American Airlines doesn’t ticket reservations instantly. Paid travel usually tickets within a few minutes, although complicated itineraries can take longer. When I’m paying with a gift card for instance or I confirm an upgrade prior to issuing a ticket it may take several hours.
Award tickets take longer. They’re usually queued based on date of travel and a partner award ticket (that is queued for review) a year out can take a couple of days before tickets are issued.
Major weather events can slow down ticketing as well, because reissuing tickets for current travel takes priority and all of their bandwidth.
It’s easy to forget this. You purchase an award ticket and think you’re done. But the ticket stays ‘On Request’. You aren’t done until you receive a ticketing email confirmation.
- Maybe your credit card was entered wrong
- Or an agent failed to document that you’re accepting an involuntary downgrade for one segment, e.g. it’s a business class award but your domestic flight was only available in coach
Anything that’s “wrong” with your ticket can bounce your reservation out of the ticketing queue and American Airlines usually will not tell you. It would be one thing to get an email from American saying “please call us.” But all that happens is your reservation goes into limbo. Eventually unticketed partner reservations risk getting cancelled, too.
I booked myself a Cathay Pacific first class award and the agent didn’t add my middle name to the reservation even though I confirmed it. Apparently Cathay has been insisting on middle names and so the liaison reviewing the record didn’t ok it for ticketing.
After 48 hours my reservation remained ‘on request’ so I called. Since there’s no more award space for the flight I don’t want the agent to cancel the booking and try to recreate it to meet what the reviewing agent wanted, so we’ve queued it for the liaison to work with Cathay to add it manually or ticket as-is. If for some reason they refuse I’ll have to insist on American opening space on their own aircraft due to their agent’s error.
If I hadn’t called I likely would never have known about the problem. I might even have shown up in Hong Kong to find I had no ticket!