Frequent Flyer Seats, Still a Mixed Bag

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Jul 31, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    "Shower them with miles; starve them for seats." Although I first ascribed that mantra to the big airlines last year, it has actually improved a bit—at least for some airlines, in some cases. IdeaWorks recently released its third annual report on the availability of frequent-flyer seats, and a few lines made some marked improvements over last year.

    As before, IdeaWorks studied seat availability at the lower or "saver" award level on 23 airlines. They made 6,680 test bookings in March 2012 for two seats on popular routes in June through October, and the results showed a substantial spread among the individual lines.

    • Overall, what IdeaWorks describes as "value oriented" airlines (a term I like better than "low fare" or "low cost," neither of which is completely accurate, and "discount" which is outright wrong) did best, with success rates of 100 percent on Southwest, 87 percent on AirTran, and 86 percent on JetBlue. These lines, however, base reward seats on ticket prices for individual flights rather than broad mileage categories, and you'd expect high success rates.
    • Among the larger "legacy" lines based in North America, success rates were better than 50 percent on three: an impressive 87 percent on United, 79 percent on Air Canada, and 59 percent on Alaska.
    • But the other legacies didn't do well, with success rates of 46 percent on American, 34 percent on US Airways, and a dismal bottom-of-the-list Delta at 27 percent—a repeat of that line's sad performance in 2011.

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    8MiHi, jwsky and uggboy like this.
  2. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I have often used supersaver awards to travel with my family on PM Continental and United. As long as I have been a bit flexible in the dates and put in for the seats more than three months in advance, I have been able to get the Supersaver seats. Clearly there are more seats available for Premier flyers. What has been a bit of a hassle is that the Supersaver awards tend to involve significant stops along the way. Further, if I want to pay for one of the seats, the flights matching the available award travel are usually more expensive than the 'cheapest fare', sometimes significantly more expensive.
    sobore likes this.
  3. hopscotch1
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    hopscotch1 Silver Member

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    This is where some of the booking services can come in really handy particularly for international trips.

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