reward travel”

  6. Aeroplan isn’t an airline. Factor?
    Side note: I feel so sorry for them that they are not happy.
    What happened with other carriers?

  7. @Bill
    Check your date and/or administration. The 2015 rule does not involve the current administration.

    “… the Enforcement Office will not enforce the requirement of section 399.88 with regard to mistaken fares occurring on or after the date of this notice so long as the airline or seller of air transportation: (1) demonstrates that the fare was a mistaken fare; and (2) reimburses all consumers who purchased a mistaken fare ticket for any
    reasonable, actual, and verifiable out-of-pocket expenses that were made in reliance upon the ticket purchase, in addition to refunding the purchase price of the ticket. …

    Blane A. Workie
    Assistant General Counsel for
    Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings
    Dated: May 8, 2015”

  8. I’m very glad Gary you are taking the sensible and pragmatic approach here rather than threatening legal action and putting on a tantrum like your colleague at Live and Let’s Fly, before we even know exactly what’s going on.

  9. > @Jeffrey –
    > Actually a foot note under AP’s reward charts specifically states:
    > “SWISS First Class is not available for reward travel”

    It says it is not available which normally it is not. It does not say it is not allowed. I read this as if you find availability it is allowed.

  10. If it was cancelled by Aeroplan rather than SWISS, why has my mid-december booking disappeared in the swiss app but is still alive on aeroplan? Haven’t gotten any information from aeroplan yet.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it was clear upfront that this is a mistake. It was also available on Miles&More online and how should one know, that this was unintentionally?
    I had a confirmed LH F ticket the next day, which I cancelled after getting LX F ticketed. And now availability is gone.
    I gonna ring up SEN hotline to see, what they will do or offer. Ironically, I had exact the same flight – which has now been cancelled by whoever – booked on LX using M&M miles as SEN.
    I cancelled that one couple of months ago because of travel plan changes and booked myself into said LH F. Bad moves….

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