How I Mixed Up Airline Ticketing Rules — Reader Mistake Story
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.
Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Shray, who spent a long day at the airport after attempting to fly standby:
For the Thanksgiving holiday, I booked a trip home to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) on American Airlines with British Airways Avios. I booked the ticket in September, and double checked the syllabus to make sure class was scheduled normally. But as the last day before Thanksgiving break came around, my professors canceled our afternoon classes. Wanting to go home as soon as possible to be with my family, I decided to go to the airport early and try to standby for an earlier flight.
When I fly with AAdvantage miles, I can standby for free, so I thought the rules for my ticket would be the same. I stood to be corrected. I was informed at the airport that since I was ticketed by British Airways, I have to follow their rules, which do not allow for free same-day flight changes or standby. I would have had to pay 71 GBP (~$91) if I wanted to go home early. As a college student on a tight budget, I decided to just wait for seven hours until my original flight took off.
I learned an important rule that day: follow the ticketing rules of the airline you booked with, and not those of the carrier. Had I known this beforehand, I would have saved a lot of time at the airport.
Airline tickets come with a litany of rules and restrictions, and to get full value from your fare, it helps to know which ones apply. Shray is right that you should look first to the ticketing airline, especially for questions about changes and cancellations. However, issues that pertain to your airport experience and the flight itself (like seat selection and baggage allowance) generally fall under the purview of the airline you fly with.
Your relationship with the operating carrier can also supersede rules put in place by the ticketing airline. For example, American Airlines offers complimentary standby to passengers with AAdvantage status or Oneworld status; booking through British Airways wouldn’t have mattered if Shray had access to those benefits. Similarly, many (but not all) cobranded airline credit cards offer benefits even if you’re ticketed through another airline. The takeaway is that if you’re booking through one airline to fly on another, verify that any benefits you may need will be available to you.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Shray a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to email@example.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.
Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!
Featured image via Shutterstock.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees