Seems like it’s been ages since I’ve flown somewhere. In reality, it’s been about 2 weeks, but still. I’m comfortably ensconced at the recently remodeled and eternally great DCA Admirals Club waiting for my 10am to Chicago, where I will connect to another American flight to San Francisco. As a junior Gold AAdvantage member, I expect I will be cooling my heels in coach for the trip out to SFO, but you never know. I asked to be placed on the upgrade list anyway, just in case. Normally, I would’ve placed myself on the upgrade list when checking myself in online, but that wasn’t working out for me yesterday.

Per usual, I dutifully attempted online check in at the 24 hour before flight mark yesterday morning, but received an error message that I would need to check in with an airport agent. Bummer. My trip was booked by my corporate travel agent and includes 4 segments on American and 1 on Virgin America right in the middle. I suspected that I knew what was wrong, but that didn’t stop me from calling web services to see if there was anything obvious going on with my reservation that could be easily fixed.

I waited on hold just a couple of minutes before I was assisted by a very nice gentleman with a sort of Texas-seeming twang. I told him my issue and he went through my reservation only to confirm what I’d suspected, that I really would have to check in with an agent. He went through the whole spiel explaining the difference between a reservation and an electronic ticket and how they link to each other, etc. Due to the one segment on Virgin America, I would be unable to check in online because the system basically can’t reconcile why there are 5 segments in my reservation, but only 4 ticket “coupons.” AA and VX do not have an interline agreement, so AA’s system can’t “see” that there is a ticket for that one little segment and online check in fails. Seems simple enough to fix, but I guess it isn’t.

In any event, I was first in line at First Class check in at DCA this morning where I was processed without a problem. Heck, it’s kind of neat to have an actual boarding pass for once. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I checked in with a person! So, word to the wise, if you have a segment in your itinerary with an airline that AA doesn’t have a ticketing agreement with, your online check in may not work. Life goes on, and now I’ll go on to San Francisco!