Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ever Book a Flight 5 Times? 

Here's a technology gone bad to worse.

I regularly book Air Canada Flights online. No problem. I tried to get a "free" Aeroplan flight and this is how it went:

Booking Jan. 1-6/08 Toronto to Nashville TN. How many people can there be?

Sunday am. Check flights. Seem OK. Forgot to put two people go back a page and try for two. Flight still looks OK. Hit Book button but get a Server error. Try it again, no luck.

Call the "agent". Takes about 5 minutes to get through. Let the system record my "voice print". Knowing how these things go, the system will be obsolete the next time I go to redeem Aeroplan miles. Agent tells me Jan 1 and 6 are gone only single seats left. Jan. 2-7 should work but it will be $30 to book it through her.

I'm already logged on sitting in front of my laptop anyway. So I thank her and say I'll do it myself. True enough flights look OK. Hit the Book Flight button. ===> Server Error
I go back, reload page, same error. Log out and back in. Same error.

Call "agent". 3 minutes. Know the drill: Say "English" Say my Aeroplan number (maybe the voice print thing was good) Say "member". Say "Book a flight".

"Can you book?
"Yes, two going to Nashville Jan.2/08.... Dial tone... D$%#@ she cut me off.

Call again. You didn't think I knew the drill after only twice? Hmmm, there are no flights available for those dates but if you'll spend 37000 points instead of 15000 for ClassicPlus (same Economy seat but more points). Seriously, how many people can be booking Nashvile Sunday morning?

Now I think the bookings are being held in my cookies on the computer. I log out, flush browser cache and log back in.

Oh, maybe I better try using IE instead of Firefox. Now all the flights I wanted seem to not appear at all. I suspect the reservation system is holding them, including the agent that hung up on me. Maybe try again in 12 - 24 hours.

Sunday pm. Try IE. Looks good. My original flights are available for 2 persons. Step 1 confirm, step 2 put in passengers, contact info., Step 3 put in credit card to pays taxes ($244.64). Click Continue ===>>> Error 1010 CustBusInfo call Web support to report.

Ring, ring. Press 1 for English, Press 1 if you are having trouble logging in. 2 if you have lost your password, 3 for other...

"Yeah I got this cryptic error.
"Can you go to your profile? Check your Company Name.
"It's blank but I see it has a red star, does that mean it needs to be filled in?
"Yes, try it. You may find your original flight is not available. The system pre-books the flights to allow you time to complete the process. Wait 15-20 minutes then try again.

Try again, right away. No flights.

Try after dinner. Everything finally works for the original flights I wanted. Whew. I don't think this is a free flight, I worked for it.

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