Booking Air France Business Class Awards with Delta Miles: IT Glitch Workaround

For the past few weeks Delta has been unable to book otherwise-available business class seats on Air France. That’s been true systemwide, and their only advice is to try to find Delta flights instead. Good luck with that (even if Delta serves your planned destination, Air France business class availability is generally good, Delta’s very much is not).

Delta Points notes that the Asian call centers for Skymiles are now able to book these awards again, even though US call centers won’t see the availability.

He suggests calling Hong Kong at 011 852 2810 4288. I’ve had good luck in the past with the Singapore call center, English is quite good: 011 65 6336 3371.

Ask them to waive the telephone booking fee because the award cannot be booked online, some folks have been successful with that, although as a matter of policy Delta doesn’t do that. Or create an itinerary on the website reserving any flight, put it on hold, then call to change the itinerary. When the agent sets it up, be on the website and ticket it there, you’ll avoid the phone booking fee that way.

International agents may set up the pricing shell with fuel surcharges because Delta generally charges those on Asia- or Europe-originating itineraries. If you’re originating from the US you may need to correct them.

It’s very strange indeed that an Asian point of sale can access Air France business class availability, but a US point of sale cannot. It’s one more mystery in the ongoing “IT glitch” that has been ongoing, with no accommodations from Delta or projected date for solution, that in the interim is simply saving the airline from cost of redemptions.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Lucky points out that Delta has apparently resolved the ‘glitch’ that made it impossible for Skymiles members to book Air France or KLM business class award seats that those partner airlines were offering. Strangely, the problem had been resolved at the Asia call centers days earlier. But certainly good news that there’s no need for the Singapore and Hong Kong workaround. […]

Comments

  1. Well if Delta fixes that so Asian call centers also can’t book AF flights, we will know how “accidental” that was…

  2. Very disconcerting general trend from delta about being less friendly to customers: this, the new lowest fare, impending sky miles changes. I have to fly to the southeastern US a lot and so it makes sense to use them but it seems like delta is trying to find some niche between a JetBlue/southwest discount airline and a united/American real airline. Am I understanding this wrong?

  3. Gary, what’s your take on this. I am not an IT professional, and was giving DL the benefit of the doubt, but this is very strange. Do you believe it is an IT glitch or some sort of blocking. But in either case, why would it not happen at the Asian call centers?

  4. @Adam, I don’t know enough about Delta’s particular systems, but I was an IT guy in a past life, so I will add one possible explanation for the discrepancy: Delta might be using different booking engines in different regions because of quirks within those regions. It could be that one particular search algorithm and booking engine works better for a typical Asian-oriented route than for a typical North American-oriented route. That difference could be caused by different partners, different fare codes, different flight scheduling norms, etc.

    I’m certainly not saying that this IS the explanation, just saying that it could be one possible explanation. I too have generally given them the benefit of the doubt, but the AF issue is uniquely strange, and troubling. I do not understand what sort of IT “glitch” could cause this sort of a problem and not be relatively easily identified and resolved. The somewhere in the middle explanation is that it is a real glitch but that they’re not particularly motivated to fix it and have it low on the priority list, potentially behind some much larger tasks that will keep this one from being fixed for some time.

  5. Not a mystery Gary, more of a scam if you ask me..Im not elite, but I am in I.T. and I can tell you, when things break, and we cant fix it, we have a nice book of rebuttals nearby.

  6. Now we are seeing on Flyertalk mixed success with this Asian option. People are reporting failure using call centers in Japan and in Aus/NZ, but success only with Singapore (possibly HKG). And several of the reports seemed suspect or had anomalous aspects to them (fixing an itin messed up by a schedule change, etc).

  7. Gary, please stop making the false statement that “Delta generally charges [fuel surcharges] on Asia- or Europe-originating itineraries”. This is true for Europe, but Asia-originating itineraries are treated the exact same way with regard to fuel surcharges as US-originating itineraries. For some partners, Delta will collect the fuel surcharge, regardless of origin, while for others they will not.

  8. @Gary: On DL metal? I don’t have anything near your experience, but I’ve not heard of YQ being collected on DL metal ex-Asia. Now if you throw in a segment on VN/MU/CZ, they’re likely to charge the YQ through from Asia all the way to the US, even if you use DL metal across the Pacific, but I’d be curious to see an example that’s all DL on which YQ has been collected.

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