My hotel had the phone number for America West; here’s what happened when I called
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In our life on the road, one of the first things Katie checks when arriving at a new hotel is the hotel information book. From details about pool and gym hours to whether or not the hotel has guest laundry, these books can be chock-full of helpful information to get acquainted with the hotel.
But, as with any printed materials, it’s hard to keep these hotel information books up to date. And our favorite way to figure out the age of the book is by looking at the list of airlines and airline phone numbers.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
For example, during a stay this week at the Clarion Hotel near Disney in Orlando, the guest services book had the following list of airline phone numbers:
Even at the time of printing, there were a few issues with this list. For example, the spelling of Qantas doesn’t include a “u.” Also, JetBlue doesn’t have a space and it’s JetBlue Airways not Airlines.
To make an informal game of it, I posted this list of airlines on Twitter to see who could triangulate the printing date, and Yahoo News’ Ethan Klapper expertly narrowed it down to between 2011 and 2014.
As Ethan alluded to, Continental Airlines (IATA code: CO) — which is absent from the list — technically ceased operations on March 3, 2012. AirTran’s final flight occurred on Dec. 28, 2014. So, the list of airline phone numbers seems to have been generated and printed between those dates.
While it isn’t a great look to list information outdated by at least five years, this list is impressively up to date compared with a TownePlace Suites that we stayed at in Austin in late November 2019:
As noted above, Continental Airlines ceased operations back in 2012, so we know that this list is older than that. However, it’s worse than that that. For those not up to date on their aviation history, Northwest Airlines took its final flight on Jan. 31, 2010 and America West merged with US Airways in 2005; the two airlines merged their FAA operating certificates in on Sept. 25, 2007. Considering America West and US Airways are listed on the same line, I’d guess this list was generated between 2005 and 2007.
I tossed this tidbit out on Twitter figuring it was simply a case of humorously out-of-date information in a hotel book. But, a couple of AvGeeks pointed out that these old phone numbers can be useful:
Most of the time those old phone numbers will still work as back-door numbers into the reservations call center
— Jacob (@jmmccarthy2002) November 23, 2019
It’s never a bad idea to keep the old numbers around. I want to say one of the Reno Air numbers became a back-door line that went straight to an agent. They finally removed it with the US/AA merger.
— Adam C. Brock (@adamcbrock) November 23, 2019
So, my next step was obvious: I needed to call these numbers. Here’s what happened when I called the phone numbers for all of the airlines that no longer exist:
- AirTran (800-825-8538): AirTran took its last flight in December 2014 before fully being integrated into Southwest. Calling this number yields a error message saying that the number has been disconnected.
- America West/US Airways (800-428-4322): America West merged into US Airways, and US Airways’ final flight landed in October 2015 before being fully absorbed into American Airlines. Calling this number automatically directs to the American Airlines phone system, where my phone number was recognized and linked to my account.
- Continental Airlines (800-523-3273): Continental Airlines ceased operations in March 2012 as part of its merger with United Airlines. Calling this number automatically directs to the United Airlines phone system, where my phone number was recognized and I was greeted by name.
- Northwest Airlines (800-225-2525): Northwest Airlines ended its long and storied history in January 2010 as part of being merged into Delta. When I called this number, I received a recorded message thanking me for calling Delta Airlines, noting that the number has changed and directing me to call Delta at 800-221-1212.
- Virgin America (877-359-8474): Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines in late 2016, with the last Virgin America flight taking off on April 24, 2018. I let the phone ring, unanswered, for a minute before disconnecting.
Unfortunately that means that I didn’t uncover any back-door lines to Alaska, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest or United in these batches of old airline phone numbers. While airlines may have closed all of these phone shortcuts now, it’s worth trying out old numbers as you find them to see if they work.
Featured photo by Mandel Ngan via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.