ATA’s mileage mishap


Q: I recently earned a free companion ticket on ATA. I applied for the travel certificate but don’t recall ever receiving it by e-mail. It may have been sent, but I know that I don’t have it and have never used it.

ATA refuses to reissue the certificate. It seems ridiculous that they can’t reproduce the certificate or send a different one to me. It should be simple to void one and send another. Can you help?

— Michael Shanahan

A: Redeeming your hard-earned frequent-flier miles is difficult to begin with, but this is the first time I’ve heard of an airline giving you grief before you try to cash in your points.

After reviewing your correspondence with ATA, I found that the carrier was refusing to reissue a certificate which it may or may not have sent to you in the first place, without offering any reason for its refusal. That’s pretty unusual.

Reissuing a certificate like yours should not be difficult for ATA. As I read each of your notes and the increasingly obstinate responses from the airline representative, I couldn’t help but think the only way of getting the results you wanted was to ask someone else at ATA to help. For you, that would have entailed calling the carrier and speaking with a supervisor.

ATA agreed that your case had been mishandled.

“The employee who sent this email to Mr. Shanahan is relatively new and was taking precautions not to divulge confidential information,” explained spokeswoman Lisa Jacobson Brown. “She unfortunately did not realize that a verification process is in place for matters such as these.”

Brown agreed that next time you encounter a problem like this one, you should appeal your case to a supervisor. By the way, that’s not just true for missing miles, but any time you’re getting the runaround from a travel company.

ATA did the right thing by addressing your case quickly and being upfront about the problem that caused it. A company representative also called you promptly and replaced your missing voucher.