I love American Airlines, I really do. And I am addicted to frequent flier miles, I really am. But it’s not a bad thing every once in a while to take a peak at the competition.
Here was the scoop. A friend with a $181 round-trip ticket American Airlines from New York to Miami and back around Thanksgiving (the power of planning ahead) needed to come back unexpectedly early — Monday instead of Tuesday. The best he could do on American was use the $181 round-trip to come down, but then buy a one-way full-fare coach ticket to return — and that ticket cost $622. Oops, no, when we went to reserve it the computer gave a $528 price. But still: $528 for a flight at some ungodly hour of the morning.
On a whim, unaccustomed as my fingers are to doing it, I dialed Pan Am’s 800-359-7262 number. No frequent flier miles there. Maybe I was able to do this because I was making arrangements for my friend, so there’d be no frequent flier miles in it for me anyway. Even so, my fingers felt oddly wooden — and I expected the worst. A long wait on hold, a reservationist about whom I’d have instant reservations, and then the news that everything was already booked, you idiot — we’re talking about the day after Thanksgiving weekend!
Instead the phone was answered (by a human) on the first ring and we got a First Class aisle seat, coach being sold out, for $231. And at a civilized time of day.
Now you’re thinking that as between coach for $528 at dawn’s early light on American, and First Class for $231 at noon on Pan Am, you’d go with American to get the miles. I probably would, too. But because I was doing all this for a friend, the frequent-flier spell seemed to have been lifted, if only momentarily, and I took the leap. I booked Pan Am. (And, no, it’s not a DC-3, it’s an Airbus 300.)
Tomorrow: Thanksgiving Thoughts: What Do You Want?
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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