Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What is wrong with Korean airlines websites?

I need to get my dad to Korea tomorrow so I've been trying to book a flight on Asiana's website and I keep getting error pages at various points during the booking process.  I've tried both the Korean and English pages and it makes no difference.  I literally tried about 12 times before I gave up and booked the ticket on Expedia.  I kept trying on Asiana's website since it's easier to select my own seats when you book directly but it's just not worth me throwing the keyboard against the monitor while I'm at work.

How come a country that's so advanced technologically have such antiquated websites where I can't even book a paid ticket on their own website?  It's not just Asiana, I experienced the same thing while booking award flights on Korean Air and last year when I was flying with Jeju Air as well.  In general, I see this with other Asian airlines' websites as well where they're very poorly designed with lots of errors all over the place.  I'm looking at Singapore and Cathay Pacific as two other examples I've run into.

So I guess that's one place where US airlines are actually better than Asian airlines.  Their websites.

[edit] Good grief, I've been trying to check in and I had to use 3 different browsers before I was finally able to actually check-in on Internet Explorer [/edit]

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Don't make this mistake while booking Alaska flights as an AA elite!

Pardon me, the title is my attempt to create a sensational title in the vein of "You can get rid of all your debt with 1 deceptively simple trick!  BANKS DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW THIS!" or "THIS HOT CHICK DISCOVERS A HIDDEN CAMERA IN THE BATHROOM, YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!"

So anyway...

Per this page:
AA elites (Platinum and up) flying on Alaska (AS) get preferred seats.

First I looked on and found the flights I wanted were $700 for an AA codeshare flight on Alaska metal (plane.)  But it was $177 booking directly on Alaska's website.  Even though it's a work trip, I couldn't in good conscience book on and there is really no reason to since it's not like I'm going to get upgraded to first class on Alaska based on my AA status.  (AA elites don't get any chances for complimentary upgrades to first class on Alaska)

So I started to book on Alaska.  First I entered my AA number on my profile before making a booking, then during booking I selected my AA number instead of my Alaska number: (see lower right)

But when I get to the seat selection screen, I see this.  Note I have to pay $17 to select more legroom seats and most of the plane appears unavailable.  If I didn't want to pay $17, literally only a few middle seats in the last few rows on the plane were available. Presented with that option, I first made the mistake of paying $17 by selecting a more legroom seat, then I also paid $27 for  a premium class seat on the return flight for similar reasons.

But when I got to the final booking confirmation page, I saw this message saying my AA elite status is confirmed and that I may have new seat options available.

 So I went back and seats that were previously showing as unavailable (it's not the same flight as the pic above) were now available and even better, more legroom seats were now free.

However, on flights with the new Premium Class, those are not free and are still extra ($27 in this case for a short 1h55m flight) but I was able to select 10B whereas at first only seats at the back were showing.

So since most US airlines allow you to cancel flights within 24 hours without penalty, I cancelled my original flight where I paid for both the more legroom on the outbound and premium class on the inbound and rebooked and got the more legroom seat for free and didn't bother booking a premium class seat on the inbound since I can sit just 1 row behind, although I ended up going with 10B in the hope no one sits next to me.  (hope springs eternal in yours truly)  I'm sure I'll survive 4" less legroom for a sub 2 hour flight and I should be boarding early based on my AA status anyway.

Thanks to this, I saved $40!!!  😱😲 

-As an AA elite, do not pay for 'more legroom' seats or row 6 seats, you'll be able to select this after you purchase the flight
-Also a whole bunch of regular seats will open up in the forward half of the plane
-As an AA elite, you'll still have to pay for Premium class 
-Alaska charges any upgrade fees such as the fee for premium class or more legroom seats as a separate transaction, it doesn't say 'upgrade fee' or anything but it looks a bit suspicious if you're going to be submitting expense reports and you're only allowed the cheapest economy fares by your travel policy.