A Triple F for AAA

Back in July friends of ours in Missouri invited us to join them at a timeshare in La Paz, Mexico, in January. We were glad to say yes immediately. Who wouldn’t want to spend a week near the tip of the Baja Peninsula in January?

We all purchased tickets in August via AAA’s Web site, seeing that prices were rising and knowing that the closer we got to January, not only would prices be high, but tickets might be hard to get.

Sometime in October the situation changed and we started getting changes in our schedule. That would have been fine, except the changes were at odds with the rest of the schedule. For example, Paulette and I were flying into Guadalajara to catch a plane to La Paz, but the only flight to La Paz would have already left. The four us were also leaving La Paz for Guadalajara on a flight that would make us late for our return flight to Dallas.

At first we dealt with Travelocity and we managed to take care of the Guadalajara conflict by going through Mexico City. No problem. But trying to straighten out the conflict on our return flight soaked up our cell minutes but got us nowhere.

It was then that I turned to AAA. Because I used AAA to book flights in the past, I just happened to have a phone number you won’t find on the AAA Web site. It wasn’t the same person, but the person who answered did direct me to the folks who handled international travel for AAA.

My friend called and his flight was changed so the conflict was removed. The travel agent then called me to confirm that I wanted the change also. I said yes but when I never received confirmation, I checked American Airlines for my itinerary and discovered that the flight had not been changed. I called AAA’s international travel number, explained the situation, listened as the person spoke to someone at the airlines in Spanish, was promised a return call and confirmation that the change would occur.

Never happened.

I talked to my AAA contact, who, while sympathetic, could not help me despite the fact that I’m up to date on my dues. So I called the other number for a third time, explained to yet another agent what happened. It took at least 30 minutes, most of them on hold, before the agent said that the airline had to “protect” me because of the conflict or I could get a full refund. The protection made me stay overnight in Guadalajara (no offer of a hotel) and fly out the next day.

I took the full refund.

Fortunately, I was able to book the trip through another Web site and it’s actually a better route than the original. I think I’ll forget AAA in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, there's more! Turns out, the refund was not processed. But I happen to have sent this blog to AAA, which discovered the problem and made sure American Airlines refunded my money. I thank AAA but suggested they might want to get someone else to handle their international ticketing since the folks I dealt with told me things that never panned out.