Trouble booking award tickets to France this fall...help!

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by francophile, Mar 30, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. francophile

    francophile New Member

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    Hello,
    I am trying to book three award tickets on Delta at the end of September from O’Hare (ORD) to Toulouse (TLS) France. We may possibly want to fly back out of Nice (NCE) but that is to be determined.

    When I search using their web search tool I find it very sporadic in terms of results it gives. Refresh the search three times within twenty seconds and you will get three separate results in terms of miles required for a given flight. Using Multi City seems to be even more “broken” than the regular flight search tool. After choosing the outgoing flight instead of taking you to Return flights you are given some of the same Outgoing flights. Very frustrating interface.

    In searching for flights from ORD to TLS we end up having to change planes/airports fro CDG to OLY which we would prefer not to have to do. In the past we have always gone ORD to (Amsterdam) AMS to TLS. Is it worth holding out hope that this type of routing will show up?


    On the way back , if we fly back from TLS, we have a 20 hour layover in Paris overnight which again we prefer not to do. Is it realistic that on Sunday October 7th that we can get a flight plan that arrives back in Chicago in the late afternoon? We seem to have been able to get flights like this before. The flights from ORD to TLS and back are at 60,000 miles. The flights from ORD to TLS and back thru NCE are coming in around 92,500 miles.

    My understanding from a conversation with an agent I spoke with last weekend is that “they are currently experiencing problems which limit them from seeing partners legs of trip on their screens”. She suggested trying back in a few days to a week.

    I’ve also seen a guy who offers a service to book award tickets for $125 per ticket. Can’t remember where I saw it but at this point I am entertaining the idea of engaging his services. You only pay if he is able to secure seats within the agreed parameters. Does anyone know of this guy and his service and if so could you please post his contact info?

    We have just enough miles to buy three of the 92,5000 mile tickets. I guess my main question is if in peoples experience it is worth waiting to get the flights/connections we want or do we bite the bullet and book less than ideal flights/connections aware of the fact that in the future we could actually get worse connections.

    Thanks to anyone who stayed with me through my rambling. Just trying to get some perspective on my best course of action. Thanks in advance for any replies.


    Cheers,
    francophile
     
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Delta is very difficult to use for award tickets at the best of times. At present they have had an ongoing problem "seeing" award space on Air France (at least in business class). This has been going on for several weeks and although they say they're working on it there's no suggested date on which the problem will be fixed. Some people surmise that Delta is not unhappy not being able to book award tickets on partners (which cost them money).

    There are many people in the "award consulting" business. Gary Leff at View From The Wing, Ben at One Mile at a Time, Matt at Live and Let Fly are all bloggers that book tickets for a fee and all really, really, really seem to know what they're talking about when it comes to redeeming frequent flier miles. There are folks in that space who participate here as well — I'd suggest a posting with the title "Looking for an Awards Consultant".
     
  3. francophile

    francophile New Member

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    Larry,
    Thanks for the reply. If I go the "award consulting" route I'll try posting as you suggest. If I go it alone do you think my best bet is to phone the agents and hope for one who is inclined to be helpful and uncover some more desirable connections for us? It seems as booking thru the website is not a viable option.

    francophile
     
  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Let me preface this by saying that I'm a novice redeemer at all and have never redeemed miles on Delta.

    That said, the problem currently affecting AF bookings with Skymiles is not limited to the web site, Delta's agents can't see those seats either. I saw a posting yesterday (I think at View From The Wing) that stated that Asian Delta offices can see the availability and gave a couple of numbers to call in Singapore and Hong Kong, so you could try that.

    Also, there's a posting somewhere here at Milepoint called "Complete Guide To Booking Skymiles Awards" or something similar. That might help.

    I guess it doesn't hurt to call an agent and see if they can find the availability you need. You may have to pay an agent booking fee, but to get the seats that would be worth it to me.
     
  5. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

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    It sounds like you're looking to book economy. Those issues are not part of the AF/KL mess, as far as I know. Get a free FlyingBlue account on airfrance.us and try searching there. If you find classic seats in economy, they can be booked through DL. You might be able to find them using search by schedule and multi-city on DL.dumb. If that fails, call DL. If that fails, see the thread DHalltheway started today with info on calling the Asian call centers, as they seem to be able to deal with AF/KL awards in a way that US-based agents can't right now.
     
    ryandc99 likes this.
  6. francophile

    francophile New Member

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    mtkeller,
    Thanks for the reply. I did sign up recently for a Flying Blue account in the last few days. I have done a search and was able to find the flights we want. Are you saying that if we find classic economy seats that I should then be able to book them "through" Delta? I don't understand how this would be accomplished.

    francophile
     
  7. ryandc99
    Original Member

    ryandc99 Gold Member

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    When using the multi city search, make sure to choose direct flights only and put each segment in individually that you want to make it display propertly. It should then work.
     
  8. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

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    If that fails, call up DL with the list of flights (and dates) and read it to them. The multi-city thing ryandc99 describes should work just fine, however.
     
  9. Theweeklyflyer
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    Theweeklyflyer Silver Member

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    Try the Air France site. You can always book a less desirable route and hope for a schedule change, which you could then change to a more desirable route.

    Also, consider finding availability from hub cities first, then work back to ORD and your destination.

     
    SC Flier likes this.

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