How I Mixed Up Airline Ticketing Rules — Reader Mistake Story

With the most inversions of any double-launch coaster in North America, this quick-accelerating debut will set a new record when it opens in Spring 2019. The first launch, taking brave riders from 0 to 42 mph, and the second, from 35 to 50 mph, all but guarantee the ride won’t let up — if those five inversions didn’t seem intimidating enough.
 The InterContinental Shanghai
 Wonderland hotel recently opened in China. 
 Built inside of a quarry roughly 20 miles from Shanghai,
 the 336-room hotel took 10 years of construction to
 Sixteen of the hotel's 18 floors are located underground,
 while two floors are underwater. 
 Guests can expect to find unique architecture, glass
 walkways, and views of nature throughout the resort.  On December 1, the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland hotel
 officially opened for business.  The resort, which took 10 years of construction to build, is
 located inside a quarry roughly 20 minutes outside of Shanghai.
 Of the hotel's 18 floors, 16 are underground with two floors
 underwater.  The 336-room hotel also has scenic views of nature, large
 sculptures, and glass walkways. But don't stress out if you can't
 pay the $564 per-night fee or make it to China any time soon.  Below, take an inside look at the hotel and get a glimpse of what
 the Shanghai resort has to offer.
a display in a store

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Shray, who spent a long day at the airport after attempting to fly standby:

For the Thanksgiving holiday, I booked a trip home to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) on American Airlines with British Airways Avios. I booked the ticket in September, and double checked the syllabus to make sure class was scheduled normally. But as the last day before Thanksgiving break came around, my professors canceled our afternoon classes. Wanting to go home as soon as possible to be with my family, I decided to go to the airport early and try to standby for an earlier flight.

When I fly with AAdvantage miles, I can standby for free, so I thought the rules for my ticket would be the same. I stood to be corrected. I was informed at the airport that since I was ticketed by British Airways, I have to follow their rules, which do not allow for free same-day flight changes or standby. I would have had to pay 71 GBP (~$91) if I wanted to go home early. As a college student on a tight budget, I decided to just wait for seven hours until my original flight took off.

I learned an important rule that day: follow the ticketing rules of the airline you booked with, and not those of the carrier. Had I known this beforehand, I would have saved a lot of time at the airport.

Airline tickets come with a litany of rules and restrictions, and to get full value from your fare, it helps to know which ones apply. Shray is right that you should look first to the ticketing airline, especially for questions about changes and cancellations. However, issues that pertain to your airport experience and the flight itself (like seat selection and baggage allowance) generally fall under the purview of the airline you fly with.

Your relationship with the operating carrier can also supersede rules put in place by the ticketing airline. For example, American Airlines offers complimentary standby to passengers with AAdvantage status or Oneworld status; booking through British Airways wouldn’t have mattered if Shray had access to those benefits. Similarly, many (but not all) cobranded airline credit cards offer benefits even if you’re ticketed through another airline. The takeaway is that if you’re booking through one airline to fly on another, verify that any benefits you may need will be available to you.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Shray a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to [email protected], and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured image via Shutterstock.

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