When to Cathay FC tickets show up on American computers?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Steven Schwartz, Feb 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Been tracking Cathay awards both on their own website and AwardNexus. We are looking for First Class JFK-HKG-BKK next January. Seats appear about 350 days out but AA can't book them until 330 days.

    Called today and a very pleasant agent explained that while Cathay might have seats showing, they are not yet showing up on the AA computers. Pretty flexible on dates and flights but she showed nothing. Is there a standard lag time before such seats show up? Is it just a matter of calling every day or is some sort of blocking going on that will preclude me from getting those seats on AA?

    Appreciate any insight. Really want these tickets and feel like I hit a hopefully temporary stone wall!
     
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  2. spaced2
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    spaced2 Silver Member

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    another issue is that cathay's computer switch last weekend has american either temporarily locked out of booking cx awards or seeing a lot of ghost inventory, depending on which agent you speak with. inopportune for me as I was in the process of booking and lost a F seat :(
     
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  3. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Use the Japan Airlines website to search Cathay inventory, that should best mirror what AA actually has access to.
     
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  4. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    That might explain the issue. AwardNexus searched BA and JAL for me. Only the BA search showed CX availability.
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Though if it's actually available to BA and within 331 days you should be able to book with AA miles.

    Another issue, DON'T tell AA you are booking to Bangkok. Just ask them if JFK-HKG is available. It is? Great. Can we find a connection to BKK?

    Because historically there's been an issue with CX availability displaying to AA properly when searching multiple flights at a time.
     
  6. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I've always used the BA site for this, and if it shows there, I've always been able to convince AA to book it.
     
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  7. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Tried Gary's idea. Agent was able to find availability to HKG but said they could not ticket until Cathay's computer problems are cleared up. Fortunately, they said that they received notice about two hours ago that Cathay had located the problem and he was hopeful it would be resolved soon. Frustrating but I expect it will all work out.
     
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  8. jasher926

    jasher926 Silver Member

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    How do you use the JAL website to search for award inventory? I've tried multiple times in the past two weeks to book award tickets from LAX-HKG on Cathay and even though inventory shows as available on BA's and Qantas' sites, AA says it is not available and they give me different flights.
     
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  9. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have had that happen once. I thought it was a temporary glitch. That is good to know. Thanks very much Gary.
     
  10. beaktor

    beaktor Silver Member

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    I was just playing with it the other day. Once logging into the JAL site (you have to have an account -- it's free), choose the JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation. Choose the pulldown for "Cathay" and fill out the dates. JAL's site seems pretty reliable matching AA's availability for CX.
     
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  11. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    They're driving me crazy - and I've done this many times before!

    The warning message finally left the Cathay site to I called AA. Agent first tried to tell me that Cathay was down. I told her the warnings were off and would appreciate her trying. She finally agreed only to tell me seats that are showing up on BA and Award Nexus are not available. Mentioned another flight and she said only one ticket available.

    Told her I didn't understand since seats were showing up on the BA website. And really, I was being very nice and respectful. She countered that it was impossible since international partner seats don't show up online. I told her she was correct in terms of AA but not other airlines and not BA. So, she said, why don't you book on them?

    Wow. I've spoken to four agents today and one was nicer than the next. Until this one. I'll keep trying.

    BTW - I did follow your advice Gary and was only talking about the NY to HKG leg.
     
  12. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Never argue with an agent. An agent who tells you to use your AA miles by calling British Airways doesn't know what they're talking about. Not worth the breath. AA hold times are never long. Hang up, call back. And do use the JL site, it'll save you headaches of phantom availability (which is much more common on the QF site than on the BA site, however).

    I've had to make 5-6 calls at times to get AA to see CX availability that I clearly see.

    Though most of the time I get it on the first call.

    And I always ask segment-by-segment.
     
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  13. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    BINGO!

    All done. Did it the way you said, Gary. CX 841 JFK to HKG and CX 701 HKG to BKK. First Class to HKG and Business to BKK. God help me, I have to do this again in two weeks for the return! Seriously, thanks for the guidance.

    BTW, lost my JAL password so they sent me a link where I had to enter my JAL number, telephone number and zip code. And it told me the last two didn't match my record. Tried all kinds of combinations! Chalk it up as just one of those days.

    Thanks everyone.:)
     
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  14. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Can't go wrong with CX F. I'm in SIN, off of SFO-HKG-SIN in CX F, it's a great seat and great service, food is only ok. For the uninitiated, CX service is a bit different than SQ, they stay out of the cabin during flight to leave you alone and not disturb, but if you want anything at all you should ring your call button (this ain't a US airline, many US passengers are conditioned to only do that in a life-threatening emergency, that is NOT the case here) and they are right by your side.

    I love dining across from my wife, they install a table extender and then one of you seats on the ottoman which has its own seatbelt, and you're all of a sudden in a restaurant 30,000 feet in the air.

    The StudioCX entertainment system is great, tons of options.

    By the time I'm off a transpacific flight, I'm reasonably rested, the flight itself whirls by, I could get right back on the plane and do it again no worries.

    The ground service leaves a bit to be desired, this is no TG in BKK, no massages not even an escort to the flight. The first class lounges get busy and do need the refresh they're getting. Yesterday morning there was a long line to get into the Haven (first class dining room at the Wing) but since it's buffet anyway why stand in line? Just go to the buffet and take your plate back into the lounge. Once the renovation is complete I believe there'll be a menu and table service.

    CX isn't THE best first class. The seats don't have doors, but I sleep VERY well in the seats. The ground service is lacking. The food doesn't compare to ANA. But the overall product combination across the board is excellent, and it's a great way to get from the US to Asia!
     
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  15. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Thanks Gary. I don't expect or demand perfect. I've had wonderful FC experiences on BA, LH and LX - and a pretty good seat on UA. After doing this for 7-8 years, I still pinch myself.

    One question. Looking at the seat map, we would normally sign up for a window and middle seat, but from what I have read, it's pretty impossible to have a conversation when seated in your "pod". If that's the case, should we both take windows and simply have our meals together?
     
  16. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Or "widows" seat:
    cathay.jpg

    Anyway, one tip I got from a friend on this flight was to make sure you get all of your lounge passes at check-in. You can get passes for your destination when you check in, and, presumably, for the recently refurbished HKG lounge for your stopover. In my case, HKG was my final destination, so I only got a pass for the arrival lounge, which isn't even close to as nice as the departure lounge, but it was still a nice place to take a shower.
     
  17. edog22
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    edog22 Silver Member

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    My wife and I flew this route (with Gary's help booking) and reserved 1A & 2A as they are a bit more separated than the remaining four seats. As I remember we couldn't get the seat assignment until 6 months out? If you are interested you can see our experience from Dec 2011.

    By the way on arrival to the Wing we made the mistake of simply requesting a shower so we were given rooms on the right. I knew it didn't look like the cabana photos I'd seen, and post-shower I figured out that the cabanas on the left of the hallway. The showers rooms are fine but the cabanas are a bit more spacious :)
     
  18. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Depends on where and which lounge, since CX's lounges are being refurbished in phases. I believe the Wing on level 7 will close sometime soon to beginning renovation.
     
  19. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Wow - just spoke to AA since I could not pull the itinerary up online. They informed me the agent last night should NOT have been able to book it and it was kicked out of the system. Maybe I'd be better off going to Miami!

    Keep trying but now I'm getting a tad suspicious.
     
  20. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    You don't actually NEED lounge invitations though they print them at check-in, I've had no problem accessing the appropriate lounges via boarding pass alone although they do print invitations all the way through at checkin and handing those in permits access.

    Seating is private enough that it isn't possible to have conversations while seated, I do like being as close as possible to my traveling companion at least with seats that open towards each other in the same row, it's worth being close by because the seats are wide enough to actually sit next to each other in the seat so it's worth stopping in for a visit every now and then, and being close cuts down on disturbance to the cabin when doing so... 1D/K or 2D/K on the 777 (although some like 1A/2A because you basically have the side of the cabin to yourselves). On the 747 the preferred seats are the 2 together in row 1 (the nose) as closest together, my wife actually doesn't prefer that so we took 4A and the middle which are the next closest and open towards each other for SFO-HKG on Sunday early a.m. ... though galley noise can be bothersome in row 4.
     
  21. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    When are you actually going? JonNYC on TravelingBetter has stated that CX award bookings are not currently active unless you are looking for immediate travel: LINK.
     
  22. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    And don't sweat the availability, other AA members (who grab most of the JFK-HKG award space) aren't grabbing it either. Worst case if it's gone you'll fly JFK-SFO-HKG, SFO-HKG has awesome F availability..
     
  23. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Does it? I couldn't find *any* from SFO when I looked, nor J inventory, so I had to book Y. Given their problems lately, I'm not going to touch my res at this point.
     
  24. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    When were you looking? It's tough to get business out of SFO but much easier to get 2 F seats. LAX has decent business availability. And you can always look at YVR, though that's not as easy as SFO.
     
  25. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Trying for outbound Jan 14 or 15 and return from HKG 15 days later after 12 days in Bangkok. Not really nervous - just frustrated!
     

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