First / Business Award Availability...

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Old Sep 13, 17, 9:21 pm
  #1
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First / Business Award Availability...

Mods, please feel free to merge this of course - I know this has been discussed and for the life of me I cannot find the thread... Long story but I booked my partner on a F award on 284 SFO LHR on 10/2.... I assumed something in F or J would open up so I could join (I am currently on the SFO PHL LHR run with huge layovers and a 6 am SFO departure) but even with 7 seats open, nothing.

As I search close in flights for the rest of this month, there are zero award seats available for any date, even tomorrow. I remember seeing in a thread that BA would rather fly empty seats out rather than have too many redemptions... am I likely out of luck now that the 30 day window has passed?

Thanks all!
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:06 pm
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I'm sure there's folks here who have much more knowledge on than I on this but IME BA does not open up last minute award seats on long haul premium cabins like some other carriers, even those with FAR superior products, will do when its close in. I've been in J on a flight thats F9 where I've checked up to day of departure for an upgrade (same bucket as award) to open up and no dice - in fact I have a J ticket on a flight thats F9 in 12 days and zippo on F upgrades available. It doesn't help you one bit but given you're booked on a different flight but when its mostly open they do seem to have the airport upgrades for $ but from what I can tell in my somewhat limited experience BA seems to decide how many award/upgrade seats they will have on a flight and regardless of load that's the number they stick with and very much will fly the seats empty rather than allow upgrades. I think its about "protecting" the cabin which tends to make me chuckle...
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
I'm sure there's folks here who have much more knowledge on than I on this but IME BA does not open up last minute award seats on long haul premium cabins like some other carriers, even those with FAR superior products, will do when its close in. I've been in J on a flight thats F9 where I've checked up to day of departure for an upgrade (same bucket as award) to open up and no dice - in fact I have a J ticket on a flight thats F9 in 12 days and zippo on F upgrades available. It doesn't help you one bit but given you're booked on a different flight but when its mostly open they do seem to have the airport upgrades for $ but from what I can tell in my somewhat limited experience BA seems to decide how many award/upgrade seats they will have on a flight and regardless of load that's the number they stick with and very much will fly the seats empty rather than allow upgrades. I think its about "protecting" the cabin which tends to make me chuckle...
I find those "empty" F cabins @t-25 seem to be rammed full when you get to your seat.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Crampedin13A View Post
I find those "empty" F cabins @t-25 seem to be rammed full when you get to your seat.
That's because there's a 'cling' in them.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 3:50 am
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Originally Posted by goldengate View Post
Mods, please feel free to merge this of course - I know this has been discussed and for the life of me I cannot find the thread... Long story but I booked my partner on a F award on 284 SFO LHR on 10/2.... I assumed something in F or J would open up so I could join (I am currently on the SFO PHL LHR run with huge layovers and a 6 am SFO departure) but even with 7 seats open, nothing.

As I search close in flights for the rest of this month, there are zero award seats available for any date, even tomorrow. I remember seeing in a thread that BA would rather fly empty seats out rather than have too many redemptions... am I likely out of luck now that the 30 day window has passed?

Thanks all!
It's F6 A5, so only six seats for sale, with weeks until departure, and SFO F and J availability is always patchy at best. I would not hold your breath.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 4:08 am
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Originally Posted by goldengate View Post
As I search close in flights for the rest of this month, there are zero award seats available for any date, even tomorrow. I remember seeing in a thread that BA would rather fly empty seats out rather than have too many redemptions... am I likely out of luck now that the 30 day window has passed?
There is no predictability here, deliberately, in order to protect revenue tickets. So occasionally, on the former Chengdu route, BA would not open up Avios availability even though there were over a hundred unsold seats. Moreover as indicated, just looking at J or F selling availability gives only a partial view on how full these flights already are in these cabins, nor takes into account the other cabins on board.

However that apart there often is a release of Avios availability in the final 4 days before travel, even on the day of departure, but you still need to consider the other cabins, not just the one(s) for which you are looking. Plus the fact that it isn't guaranteed by any means. Plus the fact that SFO is in the top 10 most popular longhaul Avios routes, if not the top 5, so BA may well take the view that they've opened up enough availability given market conditions.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Sep 14, 17 at 4:24 am
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Old Sep 14, 17, 4:10 am
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I think at this stage I'd be looking at SJC, SEA and LAX departures very closely as well.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by Crampedin13A View Post
I find those "empty" F cabins @t-25 seem to be rammed full when you get to your seat.
Same here...I guess lots of staff and Captain's wives
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Old Sep 16, 17, 2:11 am
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I'd love to change my LGW to OAK in J to LHR to LAX in F.

I know how rare F availability is to LA but I could buy 9 revenue seats on either flight on October 3rd.

Is it worth me waking at 1am every morning until departure or am I kidding myself they may become availlable.

I'd happily accept LAS or any west coast destination this day but LAX seemed to have the most revenue availabilty. Not even sure if this is relevant though.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 2:43 am
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Originally Posted by kingcole974 View Post
I know how rare F availability is to LA but I could buy 9 revenue seats on either flight on October 3rd.

Is it worth me waking at 1am every morning until departure or am I kidding myself they may become availlable.
I wouldn't do the 1 am thing if it was inconvenient, that seems to be mainly the SOP for South Africa and school holiday favourites at T-355 days, rather than waiting for random events. There may be a case for doing this a few days after the end of sales since that seems to have some impact, also in the 4 days or so before travel. Instead I would mainly check at 06:30 or so in the morning. Clearly if there is someone else as keen as you to be on a particular service then it will be a figurative version of who blinks first.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 5:15 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I wouldn't do the 1 am thing if it was inconvenient, that seems to be mainly the SOP for South Africa and school holiday favourites at T-355 days, rather than waiting for random events. There may be a case for doing this a few days after the end of sales since that seems to have some impact, also in the 4 days or so before travel. Instead I would mainly check at 06:30 or so in the morning. Clearly if there is someone else as keen as you to be on a particular service then it will be a figurative version of who blinks first.
Good advice, however, not an awful inconvenience.

Out of interest, is reward inventory ever added at other times througout the day?
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Old Sep 16, 17, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by kingcole974 View Post
Out of interest, is reward inventory ever added at other times througout the day?
I think I have read comments that sometimes inventory may released around 1pm UK time. I've certainly had EF alerts mid-afternoon (not that this provides proof).
It might be worth setting up some alerts - the subscription to EF is not very expensive. BA Redemption Finder will also send alerts but these are by month rather than for specific flights.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by pomkiwi View Post
I think I have read comments that sometimes inventory may released around 1pm UK time. I've certainly had EF alerts mid-afternoon (not that this provides proof).
It might be worth setting up some alerts - the subscription to EF is not very expensive. BA Redemption Finder will also send alerts but these are by month rather than for specific flights.
My only source of searching is BAredemption finder. I'll take a look at expert flyer.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by kingcole974 View Post
Good advice, however, not an awful inconvenience.

Out of interest, is reward inventory ever added at other times througout the day?
I think not, with a small exception, but other FTers are sure they have seen extra availability come up during the day. Personally I think that's unlikely on any scale.

The exception is that some people can hold redemption seats for a day or two pending booking confirmation (GGLs, Prems, some complex Avios redemptions, TA using UuA via BA Trade liaison), and it wouldn't be unusual if these were cleared off in favour of some other course of action. These would return to the redemption pool, whereas a confirmed but then cancelled reservation would go back to core Revenue Management, and the algorithm may or may not release the equivalent seats for redemptions after the next midnight hour.

Given that using the Previous Query mechanism on BAEC (both App and BA.com) is fairly rapid, it may be worth a glance in the final few days before departure.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 5:35 am
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Originally Posted by kingcole974 View Post
My only source of searching is BAredemption finder. I'll take a look at expert flyer.
I wouldn't rely on that or EF Alerts (in particular) due to the scraping effect and timelags, just do a dummy redemption search via BA.com or the App, shouldn't take any longer to do.
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