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Thursday, June 25, 2009

JAL does not want my money

I am so frustrated after spending more than an hour talking to JAL ticketing agent, JMB specialist and my travel agent and tried to modify my issued ticket to a higher booking class so I can take advantage of the super discounted upgrade award promotion. But at the end my impression is JAL doesn't want my money :(

Here's what happened. I have an issued ticket which the outbound is in N class and inbound is in K class. I have redeemed an upgrade award for my inbound flight already. Since there's a promotion for upgrade award, I decided pay the penalty plus fare difference to change my booking class of my outbound flight to K as well and issue another upgrade award.

First I called my travel agent since I bought the ticket from her not JAL. She told me the flight is full and she can't change it and was not sure what she can do. So I called JAL ticketing hotline. After more than 20 minutes of waiting someone an agent finally picked up the phone. The agent told me I need to wait for a K class opening in order to make the change But then I have a confirmed N class seat and I am willing to pay JAL extra money to get the SAME seat back but with a different booking class. The agent said he knows it does not quite make sense but this is how they have to do it...He advised me to ask my travel agent to put me on the waiting list and it might get clear since the flight is not THAT full and there are only 5 people on that list. He reassured me there won't be any penalty nor problems if the waitlist does not clear or if I decide not to make the change after the wailist has been cleared.

Then I called my travel agent again. She was completely lost when I told her to put me on the waitlist. She has no idea which waitlist the JAL agent was referring to. She said they don't usually put a passenger with issued ticket on waitlist of the same flight. She can't guarantee there won't be any problems.

So I call JAL again just to make sure this is OK and there won't be any problem to my upgrade award too since they have cancelled my original inbound reservation and issued a new award ticket for me. This time I called JMB hotline. After a long wait someone picked up the phone. The agent was very helpful and answered my award related questions. But then when I asked her about the waitlist the first JAL agent mentioned, she was completely lost too. She asked "what kind of waitlist you are talking about? I don't know which waitlist you should be on!" and she said your travel agent should know and she doesn't know if it will cause any problems. Great! JAL ticketing office was the one who advised me to put myself on the waitlist and JMB helpdesk doesn't know what waitlist they were talking about. Just that you know they are the same group of people from JPSA that handle the phone calls (at least they have the same initial training). And yesterday when I asked JMB helpdesk to transfer me to reservation, the agent insisted she can help me with that (which is nice since I don't have to wait in line again).

After I hung up I tried calling Ticketing again to see if I have a better luck and get an agent who knows about what the waitlist the first agent referred to. After waiting for more than 25 minutes, I gave up. It's almost 6PM already and the line closes at 6PM.

After spending more than an hour on endless calls and wait, I am still getting no where. Flight is still full and I am not even on the waitlist if there's one. This is a very frustrating experience. There are two options: 1. Don't make the change and save myself some money; 2. Change my flight dates and pay the same amount of penalty and fare difference then do the upgrade.

But what upset me most is how JAL does not take the opportunity of getting an extra few hundred dollars from me when they talked about how they have to save money everywhere and try to improve their bottomline. I feel like they would rather have me fly in that N class booking than having me give them extra money for the same seat. Not to mention I am willing to give them extra miles to upgrade too. It's almost like my wallet is wide opened and JAL said they don't want my money LOL. You need to be a bit more flexible in order to survive under this economy.

It's lucky that they are dealing with me. Some passengers might just give up and fly on the same seat and don't bother with the upgrade after all the hassle (they probably would have given up after the first call anyways :P). I will probably change my flights so I can clear my upgrade ASAP.

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