Fares Available but rebooking into higher — going crazy?

Old Aug 14, 2023, 11:07 pm
  #1  
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Question Fares Available but rebooking into higher — going crazy?

I hope someone can help me make sense of the madness — because I'm pretty sure Airfrance isn't "out to get me" but at the same time I cannot seem to make sense of the chaos that has been trying to make a flight change. I have an original CDG-SIN-CDG in "O". Booked and ticketed. I wanted to change the return to be a bit later. Changes are allowed.

However, first problem is — I cannot make the changes online! I tried now calling, WhatsApp and website chat and always running into the same issue.

The flight I want to change to has "O" class availability, as well as a bunch of other classes, per ExpertFlyer:
P3 F1 J3 C3 D3 I2 Z2 O1 W0 S0 A0 Y0 B0 M0 U0 K0 H0 L0 Q0 T0 E0 N0 R0 V0 X0 G0

When I call/chat I always get quoted a rebooking price based on "C" pricing (so huge difference). One of the times I was able to confirm the agent saw the flight as having (at the time) "I" class availability, but rebooking into "C" was "what the system showed". The last time I chatted I tried to ask multiple times, through multiple ways, why was it rebooking me into 'C' when lower classes were available but the agent kept basically repeating the same thing over and over without providing a coherent explanation or handing the chat to someone else. I kept asking "Why?" and getting "Yes! We remain available." — super frustrating.

Now, even weirder, when I call to inquiry on the cost of the change.... "O" and sometimes "Z" class will vanish availability (go to 0)... only to return minutes after I hang up the call.

Can someone help me with the obviously dumb thing I'm doing / expecting or the obvious thing I'm missing?

Also does support get better as Platinum? Because so far it has been beyond useless.
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Old Aug 14, 2023, 11:38 pm
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Could it be that the changes aren’t in the conditions of O-class, that the system rebooks you into a higher class (with more lenient conditions)? Or is that not the case?
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Old Aug 14, 2023, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Gajan
Could it be that the changes aren’t in the conditions of O-class, that the system rebooks you into a higher class (with more lenient conditions)? Or is that not the case?
I do not think that's the case. My ticket allows for changes AFAIK. What i'm being quoted is fare difference. One of the agents (on WhatsApp) basically said:

Upon checking, you've purchased a business-standard ticket that permits changes on the flight. As per ticket conditions, a change in routing, date, or flight modification after departure is still permitted, and reissuance and payment must be made at the same time. The new fare will be calculated using fares in effect on the previous ticketing date and under the following conditions:
If the same booking class is used, the new fare may be lower, equal, or higher than the previous one and must comply with all provisions of the originally ticketed fare, or it must comply with all provisions of the new fare being applied.
If a different booking class is used, the new fare may be equal to or higher than the previous one.
Chat on website has just been a bit like going crazy. They confirm O is available:

Then when they start checking "O" is mysteriously gone, but Z still available. Yet they can only rebook me into "C" because that's the "combinable fare". I have no idea what that means.

​​​​​​​
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 12:04 am
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and like clockwork ... chat closed ... O back available
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 12:23 am
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Just had a call with the customer service, finally someone tried (and that's the word) to explain:

Apparently with booking an "O" class when you try to change the ticket very close to the new ticket date it will always book into the highest class. "It's a restriction of your ticket type".
-> When asked if she can see "O" available to sell - yes, she can, but not to change.
-> When asked where this was in the fare rules - could not answer;
-> When asked for a supervisor - not available;
-> When asked if this rule applied 48h before the new flight? - "Not exactly"
-> When asked how would I know when I see "free flight change, only fare difference" on website that this means "only fare difference to whatever fare we decide, not what's available for selling"
-> When asked if I can get this in writing - not possible

Frankly dealing with airlines is getting more and more of a joke. I've 0 problem rules getting enforced when they apply but apparent random rules without the ability to "prove"? Just bullocks.
Imagine me calling them and saying I wanted to change into "J" because "that's a rule of my ticket" and them telling me "where is that written?" and me saying "It's not but it is" lol
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 1:34 am
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How close are you to departure?

O fares between CDG-SIN have quite some restrictions because they’re highly discounted. For what can I see, many have 60 days of advance purchase requirement, but the less restricted have at least 7 days. It means that if you want to leave in less than 7 days (considering your departure date, even if you want to change only the return, because your change requires re-issue) you cannot get an O fare.

This could be the issue but there could be more.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 1:39 am
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By the way just a note - this could change if you are platinum because the people at the platinum service line are better trained to explain issues with changes/fare rules, though you always need to pay some attention in some cases if you book through them. It’s even better if you are ultimate because the travel assistants are usually even better but at that level you need a lot of domain knowledge about fares, tickets, route constraints, etc to get the best out of them.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 1:47 am
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Originally Posted by Andy82
How close are you to departure?

O fares between CDG-SIN have quite some restrictions because they’re highly discounted. For what can I see, many have 60 days of advance purchase requirement, but the less restricted have at least 7 days. It means that if you want to leave in less than 7 days (considering your departure date, even if you want to change only the return, because your change requires re-issue) you cannot get an O fare.

This could be the issue but there could be more.
Thanks for the feedback. This could make sense yes and be the answer. However, wouldn't this mean I'd still be able to get rebooked into Z? I? Or is my original O that is dictating those 7 days for example? I ask because I keep getting 'C' regardless of whatever else is available. But from the explanation of the last agent it seems tied to # of days until departure indeed.

Thanks for the input. I should make Platinum so hopefully I'll see a bit better service as every encounter has been worse than BA or TK, which is to say a lot lol
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 2:42 am
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Originally Posted by ricardojrsousa
Thanks for the feedback. This could make sense yes and be the answer. However, wouldn't this mean I'd still be able to get rebooked into Z? I? Or is my original O that is dictating those 7 days for example? I ask because I keep getting 'C' regardless of whatever else is available. But from the explanation of the last agent it seems tied to # of days until departure indeed.

Thanks for the input. I should make Platinum so hopefully I'll see a bit better service as every encounter has been worse than BA or TK, which is to say a lot lol

So… without having the exact dates it’s hard to say but… here’s the point.





I correct myself, it’s more complicated.

These are sorted by advance purchase req, and indeed there are only some Z and O fares that have no such requirement but they have a V in the min stay requirement which can be complicated.


One has the following:

MINIMUM STAY
TRAVEL FROM TURNAROUND MUST COMMENCE NO EARLIER THAN
THE FIRST SUN AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE TURNAROUND.
OR - TRAVEL FROM TURNAROUND MUST COMMENCE NO EARLIER
THAN 6 DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE TURNAROUND.

MAXIMUM STAY
TRAVEL FROM TURNAROUND MUST COMMENCE NO LATER THAN 1
MONTH AFTER ON THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL SECTOR. STOPOVERS
which means your trip should include at least 6 days or a sunday to get that specific O fare.

Otherwise, as you can see, the first fare with no such kind of restrictions is a C.

I’m just scratching the surface here, there can be more issues. For example, your original O fare may require that when you change the new fare must have the same restrictions as the original one, or more flexible, and you may end up having just C fares available.

Note that All other Zs, Is and Ds have at least 5 days advance purchase req.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 2:52 am
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Indeed.

While it seems strange that "O" appears as if it's "removed" from total availability for the duration of the OP's simulations/requests, it seems apparent that while "O" is available for other fare bases, it is no longer available for the OP's specific choice of fare basis, due to falling foul of one of the advance purchase and/or min/max stay requirements applicable to his chosen fare. For other fare bases with more lenient advance purchase or min/max stay requirements, "O" remains available.

It's not just enough that O is available; you also have to ensure that changing the date doesn't break any of the other rules of your fare. If a date change breaks those rules, you're going to have to buy up to a more permissive (and more expensive) fare.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 2:55 am
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Ticketing is real tricky nowadays. Not only do we need to work with the class availability, but nowadays we also have the availability of fares within a class. This could be because a sale that adds or removed specific fares, but as mentioned above fares could also have limiting conditions making them not applicable to your specific situation. Even the current fare may affect what is available as it could restrict changes towards other fares having other conditions.

The O fare disappearing is likely because when the agents give you a quote they temporarily add the new segment to yo our booking. Even if that is in C class (and C availability goes down) it is likely that this change in availability triggers O class to also disappear. The availability of O class does not depend on the number of O class seats being sold, but rather, the number of business seats sold on the flight (among other factors). So reducing C class availability may very well affect O class availability too.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 2:58 am
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Originally Posted by Xandrios
The O fare disappearing is likely because when the agents give you a quote they temporarily add the new segment to yo our booking. Even if that is in C class (and C availability goes down) it is likely that this change in availability triggers O class to also disappear. The availability of O class does not depend on the number of O class seats being sold, but rather, the number of business seats sold on the flight (among other factors). So reducing C class availability may very well affect O class availability too.
This sounds like an entirely plausible scenario.

When the agent is "changing" the ticket, given that there is only 1 O it is not at all suprising that the O bucket is zeroed out, so that nobody else attempts to simultaneously purchase the same last O seat.

Once the agent abandons the change, that last O seat goes back into the inventory.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 3:08 am
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I've been a frequent traveler for years and years and fare rules, buckets, availability, market location and restrictions still give me brain freeze.
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 3:34 am
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moreover expertflyer availability might not be accurate - it's complicated, because availabilty might be different based on the point of sale - however airlines have started to use avialability based on the point of commencement for which the availability can be different again.

in January I could rebook the inbound on an O and Z fare from SIN to NUE via CDG (only two days prior to departure - moved flight from Jan 6 to Jan 2). the rebooking options shown on the air france website did not match any availability info shown on expertflyer (no matter which POS I entered).
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 3:43 am
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BTW - have you also checked maximum stay condition - most of the lonhaul O fares have a 1 month restriction on the return.
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