GUC Use > Banging Head vs. Wall (Rant)

Old Jun 20, 17, 4:46 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: IND
Programs: DL DM, UA & AA Peeon, Hilton/Starwood Gold
Posts: 843
GUC Use > Banging Head vs. Wall (Rant)

I'm a bit honked off after once again trying to use a GUC. I'm sure that's not a shocker.

Called as EF showed ample Z space for both a KL and DL segments needed for my trip. First two agents with whom I spoke maintained no space was available. Third agent, after some prodding, says, "oh yes, I can see it now." Great. On the return, same thing, can't see it at first, and then they can. Now ticket ready for purchase.

Rep builds the record--I can see on the site--and keeps coming back and saying she needs help with the res to be ticketed. Finally, about an hour in to the call, she tells me KLM won't sell the segment on the first-leg (an eight hour trip) but they're going to keep trying.

TWO HOURS in the rep comes back to tell me there's nothing I can do. I get transferred to a supervisor (upon request) who tells me the same thing. I ask if there's a way they can keep me in Delta One on the transatlantic leg as a courtesy since a) this was done for me by a JV desk supervisor once before and b) I've now lost at least two hours on the call. Not only was I told no (and I understand), but I was also told "and it looks like you've asked for that plenty of times before."

WHOA. The supervisor goes on to tell me that yes, they have notes documented from previous calls. But of course, when responding to my comment that agents need to be trained better as they're looking for wrong upgrade space on partners, they don't know with whom I spoke earlier in the day ("well we don't keep track of them all"). In the end, there's nothing she can do aside from a $100 voucher or 10k miles.

In situations like this I try to be as civil and courteous as possible when lodging my frustration, and I believe I was so in this case. In the end, what honks me off is how inept many agents are (telling me I can only upgrade a Y,B,M fare on a DL codeshare, KL operated flight or looking for RY class on KLM) and they remain the only way in which these GUCs can be used. I get it--I have choices on what my 'rewards' can be and I can opt for something else--but man would it be nice if the experience weren't such a cluster each and every time.
CGNC is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 5:31 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Programs: DL DM, AA PP
Posts: 1,331
I share your frustration; I've experienced my fair share of agents mishandling or providing incorrect information regarding GUCs. I feel like Delta could save a lot of agent time and prevent a lot of customer frustration if they had an easy way to apply search for upgrade inventory and apply GUCs on Delta.com.

Recently I found Z space on EF for a KLM flight, and when I called to book, two separate agents insisted they didn't see any space available. At first I figured the inventory must have changed, but then when I reminded the agent that Z space was necessary to upgrade using a GUC on KLM, sure enough, there was inventory available.

One question: when you said (emphasis mine) 'EF showed ample Z space for both a KL and DL segments' - you are aware that for Delta flights, OP (now OY?) inventory required for upgrades is not the same as Z inventory, right? They might be somewhat correlated, but I've seen a lot of instances where Z was being sold but OP was not available.
rucksack is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 5:57 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: IND
Programs: DL DM, UA & AA Peeon, Hilton/Starwood Gold
Posts: 843
Originally Posted by ruckzac View Post
One question: when you said (emphasis mine) 'EF showed ample Z space for both a KL and DL segments' - you are aware that for Delta flights, OP (now OY?) inventory required for upgrades is not the same as Z inventory, right? They might be somewhat correlated, but I've seen a lot of instances where Z was being sold but OP was not available.
Yes, the OY bit was new to me, but I was under the impression from the Terms and Conditions of the certs that on a DL codeshare, KL operated flight, you need space in Z class. AND--Z class that shows in EF with the DL codeshare flight number, not for the KL flight number.
CGNC is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 6:05 pm
  #4  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Programs: DL Diamond, UA Silver, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 845
I share your pain.

The other day I was faced with the decision to spend $100 more to get DL-marketed/ticketed/operated flights (and have an "easier" GUC process) instead of an KL-operated flight (and face the cluster** you have been facing).

I paid the extra $200 (for two) and confirmed GUCs and reissued immediately after ticketing. It was easy, but I've learned (and now the DL/KL just got more $$$ from me).
bj27 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 6:46 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: IND
Programs: DL DM, UA & AA Peeon, Hilton/Starwood Gold
Posts: 843
Originally Posted by bj27 View Post
I share your pain.

The other day I was faced with the decision to spend $100 more to get DL-marketed/ticketed/operated flights (and have an "easier" GUC process) instead of an KL-operated flight (and face the cluster** you have been facing).

I paid the extra $200 (for two) and confirmed GUCs and reissued immediately after ticketing. It was easy, but I've learned (and now the DL/KL just got more $$$ from me).
I like your style. Once DL opens up their ATL/JFK-EBB route I'll be golden
CGNC is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 7:28 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: MSP
Programs: DL DM, Marriott Plat, National Exec Elite
Posts: 1,353
I am having the very same issue trying to book a trip to JNB/CPT. I see Z2 from EWR-JNB through AMS but no Delta Diamond or twitter rep can see the space. I have even mentioned Z and looking as a married segment and nothing!

i am giving up hope here.

-dave
MNAudiS4 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 7:29 pm
  #7  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Programs: DL Diamond, UA Silver, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 845
Originally Posted by CGNC View Post
I like your style. Once DL opens up their ATL/JFK-EBB route I'll be golden
HA. Fat chance.

Actually, my options were:

1) Pay $100/per person to get DL-issued tickets for DL flights with DL flight numbers and deal with no GUC non-sense
2) Save the above $$ and book the same flights with KL-flight numbers and deal with GUC nonsense
3) Book a KL-operated itinerary that was $50 cheaper than option #2 and also deal with GUC nonsense

I chose the most expensive option to save me the least hassle of sitting up front. After all, my time is worth something!!
bj27 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 9:56 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 18,655
Originally Posted by CGNC View Post
Yes, the OY bit was new to me, but I was under the impression from the Terms and Conditions of the certs that on a DL codeshare, KL operated flight, you need space in Z class. AND--Z class that shows in EF with the DL codeshare flight number, not for the KL flight number.
No, need Z on the KLM flight number. All upgrades are done under the operating carrier code, even if booked as DL codeshare.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Jun 20, 17, 10:20 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: DCA
Programs: DL DM, AA EXP, various hotel
Posts: 2,020
Originally Posted by MNAudiS4 View Post
I am having the very same issue trying to book a trip to JNB/CPT. I see Z2 from EWR-JNB through AMS but no Delta Diamond or twitter rep can see the space. I have even mentioned Z and looking as a married segment and nothing!

i am giving up hope here.

-dave
EWR to AMS is DL-operated, correct? If so, that's your problem--you'll need OY on that leg, and likely Z on the unmarried second segment, or on the second segment as a KL prime number married to the first segment on a DL prime number.
SamOF is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 12:19 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist & Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: DL DM/MM, UA 1K, AA Exp, HH Dia, WOH Glob, IHG Plat, Marriott Gold, NA EE, Hertz PC
Posts: 17,246
OP, I feel your pain as well. Not sure if this trick still works (it did as of the not too distant past) but do the following:

1. Make sure it is not a married segment issue - you'll need to find a savvy agent who knows how to use their Deltamatic software to manually enter in the flights

2. Make sure to try both KL and DL coding of the flight that you are having trouble with. For me this was the trick a few years ago. KL flight showing availability. DL DM agent couldn't see availability even though I saw it on EF. Had to play around with it to get it as DL coded flight (even though KL metal). Then agent found it and could confirm the GUC UG.

DL IT is messed up with regards to GUC upgrades and award tickets, esp with partners. It's sad to see even the closest partner (supposed JV partner too) things never seem to be the seamless experience promised.
mnredfox is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 8:07 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: MSP
Programs: DL DM / MM - Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,338
I have never ONCE had luck using GUCs on partner metal. Its just like every other partner promise - its simply marketing NOT reality. SAD.
lucycan is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 8:27 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 18,655
Originally Posted by lucycan View Post
I have never ONCE had luck using GUCs on partner metal. Its just like every other partner promise - its simply marketing NOT reality. SAD.
i use them all on partners. No issues on KLM, some on AF, never seen anyone make it work pn VS.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 9:20 am
  #13  
Marriott 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Brooklyn
Programs: DL Diamond; SPG Platinum; sometimes other things too
Posts: 3,929
I just did this successfully yesterday and am going to post some thoughts / tips in the GUC thread, but since this is more of a complaint thread, I'll just say I feel your pain ... this process is quite a mess. Even agents who seem good and well-intentioned get the rules mixed up.

I can't tell for sure, but I think part of the issue is that itineraries where it's DL-operated to AMS and then KL-operated beyond AMS may be trickier -- it's not clear that what EF shows is the same as what DL sees, and it's not clear how having the DL segment being upgraded into OY instead of Z affects the married segment Z availability on the KL segment. But obviously in an ideal world customers (especially the airline's best customers, in theory) shouldn't be having to go through that kind of rocket science to use a published benefit that is supposed to be giving the customers warm fuzzy feelings about the airline.

In the end there was no Z availability for my dates, so I didn't get a chance to try to brave the DL-to-KL connection issue -- I found all-KL availability ORD-AMS-CPT instead (ORD seems to have a TON of Z availability) and booked JFK-ORD-AMS-CPT via ITA Matrix and Book With Matrix instead, and the agents were successfully able to apply the GUCs to the entire thing. Critically, apparently originating in JFK did not affect KLM's ORD-AMS-CPT availability, which further suggests that KLM's married segments don't necessarily interact with DL segments on the same itinerary. But it required a lot of work and creativity on my part.


To the OP: do the AMS-CPT/AMS-JNB flights show with Z availability on their own for your dates? If you are still within the risk-free cancel window, I'd be interested to see if you are able to book EWR-(DL)-AMS-(KL)-CPT and successfully upgrade the KL leg when it shows Z availability independently. (Real test would be if it shows independent Z but not Z as part of a married segment with Delta, but safest would be if it shows Z both ways.) If you are able to get that to work, you might either have OY availability for the Delta leg, or you'd also have the ability to waitlist the Delta leg, which isn't possible for the KLM leg.
bgriff is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 10:17 am
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Programs: DL DM, AA Plat, Hertz Pres. Club. SPG Gold
Posts: 574
A few thoughts on this:

1). I absolutely feel Op's frustration. More agents are incompetent at getting it done than are able to do it.

2). I have successfully used GUC's twice now on a DL/KLM combo, with upgrade on all segments at time of booking. The first time I miraculously got lucky and got an agent who was able to do it with no problem (this was last summer). This made me foolishly believe this was a piece of cake and could easily be done again in the future. I found out the hard way this last time (earlier this month) when I attempted to use them again for later this year.

3). Based upon this last experience, as well as going by the first agent who was successful at booking my first GUC's on KLM - there has been a direct correlation between getting a DM agent who has a young(ish) sounding voice and not being successful vs. getting an agent who has a midwest accent and sounds like she's late 40's +. I have yet to get a guy (older or younger) who could do it. I just knew this last time when the female agent picked up and addressed me by name with a somewhat deeper, raspier voice with a heavy midwest accent that something good was to come. Sure enough she made magic happen! I realize my experience is a very small sample size.
FSUnole03 is offline  
Old Jun 21, 17, 10:18 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Programs: Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Explorist, Star Alliance Gold
Posts: 26
I am having same problem even with a delta operated direct flight. Ticket is sold by AF with AF flight numbers, so phone agents told me I need to have YBM fares, which I think is wrong. But if rules are not clear enough for phone agents, only way seems to be is to try in person at a Delta ticket office or at skyclub.
zurich64 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: