UPDATE: I emailed my Aeroplan contact for comment. This is what I received:
I checked with our team and we’ve only had a small number (three) who have reported technical glitches. We will continue to monitor and work closely with our partner airlines.
While it appears Aeroplan is monitoring the situation, which is great, I have a feeling that the situation is worse than Aeroplan believes. If my client and two people I casually speak with have experienced similar issues, of Aeroplan’s 5 million + members, I doubt we’re a majority sample of this issue. I guess only time will tell.
As I’ve heavily reported, Aeroplan has had a problem with blocking a number of carriers for award redemption on the basis of technical issues. These carriers have included COPA, Air China, Swiss, and Avianca. Fortunately, the problems with COPA and Swiss have been fixed, and while Air China was fixed, according to an Aeroplan agent, it was again blocked this past Friday. I’m now thinking that EVA will soon be on the block list for Aeroplan.
Here’s the situation: last night, I made an award booking for a client with Awarding Canada using Aeroplan flying on EVA business class. The booking was made online. The booking ticketed as normal, and if I checked the ticket coupon status on Saudia’s e-ticket retrieval system, all coupons showed as open and appeared as normal. However, unusually, I could not retrieve the EVA record locator from Aeroplan, Air Canada, or even after calling EVA, who could not find a record of the client’s reservation – something was wrong.
I called Aeroplan. Apparently, even though an e-ticket was issued, the second flight on the client’s itinerary came back as unconfirmed in ‘I’ inventory (Star Alliance business class award inventory) – Aeroplan was showing phantom availability on EVA and somehow ticketed it.
The agent first insisted that the client’s only remedy was a refund, which is ridiculous since an e-ticket was issued. But for my vigilance, the client would have likely showed up for her flight and would be refused boarding without an active reservation on the flight. I asked to speak with a supervisor. After a long hold, the agent came back to me and said the supervisor would fix it. Great! Within 20 minutes, I received an email which showed a confirmed ‘J’ ticket on the problematic flight, meaning that Aeroplan purchased a seat for the client. The client will actually earn miles on the ticket, but that must have been an expensive error for Aeroplan to fix.
I put this situation to a couple of other frequent travellers. I had two other reports from this small group of similar problems happening with Aeroplan and EVA. Fortunately, for those two cases, the unconfirmed segments were on short-haul flights with EVA, and when they appeared at the airport without a reservation, EVA was able to put them on the flight as a courtesy. Had these flights been long-haul, such as the flight for my client, I highly doubt EVA would risk offering that kind of courtesy.
While I am not certain, this seems to be similar to the technical difficulties with the other previously blocked carriers – Aeroplan passengers were showing up for their Air China/Copa/Swiss etc. flights and being turned away for not having a properly made reservation. If my assessment is correct, and EVA is following the same pattern, I suspect Aeroplan will start blocking EVA award availability – having to buy full-fare tickets to fix these mistakes must be rather costly.