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Illustrating How Delta And Air France May Block Award Availability

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For the past few weeks SkyMiles members have been loosing confidence in Delta’s shabby award booking engine. The ability to book Air France awards has been off, then on, and now appears to be on a route specific basis. Here are a few examples of where Delta is and is not showing Air France availability.

Is Delta.com Blocking AF Availability On January 8 From Montreal To Paris?

In this example we search for Business Class award availability from Montreal to Paris on January 8, 2013. The results differ widely depending on where you look for the availability.

Air France shows two AF direct flights with Business Class award availability. Wouldn’t it be nice to construct a stop over in Montreal on your way to Paris?

Air France Business Class Available

Instead of showing Air France’s direct flight from Monteal to Paris in Business Class, Delta shows a connecting flight through JFK in coach. The best part is Delta will let you have the connecting coach flight for only double what you could have the flight in Business Class on Air France.

Delta Does Not Show Air France Availability

Update
Delta now shows Air France availability for this award search. The screen shot was taken when Delta.com was not showing availability. Not sure why it didn’t show before but now it does.

Delta Shows AF Availability on January 9 From Los Angeles To Paris

In this example we search for Business Class award availability from Los Angeles to Paris on January 9, 2013. The results differ by airline but Delta does show Air France availability on this route.

Air France shows two flights with Business Class award availability. The first flight is the direct flight to Paris on Air France. The next flight connects in Mexico on Aeromexico.

Air France Business Class Available - Even Through Mexico

Delta does show Air France availability on the direct route from Los Angeles to Paris. Delta also shows a connecting flight through Nice, France for only 220,000 SkyPesosMiles.

Delta Shows Direct Air France Flight In Business Class

Bottom Line

Delta appears at times to block Air France availability or just not show it in the search results on select routes via their website. Delta has also confirmed to me they also don’t have AF availability at times. On the other hand, I believe Air France is blocking some of their award space from Delta and holding it only for their elite members.

Does this differ from your experience?

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About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Levi Flight April 6, 2012, 1:36 pm

    I wonder if the same is happening with Singapore and United. Early March there was mucho availability of SQ business class through Unites webpage. I don’t see it any longer.

  • Voice of reason April 6, 2012, 1:43 pm

    @Levi Flight

    None of that SQ availability was real. It was phantom availability caused by problems merging the UA and CO systems.

  • Bob April 6, 2012, 2:10 pm

    Great analysis, it seems to me if this were any other industry, there would be fraud complaints made by some US Attorney’s office, why Delta gets away with this is inconceivable. Just the amount of time wasted to try and find what is promised in the program rule and regulations is really sad. That Delta or any other airline thinks this is a fair way to treat your customers is pathetic.

  • Mac April 6, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, as I normally quite enjoy your blog, but YOU are completely wrong on this analysis. Maybe there is blocking by DL – I haven’t seen it and it isn’t occurring in your two examples.

    First off plugged in YUL-CDG on DL.com and got the exact same N/S AF flights as the AF website. 100k in J EXACT SAME availability for the date you picked.

    Second with regards to Aeromexico and routing from LAX-MEX-CDG Delta only lets you exceed MPM on a published routing by a partner carrier. Aeromexico doesn’t sell this routing, thus the booking must comply with MPM which this does not (exceeds by a ton).

    Just because you can get two flights by a partner to align doesn’t mean its a valid routing. Also AF has different rules regarding MPM and they also code-share with AM of that TATL route which is why its bookable. Want to book LAX-MEX-CDG then gets some FB points, but this is NOT a Delta issue.

    So while there is plenty to be upset with Delta about making false claims that are not thoroughly researched and in fact INCORRECT is really frustrating. And it make it much harder for DL to listen to those of us with genuine complaints.

  • The Weekly Flyer April 6, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Hi Levi – Not sure. Maybe Frequently Flying or one of the United guys / gals can weigh in.

    Hi VoiceofReason – Thanks.

    Hi Bob – Not sure.

    Hi Mac – Well lookey there. The availability magically shows up now. It was 100% not there when I checked earlier today as evidenced by my screenshot. Sorry to confuse the point with the Aeromexico observation. By no means was I trying to compare Aeromexico availability, just trying to point out that AF availability was shown on the LAX route but not the YUL route. Again, it was not there earlier today at all.

  • Joseph M April 7, 2012, 9:45 am

    2 quick points:
    -You do know that using the Delta Website to book awards is like playing a slot machine every time produces a different result. I keep on doing searches until I find the results I like.
    -FB tickets in Business come with about $1000 in taxes and fees. Delta is usually less than $100. Often much less.

  • The Weekly Flyer April 7, 2012, 10:21 am

    Hi Joseph – Thanks for reading and I agree with you on point 1, Delta.com is a crap shoot. But it is odd that it now shows every time I check the YUL>CDG route. Yesterday, after about 5 searches it was showing the same as in my screen print.

    Your point #2 is not entirely true. While AF does have higher business class fees, it it not close to the 1k mark in all instances. I’ll share an example in my next post.

  • JohnnieD April 13, 2012, 7:44 am

    Have you or anyone else notice a lack of award inventory for AF when checking EF? Business seats have disappeared from yyz-CDg.

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