Yesterday evening I received an email from Aeroplan. It was a new e-ticket receipt. My nonstop flight in SWISS First Class had suddenly become two Air Canada flights in business class with an overnight connection in Toronto.
If you’re new to this controversy, please review the previous posts on the subject—
- Hurry! Aeroplan Allowing SWISS First Class Bookings!
- SWISS First Class Award Space Wide Open
- Booked! Family Trip in SWISS First Class
- Dear Aeroplan, If You Cancel My SWISS First Class Tickets, I Will Sue You
- Let’s Help Aeroplan Take the Moral High Ground (RE: SWISS First Class Awards)
- Aeroplan Issues Statement on Cancelled SWISS First Class Awards
- SWISS First Class Update: No News is Good News?
- Aeroplan: We Won’t Honor SWISS First Class Award Tickets
- Deconstructing Aeroplan’s Disingenuous Statement
- Aeroplan Plan of Attack: DOT First, Lawsuit Later
The updated itinerary did not follow a phone call or email discussion. It did not come with any email explanation. Nor were any miles refunded to my Aeroplan account for the downgrade from first class (70K) to business class (55K). The new itinerary just showed up in my inbox.
More than a week later, I have yet to receive any communication from Aeroplan concerning my specific tickets. If there were only “a small number” of tickets issued, why have more members not been contacted? Why has no one reached out to me to even let me know there is a problem? As last as this afternoon the SWISS First Class space still showed up on my reservation at Aeroplan.com.
From First Class Nonstop to Business Class with Overnight
While I appreciate that Aeroplan attempted to find me a solution rather than just refund my miles, I am not about to subject my wife and son to an overnight layover in Toronto in the dead of winter. No thanks! (even with great Mexican food)
Augustine is at that age where we need nonstop flights. I chose the nonstop Zurich to Los Angeles flight for a very specific reason. It was the only flight I wanted. My in-laws live close to Zurich and this was the ideal solution.
The new solution, while it may just be a starting point for future discussion, is a not acceptable.
That’s the update for today. I’m not calling Aeroplan: let’s see how long it actually takes them to reach out to me.
image: Air Canada
I have a feeling we are talking about alot more tickets than aeroplan is leading us to believe. The bookings where available for a long time. Anyways, I have yet to get a call/email from Aeroplan for my 3 tickets.
Oh boy. How many more riveting posts can we have about one ticketing issue? I hope at least a dozen more!
You’re welcome to read my Hilton review form earlier instead. It took a heck of a lot more time to write.
I for one appreciate the update as I am in the same situation as Matthew, as are many others. If you don’t want to read it, skip over it.
These updates must keep coming. I’m not one of those affected but I understand the gravity of the situation. It’s a GIANT screw up by both Swiss and Aeroplan. Both are handling it about as well as Equifax and Uber handled their hacks. What they did is no doubt beyond wrong on principle. As I’ve read here and elsewhere probably wrong on legal terms. How they’re handling it shows us average travelers how eroded the customer service business model has become. The more updates we get the better. It’s up to the consumers to keep airlines (and any business) accountable for actions and reactions.
WHAT IF THIS HAD HAPPENED TO YOU!?
Interesting… I’m torn on what to do here. As of now, my Swiss flight still shows as ticketed on the Aeroplan website.
I’m flying from the south of France back to NYC, so I’m willing to have one stop (indifferent if thats in ZRH/GVA or elsewhere) but Air Canada would require two stops which ain’t happening.
My flight isn’t until June so I’m tempted to see more datapoints (including yours) to see what the best path of negotiating is , but there is business availability on a somewhat convenient Swiss route right now.
If Aeroplan has no intention of helping me get First availability in Lufthansa or Singapore, I’m basically in a tradeoff between hoping for some kind of compensation and risking the “best available” award get booked.
Are there any datapoints of Aeroplan getting an star alliance partner (non-AC) to increase award inventory (biz or 1st) to accomodate people in this situation? I’ve only heard of them booking things that were otherwise available to the public.
My thoughts… While this whole situation sucks in general and Swiss is being a complete tool in this situation screwing both their business partners and customers. IMHO, the appropriate solution for Swiss would be to offer to make J space available for Aeroplan customers who booked tickets in F after all Swiss is the one that screwed up.
Now in this situation, I think Aeroplan is really going above and beyond trying to make things right within their control. Yes, the overnight is not ideal and I suspect they wanted to keep the full trip on aircraft equipped with proper business class however a push should get them to book a reasonable connection.
Unfortunately, demanding a nonstop is not going to work unless Swiss opens up saver J seats. Swiss is the one that unilaterally cancelled the tickets and this is completely out of Aeroplan’s control 🙁
Do you know if the saver space was available or did AC open up award space? If they are only re-booking where saver space is available I think that’s BS. But if they are actively opening business class space that at least shows they are attempting to allow passengers to travel in a premium class. I know LX F is a much different animal that AC C but at least it isn’t economy…..which wouln’t have surprised me.
I believe they opened it. I had checked for alternates and saw nothing.
I don’t believe Aeroplan is actively opening up award space. Or else – they are not opening the right award space.
In my case – Aeroplan re-booked me on a flight (in business) with connection (even though those Swiss F tickets were booked on a direct flight).
MilesandMore showed that business class awards at saver level were available on 2 direct flights on my date.
When I called Aeroplan, I said that I am prepared to take a downgrade to business but only if it’s a direct flight. I pointed to availability on MilesandMore.
However, they pretty much said “take it or leave it”.
I have no sympathy for Aeroplan in this case. Even though I will be filing a DOT complaint against Swiss (I doubt anything will change, but our voices have to be heard anyway), I would much rather file it against Aeroplan.
I proactively called in last night and the phone agent had no idea about the cancellations (didn’t want to get auto rebooked into something unpalatable). She had to speak to someone in the ticketing office to believe me that the flight was deleted by Swiss…kept saying it’s ticketed on our end. Ultimately, I rebooked on Swiss business and got the 15k difference re-deposited. Not happy with the change but not worth my time to push it further with the phone agent who seemed pretty clueless (at least at first). She did say they can only rebook on flights that are also showing up online so they are not “opening up additional award space” which I think is pretty crap. Obviously a YMMV situation; you might have more leverage when a supervisor calls you to inform you that the tickets have been cancelled. I did file a DOT complaint against Swiss for what its worth. Maybe they’ll force Swiss to upgrade me to first after all 🙂 We can all dream…right?
Also, keep posting about your battle. Myself (and others in a similar situation) are very interested in how it plays out. The others can just simply bypass..
RE: I am not about to subject my wife and son to an overnight layover in Toronto in the dead of winter. No thanks!
Just to keep it real. Friday Dec 8: sunny and 32 degrees in Toronto. Atlanta – winter snow storm and 34.
See comment below. I love Toronto. Now is just not the time. No Lonf walk to the UP, no jet lag in a hotel room, no spending extra money on a dark winter day no matter the temperature.
I have spent over 4 hours with Aeroplan on finding an alternate solution as our flights are in 2 weeks and I am a Canadian resident so no quick way of filing a complaint. Let alone opening up seats on AC metal, the flights I saw open on AP’s website (e.g. YYZ- Munich, Frankfurt) were actually not bookable! The agents and the supervisor were getting errors while trying to book them! same with TAP Portugal!
Finally, after trying for a few hours, I was able to book something to Venice via Frankfurt on AC metal instead of original Zurich.. they refunded the difference in points, no extra charge on taxes or surcharge.. I am trying to get 2500 points as a compensation promised to me a few days ago by a supervisor! Told them to listen to the call – so much for 2500 points!
Glad you have something booked. If you see something better open, call Aeroplan back. They should be able to grab it for you and modify your ticket at no charge.
Meh – what is the complaint? You now have a free stopover in Toronto, listed in Conde Nast Architectural Digest as one of The Top 20 Places to Travel in 2018. And you even are booked to arrive there when the tourist crowds will be much smaller. Aeroplan greatly enhanced your travel experience for no extra charge!
If you knew my actual travel date, you’d know that tourist crowds will not be smaller.
Matthew is not only traveling during the end of 2017 / New Year , but also with a toddler….
“I am not about to subject my wife and son to an overnight layover in Toronto in the dead of winter. ”
Oh, it’s not about Toronto. It was only last week I wrote a overwhelming positive review of the city (see link above). I just don’t want two flights home with a baby.
If you arrive at 1230, you can avoid having to overnight – have them put you on one of the afternoon/evening flights from YYZ-LAX.
People work hard for points, whether it’s through actual business travel away from family or through credit cards. When they redeem miles/points, they redeem for a certain value they expect at a certain time, routing, and point/mile cost. If he didn’t originally book Toronto and booked direct, it was for a reason. That’s what he ought to get and that’s what’s fair.
This is absolutely insane now. I too was rebooked without any phone call or email notice (in fact the new itinerary is not even viewable on aeroplan.com, only on united and swiss.com). They turned my ORD-ZRH in LX F into ORD-LHR (UA J) LHR-ZRH (LX J). No refund for the difference in price, and no notice whatsoever.
I can’t wait until they deign to contact me. Given the hubris of both Aeroplan and Swiss, I’m not sure how this ends in anything other than a lawsuit. Matthew, do you already know the address of Aeroplan’s and Swiss’s agents for service of process? 🙂
Playing devil’s advocate, you were given notice. It just wasn’t in advance!
I think your spot on with this and having toddler twins I completely understand your desire to go direct. Plus despite what others may following this is making for a series of very interesting posts. It’s completely unacceptable that Aeroplan rebooked you without your consent or even contacting you not to mention that they didn’t refund your points.
Swiss will likely come to regret not just letting people fly on what they ticketed but then again as arrogant as they have been described as being perhaps not.
I wonder if there is a class action in this for all those who end up having to accept an alternate routing to get where they are going?
Look Matthew if you want a direct flight in first class on swiss for 3 people then I suspect you should buy the revenue tickets…oh wait you probably can’t afford the actual cost. That being said find a bew flight home and call them, see if they can get the free tickets plus taxes and fees, and be done with it. Your not fighting for anyone on here like say but your fighting for yourself only! We all know it and don’t pretend anything different. Good thing that you will soon find out the DOT has no jurisdiction; but thats a separate issue.
Also are you seriously one of “those” people whao bring kids in first class. I hate when I buy first class and spend my money for comfort and quite since I actually am a revenue pax and people who fly on “miles” bring their infants and they cry all night or day. I wish more airlines would actually prohibit children under 10 in first all together.
I say fight all you want but at some point Aeroplan can not open space for points that doesn’t exist. They don’t owe you anything but to refund your miles and charges if you don’t like the alternative.
Good luck but pls stop being a douchbag!
You know what I hate @Scott? People who think their stuff doesn’t smell. People who make assumptions about others without knowing them. People who assume that they have God given rights well just because. Like the right to never have a kid in First Class. People who think their method of Purchase is better than someone else’s. You think Tom Stucker sitting in First class on an award ticket didn’t pay for that seat and is somehow less entitled to it??!!!! Give me a freaking break.
Clearly you don’t like the blog. Please just go away and spew your unwelcome vitriol somewhere else.
And perhaps you might remember that someone like Matthew is far better positioned to fight this fight than your average person and that the precedent he sets will impact that person.
Or perhaps you would prefer your airline cancel your first class seat at the last minute without warning because they decided they made a mistake not waiting for the guy willing to pay more for it. Hence it was a “mistake fare” and they can do as they please.
@121pilot I am not making assumptions based solely on his writings nor do I care. I actually think Matthew has some of the best blogs on here when it come to news and reporting. But because I am blessed to be a position to be able to afford international first class tickets for personal travel does not make me better than someone else.
What I believe crosses the line is how on this particular issue he believes that he is ENTITLED to something. And how far he will go to get it.
Remember this is not a “mistake fare” of any sort, AP took the correct amount of miles based on their award chart and charged his credit card the appropriate taxes and fees. But we all know that Swiss has had a rule for a prolonged period of time that doesn’t allow non miles and more elites to book these seats! And for whatever reason, which they can do and do not need to explain to us why they choose to do this. Which is in their right to do if they would like. No matter how we as frequent flyers feel personally about that aspect we must live with it.
But when we all know the rule, and a fluke technology glich happens and we take advantage of the glitche then we are at the mercy of what the company decides to do about honoring or not honoring those glitches.
Even though AC issued a ticket number, AP took the miles, but Swiss had a clear policy on those seats and they are NOT bookable but non m&m elites, Means their prior policy and procedures takes precedence over all tickets that were issued.
I hope he fights and can have his tickets reissued for his sake but I don’t think that is morally or ethically correct.
He knew those seats should have never been open for booking and you can not fault a third party like AP, and the people who work there for this. They did nothing wrong.
So when it comes to your point on last minute cancellation of my purchased revenue tickets we are not comparing apples to apples.
Did his fighting Swiss before, or Ethiopan recently change anything for the “ average” person? I think not, it only rewarded him!
Please after all this show me where in the rules of the Governments who regulate the airlines (Canadian, Swiss or even American) does it say they must honor any tickets purchased with miles? Secondly the T&C s from AP even have an explicit section which states they have no control and are not responsible for Airlines choosing not to honor award tickets!
And Swiss doesn’t care, they ignored the DOT requests before and what would make you think they wouldn’t ignore them again?
Lastly Swiss is the sovereign territory of switizerland as they are a flag carrier allowing for international flights.
Scott, clearly you are happy being miserable. Please be miserable somewhere else.
All I am pointing is be reasonable. If AP can not make Swiss honor tickets them AP needs to the right thing and work with individuals to find something that works for them. But they can not work miracles.
But IV how can demanding they pay for a revenue first class ticket be reasonable? Or saying you ONLY want a direct flight because you know that Swiss is the only carrier that flies that route? That is not reasonable. They need to work with Matthew and maybe its business class on the route with a refund of miles and taxes or maybe its first on LH via FRA or MUN. But bith sides need to play together.
I don’t think that its very fair that you assume I am a miserable person because I happen to disagree with your view point.
Hi. Just some basic psychology for you mister. Some of your comments might or might not be valid, and might contribute to a discussion.
However, once you pull a “stop being a douche bag” you make other people defensive. You make it personal. The reader feels attacked by your comment.
It will basically de- legitimise everything you have to say to most people. Why do it?
I’ve been following this thread since it kicked off. I will be flying LX F sometime next year, but on a revenue ticket, so it clearly doesn’t affect me.
My understanding was that LX F was only available to MM Senator and above. This has been the case for some time. Lets be honest here, Aeroplan was never supposed to be able to offer LX F awards. I don’t know why people feel such a strong sense of entitlement.
If one really wants to travel LX F, then purchase a revenue ticket – then its a sure thing.
I 100% support you on this issue. Please do not let AC off the hook. More importantly, it’s the stingy LX should be eventually fixed.
@Scott – so much vitriol! And such poor grammar, too!
I think Matthew is doing a huge service to all of us. Remember, even those who are not currently affected one day might find themselves in a similar situation.
Was Just rebooked for June departure. No notice before now . Says “schedule change”
No refund of mileage or excess taxes and double connection with the really nice domestic business class 38 inch pitch from LAX -Toronto. No refund of extra taxes. DOT complaint filed.
I’m flexible so I can likely get LH first in the week leading up to departure and can leave with a day’s notice.
Most people are not.
I’ve got 6 months now to see where this goes.
I thank everyone for their comments here.
@Scott: I do disagree with your point of view, but I appreciate that you took the time to chime in. Thanks for reading.
To me, the answer is pretty simple: Aeroplan should insist that Swiss open-up award space in J on the same flight(s) that the itinerary originally had, and assign the customers there (refunding the cost/miles difference, of course). No scheduling hassles, Aeroplan takes a small reputation-hit, Swiss loses potential paid-fares for *their* screw-up, and the flyer still ends up on a close-enough product. The customer also gets the option to cancel with a full refund during rebooking.
It’s a bad situation, and if you spread the consequences around enough, nobody should be too upset. The only people who would seriously object to this solution would be those who booked an itinerary specifically to fly on Swiss First (and those people are aware that they were gaming the system, and still have the option to cancel if they’re too good for business class).