Conflicting award availability
Today I came across something very confusing (and rather annoying, I would say). I was looking at booking a MXP-JFK-MXP award in Magnifica. This is AZ's long haul business, which on the A330 used on this particular route is (IMHO) an excellent product. The return award ticket is priced at 80,000 miles plus around 200€ in taxes; very good value in my books.
So I proceed by checking the award booking engine on AZ's website; it gives me availability on the direct MXP-JFK-MXP flights exactly on the dates I want. "Great!", I think. I try to finalise the booking, but during the last step the system spits out an error message.
Never mind. I dial the call centre and get through to a very efficient agent. She tries to book the flights, but then tells me that there is no availability on those dates. When I point out that the flights show as available on the online booking engine, she says that she actually sees seats available but they disappear as soon as she tries to create a booking. Nothing she can do, apparently. I try again with a different agent, same story.
I checked on Expertflyer, which is usually accurate when it comes to AZ award space. Even there the flights show as available (Z2 on the outbound and Z5 on the inbound).
So, this is all very strange... In the past it used to be the contrary: even when something wasn't available over the internet, the call centre would often find award space (especially for CFA members).
Has anyone else encountered a similar issue?