I've been hoarding frequent flyer miles with the Oneworld alliance for some time now (previously earned with US Airways - RIP), and I recently got an email saying that those miles were going to expire.
I couldn't let 90,000 miles go to waste, so I started to search and see where they could take us. We decided on Europe - it just so happened that our wedding anniversary overlaps perfectly with their low season fares, so we were able to get two roundtrip tickets to Europe for only 70,000 miles. We narrowed it down to Greece and decided to split a trip between Athens and Santorini.
I booked with American Airlines and we had a route from Atlanta to Philly to Athens. Then, in early March (six weeks before the flight!) I got a call saying American canceled that route and our flight was no longer available. I. Was. Livid. We secured an early bird non-refundable rate at our Santorini hotel so we HAD to make it there. We could still fly via British airways but they charge this exorbitant fee (upwards of $900) on our tickets - which is why I avoided booking with them in the first place.
Our options were extremely limited. Iberia is also a partner but they didn't have flights that worked with our dates. Our hotel was expensive and we weren't willing to lose all that money.
We decided to make the best of a bad situation and after multiple calls with American Airlines, totaling about 6 hours (not including the time I waited on them to call me back!), we finally got our flights rebooked.
Remember that post I wrote about long layovers? We are really maxing that strategy out this time around. Honestly, I'm nervous because the travel is so long and I know we'll be tired and feel gross, but as long as we can keep our time zones straight and make all our flights, it should be one hell of an adventure.
Our itinerary now looks like this:
- Atlanta to Miami + 9 hour layover in Miami
- Miami to London + 11 hour layover in London
- London to Athens + 4 hour layover in Athens
- Athens to Santorini
- Santorini to Athens
- Athens to Paris + 22 hour overnight layover in Paris
- Paris to Dallas
- Dallas to Atlanta
We are still flying British airways through London, but we managed to avoid huge fees and will have to pay an extra $200 per person total. It's a lot, but it's not as much as we'd be losing if we canceled the trip and had to forgo the money spent on the hotel. We were looking forward to going to Athens, but we've both been there before, so we will just have to make it there next time. We are really excited to spend time in Paris (I've never been!) and London (neither one of us have been), which kinda makes up for things. It sucks because we have to spend more on the tickets, but that's life sometimes.
All in all I'm super excited for the trip and can't wait to share our experiences with you!