Delta has been busy devaluing their award chart and, at the same time, making it harder to earn miles by flying. All those actions should free up the reservations department for those tricky Skymiles redemptions – isn’t that what you’d expect?
American Airlines always had great agents when making complicated award bookings (just don’t try to get a refund from American Airlines). United Airlines agents have become much better – mostly because the software they use has been getting so much better (essentially what you can see on the website is what the agents can see).
United has been making great strides to integrate almost all Star Alliance partners on their website too.
We need to laud Delta to have loaded a few more partners as well and to provide a snazzy 5 weeks overview.
Today I tried to book a Delta award (and several Flying Blue awards) on Air France metal and it was a mess.
The lowest award category pricing showed on delta.com and airfrance.us but neither would let me book. The Delta website lets you go through all the steps incl. credit card details and then simply shows an error screen. If you had just transferred miles in (like me) – you would be so lost.
So I called Delta and after quite some wait an agent came online and simply stated the flight is not available and that the website is something she is not responsible for and sent me off to tech support.
I called back and requested a Czech Airline flight (that would also work for me) and while the agent could see that one – another Air France flight was unavailable to her – while it still showed bookable on the website. Essentially it seem the website is many hours behind the real time availability. I tried a few more agents but they would give me all kind of crazy stories as to why the flight is not available – only few mentioned the apparent ‘phantom availability’.
Still airfrance.us showed the flight available and let me enter the booking screen as well. This is were it ended there too but I called and during the US Pacific Time afternoon hours calls are routed to Mexico and the super friendly gents had no problem honoring the rate on the website! It took them a while but eventually they got it to work. I paid $70 in fuel surcharge extra but also saved myself 5,000 miles (Flying Blue only charges just 25,000 miles to Europe as a standard rate).
Now I hope my future Delta redemptions will fare better!