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Does SAA ever release more than 4 award seats?

Does SAA ever release more than 4 award seats?

Old May 8, 2014, 9:32 pm
  #1  
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Does SAA ever release more than 4 award seats?

Does SAA ever release more than four award seats in the same cabin on a given flight? In my searches across multiple airline sites, 4 seats at a time are all I have been able to find on a flight in either coach or business. I know some airlines release seats in batches, so that for example, they will only show up to four seats as being available at a time, but as soon as those four seats are taken, they will go and release up to another four award seats immediately. Does SAA operate in a manner anything like this? Or is it that once those four seats are taken, you're out of luck on getting any more (besides maybe waiting till more are released at the last minute)?

Interestingly, when I search for awards on SA via united.com, it often (on particular dates, but not all dates) shows 6+ seats in economy and 6+ seats in business, but when I go to book those 6 seats, united gives me an error. If I lower the number of passengers to 4 and select the same flights, the united booking engine goes through. So, this appears to be phantom inventory displaying on united.com. What I'm wondering is where united.com is getting information about those additional award seats. Do those phantom seats somehow correspond to additional award seats that could be booked once the first batch of 4 is taken?

(When I go to try to cross-check the info on united.com with other sites, I've found with Aeroplan searches that only four seats at a time ever seem to be displayed as available for a given flight--bumping the passenger count up to 5 shows no availability on the SA flights via aeroplan. Unfortunately, the ANA search engine doesn't help too much here, since it is limited to searching for four seats at a time. I don't have an SAA voyager account but perhaps searches there could also provide additional info).
redtop is offline  
Old May 9, 2014, 1:10 am
  #2  
 
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On domestic flights they do release up to 9.

Internationally they are pretty good in that they release seats full stop. Star partners like Singapore, Lufthansa, Swiss, airNZ never have any availability in the premium cabins on long hauls.

I have managed once on SAA to get 6 pax JNB-HKG on mileage return in J. But 3 seats were confirmed about 6months in advance and the other 3 were only confirmed on day of travel.

We took a chance because monitoring the flight levels we saw the flight was sitting at about 50% in J. Economy was also wide open which allowed for emergencies should we not have gotten all 6 in business.


#canbedone
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Old May 9, 2014, 9:41 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by SAWorldVoyager
On domestic flights they do release up to 9.

Internationally they are pretty good in that they release seats full stop. Star partners like Singapore, Lufthansa, Swiss, airNZ never have any availability in the premium cabins on long hauls.

I have managed once on SAA to get 6 pax JNB-HKG on mileage return in J. But 3 seats were confirmed about 6months in advance and the other 3 were only confirmed on day of travel.

We took a chance because monitoring the flight levels we saw the flight was sitting at about 50% in J. Economy was also wide open which allowed for emergencies should we not have gotten all 6 in business.


#canbedone
Thanks for the info. That's good data. So, are you saying that whatever seats are unsold at the last minute will be released as awards (perhaps with a cap of 4 per cabin)? On the other hand, before the last minute, they will only release up to 4 seats per cabin per flight (on international fights)?
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Old May 10, 2014, 3:31 pm
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I'm currently looking at award availability on the JNB-GRU route and on several flights there are 8 award seats available in J.
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Old May 10, 2014, 3:51 pm
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SAA has pretty decent award availability. Like other airlines, SAA's lucrative long-haul routes don't have great availability, but they have several long haul and regional routes that have been wide open in my experience. Domestically, their availability varies, but is generally quite good.
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Old May 12, 2014, 11:51 am
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Agreed.

I've seen some seats get released at the 330+ day mark,whereas others sometimes get released close to departure (around the 5 day mark). Unfortunately, I haven't seen consistency in this regard so it's hard to plan for this.
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Old May 19, 2014, 2:04 am
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I once booked 2 seats in J and 1 in Y about 4 months from travel date.A few weeks before travel, i checked again and saw 2 more seats in J.So was able to change my Y to J.
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Old Jan 1, 2018, 2:10 am
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Originally Posted by mrahul
I once booked 2 seats in J and 1 in Y about 4 months from travel date.A few weeks before travel, i checked again and saw 2 more seats in J.So was able to change my Y to J.
I'm looking at flights in May 2018 and I actually see availability in J and none in Y... Does it mean people already snatched up the economy seats or they just didn't released a lot more J seats?
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Old Jan 2, 2018, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by rpsandiego
I'm looking at flights in May 2018 and I actually see availability in J and none in Y... Does it mean people already snatched up the economy seats or they just didn't released a lot more J seats?
It is hard to guess if they did not release the Y seats or they got taken. Most times, it is easier to get Y seats than J.
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Old Apr 19, 2018, 2:22 pm
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Hi all -- I'm looking to book round trip awards in J for 2 people on the JFK-JNB route in spring 2019. I know this is an extremely popular route, but in my searches even with completely flexible dates I have only seen one date with two business awards available in one direction. Given the discussion above, I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and book one of us in J (there are many dates with 1 RT award in J available) and the other in Y, in the hopes of moving the second person to J if/when more award seats get released. Any thoughts or advice appreciated - thanks!
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Old Apr 21, 2018, 5:28 am
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Originally Posted by dalny
Hi all -- I'm looking to book round trip awards in J for 2 people on the JFK-JNB route in spring 2019. I know this is an extremely popular route, but in my searches even with completely flexible dates I have only seen one date with two business awards available in one direction. Given the discussion above, I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and book one of us in J (there are many dates with 1 RT award in J available) and the other in Y, in the hopes of moving the second person to J if/when more award seats get released. Any thoughts or advice appreciated - thanks!
This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't type of scenarios. A question, if you don't get the second J seat would you prefer both in Y rather than one in J and one in Y?
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Old Apr 24, 2018, 2:34 pm
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Has SA reduced award availability on JNB-CPT flights? Since there are many flights and competitors, I expected to see good availability on this route.
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Old Apr 25, 2018, 4:21 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Fan
Has SA reduced award availability on JNB-CPT flights? Since there are many flights and competitors, I expected to see good availability on this route.
They have massively reduced capacity on mainline domestic services, switching capacity to Mango. Mango is available on SAA as a codeshare, and reward capacity is available to SAA Voyager directly from Mango, but I don't think that reward capacity is available to SAA partners.
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Old May 5, 2018, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by dalny
Hi all -- I'm looking to book round trip awards in J for 2 people on the JFK-JNB route in spring 2019. I know this is an extremely popular route, but in my searches even with completely flexible dates I have only seen one date with two business awards available in one direction. Given the discussion above, I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and book one of us in J (there are many dates with 1 RT award in J available) and the other in Y, in the hopes of moving the second person to J if/when more award seats get released. Any thoughts or advice appreciated - thanks!

I'm in a situation looking for the reverse (JNB-JFK) in J for March 2019. Although there are several options, I'm much more interested in non-stop. Anyway, I've only seen the availability for January and February--not March or April. However, there are Y award seats available. I'm hoping it's just because they haven't been released yet.
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Old Jul 24, 2018, 3:12 pm
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I have been trying to find 2 J award seats from IAD to JNB (in the hope of trying their new J cabin on the 333), anytime in April or May 2019 but so far I haven't found a single date with 2 award seats. A very few dates with 1, though. I've tried via LHR too, and like IAD if there is availability it's only 1 seat. I'm using ExpertFlyer FYI.
I think I might book 1 J seat, and set an alert hoping that another one will come up at some point. I read on other threads that they tend to release awards closer to the date... not sure if my strategy is great though hah.
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