When Your Award Flight Changes, What Do You Do? We're not talking here about a change of a few minutes, that may slightly worsen or improve your departure time, connection or arrival time. More drastic changes can and do happen, changing the flight by hours, causing a misconnect, or causing the original flight you were on to be eliminated entirely.
That's what happened to a future flight we're taking in EVA Air Business Class. EVA completely eliminated BR29, a flight that used to depart JFK at 1:15pm in the afternoon and arrive the following day in Taipei at 5:05pm. This is the flight we were booked on.
EVA Air's new flight BR31 from JFK departs at the ungodly hour of 1:25am and arrives Taipei at 5:15am the following day, and this is the flight we were rebooked on–except 1 day later than our original departure. Not only was this a day later than we needed to get to Taipei, whoever at EVA Air rebooked us did not bother to rebook our connecting flight to elsewhere in Asia, so that we'd arrive in Taipei about 10 hours after our connecting flight had departed. Not good.
1. Research Replacement Flight Options
Before you call, check the best replacement flight option of the airline you're booked with, and how that affects any connecting flight(s) you're also booked on. In our case, there's only one daily EVA Air flight, so we'd have to depart about 12 hours earlier than planned in order to get to our destination in time, and would have a long layover in Taipei unless we were able to get an earlier connecting flight. This was still the best option for us, given our plans.
I also checked potential alternative award space to Asia for our date, but there was actually nothing that worked, without paying significantly more miles for business or first class.
2. Call the Frequent Flyer Program You Booked With
We were booked with Aeroplan miles, so I called Aeroplan. Since there can be long wait times sometimes for the English line, I generally select the French option, and then check in French with the representative who picks up if we can switch to English, which is always possible since all the French speaking reps are bilingual.
3. Patiently But Firmly Press Your Case
If there's limited award availability, it's likely the representative will ask you if you can fly on another date or another carrier, possibly with additional connections.
In our case we really needed to fly on our specific date, and with EVA Air. From my research, I knew that there wasn't currently any award availability for the new BR31 flight on our date, but I also knew that EVA Air Business Class seats were still being sold on that flight. Hence, I asked the representative to go through Aeroplan's liaison at EVA Air to get us on that earlier flight for our date. The representative had to go through her supervisor, and it took quite a bit of time on hold–over an hour in fact–but eventually it was accomplished. In this case, EVA Air refused to open up award space, so Aeroplan ended up purchasing new revenue tickets for us. I can't promise this will always be the outcome though.
4. Double Check Details of Your New Flights, Reselect Seats
Because we were rebooked on new flights, we had a new record locator, and so I went in to reselect seats. They weren't of course the same as our originally selected seats, but I was just happy to get on the earlier flight we needed. Since we're now flying revenue tickets, I also added our frequent flyer numbers.
If you've had your award flights changed by the airline to ones that didn't work for you, were you able to get the airline to change you to flights that worked?
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