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Korean award: Skymiles available, nothing with Flying Blue!?

Korean award: Skymiles available, nothing with Flying Blue!?

Old Feb 6, 14, 1:04 pm
  #1  
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Korean award: Skymiles available, nothing with Flying Blue!?

Hi,

I want to book an award flight with Korean Air with quite flexible dates and not in the Korean Air blackout period. When I use the Flying Blue search tool (at klm.com or airfrance.com) there are not any flights available for any of the dates. In fact, I cannot find any flights on any date to any destination with Korean Air online. I called Flying Blue and they confirmed that there were no awards available. To my surprise, Delta Skymiles has a lot of availability, but has terrible redemption rates for a one way trip.

I have done some research and it appears that in the past Flying Blue
needed to do a short or long sell to book Korean Air.

Some questions:
1) I know that Flying Blue and Delta availability is not the same for KL, AF and DL flights, but thought that they both had identical availability for other carriers (like Korean)? If my assumption is correct, the flight that is available with Skymiles should also be available with Flying Blue right?
2) Does Flying Blue still have issues showing Korean Air availability (both online and on the phone)?
3) If the flight should be available, how can I book it (the call center was not very helpful)?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Regards,
Gnargel
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Old Feb 6, 14, 1:34 pm
  #2  
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The booking tool only reliably shows Air France and KLM flights. Coverage of other partners ranges from good to extremely patchy.

KE is one you will have to ring up for. If an agent appears to be unhelpful or incompetent, thank them politely and ring back again later.
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Old Feb 6, 14, 1:41 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
The booking tool only reliably shows Air France and KLM flights. Coverage of other partners ranges from good to extremely patchy.

KE is one you will have to ring up for. If an agent appears to be unhelpful or incompetent, thank them politely and ring back again later.
Thank you for the quick response! Called twice already. Got the same answer: Our systems show no availability, which means there is no availability (which doesn’t match with delta.com).

Edit: I don't mind calling again, but I just want to know whether I am right

Last edited by gnargel; Feb 6, 14 at 2:12 pm Reason: clarification
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Old Feb 9, 14, 8:17 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
Thank you for the quick response! Called twice already. Got the same answer: Our systems show no availability, which means there is no availability (which doesn’t match with delta.com).

Edit: I don't mind calling again, but I just want to know whether I am right
make sure the Delta.com availability is no phantom availability and ask them to do a long-sell.
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Old Feb 9, 14, 3:40 pm
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What is a long or short sell in this context?
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Old Feb 10, 14, 9:29 am
  #6  
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Thank you all for the replies. Called Flying Blue three times (twice in the US and once in the Netherlands). Was told three times that if their system shows no availability, there is no availability. No exceptions. Mentioned the long sells, same response.

Was ready to give up, but sent Flying Blue an email. Received a call from Flying Blue within five minutes (wow!). Was informed that in order to see Korean availability, the Flying Blue employees need to search in a special and apparently quite secret way (not sure what way). And indeed there was lots of availability....
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Old Feb 10, 14, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
Thank you all for the replies. Called Flying Blue three times (twice in the US and once in the Netherlands). Was told three times that if their system shows no availability, there is no availability. No exceptions. Mentioned the long sells, same response.

Was ready to give up, but sent Flying Blue an email. Received a call from Flying Blue within five minutes (wow!). Was informed that in order to see Korean availability, the Flying Blue employees need to search in a special and apparently quite secret way (not sure what way). And indeed there was lots of availability....

I had the same issue with redemption on MH.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
Thank you all for the replies. Called Flying Blue three times (twice in the US and once in the Netherlands). Was told three times that if their system shows no availability, there is no availability. No exceptions. Mentioned the long sells, same response.

Was ready to give up, but sent Flying Blue an email. Received a call from Flying Blue within five minutes (wow!). Was informed that in order to see Korean availability, the Flying Blue employees need to search in a special and apparently quite secret way (not sure what way). And indeed there was lots of availability....
Is that difficult to train agents to search for all partners especially alliance members? This gets so annoying.

BTW can you expand on this method?
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Old Feb 10, 14, 2:13 pm
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FB is not an exception to the golden rule : hang up and call back later.
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Old Feb 12, 14, 10:14 pm
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Booking FB award with Korean Air

Can confirm the below, KE awards not available via the webpage, in the call center, they have to use a different system / application, not many of the agents are aware. Usually they tell me no availability, then I explain them, that they have to use another system / application to get the availability of award seats from KE. If the agents does argue I hang up and call again, in the normal case I always get put on hold for around five minutes, in 85 % of my calls I got the award seats for the desired flights confirmed. Hope this helps. Do not forget to ask for waiving the ticketing fee, there is no other way than booking via the call center, so they will wave that usually.

Hope this helps...




Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
Thank you all for the replies. Called Flying Blue three times (twice in the US and once in the Netherlands). Was told three times that if their system shows no availability, there is no availability. No exceptions. Mentioned the long sells, same response.

Was ready to give up, but sent Flying Blue an email. Received a call from Flying Blue within five minutes (wow!). Was informed that in order to see Korean availability, the Flying Blue employees need to search in a special and apparently quite secret way (not sure what way). And indeed there was lots of availability....
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Old Feb 13, 14, 5:31 pm
  #11  
 
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Korean award: Skymiles available, nothing with Flying Blue!?

Thanks for the above info. Any specifics about the system / application they have to use. It would be more than handful to have a name for it next time I call and ask them to 'search harder'...!
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Old Feb 14, 14, 4:15 am
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Talking

As I posted on this thread few month ago, I found zero correlation for a given KE flight between award seat availability when using skypass miles or when using FB miles (this is quite a painful comparaison exercise as you need to call both KE/FB call center and that you need to get a FB agent familiar with KE award as highlighted earlier).....
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Old Feb 14, 14, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by greggyfroggy View Post
Thanks for the above info. Any specifics about the system / application they have to use. It would be more than handful to have a name for it next time I call and ask them to 'search harder'...!
Unfortunately not, I just explain them, that I have always the same issue, and that the previous colleagues put me on wait, as they usually have to ask someone who has more experience, as there is another way to seethe available awards on KE... sorry and cross fingers for your next booking
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Old Feb 21, 14, 8:25 am
  #14  
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I have finally booked my Korean award! But that was not easy at all, some (hopefully) useful advice for booking a Korean award.

1) Calling Flying Blue (toll free in the US or in the Netherlands) was not very useful, they found no or - once - very limited availability. Sending them an email with my request, resulted in excellent availability.

2) The taxes for my award when booked by Flying Blue in the Netherlands were much lower than when booked by Flying Blue in Canada (both converted to Euro).
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Old Feb 21, 14, 8:44 am
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What did you book (cabin and route) and what were the costs in € and FB miles eventually?
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