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I was in the midst of booking a mixed cabin, mixed partner award on Singapore Airlines and United when I ran into a problem. I was able to find a biz ticket from MAN to IAH on Singapore Airlines, and then a one way flight on United, in economy, from IAH to LAX, but nothing combined. The website can sometimes be wonky, especially with partners, so I phoned SQ for assistance.
First call – something I didn’t expect to hear at all.
The rep couldn’t see the space on Singapore from MAN to IAH at all. I gave her the flight numbers, etc. Still nothing. I politely hung up and called again.
2nd call – same problem
2nd rep couldn’t see the Singapore Business Class either. I was looking right at it on my screen. Refreshed, and she just apologized saying there was no space to book.
So hung up and booked the two flights separately on Singapore’s website and figured I’d call in and have the two itineraries linked and difference in points refunded.
On the phone again.
Now, with my tickets booked, I asked the rep to merge. They were separated by a couple hour layover and didn’t think this would be a problem at all.
Here’s the bullet points of what she said:
- Singapore Airlines online award inventory is greater than what is accessible for the call center now.
- Singapore Airlines online booking will not allow mixed cabin itineraries on Star Alliance flights
- An agent can book mixed cabin itineraries as long as space is avail.
The problem for the ticket I wanted was that the call center just didn’t have access to the space in the same way the website does. And she couldn’t interline the segments that were ticketed separately either. I’ll call back again tomorrow and ask if it can be done.
The only positive change to this would be if award inventory has increased online, but that’s not what she said. Rather, what it seems, if this is true, is that Singapore is just lowering the ability of phone reps to ticket on your behalf in order to drive more traffic online to lower overhead costs of maintaining call centers.
The inability to mix cabins online is a big blow as well, and hopefully something that is an IT glitch or mistake rather than a policy. Getting a long haul in premium is often paired with a short haul economy connecting/positioning flight. This would not just increase redemption prices, but it would make it a nightmare in the case of delays, cancellations, etc that could result in your missing the 2nd ticket.
I haven’t seen other reports of this online, so if you’ve run into this please add a comment for data points.
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