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Anyone have success booking award flight through KE website recently?

Anyone have success booking award flight through KE website recently?

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Old Oct 9, 14, 7:27 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 44
Anyone have success booking award flight through KE website recently?

I'm trying to book a flight for my mom using my and her miles. I've already registered as family members and miles pooling, etc. But when I actually try to book the flight, after 4th step, it just sits there. I see on my credit card account online the pre-authorization for the correct amount but the payment never actually goes through and the website sits there with the moving arrow animation forever (I actually let it sit there for like 3 hrs).

I suspect this has something to do with the recent website lift. I called their LA office, after waiting 20 mins then talking to them for another 30, I found out that all I they could do for me was to create a reservation for an award flight but not actually book it. I'd already done this using their website, just can't purchase They gave me a ridiculous PDF form to fill out and scan it and send it along with my mom's passport scan. Then someone would call me within a day to actually book the flight. This is ludicrous.

So can you tell me how you've booked an award flight recently? Thanks!
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Old Oct 9, 14, 10:23 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Left Coast
Posts: 814
Booked a bonus ticket via the telephone on 9/23/2014, and paid for it a few days ago. There were numerous Web site glitches, but the chief benefit of doing it online-- so far as I understand-- is that the PDF form is no longer necessary if all the miles are coming from family plan members who have previously authorized such activity.

We had set up the whole family plan thing prior to their Web site upgrade, and all the authorizations were in place, so once I had cleared all the Web site glitches, I was able to log in and pay online, taking miles as needed from family members to cover my needs.

I did speak with two of their reps over the phone, and I chatted online with one as well. The Web site was not allowing me to pay due to various errors, and the reps were able to help with a couple of the errors.
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Old Oct 10, 14, 6:30 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 152
For me, the booking was IMPOSSIBLE to do due to website glitches (because I was booking award in J). If it's for Y, it does allow me to proceed.

So I called the call center, and the rep created the booking for me, but I have to complete the payment online. I was able to do so without issues.

She also gave a tip to use Chrome, instead of Firefox or IE (gasp). She said people have been reporting better success rate when completing it with Chrome.
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Old Oct 14, 14, 6:38 pm
  #4  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 44
What time of the day (and your time zone) did you initiate chat online? I've been trying night and day and all it tells me is that all their chat reps are busy and I should try another time. It gives me no option to wait for one.

Also, which number did you call? Did you call their LA office or Korea office? When I called their LA office, they told me that the only way I can redeem an award flight is to fill out this PDF form and send it in with my and my Mom's ID and basically pray that they'll call me back within 24 hours to collect payment information. It's been 3 days since I've done that and no phone call.

FYI, I've tried Chrome, IE, and Firefox and also Tor (so that it can route me through a country other than Korea) and none of them worked for me.

KE lost a lifetime customer.

Thanks for the replies, BTW!
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Old Oct 14, 14, 6:39 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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I've also tried their website in English and Korean. Same results...
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Old Oct 14, 14, 8:21 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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zippy the pinhead, what were the errors you incurred and how did the rep fix them? Did you call the LA office? I found the guy there to be utterly useless and stupid. I called them 3 times and got the same guy so maybe he's the only one that works there? He had Chinese noticeable accent.

I called the Korean Air office in Korea in Korean, they told me they couldn't help me because all the English support go to Malaysia. She gave me a Malaysia number to call. I called them using skype, was on hold for 15 mins, then I ran out of time. Another time, I got connected through the English-speaking agent in Korea after 50 min wait. They said hello, I told them my prob in one breath, and the call was hung-up...
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Old Oct 15, 14, 6:27 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 152
I called the 438-5000 number (I think something like that) and it did get routed to the Malaysian center. At least I think it was Malaysian because both times I called, they both had a slight Singlish accent (not too bad).

I did this around 4-5 am EST (I happened to be up before my morning workout). If I try it during the day, it would straight go to the announcement "due to system upgrade we cannot take your call" or something like that.

To be clear, the agent was able to put the booking but they can't process my payment via the phone. I had to go online to process the payment, and that's where she suggested to use Chrome.

I wasn't able to book the ticket from scratch using Chrome IE or FF without calling. The website was only to process the payment.

I agree that all of these technical problems are a huge turnoff. Okay it's understandable if the problems happened say 2-3 days after launch. But this is almost a month. In any serious corporations, these type of problems should be dealt with and fixed almost immediately, or requiring top priority from their IT specialist. Or heck even worst case, roll back until you know what's going on and how to fix it.

Btw I also did initiate an online chat around 4-5 am EST and it got through after 30 mins of waiting. But by that time I'm already on the phone with the Malaysian center so I just closed the chat.
#shakesHead
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Old Oct 15, 14, 8:16 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Left Coast
Posts: 814
Regarding my experience, my wife actually booked the flight for me (Korean native speaker). We find that we usually get better results dealing with KE and OZ in Korean as opposed to English. However I was the one making the later calls to (800) 438-5000, in English.

Regarding their Web site problems, it seems that they are not expecting full functionality of the site for several months. As noted in the other thread, on their Web site they openly instruct customers that "Web Check-In service will be temporarily suspended for the period as follows due to passenger service system migration process (suspension period may differ by station) Domestic: For approximately 3 months starting on september 22, 2014..." As for the errors I experienced, after my reservation was booked, I was asked repeatedly to confirm the passengers on the res; then the credit card payment processing system wouldn't work-- I typed in my particulars, but clicking "continue" produced a repeatable error, and sent me back to my reservation-- and at first when I called, they said (in effect) "wait a few days and try again." After that, there was a schedule change I was repeatedly asked to confirm, and after a week of that I called them and the agent was able to fix that problem.

I found the online chatting was basically worthless. Emailing them, likewise.

Clearly, the difficulties they are experiencing seem to be worse than they anticipated. I was poking around in my profile to see if they would permit me to enter APIS data, and found that my mailing address had become totally mangled in this "upgrade." I've been in their database for more than 20 years, with the mailing address correct and unchanged for more than 15 years.
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Old Oct 17, 14, 12:23 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,480
So to summarize (cause I went through this yesterday):

as of now on their website you can search tickets but cannot book (though some other poster said you can do it in economy, just not premium classes). You call their number and wait on hold (at least 10 minutes) and the person will put in a reservation. They told me to fax in the award redemption form but I just went online and purchased it (ticketed).

Other caveat is that award availability is different online than per the call center (I showed 3 flights available in that one day, he said only one was available)
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Old Oct 22, 14, 9:13 pm
  #10  
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 44
Thanks zippy and nyold for your help. I got this done finally. Pain in the ... but getting a $1800 RT ticket for nearly free (still had to pay $380 in fees) was worth the hassle, I think.

After calling Korean Air in Korea in Korean and being told that they can't help with a reservation made by the LA office, I asked to just start over with the agent. This was the best idea ever. They reserved another ticket for me, then I had to go online and pay for it using my credit card. A huge part of the issue was that my mom's name got mangled up in their system but I thought that that was how their new system dealt with names. This lady was amazingly professional, courteous, and super efficient. I couldn't believe these same people could roll out such awful website. (also contrasts greatly with their ridiculously incompetent LA or Malaysia office)

It's also worth noting that the reservation I made through the LA office never actually showed up in their system. I don't think that guy did anything right.

In summary:
- Don't call their LA office. They are useless. Less than useless.
- Calling KAL through the English service might work but get ready to be on hold for 50 mins then get hung up right away.
- Your best bet is to call the Korean office in Korean. Unfortunately this is not the best option for most people.
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Old Nov 5, 14, 10:15 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 453
nope. did not work.
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Old Nov 8, 14, 3:57 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: AAdvantage, Skymiles, Priority Club, HHonors
Posts: 265
Big scare today. Went online to book a one way F award from JFK to BJS for March 2015. Saw the flights available under "Book a flight" for 80,000 miles. Actually, multiple days/flights that would work. So went to Chase Ultimate Rewards and transferred over 80,000 points. They appeared in my Skypass account immediately. Then I tried to book, and repeatedly got the "A System error has occurred while processing" response. Tried Firefox and Chrome as well. Same thing. Tried calling, but put on hold and had to leave for work. Fretted all day that the flights actually weren't available, and I'd transferred 80K UR points that could be reversed.

Got home from work, and played around online some more. Found a section under Skypass-->Redeem-->"View Bonus Award Seat Availability", and plugged in JFK-BJS and dates --- and EVERY day between now and 180 days (the max for the calendar) was showing as unavailable in Prestige and First (but wide open for most dates for economy.) I played with different origins and destinations, and same thing --- both premium classes showed unavailable for the whole 180 day calendar period. Clearly, something wasn't working. For other premium Asian carriers (Singapore, JAL, Cathay), you can always find something for premium class award availability for a single seat within the booking period.
I picked up the phone and called 800-438-5000. This time, got right through, no wait (4:30 PM Sat. Eastern US Time). The agent found the seat right away on the exact flights I wanted for the 80K redemption, booked it and gave me a reference number. Then she said I needed to complete the Family Plan Redemption Form and email it back before Dec. 8. (So a 30 day hold). That form is really tough to find on their website. It's under Skypass->Benefits->Redeem Awards with Family Members (Family Mileage Pooling Plan / Award Redemption Form Download) ... which doesn't make sense, because I'm not redeeming for a family member, but for myself from my account.
Supposedly once I email it back, they'll call me for my credit card info for the taxes/fees. Why not just have a credit card authorization section on the form?
The booking does show up in "My Trips", and other posters have said that they can go in and complete payment online. But I wasn't able to. I can go to the "Purchase" section, but none of the fields permit any input. So I'll just have to go with filling out the form and emailing it back.
I'm resting easier, because I do have a confirmed booking with a res number. But the process is ridiculously cumbersome. Why couldn't the KE rep just take my credit card over the phone? With every other award booking I've made over the phone with other airlines, the person can complete the reservation right then and there.
Also, I received an email confirmation from KE of the booking, but there's no link to this redemption form. If the form is so difficult to find, couldn't they just include a link to the pdf download?
The new site may be really pretty, but it just plain doesn't work. And the verification / ticketing process could be much smoother.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 2:17 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Gulf Islands/Goa
Programs: KE Morning Calm
Posts: 44
It has been a month since last post, has there been anything new regarding booking on line?

I am still missing a lot of functionality from the clunky old site and don't see any progress in addressing the shortcomings of the new one, let alone fixing the glitches in booking awards.

I've tried Chrome as well as Safari with same results. Has anyone heard of a timeline for having things fixed?
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Old Dec 17, 14, 12:36 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Programs: Skypass, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Asiana, Krisflyer, Etihad Guest, Velocity Rewards
Posts: 320
I had to call up to make a booking about 3 weeks ago now as the website was not progressing past the search page for me.

Got told I had to go to the Sydney Airport ticket office to pay, but managed to log back in and do it in the end.
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Old Dec 17, 14, 7:33 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Gulf Islands/Goa
Programs: KE Morning Calm
Posts: 44
I have written to KE about the problem of finding award availability for a through ticket (BOM-ICN-YVR in my case) and booking same. First reply suggested I check flights separately (which worked on Chrome) but could still not book the full ticket at the normal, through ticket price, as a pop-up on the next booking pane said something, to the effect of, the number of seats you require not available on this flight, try another date'. I was attempting to book 1 seat on a date both sectors were available.

A second email to KE outlining this situation brought the following reply:

"First of all, we sincerely regret to inform you that our website currently has a systematic error when booking Bonus Award flights from as two one-way flights (for example from Mumbai to Vancouver) through our website. Our relative departments are checking this problem and working to fix it with priority. We will reply you as soon as our system has been updated completely. We kindly seek your generous understanding of it.

Since our website have a systematic error, if you let us know your departure dates we will book your flights by email for this occasion. After we book your flights, you will be able to view your reservation and purchase your ticket with your miles through our website. ....."

As I am not certain of my plans, at present, and there is wide-open availability for March in F, I am OK to wait a few weeks to see if they can resolve the problem.
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