Is Air France Business Class No Longer an Option with Skymiles?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by James K., Sep 16, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    From Lucky (http://boardingarea.com/blogs/onemi...class-award-space-for-delta-skymiles-members/) over at One Mile at a Time.

    Seems that, not unlike back in March, Skymiles are no longer good for J redemptions on Air France. I did a bunch of dummy bookings from IAD-CDG, which historically has been one of the easiest flights to book a business award ticket on that I've ever seen. And nothing pops up, except for one pairing when I found (lo and behold) low Delta availability.

    Lucky has some doomsday scenarios plotted out, but I'm hoping this is just like back in March when the same thing occurred for a couple of weeks. At the time I thought (and I wasn't alone) that it was the end of Quarter 1 and Delta was probably trying to save some money by not having to pay off Air France. Now it's the end of Quarter 3 and there's a good chance it's the same deal. I hope.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  2. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    I think Lucky's sensationalized it. EF has indicated that something seems wonky with the inventory that AF is publishing through the first half of 2013, so I suspect they're just not putting out the information properly. My recollection of the situation in March was that EF was showing inventory but DL wasn't booking it. This is different, since EF can't even see the inventory.
     
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  3. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Sensationalized, but it's certainly possible that negative changes are coming. The current situation is almost certainly temporary.
     
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  5. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Nowadays, I'll trust a blogger over Delta Skymiles.
     
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  6. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    They're the most opaque/sneaky of the domestic carriers, and the value of their miles is more fragile, but the problems with the program have been overblown, I think in large part due to DL's stealth-devaluation policy. I've certainly prioritized burning skymiles (and as a result sat on a bunch of Avios through *that* devaluation due to lack of time to leverage them for a south american trip) for better or worse, and have gotten good value out of them.

    AF redemptions will come back. Whether that means back to the same inventory, access to reduced inventory, massive fuel surcharges, etc. we'll find out when it happens.
     
  7. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    As someone who is currently trying to book an AF ticket, what's happening now is unacceptable. We've basically received no word from Delta regarding this. I expect to be able to utilize my miles year-round, not when Delta feels like it.

    The difference here between Delta and a program like UA/AA is that Delta's program is such that it's cheaper to redeem with partners. If UA all of a sudden wouldn't let me book on LH for a week, that's fine ... I can book on UA/LX/OS/LO/SK/TK etc ... but I can't do that with DL. I have Air France, KLM, and Air Europa (from only JFK), as well as Alitalia, except for western Europe, I'm flying over my destination by a ton by using AZ.

    I've always flown Delta because they were a decent domestic airline, and because I was formerly trapped in ATL. Not anymore. Once I wind down my Delta TCVs and credits, I'm building status to match to United. I'd rather deal with them than deal with Delta.
     
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  8. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    635k from PHL to FCO. I can't understand why that linkage wasn't made more widely at an earlier stage. The simple fact that SM demanded a number that was a non-integer multiple of any published L, M, and H combination indicated bad faith after it was publicized and SM management laughed at the connection.

    Other people wanted to trust DL. But they told you, themselves, indeed Jeff stated that DL SM was

    [​IMG] best in class [​IMG]

    He was quite correct.

    UA MP miles are in a different universe, far more valuable than not only DL SM in their profoundly degraded state but even than the now-mythical NW WP miles that took us to so many places. I've been surprised about that, to be honest, but it's astounding. The DL nightmares belong in that different, darker universe.

    I have some SM, somehow, again, but I don't care if there is any TATL availability, it's such a waste of life to argue with DL SMM agents about their own airline's published policies and conditions.

    On UA.COM as soon as you enter PHL to FCO and see the cornucopia of options at saver or standard levels - and not numerous other nonpublished levels - on good airlines, with fifteen or more combos to choose from, you will know why you need to collect MP miles.
     
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  9. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    You know I kinda feel the same way, but is UA any better? Objectively, yes, probably, but their members are screaming about how much worse everything's getting over there. AA is pretty nice from a redemption side but they're always more expensive than Delta, even when it doesn't make much sense for them to be so. Plus they're still in bankrupcy so who knows what's happening to them. US is a joke, and their best redemptions are through partners. I'm not trying to say you're wrong. You're not. Ever since I redeemed my 240,000 skymiles for YUL-CDG, CDG-MRU, MRU-CDG-IAD for next summer, I've been quietly diversifying. It's just that I really like Delta as a domestic carrier, and hate that they make using miles so difficult
     
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  10. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    *Sigh* Yeah. Until recently (see above) I've been such a committed Delta flyer, but the first time I used United's award booking engine I wanted to cry. It's so, so, so much better than Delta's.
     
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  11. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    The problems have been "overblown"??!!

    Whoa. They haven't even started yet. The SM 13 earnings table - which has already been previewed by the "accidental" connection to DL.COM front end, the behind-the-scenes memo from AF mgmnt, several days before it appeared online, destroying the value of your SWUs that you thought could be redeemed from W, the zero-notice retabulation of Asia awards earlier, etc etc.

    If AF redemptions do come back, why think they'll come back as before? Swingeing surcharges like BA, SQ-style availability - one seat per route per year on the 773 - and SM-style triple mileage for all is much more likely. When the ticket costs 625k from PHL to FCO - a figure that DL have already brazenly published, let's remember - and you pay $800 in taxes/fees/gouging....will it even be worth accumulating SM? Very few will think so.

    This particular debasement again is related to the SM management consulting for AF on creating a multiple-tier system for AF FB. Seems fair since DL does this in reverse to FB members anyway.

    It means that soon DL miles will lose their one redeeming - ha- feature...the ability to actually get into the J cabins of AF and KL. Without that capacity, the program will truly suck. Jeff will have victimized you completely. But if you want it, you're welcome to it...stay off UA and don't compete for my UG!

    If you seriously believe your current stock of DL SM will have even a reasonable fraction of its current use value by this time next year, I've got a bridge to sell you...
     
  12. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    That's a reasonable perspective. While the current situation is not permanent, skymiles generally feels less stable as a FF program. UA's been taking steps in the same direction though, with sketchy operational reliability to boot, and at the Gold level reduced earnings and benefits vs. DL, at least for the moment.

    The situation you cite, where DL is so heavily reliant on AF/KL, is at the heart of the fragility of Skymiles that I referenced. One or two partners are doing all of the heavy lifting to provide the program with value TATL.

    AA is attractive for the leisure flyer who can do 100k a year paid on one alliance, but has no shortage of uncertainty in their program as well as as reliance on BA/IB (and high fuel surcharges) for TATL.

    The lack of any feeling of stability with skymiles really undermines the program's attractiveness for those able to choose their airline based on FF program, which is unfortunate for all concerned and not really beneficial for anyone long-term.
     
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  13. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    I've never seen those types of numbers when redeeming for awards. As someone who redeems for flights out of ATL, JFK, or LAX, partner space always kept me at the low level. But how can I book on partners if DL won't let me book on its main TATL partner?

    To me, upgrades are a cherry topping. After having had medallion status for well over 3 years and seeing what domestic F is like, I really don't care for it. Most of the moaning/groaning has been about upgrades. If I get it, it's nice. Frankly, Delta implementing domestic EC kept me around a bit longer, since that extra bit helps in coach. When UA took away ExpertMode, they brought it back after hearing the complaints. That to me showed a big thing about how UA still looks out for its customers.

    UA's introduction of a 75K level means that there is a level that I think I could reasonably attain. 100K revenue is difficult for me, but 75K is within reach if I actually plan on it. I've never really seen a reason to go for PM with Delta, but could see with UA.


    I have diversified, and no longer earn Skymiles unless I'm also earning MQMs. It's been so easy to redeem miles in other programs, it's a JOKE when I call up Delta. This is a list of all my redemptions in the past year (for myself and family) and looking back, it's amazing how many of those would be impossible with DL miles:

    OneWorld
    BA (old) 40K JFK-LIM-IPC-SCL in LAN C (only OW serves IPC)
    BA (new) 9K LIM-CUZ-LIM in LAN Y
    BA (new) 10K + cash SCL-LIM in LAN C
    AA 30K LIM-JFK (stop) in LAN C, JFK-LAX in AA transcon C (no low-level JFK-LAX tickets in BE with DL)
    Star Alliance
    UA 140K miles LAX-FRA-PNQ in LH C, BOM-BKK in TG C, BKK-NRT in TG 77W F, NRT-LAX in NH F (only *A serves PNQ, no availability on KE either way, no international F awards with DL)
    US 120K LAX-SFO-FRA in UA F, FRA-ZRH-HKG in LX F, HKG-BKK-FRA in TG F, FRA-LHR-LAX in LH C/UA F (no international F , KE blackout dates)
    US 30K for BKK-SIN-BOM-SIN-HAN in SQ C (x 2) (not possible with Skyteam)
    UA 80K LAX-IST-BOM in TK Y, PNQ-FRA-LAX in LH Y (x 2) (no low level availability with Skyteam)
    UA 40K BOM-SIN-LAX in SQ Y (KE blackout dates)
    AC 25K CHO-IAD-SAN, LAX-IAD-CHO in UA Y (coach award for a relative who couldn't pay the $600 fare, and Delta wanted 50K for those same dates))
    Skyteam
    DL 100K ATL-IAD-CDG-BOM in AF Y, HAN-CDG-IAD-ATL in VN C, AF C, DL Y
    DL 120K ATL-IAD-CDG-BOM in AF C, BOM-CDG-MSP-DTW-ATL in AF C, DL C, DL Y
    DL 120K LAX-MSP-PIT-CDG-BOM, BOM-CDG-LAX in DL C, AF C (cancelled)

    The last three were absolute pain in the butts to redeem. They all depended on AF TATL availability. If AF availability disappears, my Skymiles become absolutely worthless to me.
     
  14. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Yes, they've been overblown. You say yourself that "they haven't even started yet" yet continually talk as if this future you envision (which I do not dismiss out of hand) is already here.

    Time after time, I see people say that there is no availability, or price is ridiculous, only to check myself and see a variety of low/saver options. Rather than the numerous real problems, several of which you listed above, we get piles and piles of people complaining about availability even when it actually exists and other such things, and the whole thing becomes like the boy who cried wolf.

    When the focus becomes so overwhelmingly negative, and becomes so detached from reality, there's little motivation to not take more, since everyone seems to act like it's already gone.

    I don't necessarily think they'll come back as before. In fact, in the very post you quoted I mentioned massive fuel surcharges as a real possibility.

    The 625k figure that you keep touting, to be quite honest, I see as complete and utter bullshit - far enough removed from reality that I write it off as a computer glitch. When you keep trumpeting that crap to the heavens as something Delta "brazenly published" it takes a lot more away from your credibility than Delta's, and accomplishes nothing.

    Do the award system, calendar, and pricing engine function to provide an accurate picture of availability and price awards properly? Of course not. Has Delta prioritized IT effort to move toward this? Absolutely not. Is this due to management deciding that the status quo is preferable to something that works as expected? I'm less sold on that, but I'll certainly accept the possibility.

    But 625k PHL-FCO as anything other than a ridiculous bug? That's just a bit far-fetched and your reliance on that point (when there is so much else to be concerned with!) serves to discredit you and your message, and is exactly the "overblown" sort of complaint I was citing.

    I'm not sold that the sky is falling quite as quickly as you cite - as long as redemption does not become fare-based, or have fuel surcharges rolled out across all partners I'm OK for the time being. I don't disagree that skymiles are on the most unstable ground, and have prioritized redeeming them already. I have a pair of biz seats to sydney next year using up a good chunk of my skymiles.


    I just don't see why you would need to lean so heavily on extremely dubious positions like claiming intentional 625k pricing to criticize delta. There are enough real problems that don't make you look like a nutjob. Focusing more on those would likely be more effective.
     
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  15. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    I think it's overblown to put out things like 625K PHL to FCO when clearly that's a one-time error. I also don't like to follow rumors of possible future devaluations. But what's happening right now is incredibly annoying for loyal customers.
     
  16. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I think a lot of this is from pre-merger UA/CO flyers who can't accept the fact that their former airline no longer exists, and they can't have the same perks they used to have on their preferred pre-merger carrier. I'm speaking just about the FF program here. There are, of course, operational issues related to the merger, but those will (eventually) get straightened out.
     
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  17. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I think it came two years ago. DL is nothing more than an LCC for me now, or a J-cabin party venue for misfiled tix from all corners of the world. Even then, crediting those flights to AS as nonelite is better than to DL as GM.

    I must admit, your aggressive denunciuation of that figure as "bs" is surprising. It was documented and widely discussed on FT two years ago and by no means was the I only person who saw such figures. It was offered by DL.COM during a search for PHL to FCO. The fact it's not possible to defend this figure under DL's own rules calls forth all manner of apologist "explanations" and creates strain for those trying to reconcile their hope for DL honesty with the observed data.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delt...d-record-even-dl-sm-best-class-alright-6.html

    The screenshot came from DL.COM. Others have seen similar figures. And I believe it does accomplish something: which is to demonstrate that although the company that claims there are three tiers for SM redemptions, and that therefore a simple return itin should offer nine prospective mileage levels, this is false.

    For some, every problem with DL.COM is a "glitch" :cool: Like the withdrawl of the AF O bucket, isn't that just a "glitch"? And there are so very many "glitches"...either DL IT is incompetent, or the aggregate lack of functionality is deliberate. I think Jeff and his buds are smart. So, Occam, it's deliberate.

    Like no other airline, indeed.

    Oh dear. My "message" has not been discredited. It's DL SM that's increasingly discrediting itself.

    Since I was banned from the FT DL forum for overuse of the term best in class - ironically, Jeff's own phrase - and for posting "provocatively" about 635k SM demands from PHL to FCO - not all of which was in J - the discord has mounted tremendously. Haven't you noticed the DL mods latest plea for ideas about how to civilize the discourse? And how it's not working? Every week, sometimes every day, there are threads there, and here, about DL's conduct - stealthy withdrawl of the W-up using SWUs, enacted several days before someone called in and was denied, triggering the revelations, or the overnight hike in award redemption figures for Asia this spring, and so on.

    Notice how often this is happening with DL SM. Someone calls in to SMS and discovers they can't do something they expect to do, and have done before. With no notice, DL has changed the rules...their technical right, but a move that undermines confidence and therefore perception of value. OAL's don't do this nearly as much and when they do, they often change e.g. UA with the expert mode info.

    DL operate the SkyMiles program in a fundamentally dishonest manner. By that, I mean they present a set of T&C that they tacitly undermine with their own practices (e.g. the four-itin award search limits when talking with SMS, because the calendar doesn't correspond to the truth and customers have to keep questioning. Roulette...can you guess within the alloted frame, oh no, too bad so sad no LOW for you!)

    The SkyMiles have already fallen.

    Redemption is already fare-based for example, PWM. And for some time there's been linkage between 25k LOW domestic awards and lower fare buckets - a fact uncovered by earlier skeptics on FT.

    How is this position dubious? The figure came from DL.COM. It's documented. The fact you can't comprehend this published evidence makes me wonder why. Do you work for DL? That's the usual reason for such arguments over on FT.

    Next, who cares about looking like a nutjob? The longer this goes on, the more it seems that those who believe DL SM will have value are nutjobs.

    Next, nothing will be "effective" in the sense of retaining SM value.

    Finally, my position is consistent. I denounce DL SM then, and now. Several former DL apologists have changed their minds on this and consider this view much less of a nutjob view than they did two years ago.

    But, make your own decision. Expect only amusement from me when next year DL SM are rendered near-worthless by, for example, that SM 13 earnings table being connected to the DL.COM front end. It can be done at a moment's notice - you know that, because we all saw it happen just last week. And expect it to happen again with no notice, as par for the course. I'd say, within a year or less.
     
  18. Flying Bat

    Flying Bat Silver Member

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    I face the mirror image dilemma. Sitting on a big bunch of FlyingBlue AirFrance, I can never find Delta award space in business class, for easy routes like NYC. So I would argue that holders of points from either scheme are not best served in the current scenario.

    If only there existed a viable swap scheme, that might even up the game a little.
     
  19. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    "If only..." But that won't work the way you would like it to. Because "harmonization" is happening...and the endpoint is asymptotical to a zero value for both programs, FB and SM. It won't deliver this "best of both" when asymmetries exist. They will be ruthlessly squashed. Doesn't the evidence yet convince you of that?

    Every time someone posts on FT about how to redeem low-mileage biz awards, you don't think that DL doesn't take notice??!! They read those threads carefully and systematically scythe through their system eliminating all mismatches between revenue and redemption/benefit. AF W--->O was a clear omission in their master plan and they quashed it, overnight.

    Those who post there, help them destroy it! There are still one or two remaining behind-the-curtain ways to obtain value from SM redemptions but they don't involve AF or KL or the usual techniques and there's no way I'm going to post those on DL. Thanks to affiliate program accumulation, I need two more useful redemptions! And not TUS-LAX for 80k SM each in the RJ Y cabin which is what Jeff wants to direct those SM into...

    DL does not intend to have a "conversation" about anything - remember RealDLINsider or whomever, posting that line a couple of years ago in answer to what social media presence was for? They like it when you tell them how you still use SM to access the J cabins...because they'll squash it! That's the "conversation!"

    How about the fake cheese? :cool: Wanna talk about that instead of AF O vanishing? DL do!

    I can't believe that some persist in the belief that DL operates the SM progam in good faith for Medallions. They want to crush redemptions, they've stated so (Jeff's comment about "aligning" costs and benefits). They're doing it quickly and ruthlessly.

    My plan, never fly DL in the expectation of using the SM, or in expectation of a Medallion service benefit. I'm never disappointed in DL now! Party in the J cabins! Game on!
     
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  20. NoFlyY

    NoFlyY Active Member

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    We're writing as though DL reads this - and cares. They may read it, but they don't care. Mr. Robertson is viewed as a hero within DL for his ability to increase SM revenue. That's his remit, and he's sticking to it.

    DL would tell you that the dynamics today are very different than they were in 2007, let alone when these programs were begun ~30 years ago, when there were dozens of US airlines competing for our business, and when few had any meaningful amount of market share.

    There's a conference of low-cost airlines taking place in London today (Twitter handle #WLCAC). It will be interesting to see if/when/how this group of airlines increases its long-haul flying, especially into the US.
     
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  21. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    Not me man. I'm just writing to hear what you guys have to say
     
  22. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    This blog is reporting finding plenty of AF availability on DL's website beginning May 2013. Frankly, business availability looks great. People should book!

    I've got four J tickets on AF to the Persian Gulf booked for over Christmas via DL miles.

    All this whining about DL/AF is great...hopefully more people will ignore the program.

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/point...smilesandmartinis+(Points+Miles+and+Martinis)
     
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  23. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Good news, but May 2013 is 9 months away. Is there no availability in the interim?
     
  24. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    Per a post on FT this morning, sounds like this is still a rumor... LINK

    SM has it's issues, no doubt, but could this be a case of Chicken Little and the sky did not fall?!:eek:
     
  25. jk2
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    jk2 Silver Member

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    Unfortunately, availability on AF is decreased tremendously. Now, when DL cuts too many international routes, to get to Europe using SkyMiles is very hard. I hope that Alitalia would not follow this trend.
     
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