NW vs DL award availability

 
Old Dec 31, 08, 9:56 pm
  #1  
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Question NW vs DL award availability

OK, so I'm looking for some YYZ-HEL-YYZ award tickets for June/July. On nwa.com (and on KVS) the only thing that appears to be available is PerkPass in Y, and nothing at all in J. This is regardless of the carrier (AF, CO, KL, NW) and the constraint appears to be the TATL seat availability, as expected.

However, looking at the availability on delta.com, there are "low" seats available in Y almost every day, and in J in fairly many dates as well. These are on AF, connecting through CDG as expected. But those same flights show as being PerkPass only on nwa.com!

What does this mean? Which fare buckets does DL use? Or is their system independent of the buckets? And notably the really important question is whether we can also expect similar availability on AF(or, better yet, on KL) once we switch to the three-tier system?

At this point it does not look appealing to book on the current NW system. I'll end up with dates well off my preference, and certainly be sitting at the back of the bus. Or is there a way for us (Chisholm?) to get access to the seats that show up on delta.com?

P.S. Rational discussion please, no rants in this thread!
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Old Dec 31, 08, 10:09 pm
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i wouldn't necessarily trust the "low" indicator from the delta website....unless you actually click and see that it is indeed low. click here to see discussion.
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Old Dec 31, 08, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by aaron1262 View Post
i wouldn't necessarily trust the "low" indicator from the delta website....unless you actually click and see that it is indeed low. click here to see discussion.
There indeed were flights available at "low" prices (60K for R/T), on AF metal TATL and then on AY (!) metal within Europe. I had seen the discussion, too, so I did check ...
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Old Dec 31, 08, 11:33 pm
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Tom,

I've been doing a lot of award checking the last month. I've found that you often have to do a multicity award, and include CDG as your first EU port of entry. Try this a bit, and see what kind of awards you come up with. I've found lots of cheap Y and Biz tickets when I've gone this route.
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Old Jan 1, 09, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
Tom,

I've been doing a lot of award checking the last month. I've found that you often have to do a multicity award, and include CDG as your first EU port of entry. Try this a bit, and see what kind of awards you come up with. I've found lots of cheap Y and Biz tickets when I've gone this route.
Yes.

For SkyTeam award travel, multi-city search via CDG or (usually better) AMS is the thing to do on nwa.com, especially for US/Canada to Finland+Scandinavian cities, when it comes to standard ("low"/non-extortion mileage price) award travel.

Excluding considerations of status-related extra award inventory (i.e., not applicable to biz and not applicable in an apples to apples comparison in coach on partner airlines), the TATL availability using NW miles from US/Canada to Europe continues to map to whatever DL has available and then some more than can be booked online or offline with DL miles.

If anything, it is more often DL that seems to have somewhat reduced award inventory -- when checked online and offline -- in comparison to NW when it comes to actual attempt to book the award tickets regardless of online or offline.

If there is a discrepancy in award availability between NW and DL and we are not talking about DL-operated flights, then -- unlike with calls to DL -- a call to NW and handed over to NW web support will be able to do the booking and even waive the telephone booking fee for this NW and DL elite. [At DL it is still a different story than at NW in terms of approach to the customers, as evident when DL charges the telephone booking fee even to DL Platinums who have hit online award booking tool problems or when DL reps hit a wall in terms of search and pricing and cannot even see what AF/KL, CO, NW and even KE reps can find in terms of basic award inventory when doing a manual search and booking.] This fee waiver may change at NW -- and become the same as at DL -- as DL management implements more of DL's famous "no waivers and favors" mentality.

Multi-city search is the way to go about it. If at early glance there is an apparent discrepancy in award availability between DL and NW, then a call to NW -- if using NW miles -- should be able to generally resolve that; however, if attempting to use DL miles and there is at early glance an apparent discrepancy in award availability, don't expect as easy of a time when dealing with the DL facilities to try to make an award booking to try to make up for that discrepancy.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 1, 09 at 1:35 am
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Old Jan 1, 09, 12:59 pm
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The multicity does work a little bit better -- it now finds PerkSaver on the YYZ-CDG segment (nothing YYZ-AMS), though then it can't find a direct connection between CDG and YYZ, making it a two-stopper. For the return, though, it finds nothing at PerkSaver level with any of HEL-YYZ, HEL-AMS-YYZ or HEL-CDG-YYZ. And no Perkpass J availability on any of the dates.

It may be time to call the elite line to see if they can sort this out. (Not attempting to us DL miles as I don't have any, I was just using their booking system to review what their view of the ST award availability was.)
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Old Jan 1, 09, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by tomh009 View Post
(Not attempting to us DL miles as I don't have any, I was just using their booking system to review what their view of the ST award availability was.)
Basing a comparison upon information from delta.com award booking system searches? That is the mistake -- it is not something to be relied upon if accuracy matters.

The delta.com online award booking system functionality is so messed up as to be often unreliable if looking for standard ("low") mileage pricing award inventory and actually attempting to book it with DL miles at the same price as displayed at the earlier stages of using the delta.com booking system for award tickets.
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