Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Discussion in 'American Airlines AAdvantage' started by Febs, Jan 2, 2007.

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  1. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
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    Hi everyone,

    Apologies if it's already been answered elsewhere (the stickies I looked at were all about the Plat challenge), but what's the best way to book a one-way US domestic fare on AA?

    The price is cheap enough through the AA website, but I noticed there was no space to enter my QFF number. Can I add this later (and if so, do I have to call up AA)? Is there another website I should book through instead?

    I know the exact flight I want to book.

    Cheers,
    - Febs.
     

  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    There are two ways that I know of. One of the AA experts should be along shortly to add any more ways they know of (or corrections to my comments!)

    1) Legit way:
    Book the flight as a one way flight on the AA website. When you say you're in Australia then you'll be told to put the booking on hold then call AA to pay by credit card.
    Find the AA number for Australia. Call it and speak to the lovely Indian call centre.
    After spelling out your booking reference and address and credit card details (can be a 20 min task!) the booking will change to Australian dollars. You can tell them your Qantas details at this point and they will be entered.
    Sydney AA office will charge your card and send you a confirmation receipt in the mail. (All done in Australian dollars).

    Perhaps if in Syd you can visit AA's office at Mascot and sort things out there.

    2) not so legit, but much simpler:
    Book your flight on the AA website and pretend that you've moved to the UK for a few minutes. Pay by credit card in pounds. Your flight will be confirmed in a couple of hours, and your card charged by either the UK or Ireland offices.
    Your card will be charged in Pounds, but everything will be automatic. You'll still need to call up AA and get them to apply your Qantas FF number.

    Note that credit/address checks are performed somewhere around the $1000US mark (apparently) so if over that amount you will have lots of difficulties with your booking if you choose the second method.
     
  3. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
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    Thanks Mal. Very comprehensive. :)

    I am in Sydney so I'll call them up and see if I can sort it out at Mascot tomorrow. I mean, I love Indian call centres and all, but... :D

    Cheers,
    - Febs.
     
  4. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    Dave Noble is the expert when it comes to the Syd AA office, so he'll probably give some advice when he sees this thread.

    But even if going in to visit them, do the booking online, then print out the "On Hold" reservation. You should be able to take that into the AA office and pay (although I have no experience with that). If you walk in and do a fresh booking, there may be additional charges.
     
  5. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    The Mascot office , I believe, is not set up for visitors ( unlike the old one at N Sydney )

    The correct thing to do is to hold the reservation online and then just call the Indians or the UK office and pay for it; they should then be able to issue an eticket for you and add the QF FF number

    The way I would do it, is as mentioned above, is to pretend that your credit card is from the UK and use a UK address online. It should work and , if it doesnt, then you can phone n do it

    Dave
     
  6. JohnM

    JohnM Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2006
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    I have just tonight booked a 4-flight AA trip for Partner JohnM over the internet using the 'UK method'. It worked a treat. I entered all real Australian home address and phone number details (including the Australian 61 prefix), but just selected UK from the country pop-up box since Australia is not listed.

    In any event, I couldn't figure out how to use the 'call centre' method quoting an 'on hold' booking reference as a reference number was not generated (at least for this multi-sector booking) prior to payment.

    I tried the Sydney AA 1800 number just to see if it went to India, but it's only operative during Sydney business hours.

    My experience suggests forget the call centre option (subject to the fare being below the level that could trigger problems as outlined by Mal) and use the UK option :D .

    So thanks, Mal for what was a very timely tip for me. (Moral of story: always check FF.com before attempting something a little unusual - someone out there knows a way!).
     
  7. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #7 Mal, Jan 5, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2007
    The thing to watch for is your reservation becoming "ticketed <Date>" when looking at the reservation online via the AA website https://www.aa.com/aa/reservation/findReservationAccess.do (rather than just being "ticketed"). Then you'll know the booking has gone through correctly. This should happen a few hours after the booking is made.

    I did post here about my wonderful experience last time I tried to do the right thing... http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/american-airlines-advantage/arrgh-its-painful-buying-tickets-8415.html
     
  8. Febs

    Febs Established Member

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    #8 Febs, Jan 5, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2007
    Thanks for the help Mal and Dave. I decided to go about it the slightly-more legitimate way (figured I had to call up and deal with India to get my QFF number added anyway...) Got it all sorted first go, but as expected there was lots of "SORRY SIR? COME AGAIN PLEASE SIR?" :rolleyes:

    For future flights, I'll just use the UK method. Was a little apprehensive this time.

    Cheers,
    - febs.
     
  9. Soundguy

    Soundguy Member

    Jun 15, 2006
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    John, have you recieved a confirmation e-mail yet?

    When I tried this it was knocked back (my total flight cost was about A$350, well short of $1000 that Mal mentioned). In fact they just didn't respond; I recieved no e-mail confirmation or refusal. To confirm the flight I called the UK office who said there was a problem because I had an Australian CC. They would accept an Australian CC but only with a heft extra fee per passenger.

    The bottom line is that AA really doesn't want business from Australians, there is no other way to look at it. I believe they maintain a token office here primarily for the benefit of their American customers who may travel to Australia.
     
  10. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Why are you booking under UK option and not US? ;)
     
  11. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    Normally, the only issue with booking through the UK is that there is a GBP15 fee for telephone bookings

    There are some fares which I purchase that have a sales restriction which state "not for sale in the UK" . In the event that you come across such a fare, then you need to call the Australian office to pay for it

    Dave
     
  12. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #12 Mal, Jan 5, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
    That is weird. I have booked several tickets using the "UK" method and all have been approved and ticketed without any dramas.

    2 were for just under 300 pounds each, the other was for over 500 pounds.

    The last ticket I bought using the "UK" address was only 2 weeks ago. I believe there is some manual intervention even in automated online booking so perhaps something about your booking was red flagged and brought it to their attention. Perhaps also their first attempt at charging your card was denied by your bank for technical or fraud prevention reasons. That would also cause big issues with getting the flight ticketed automagically.

    I agree that AA are silly in the way they restrict Australians buying tickets. Unfortunately that's the games they want to play and there is little we can do about it.

    If a booking isn't ticketed, I believe you can call up the Australian call centre (in India of course) and sort it out with them.

    (BTW, UK is better to use than the US due to the way things are verified )


    Also, I am still looking for an electronic way of adding in my Qantas FF number - emailing AA's online booking area won't help, I can't find a Reservations type email address nor can I find any other online ways of getting it added.
     
  13. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
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    I'm a bit confused. I received some documents from AA (in the post) today. For each passenger (myself and my girlfriend), I received:

    - Passenger Itinerary (claiming "Not valid for transportation")
    - Passenger Receipt (claiming "Not valid for transportation" and "Not valid for travel").
    (Both printed on standard AA boarding pass paper)

    The only e-mail I received stated "This is a* American Airlines/American Eagle itinerary notification only and does not constitute ticketing. The website states that flights have been ticketed.

    Are these ticketed electronically, or are we on paper tickets (and if so, when will I receive these)?

    Thanks again all. :)

    Cheers,
    - Febs.

    *Umm..shouldn't that be "an American Airlines/American Eagle itinerary notification...."? :D
     
  14. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #14 Mal, Jan 6, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
    If you call up and pay, you receive an itinerary and receipt in the post.

    That's what you received.

    If there are paper tickets involved, I would have expected you to receive them with your receipts.
     
  15. bradya

    bradya Newbie

    Jan 9, 2007
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    From personal experience, they success of your Austrlalian credit card being accepted on aa.com depends on one step. When you initially search for a fare, if you do not select UK/Canadian Residents, then choose UK as your country of residence, your will be required to ring AA.


    I recently put a fare on hold, after selecting my country of residence as US & All others. When I eventually paid for the ticket, using my AU credit card with UK as the country, I had to call AA's UK reservations. Pretty much all they had to tell me was that I was going to be charged in Pounds instead of USD, and they had to confirm this was OK because the fare was quoted in USD on aa.com.

    If the flight had been booked on americanairlines.co.uk, or the country of residence had been set to UK, the fare would have been displayed in Pounds, so I shouldn't have had to ring them up.

    At no point did they question my billing address being set to QLD, United Kingdom :p. The lady on the phone seemed to already know that it was an AU credit card, but all she said was "Because this card is Australian we need to charge it in pounds rather than USD, and just need to check that this is OK". Once I said it was, the status changed from 'ticketed' to 'ticketed <date>'. So I guess they realise that we are using the UK office to book flights on Australian cards now.

    This only occured to me this morning, so its just a theory, but next flight I make on AA i'll test it out.
     
  16. Soundguy

    Soundguy Member

    Jun 15, 2006
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    Welcome Bradya! Did the AA UK office tell you there was an extra booking fee? That is what they told me on the two occasions I have called them, the 1st time making a deal about the fact that they would waive it for me "just this time", the 2nd time no offer to waive it.
     
  17. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #17 Mal, Jan 9, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2007
    I've spent some time tonight looking at this.

    You should be able to change your country up until the point you put the ticket on hold. As soon as you put the ticket on hold, I believe you're locked into paying in that currency and like you mention, a UK address will most likely fail as some manual intervention is required. If you don't put your ticket on hold and simply purchase there and then, I believe you can change the currencies around.

    AA really should just accept Australian credit cards. The amount of stuffing around required to do things correctly makes me want to avoid doing it correctly. I currently have a ~$1100USD booking on hold, and deciding whether to attempt to ticket it or phone it through. Choices. Choices. Choices... Could be painful either way I do it (Esp. if that credit check is less than the amount of my booking and it immediately falls into that black hole!)

    At least knowing I can't plug in my Qantas FF number gives me more incentive to call!

    (Oh, did the right thing and called ... once again seriously wondering why I bother! Flight price means credit card authorisation forms needed to be faxed back. Of course it took around 10 minutes to get that gem of information... and still waiting for the email to arrive. One tip when dealing with AA's call centre is to have your Alpha, Bravo and Charlies all sorted out before calling (NATO phonetic alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) Will make the phone call a little less painful)
     
  18. tmadam

    tmadam Newbie

    Sep 20, 2006
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    See if you can add it at British Airways - MMB
     
  19. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    No. The currency is not locked at all. If I reserve a flight on the aa.com website it will price in GBP or USD depending on county selected on the booking page. If I hold it in USD and then call London to ticket it, it will be repriced into GBP or if I contact the Australia office they will reprice into AUD for ticketing

    If I use "US and others" and at the time of purchase online use a UK debt card, it will immediately reprice and charge it into GBP

    Dave
     
  20. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #20 Mal, Jan 10, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
    I understand, but think the issue is slightly different to what you mention. If you book the flights straight off then it doesn't matter what currency you use for payment vs the searching as it will automatically convert the currency when you pay based on your country you specify (or the call centre you call if paying over the phone).

    Where the issue lies I believe is if you put a ticket on hold, then go to pay for it online (not via call centre). Even though you change the country, I'm not sure that it changes the currency correctly. This is (I believe) what bradya was mentioning. (Personally I've had no issues with changing currency while booking the ticket, but have never had a ticket onhold that I paid for online and changed the ticket currency. This is the step that others have done and have had grief with)

    Now, with that out of the way, after my recent experience with the call centre and the email which never arrived :shock: , I wasn't going to call them back and go through the complicated process again. I took my chance with paying over $1100US on my CC.

    The result? Ticketed correctly. The limit must be higher than $1100 US - or the person who processed my ticket didn't look at things closely enough - or trusted my purchase...


    Oh, and does anyone have a link for the Credit Card Authorisation form online? Wouldn't mind seeing a copy or keeping a copy for future simplicity.
     
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