Valid routing - how to find?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by thegrailer, Jun 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. thegrailer
    Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I think this is a noob type of question so I'll post it here. And the question is as simple as the title: How do I find valid routing? For example, I am looking at an award ticket on TK. I was told the JFK-IST-PRG-MUC was not valid but that JFK-IST-BUD-MUC was valid. I go to TKs website and look at the route map and none of PRG, BUD, or MUC show up as a route when JFK is selected as the from airport. But TK flies to all three of those cities from IST. And the routing home from any of those cities works. What am I missing?

    Edit: I figured this out for my needs but can someone explain how this works in a way that is useful to others?

    Cheers -
     
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  2. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    I have what is perhaps a follow-up question.

    I need to fly one way from BUF to LAX on a day in September, and my time is flexible. ITA showed me BUF-ORD-MKE-ORD-DFW-LAX on AA. It costs about $50 more than the cheapest fare, and I have elite status on AA. I'd like to keep that elite status, so obviously this would be a nice haul of miles.

    I can't Hold the fare on AA and use my voucher(s), and call support to AA got the response that "it's not a valid route." Trying to place a Hold just sends me through endless price change notifications.

    However, if I purchase it, it seems to go through.

    Question: if I purchase the ticket, is it in the contract of carriage that AA can cancel my loop-dee-loop and stick me with the easiest direct flight (i.e., BUF-ORD-LAX, negating the miles payoff to my extra $50)? What are the odds of this, and could I then cancel the (non-refundable) ticket?

    (Sorry if this isn't a valid follow-up.)
     
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  3. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    These raise interesting questions that apply to many of us. I'm bumping the thread in hopes that someone who knows the inner workings of the airline sanctum sanitarium can explain this for us all.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Routing rules for revenue and reward tickets can be (and often are) quite different.

    For reward tickets the program you are redeeming from sets the rules. As an example, the CO and UA rules are VERY different even though the award is essentially the same thing. UA bases their rule on the total number of miles flown while CO is more focused on just getting you there, even if the routing is rather convoluted. All the other programs will be potentially different as they all have their own rules. It is not clear from the initial post here what program the miles are being redeemed from or if the issue is routing versus award inventory availability.

    For revenue tickets there are two sets of rules: Published Routings and Maximum Permitted Mileage.

    Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) is basically a number set based on the city pair. So long as you are on permitted carriers and fly fewer miles you can connect/route anywhere along the way. The number is higher than the actual distance between the two cities but generally not by enough to make crazy detours possible. Additionally, MPM-based fares often have a surcharge structure in them so exceeding the MPM by 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25% in total miles flown hits you with an up-charge but you can still fly on that fare.

    Published Routings are basically the airline defining a series of airports through which one can transit for a particular fare. United used to have very loose published routings so something like TPA-IAD-SAN-LAX-SFO-ONT was permissible (I booked and flew that once) even though that is over 50% longer than the most direct route (TPA-DEN-ONT). Those published routings look something like this:
    You read from left to right and anything between the dashes is one flight. So this one reads fly from Newark to Chicago or Newark or NYC or Washington and then to Denver or Houston and then to Los Angeles or Seattle or San Francisco, etc. If airlines are specified (e.g. "CO/UA") then only those carriers are permitted on that segment. You are permitted to "skip" a hop in the rules so it is not required that you stop in Chicago or Washington upon leaving EWR if you get to DEN or HOU (skipping one bit) or to LAX/SFO/SEA (skipping two bits) and on and on.

    As for whether the airline can forcibly change your routing on you, the only program I know of that has a clause about such behavior in their Contract of Carriage is Delta. I wouldn't worry too much about AA trying to force you on to the shorter routing. Even Delta doesn't do it very often.

    As for finding the valid published routings or MPM numbers I do not know of any free resources that have that data. ExpertFlyer should be able to give it to you if you want.
     
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