Monday, February 16, 2009

"Friendly" Skies? I Don't THINK So...

Finally, after a wait of many years, my wife and I were looking into taking a cruise. With the economy the way it is, there are bargains to be had, and the price of the cruise we chose reflected that.

We booked the cruise, estimated the amount we'd need for alcohol, shore excursions, gratuities, and other "incidentals" and were happy with the total. We could afford it!

Enter the airlines. Having saved AAdvantage miles for years, I thought I could use them to book the flights we'd need to Rome and back for our trip. WRONG! In late 2008, American unilaterally increased the amount of miles needed for a transatlantic flight considerably. (See previous post on the topic.)

So, I reasoned, I will buy the lowest-price coach ticket that can be upgraded, and use my miles that way. Once again, WRONG! Well, not completely. It could be done but the upgrades required 25,000 miles PLUS $350 each way to upgrade, meaning the coach price PLUS $700 PLUS 50,000 miles to get us into business class.

The kicker? We were told we'd have to be "wait-listed" from Chicago to Rome.

If I'm going on a long flight, I need to KNOW I'm in business class. I'm not risking it, even if I am inclined to let American take such blatant advantage of me.

So here's the bottom line: the economy sucks, the cruise line is hurting, the economies of countries we were going to visit could use the boost but American Airlines is making it so difficult/expensive to use my miles, we'll probably not be going.

We'll find a way to use the miles we have accumulated but you can bet your bottom dollar we won't be giving AA any more business than we absolutely have to. After all, it's a two-way street and, to paraphrase American's own slogan, "We ARE why you fly." Wake up, American Airlines!


Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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