As you know, MrsMJonTravel and I are relocating to Atlanta. In fact, we leave Friday for a few days in NC with my mother and then travel on to Georgia on Labor Day. I had fretted previously about my sense of trepidation in giving United a call to update our award itineraries for our upcoming flights to Europe to reflect departing and returning to Atlanta rather than Washington Dulles. To recap, we were scheduled to depart Dulles for Rome, nonstop in United First Class. Then return from Barcelona via Frankfurt to Dulles. A schedule change on the return saw us rebooked via Munich to Dulles, so that’s where we begin.

Call # 1 – I’m changing the return first (outbound and return are booked separately) because it is a partner award. (not sure it matters, but that’s just me) I dial the United MileagePlus desk, poke through the menu and wind up with an agent with no hold time. I explain our predicament and say that I’d like to look at just tagging on a United segment from Dulles to Atlanta. Feverish typing. Some more feverish typing. Some apologizing….still trying to find flights at 50,000 miles…. I think… I’ve got flights….just check to see if tagging on the Dulles – Atlanta segment. After 15 minutes….. space is found. But this will route us through Frankfurt and on to United for the tran-Atlantic segment. Not what I wanted, but I’ll take it. Agent places me on hold to talk to the “rate desk.” 10 minutes later…comes back..says…OK…this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep you on your original flights, but just add the Dulles-Atlanta segment. That will be $5 dollars please. And it was done. And I was happy. (Because I’ve still got a shot at getting these swapped to Lufthansa First…though I’m debating that given that we won’t be going through Frankfurt. Opinions?)

Call #2 – I elected to take care of the outbound flight in a separate call as I didn’t want what should be simple to take another 30 minutes. Call the MileagePlus number, and work through the menu. This time, I’m on hold for about 2 minutes before I speak to an agent. Explain that we are booked on the Dulles-Rome nonstop, but need to change that to originate in Atlanta. Agent understands, finds United flight that will connect to our original flight, nabs 2 seats in First, collects $5 dollars in security fees and a $75 dollar change fee, and we are done. All over in about 5 to 7 minutes.

Lessons learned. First, be extremely specific in what you want when calling about an award itinerary. I thought I was specific enough in the first call, but in retrospect, I was not. Second, United’s hold times are back to normal. Now to get moved and figure out what we’re going to do in Tuscany before our cruise.