As I wrote on Saturday, I am flying from Atlanta to Rome via Frankfurt this week in First Class. This wasn’t my original plan as I had booked MileagePlus award flights on United many months ago. At the time, I was living in Washington, DC, and United’s nonstop flight to Rome was an attractive option. Later, I relocated to Atlanta, so I simply added an Atlanta – Washington Dulles segment onto my original award trip and sat back to wait for my flight. As the big day has approached, a little thing called Hurricane Sandy began to severely impact flight schedules in and out of the northeast, and I grew increasingly concerned about the viability of making a connection in Washington, DC this week. I started looking at alternatives to get to Rome and found that Lufthansa had plenty of First Class availability from Atlanta, but I did not have plenty of time to get on the phone and handle rearranging an award itinerary. Enter

Let me give you a little background. The change to my outbound trip was short notice, there was a specific reason (weather) behind making the change, and I had already been in touch with Award Booking Service about something else….my return from Europe in November. I am booked in Business Class on Lufthansa from Barcelona to Munich, and then on to Washington Dulles with a final RJ flight on United Express. Unfortunately, the nonstop from Frankfurt to Atlanta does not operate on the day I need to travel, so this itinerary is what it is. That said, I’ve been thinking for months that I would really love to sample Lufthansa First Class. The issue is that as most of you know, Lufthansa doesn’t open up F award inventory to partners (I’m using United miles) more than 2 weeks in advance. I am capable of making phone calls and surfing the internet so this would not normally be an issue except that I’m going to be in the middle of a Mediterranean cruise at the all important 2 week before departure window.

Yes, cell phones do work on ships (mostly) and in European ports of call, and they do have internet that works, if not swiftly. But I have been concerned that it would be challenging to make the necessary phone call(s) when the time came to try and get my tickets upgraded from Business to First. The thought crossed my mind that using one of the award booking services that are out there in order to help make this a little easier for me. I met Bobby from at the Chicago Seminars earlier this month just by chance. Enjoyed chatting with him about miles and points, and thought I’d give his booking service a try. A couple weeks ago I went to his website to enter the trip information for my return trip from Europe. Received confirmation of the details shortly thereafter, and didn’t think much else about it.

Then came Sandy. Late Friday things began to be look increasingly bleak with the weather forecast for this week in Washington, DC. I was busy, on an airplane with a barely passable internet connection, and using about all of that barely passable internet connection to work an office issue. I shot an email to Award Booking Service asking for help. I had a response within minutes, and before I landed in Atlanta, I was sitting in First Class on Lufthansa a little sooner than I had planned.

Now, I realize that was a bit of a roundabout story of how I came to use to help me secure award seats. But at least you have a good idea of how I came to my decision to use the services of a professional award booker. I know a little bit about booking awards, and I’m not afraid to do it myself. But I am very time challenged right now, and I don’t mind paying someone to help me out of a bind. There are a handful of folks out there that provide these services, but I was quite pleased with