Last week, I went online to book an inter-island flight for an upcoming trip to Hawaii. Given that the flight between the islands is less than an hour long, I decided that the best value would be in the form of an award booking. Delta charges 7,500 miles each way in economy and has a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines. I’ve flown Hawaiian Airlines before, and I wanted to fly with them again for the short segment.
Successful Booking, but Valid E-Ticket?
I went through the online booking process on Delta and paid the taxes and fees. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. We got the on-screen confirmation. We got the email confirmation as well. Even though it was one booking, I received multiple confirmation emails — one for each passenger on the reservation. Each passenger had an e-ticket number. We are good to go, or are we?
I do what I usually do after making a booking, which is to pick my seats. Since seat selection wasn’t available for the partner flight via Delta’s web interface, I went to Hawaiian Airline’s website to pick my seats. When I pulled up my reservation, I was greeted with an error that there was an issue. It advised me to contact Hawaiian’s e-ticketing help line.
Calling for Help
Before calling Hawaiian Airlines for support, I looked through the reservation on Hawaiian’s website. Everyone has an e-ticket number, except for one person. That person was me! Sure, I was wrong about Hawaii before and I think it’s a great place to visit, but still, don’t leave me behind! I checked the Delta reservation, and things look fine. “Yes”, I confirmed, “I have an e-ticket number there.”
I called Hawaiian and a friendly representative confirmed what I suspected. She said that my ticket was not issued and I need to call Delta to have them re-issue my ticket. I called Delta next and the representative was slightly confused, since things look fine on his end too. I explained the situation to him, and he put me on hold to call another group to re-issue the ticket.
After he got my ticket re-issued, I confirmed by checking on Hawaiian’s website. The error is gone, and I have a new e-ticket number. I can also finally choose my preferred seats.
Moral of the Story
The fact is, Delta could improve its system with better error handling or notification if there is backend issue with its partner airlines. Otherwise, if it were not by chance that I wanted to reserve my seats, I would not have known that there is a problem. I would be none too happy if the issue was discovered too late, and I couldn’t fly out with the rest of the family.
There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your booking is in order. For example, when you make a booking, always check to make sure that your ticket actually moves into a “Ticketed” status (not “Hold” or “Pending” or any other status). Fortunately, in my case, it’s as simple as checking that I actually have a seat on the flight.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever successfully booked a flight or hotel, but run into problems at check-in?