I think US is playing with me. Help appreciated!

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by Steven Schwartz, Sep 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Playing with an itinerary and finally, finally, what I want is showing up.

    We are flying in two months from NY to CDG and returning from Brussels. As we all know, can't search for partner awards on US so I have searched on both CO and ANA and have confirmed they are offering two reward seats in First Class on LH to FRA on the day I want. Seats on LH FRA to CDG available. Return from Brussels in available for two seats in First on United.

    Called US Air Platinum line last night - yes, the United flight from Brussels is available but they don't have "access" to the LH outbound in First! She said it was an issue where each airline gets a certain quote and once they have used theirs, they can't get any more, so even tho the seats show as available, they aren't available to US Air.

    Sounds like a crock. Any advice here? Any workarounds? If so, I need to nail this before they disappear! Appreciate any help here.
     
  2. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    Unfortunately, it seems that US is Starnet Blocking, and there have been reports that this is a regular thing with LH. What you can do is keep calling back until you get an agent willing to have the inventory created for you.
     
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  3. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Agents think this, but it is incorrect. Lufthansa doesn't actually care whether US AIrways members get the seat vs. Continental members.

    Now, Lufthansa does impose 'point of sale' restrictions on their award inventory such that Miles & More members get access to greater award inventory than Star Alliance partner members do. But when you are searching the Continental, Aeroplan, or ANA websites you are seeing inventory as it appears to Star partners.

    US Airways seems to have what I have taken to be AVS synch issues with Lufthansa transatlantic first class availability. US AIrways is unable to 'see' Lufthansa first class transatlantic much of the time. The seats are available to US AIrways. And if an agent does a long sell (requests the # of seats you need in "O" or award first class) the seats will come back as confirmed.

    But the challenge is getting a US Airways agent to do this, some will but it's call center roullette and you could well go through 10 agents before finding one who will, they are actually not supposed to book awards this way. (Funny, it DOES save US AIrways money to have this 'problem' so they haven't seemed in any hurry to fix it, whether or not they know how to do so and it's a complicated problem it may not be worth it to them to fix.)
     
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  4. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Gary-

    I posted here hoping you would respond! You say I need an agent willing to do a long sale and request 2 O seats. Is that the language I should use with him or her - "I would appreciate if you would request 2 O seats as a long sale." I have no idea what that means in the event they ask what I'm talking about!

    Any help with languaging this would be appreciated. As always, thanks.

     
  5. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    One agent knew exactly what I was talking about but said a bulletin went out forbidding agents to do this. And with recorded phone calls, he said he simply could not oblige. Doesn't sound very promising. :(
     
  6. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    TADAAAA!!!!!!

    I'm giving a detailed report in the hopes it can help my friends on MP. Called back and went thru what I wanted. Agent said no problem, but when he went over the reservation with me, he had reserved Business Class instead of First. So he looked again and told me no First seats available. At this point, I decided that rather than hanging up, I would press on a bit in a very respectful but frustrated manner. I told him seats were showing as available on THREE of US Air's Star Alliance partners. He said that Lufthansa only gives them a certain number of seats to which I responded, "respectfully, I have it on good authority that this is not the case, that the seats are there for the taking and that it is your software, either intentionally or de facto that is not seeing the seats. I'm told you can long sell them if you are willing"

    He knew exactly what I was talking about but said that while possible, they had received a bulletin stating that they were forbidden to do long sales in these circumstances and further told me that as all calls are recorded, it was unlikely I would have luck. I told him that it was upsetting to be a loyal US Air Platinum, to know that if my miles were at any of their partners, I could book with a mouse-click and that this was neither fair nor right. He absolutely agreed with me. At that point, I asked to speak with a Supervisor.

    Went thru basically the same shpiel with the Supervisor being polite, even friendly, but frustrated and certainly communicated that I didn't feel I was being treated fairly. He put me on hold, came back and told me it was done. Still waiting for email confirmation but extra miles already deducted and looks like a happy ending.

    So being a squeaky wheel certainly made the difference but I also feel that my attitude and way of speaking helped the matter.

    Good luck to all of you!
     
  7. Quasiconvexity
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    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

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    Thank you for the detailed update - will definitely come in handy. Enjoy your trip in LH F!
     
  8. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    For what it's worth, I have never actually received an email confirmation from US AIrways on an award booked through them using their partners.

    Don't worry, what you want to do is:

    1. Pull up the itinerary on their website, using the confirmation # and date. It'll usually come up but not always, and that an itinerary doesn't come up on the US Airways website is not in and of itself cause for alarm, their IT is so wonderful isn't it?

    2. Call US AIrways or the operating carrier and get the operating carrier's confirmation #s. Confirm with the operating carrier that they have your reservation. Confirm that they see the ticket number attached to the reservation. Assign seats.

    With Lufthansa you can use the LH reservation # and pull it up on the website, you will even see the ticket # on the reservation, and you can assign seats online.

    Now, as far as getting an agent to manually sell it, here's how I go about it.

    First, I will say that I found seats earlier. They aren't reserved yet since I was checking out lots of options, but hopefully everything is still available and if it's alright we can just go flight by flight.

    1) If they say "no, I have to do origin and destination" I know the call isn't going to be productive
    2) Usually they will agree, and when they do they will just request each flight one-by-one and things work out swimmingly.

    If I need to actually ask for a long sell, there are two ways to go about doing it.

    1) "An agent earlier was saying there were some issues with the system being able to see the flights even though they were available, and that they had to request each segment manually. I'm not sure what that meant exactly, but they said that even though the flight isn't showing up as available in your system, it really is available, and if you request it, it will come back confirmed." Rinse, repeat, until an agent works with you.

    2) "I'm a travel agent and I'm looking at the inventory, I currently see 2 seats available in the "O" bucket. If you'd request the seats from Lufthansa, from the screen I'm looking at I can tell that it'll come back confirmed."

    Personally I recommend #1.

    However, as the agents you spoke with did tell you, they actually aren't supposed to do manual sells, they are supposed to use their system. Which is why I actually will not do this for anyone on a consulting basis. I suggest that folks who don't want to try it on their own work with one of the other folks who do help with award bookings for a fee, I simply have chosen to say on the absolute straight and narrow in those things I do with the airlines for a fee. For personal friends would be a different different sotry, but not for pay ;)
     
  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    And congratulations on getting what you were looking for!!
     
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  10. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    And I got all the paperwork very easily. It was on the US Air website and the partner websites too, and I DID get an email confirmation. Only task was going to the United website to change seats. No problem.

    I've played this game for about 8 years and there is always a sense of joy and accomplishment - like getting 2 FC seats two years ago on Swiss (WOW!). But there is no question I'm as proud of this one as any! And to top it off, it's on my wife's birthday! Smiling all day. Thanks to everyone.
     
  11. al613
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    al613 Silver Member

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    Mazl Tov! Now a question where you can status match to US PL for free (you did not pay for it, did you? :) )
     
  12. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Didn't pay for it? That's EXACTLY what I did - AMEX Centurion. It is, however, a poor substitute for Continental for a NJ resident.
     
  13. al613
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    al613 Silver Member

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    Hope it pays for itself. :) Shana Tova!
     
  14. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Back at ya!
     
  15. SDFlyer

    SDFlyer Active Member

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    On a semi related note, I just booked a trip to ANC on US Airways metal with Continental miles. Trying to book it with US miles the agent couldn't find the availability, and said to do what I did.
    Question: Is this normal for an airline to not have reward availability on its own flights, yet a partner airline can see and ticket the same flight at the lower reward level. I am new to the game and trying to figure it out. Mods, if this is not the right forum to post in please feel free to move. Thanks in advance!
     
  16. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Congrats! It's a shame that they make it so hard to book these award sometimes. People end up getting frustrated and just considering their points worthless when in reality (or at least most likely), it's a problem with US and then they put up walls in place and say it's not their fault.
     

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