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Austrian Airlines booking problems - Help!

After a lengthy phone call, I was able to book a good open-jaw fare to venice and then home from vienna on Austrian Airlines and their partner United. It seems like I was speaking with a call center in Russia because the offices in Austria would have been closed at that hour.

They confirmed my flight, sent me the itinerary and asked me to review all the info on the ticket and call back to pay. OK fine. I did, and the booking is listed as "confirmed", but I called back and gave them the CC number to process the payment. They said I'd get the e-tickets in the mail in a couple of hours. After waiting a while I called back and they looked up my booking. They said it was declined because some identification information didn't match - usually it was a birthdate, so they verified my bday. They then said they don't know what's the reason it could not be processed and the tickets issued -- it was not because of the bank/CC (I called them to warn them a large transaction was coming. I've also spoken to them and no transaction was sent to the bank yet).

Austrian said to call back tomorrow during regular hours and speak to their ticketing people about it. I hope I catch them before they go home for the day and forward the calls to Olga and Igor!

Does this worry anyone? Ever had this experience before? Does the airline usually have to confirm "identification" info before they can issue my tickets? I've never heard of that.

Posted by
7205 posts

why can't you book it on their website? why do you have to make lengthy phone calls?

Posted by
498 posts

Tim, that is a great question! Because I found the fare combination on Google Flights, but its instructions were to book it at United's website (one leg is a United flight). However they told me the fare was not valid and that I'd have to contact Austrian to book the open-jaw itinerary. I tried online at Austrian but they do not show any flight options that include the partner carrier. Nonetheless, on the phone they were able to sell me the full itinerary.

Posted by
3414 posts

Hmmm ? My reaction is exactly along Tim's line of thought . Booking open jaw on a flight like this is pretty straightforward and this has the smell of , if you will allow , something not quite Kosher . I just did a dummy booking on United a few days ago for Newark - Madrid ( late August ) - return - Vienna - JFK ( November 5 2016 ) 2 Adults $ 2540 USD . Got to " confirm booking " and no indication of anything you describe . I would be wary of what you found . By attempting to book via Google , a third party middleman , I think this injected the problems that can be concomitant with that method , Try booking direct with United and see what you find .

Posted by
498 posts

Steven,
I started by trying to book with united - online. Got an error message. Then I called them. They said they didn't have the right to sell the Austrian leg at that fare, their agreement did not permit them to, and I should call Austrian. So that's what I did.

Posted by
498 posts

PS I didn't try to book with Google Flights (in my experience, you can't, it just shows you the fare and sends you to the airline's website) but I agree Google injected the problems. I think Austrian was perhaps not prepared to offer this fare (it is lower than others during the same period) but Google's ability to crunch fares and make a RT package that Austrian does not offer on its own website simply caught them off guard. This was exacerbated by talking to their reservations office during after-hours and I had the B-team helping me.

I now have the reciept and my CC has a pending charge against it for the amount, so I suppose I'm happy and got what I wanted.

Posted by
498 posts

In the end, the Confirmation email showing the itinerary WAS the tickets. Perhaps I"m being stupid here, but I seem to recall getting more of a proper "e-ticket" sent to me from other airlines in the past. The "confirmation" email simply states the fights and our names, and has an e-ticket number associated with each passenger which I did not find at first glance.

Also, I am unable to select seats with my class of fare -- something I was not told at point of sale -- they are charging me $45/seat to reserve a seat on my return Austrian flight. (I was able to select a seat on United for the first leg).

Austrian's customer service is courteous but completely unhelpful, though, since I asked about this numerous times and they just kept telling me to check my email. It also seems like they have two russians in the office -- I called a dozen times over two days and always either got Olga or Sergei. Pretty short staffed.

SO, PEOPLE! Beware... If I had this to do over again, I would not book with Austrian Airlines. Their cust. service reputation is absolutely horrendous, I now read. Too bad, I had reasonably good experiences with them when I lived in Vienna 10 years ago. Perhaps the German-speaking homeland customers get afforded a different and better team of agents...

Posted by
4649 posts

I'm assuming by the title of your post that by "AA" you meant Austrian Airlines (code OS) rather than American Airlines (code AA).

Many of the European airlines charge extra for advance seat reservations. If you don't want to pay the fee, just plan to check-in online as soon as it opens. I flew Austrian in September and checked in 24 hours prior and got an aisle seat as I preferred.

Posted by
6517 posts

booking open jaw on Austrian airlines was not straightforward on line at all when I did it earlier this year. I could not get a direct flight from Paris to Chicago except by talking with AA; I would have guessed the call center was in Austria though given the accents. I booked to Vienna and home from Paris and it worked great when facilitated by the AA staff. Sorry can't help on the credit card as that went smoothly. I did find Austrian Airlines very efficient. Hope it goes smoothly when you get them on the phone.

Posted by
498 posts

Well, it's all done - and I like my fare - so I hope the flights go smoothly.

Posted by
7205 posts

Yes, I do hope you get what you're expecting. I've booked those "great" fares in the past that involved several different airlines, and it usually ended up biting me with some unknown variable.