I have been planning a graduation trip for my brother to Europe for months. The trip has been booked since April, but given the opportunity I was hoping to fly business class instead of economy. Despite this, finding transatlantic award space on Delta or their partners is nearly impossible. For weeks I had seen award space on KLM and even Virgin Atlantic, yet when I tried to book it the webpage it would error out. I would then call Delta and their agents would tell me the flights I was looking out for was full and a booking was not possible.
After weeks of this, and a number of failed attempts I decided I would voice my frustration. After calling to change my ticket and the agent telling me the space was unavailable, I called the Delta technical support number. The agent was friendly, but did not resolve my issue. Frustrated, I hung up and gave up for the night. The next day I decided to look for space again. Our scheduled departure was in 5 days, and KLM was showing award space from LAX every single day and Virgin Atlantic had space on select days from Vancouver.
Each time I called, I was told the same thing, “I’m sorry, there are no available seats.” But for 200,000 miles a person I can book you on Delta. HA! I laughed, hung up and tried again. Unsatisfied by this process, I decided to call corporate customer care. I explained the situation to the agent who told me there wasn’t anything they could do because sadly corporate customer care only has the ability to resolve issues after flights are completed. But understanding why I was frustrated, the agent connected me to a supervisor in the booking department and explained the situation to the agent.
The agent started to look for award space and, like all agents, could not find available award space. I insisted that it was available and told her of what I was seeing via Delta.com. After pleading with her, she agreed to look at award space on Delta.com. To no surprise, this took her some time because she was not familiar with the website. Her first search only revealed Delta award space pricing out at 200,000 miles. Yet, with some quick redirecting, she found that changing the dropdown bar from best match to miles per passenger revealed award space on KLM. She was now convinced that I was not lying and she went to work to honor the ticket/award space that was displayed on the Delta website. My reivew of the flight is here.
Therefore, my advice to you is if you are finding phantom award space on Delta.com, do not hesitate to ask for a supervisor and ask them to sell you the space. They will have to manually request it, also known as long selling and instead of being booked in O you’ll be book it in “OP” class.
Quick Tips for Transatlantic Award Flights
1) Find Low Level Award via Delta.com
2) Call to book the ticket, if the agent cannot book it, ask for a supervisor
3) Explain to the Supervisor you are trying to book a flight via Delta.com but it continues to error out. If they cannot book it, ask them to short-sell it to you or do a manual booking (the help desk can help) and book in OP class instead of O.
4) Always take screen shots and be prepared to walk the agent through using Delta.com. For if they see it with their own eyes, they are more likely to honor what you are requesting.
5) BE PATIENT & FRIENDLY. Also do not hesitate to hang up and call again!
This worked for me and I am sure if you are nice about it this will also work for you. Remember, Delta.com award calendar is extremely broken! What I did might be working the system, but Delta should not be advertising award tickets they are not willing to sell!