When word broke that AA was inaugurating the 787 on a flight from Dallas to Chicago in May, I knew I wanted to be on that plane come hell or high water. But when speculation started that flight 2320 was going to be the inaugural flight and AA’s website and SABRE was still showing an A321 on the route, prices quickly skyrocketed as aviation enthusiasts and fans rushed to buy tickets. Early Saturday (1:30am PST) flights from DFW-ORD were priced at $103 all day, but flight 2320 was pricing out over $300! As I was originating on the West Coast, a connecting flight to ORD via DFW was well over $500!
Not wanting to drop $500 on a flight, I started to investigate other options: Miles, a mix of miles and cash, other connection opportunities, etc. Yet, no matter what I found, I couldn’t find a flight that included the inauguration flight for less than $300, and I was trying to be cost conscious. So I took a gamble and place a hold on flight 2328, 15 minutes after flight 2320. I was hoping that AA would drop 2328 and accommodate me on 2320. I figured if they did I win and if not, I missed my opportunity at the inaugural flight. Furthermore, by choosing flight 2328 I was able to book this flight with a connection from the west coast after I got off work for just $204! A big gamble, but worth it as it was a substantial saving or looking back at the trailer I grew up in, it is what I refer to as #DoubleWideDelight!
My Rational & Gamble
When initially picking flight 2328 over flight 2320, I knew I was taking a big risk, but the odds were slightly in my favor. I thought the probabilities of flight 2320 and 2328 being combined were fairly high because of what I saw on US Airways website. Both AA.com and SABRE were showing both flights operating on May 7, however US Airways was only showing flight 2320. In addition to only having one flight displayed, US Airways showed flight 2320 departing at 0710. At the time of booking, both AA & SABRE displayed flight 2320 departing at 0700 and 2320 at 0715. My hope was that when AA system dropped 2328, I would be moved onto 2320 as the flight was only 5 minutes earlier vs the next flight to Chicago, an hour later, at 0835.
Saturday morning I woke up and found that my reservation was still on hold and I was still holding a seat on 2328. AA was still working out their IT/SABRE issues and flight 2320 still had an A321 scheduled. Then around 2pm I noticed AA.com removed flight 2328 and updated flight 2320 to a 787. Strangely enough, my itinerary wasn’t updated and I was still holding a ticket for a flight that didn’t appear to be operating.
Around this time, I started to get nervous that I wasn’t going to be placed on AA2320. A good friend of mine works for AA and reviewed my reservation and found it to be in good standing. Also as he and some other colleagues poked around my PNR, the noticed that what was displayed on AA.com and what was displaying on SABRE did not match. AA.com displayed flight 2320 departing at 0710 operating with a 787, but SABRE still had 2320 departing at 0700 with an A321 and 2328 departing at 0710 with a B737. My friend shot off some internal emails, but told me he wouldn’t have an answer until Monday. My opportunity to fly the inaugural flight for cheap was still holding on by a thread.
After being glued to my PNR all day, I gave it a rest and decided to go have a few drinks with my partner. The same friend who investigated my PNR joined us for drinks and we discussed the matter in more detail. He was as baffled as I was by what was happening with the 787 launch flight and flights 2320/2328, after all it was the first time he’s ever seen SABRE out of sync.
Then around 1am while we were talking, I pulled up my PNR on my phone again and BAM – I had been reaccommodated on the 787! My plan worked! WINNING!!!! I called AA, ticketed my reservation that was on hold and did a happy dance around the bar!
I am looking forward to being among the first of 226 customers to fly the AA 787, flying my first flight with fellow blogger Matt, and geeking out with all the other travelers who booked the flight just so they too could experience the 787 first! If you’ll be on the flight look out for me, I’ll be in the middle of the bus in row 16! I’ll be exhausted from my short red eye the night before, but I’ll be wide eye and bushy tail running on pure excitement!