Silvercar at LAX

I have used Silvercar once in Miami and it was by far the best renting experience with a car company, so they were my immediate choice when going to LA.

Upon arrival at LAX, I had to wait for awhile as my plane had arrived to early for me to pick up the vehicle. After walking around to get some exercise, and get to know how to move around between some of the terminals, the time arrived for me to text Silvercar for pick-up.

I was first redirected upstairs to the Alaska check-in area in Terminal 6. The text said to “look for their sign”, which was nowhere to be found. A few minutes later I get a call to let me know that my driver cannot see me, which makes me wonder what he is looking at as there is no way for him to know who I am anyway.

I tell the caller that I cannot see the driver, and he then tells me to look for a grey minivan, which later on I discovered was a Ford Passenger Van, that had passed me and was now a few feet ahead, so I get walking.

I apologized to the driver as I did not see any sign (there was no visible sign anywhere that I could find) and I had not been told that I would be picked up in a mini-van.

Picking up the car was quickly and in no time I was on my way to see LA for a 24-hour visit.

The following day I was running behind a bit to return the vehicle. However according the Silvercar’s website there is a 30 minute grace period from the schedule drop-off time. I had rented the car for just 24 hours so if I did not return it on time I could face a fee charge for 1/4 of a day rental cost.

I returned the car with 5 minutes to spare. I took my ride back to LAX and did not think much of it until I was sitting in the lounge and I noticed that I had been charged the extra 1/4 of a day.

I contacted their customer service and after reviewing my rental they agreed to refund me the extra cost, but I was warned that the grace period starts from the time of pick-up, opposite of what their website says.

Just food for thought

 

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British Airways – Seat Reservations for AA Elites

Back in May I took advantage of a fare war that had flights to Europe from around $500s – $600s. When I started getting into traveling I figured out that I needed to gain an elite status with AA so my travel experience could be a bit more enjoyable and comfortable.

After some calculation I found that I was going to reach Gold status around mid-september, something I was surprised about as I did not expect to reach this level until year-end.

So with this fare war going I began to calculate what it would take to reach Platinum, and to my surprise all I would need was a few short trips within the US and a long flight.

I was able to get a good deal to fly from DFW-SFO-LHR and back BCN-MIA-DFW. This trips was interesting to me because I would be able to gain enough EQMs by flying backwards (DFW-SFO) a bit and the forward to London, but also because I was able to get seats in BAs A380, a plane I have wanted to fly in for a long time.

Fast forward to a week before the trip, and by now I have Gold status with AA; according to British Airways website I am allowed to get seats 7 day in advance as One World Ruby (or AA Gold Status). However the system was not allowing me to do so when I tried.

I reached out to them in twitter and after a bit of back and forth communication, they were able to fix the problem. I even got a phone call from them, which is rather interesting to me as I have heard that getting hold of a phone agent can be quite complicated sometimes.

I did learn that if I have a reservation that includes a flight with BA and I get status with a One World airline after it has been booked, I have to get in touch with them so they can “refresh” the reservation so my new elite status shows, otherwise none of the perks will kick-in on their own.

About 6 days ahead of departure I was able to select seats on the upper floor of the massive A380, the only seats I was not allowed to reserve were exit rows.

By the time I return home in mid December I will have Platinum Status with AA, which according to BA’s website should allow me to reserve seats on any BA operated flight at the time of booking.

At this time I have two BA flights next year so I will try to get my seats as soon as my Elite status updates with AA.

Lyft Overcharge

Back in July I went to Vegas to celebrate a birthday. It was the first time I would be using a lyft in Vegas, as in my previous visits I had taken a shuttle service to the hotel. However now there are many options at LAS, including Lyft and Uber.

Finding the area for pick-up was no easy task, as at the time it was not well identified. You could see a few signs here and there but you would have to do a bit guessing and hope you were getting out the right door, or crossing the right walk-bridge.

After finding the area, I requested a ride ( I did not want to have a driver waiting as I did not know how long it would take me to find the correct place to be picked up at). After a few minutes of waiting (the cars wait outside the airport so they have to drive quite a bit to come pick you up).

When the driver picked us up I knew my fare estimate would be around 10-12 usd as my hotel was just a mile away. However the ride was quite long and the driver said he was avoiding traffic, which can build up on the strip rather fast and be a bit slow at times. It took almost 30 minutes to get to the hotel, and at that moment I knew something was not right. The hotel entrance for ridesharing services at the Linq is towards the back of the hotel which means the driver would never have to get on the strip.

And I was right, as soon as we got dropped off I received a bill for $22 usd. As it was late and needed to take a bit of a walk just to get to the reception (I will avoid the Linq next time) I choose to email Lyft the next day.

The next morning after veryfing the route we had taken against the fastest one, I sent an email to customer service to have them look into the matter. The reply did not take long, and just a few hours later I was given an adjustment from $22 to $15. Not what the estimate had been when I requested the vehicle the night before, but still cheaper and more reasonable than what I had been charged.

It is always important to get your numbers together when using any service (Lyft, Uber, etc) as it is very easy to be taken advantage off by drivers with not good intentions. I have used lyft several times and I had never had nor have had this issue happen again. Always contact Customer Service as soon as you can and give them whatever information you can provide so they can look into it. Customers can ask the driver to take a different route than the one the drivers’ app provides, so it is important to know that it can be misused to obtain a better and more expensive fare from the customer.

United Airlines 787 Review

On August 7th, I flew to Auckland from Dallas via San Francisco. Back in May I was informed that Air New Zealand had cancelled my outbound flight from Houston to Aukland, and after talking it out with Orbitz I was able to re-route through San Francisco and fly United Airlines’ 787.

I had flown such plane with them the year before to London from Houston, and it was a great experience, so I was excited to fly 13 hours in the same kind of plane.

Boarding began a few minutes late, and it was a bit confusing as our gate had to separate counters with two different doors leading to the same gate. People had no idea who was supposed to go through which one, and the agents were not very helpful in clarifying either.

As soon as we boarded the plane I began to notice that my prior expectation for the flight were wrong and way off. This was in no way to be the experience I had had the year before. After putting away the carry on and sitting down, I discovered that the touchscreen was not working properly.

After trying for awhile I was able to select a movie and get ready for departure. This is were things got a bit weird. The movie began to show a black screen as if it was about to start but then it would kick me right back into the home screen. I tried a few movies and it did the same thing. At first I thought that perhaps they were blocking it somehow so people could just get ready to take off, however I could see that there were other people watching shows or movies, just not the ones I had tried.

The plane took off and I tried again, same issue. Then to make matters worse my screen turned off and it would not start again. It was at this time that my travel companion and I decided to switch seats to Economy Plus to watch the movie and eat before going back to our original seats and sleep. Nonetheless as soon as we sat a flight attendant came by  and said that if we wanted to seat here we needed to pay. I explained that our screens were not working and he had a simple solution “move to another set of seats in regular economy”.

He sent us to the very far back of the plane and the movies still did not work, it was then that we discovered that several movies and shows were not working for anyone, and the FAs had no reason to offer why.

We returned to our seats to wait for dinner and then figure out what to do. It was then that the couple behind us asked another FA about the issue and he offered to reset their screens, something that then he did for us as well. The screens began to work again, and now we knew that we had to just keep looking until we could find a show or movie that actually worked.

The rest of the flight was just ok. The seats are so worn out that they are not comfortable at all. Dinner was actually just edible, but they do offer free beer, which helped speed up the process to fall asleep. Breakfast was actually pretty good and it was served about an hour and half before landing, which allowed us to freshen up before touching down.

It was a very disappointing flight overall, and it made me regret not having taken the flight from LA to Auckland rather that this one, such flight would have been operated by Air New Zealand, which later on I found out would have been a way better option to take.

AA – Baggage Fee Refund

Back in July I was traveling back from Las Vegas to Dallas with AA. I have the Citi Aadvantage Credit Card, which allows me to travel with 1 free bag per passenger in my reservation (up to 8) anywhere in the US.

I have used the perk before and this time I thought it would be no different than before. However that was far from the case. Somehow to do my check-in I was being asked for my Passport information, but that is information for another post.

When I tried to check-in at the airport and get my baggage tag I was being charged $25 usd. I spoke with an individual who redirected me to a check-in agent to assist me with the matter.

Luck would have it that I had forgotten my CC back at home and therefore I had no proof that I was a cardholder and was allowed to receive 1 piece of free luggage. The agent was not only rude but came up with an excuse about my name being wrong in the reservation as the reason why I was being charged. He said for me to pay the fee and then contact Citi, and so I did.

As soon as I got to the Amex Centurion Lounge I contacted Citi and they responded very fast with a very polite no. They asked me to contact AA as they needed to be the ones to refund me the charge.

When I got home I contacted AA Customer Relation via email. I got a response within the day that my case would be reviewed and I would be contacted to let me know what would happen next.

Due to another long trip I had planned I decided to wait on the email, which never came. However while checking my personal finances few weeks later, I found out that AA had indeed refunded me the fee within 3 days of my email to them.

Later on I realized that I might know why I was charged for my bag even with the AA card. My itinerary was multi-city, with a final destination in Mexico, and even though I get a free piece of luggage within the US, I think the system wanted to charge me due to my final destination, which was Mexico, (AA no longer offers free luggage to anywhere in Mexico) and not where my stop-over was (Dallas) , even though there were going to be 6 weeks between both flights.

If I am correct, then now I know that anytime there is a multi-city itinerary which ends at a country with no free luggage there might be a fee. You can try contacting Customer Relation like I did and hopefully it will be refunded.

I now have Gold which allows me to have 1 piece of luggage regardless of destination, but this is something to be aware of for those who have no elite status with AA.

L.S.

 

AA Gold – Preferred Seats Issues

After several months of working towards reaching Gold Status with American Airlines, I finally did last week.

One of the perks of being Gold is that you can select “Preferred Seats” at anytime for free. To some this perk might not mean much, but to me it may come in handy sometimes.

So as soon as I was shown as being Gold level in my AA app, I went ahead and tried to change my seats to preferred seats. However I was met with a weird issue to which I was unable to find an answer at first.

“Preferred Seats” were still being shown with a price, and if selected, the app would try to make me pay for them. I tried changing seats directly with AA’s website, an even though they would show to be $0 usd there, when I would submit the request it would just send me back to the Reservation Page and cancel the request.

I contacted AA in twitter, but they were not much help and asked me to call Reservations to look at this issue.

About 48 hours after I became Gold, everything began to work fine. I was able to select Preferred Seats in all my future reservations for free and did not have to call at all.

Based on my own experience I believe that even though AA’s system will show you as Gold (this happens as soon as you pass the 25,000 EQMs and they are posted) it still takes a few hours to get across that you are Gold.

If you encounter the same issue I would suggest waiting a few days, after which do not waste your time on twitter, and call Reservations or find the AA Gold Priority Line number so you can have them check it out.

L.S.

Today is the Day!

After much thinking and reading, I realized that I want to share what I have learned in my few travels.

There are many great bloggers about traveling out there, many of which I myself follow, but there is always room to share something that I may learn or encounter that has not been shared in awhile or before at all.

So today is the day that I launch my blog. Hopefully with time, what I share will be meaningful or helpful to someone.

So welcome, enjoy, and thank you!

Avztrakt