Jan31

Buying tickets from American Airlines

We’ve finally purchased the plane tickets for our trip, but first we did some extensive research on the Internet to find the cheapest fare.

First off, we checked out Norways largest airline company, SAS - just to make a reference for further investigation.
Oslo - Seattle: $1.755. Per person. Wohah!

After searching for better deals at Kayak and similar sites, we finally settled for American Airlines, and decided to do all our booking through their website.

Flying high
Flying high, by Selma (aka Hilde SkjĂžlberg) ©

American Airlines takes us both on the round trip from Oslo to Seattle (via London and NY), from Miami to New York and from New York (via Brussels) back home for a total of $1.800 (and 20 cents) - for both of us. With taxes and all.

But if you think this is is a plug for AA, it’s not entirely so. ‘Cause as we were getting done with the online booking, we reached an annoying obstacle:

Note: If you are not a resident of the U.S., Canada, U.K., or select countries in Latin America or the Caribbean, tickets cannot be purchased online but may be placed on hold for purchase at an AA airport or ticket office.

What the.. ? Is this not 2007? The future might take Visa, but obviously, American Airlines does not!

And yes, it was written in small print at the AA-site as well. So, how fortunate that Oslo is full of AA airports and ticket offices. Not.

The FAQ listed that one could hold the reservation and pay through Western Union. The lady at the Western Union office in downtown Oslo said they only handled transfers between individuals (and not professional corporations). We were tempted to ask our friend in Wisconsin to purchase the tickets for us, but was afraid it would get him or us under some terrorist suspicion.

As a last resort before giving up, we turned to this list of phone numbers to different AA offices around the world, and made a call to what turned out to be the Swedish American Airlines office. And finally, we were able to pay for the plane tickets without further hassle.

So - if you’re ever planning to book your plane tickets from American Airlines, but happen to reside outside of their preferred longitudes: Make and hold a reservation online (to get the best deal) and then call the AA office closest to you.

Got tips? Comments? Do tell!