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Delta award space (LHR-MSP) - likelihood of reappearance??

Delta award space (LHR-MSP) - likelihood of reappearance??

Old Nov 25, 2023, 11:19 pm
  #1  
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Delta award space (LHR-MSP) - likelihood of reappearance??

A couple of weeks ago, I missed out on a great redemption and wanted to ask VS veterans whether or not it's likely I'll see it come back again.

I was looking for award space on the LHR-MSP (direct) route and the entire last 10 days of May looked to have decent award space for 17.5K points and around 150 GBP on DL11. Unfortunately, I didn't have sufficient miles at the time. I had two options - to transfer from Chase with a 30% bonus or Amex 1:1. Chase's partner travel site wasn't working, so I went to bed thinking I'd try it in the morning. When that issue failed to resolve itself, I gave up, transferred from Amex and discovered that the only availability for that week anymore was on May 23 and before (confirmed by the Reward Seat Availability checker). I needed May 26th or 27th and even though Expertflyer shows plenty of coach availability (74 seats, at last count; indeed, booking it for a whopping 126K Delta miles and $190 in taxes is still an option, though not one I can afford), none of that availability has made it Virgin's way.

Strangely, even though there seem to be 9+ award seats available to VS left on the 23rd, per the same Expertflyer it's not like total award space on that day is THAT much different from the 26th (77 seats left). Given there's still six months left, is it still possible the space will reappear or am I SOL and should look for alternatives?
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:48 am
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It is completely an issue as to whether Delta make them available for partners, rather than anything Virgin has any control over. From what I've seen in the past, Delta don't make a lot of TATL capacity available for partners, but where they do, economy is the most likely cabin for it to come up.

You can certainly play the waiting game, as there is sometimes a flurry of availability opened up in the days before a flight, but you would be taking a large risk. The dates you are after is also a busier travel weekend, as it is the UK Bank Holiday on the 27th.

Maybe keep an eye on a variety of dates to get a sense of whether Delta are making any additions to availability in the coming weeks. If they are not, then you have a call to make as to whether you risk late availability or want to get a flight locked in.
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 2:33 am
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DL unicorns are rare and fleeting. But since you are looking at Y, there is a chance of the space returning at some point.

FWIW, Expertflyer seat maps are a very poor guide to bookable inventory. Many people don't pre-book seats.
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 5:34 am
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Originally Posted by craigthemif
DL unicorns are rare and fleeting.
Indeed. I had found a criminally cheap LHR/AMS RT from MSP for Thanksgiving - and then got Covid and had to cancel those plans.
But since you are looking at Y, there is a chance of the space returning at some point.
That's good to know, I guess. Will keep checking since I've got a fair bit of time left.
FWIW, Expertflyer seat maps are a very poor guide to bookable inventory. Many people don't pre-book seats.
Is there a better option?
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil
Is there a better option?
No. Airlines only publish F2 J9 Y9 B6 etc. (with a maximum of 9) because that is very commercially sensitive information.

Of course, if all the cheapest Economy fares are mostly zeroed out, then you know for sure that award space won't be made available and you can simply start looking at alternatives now...
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by craigthemif
Of course, if all the cheapest Economy fares are mostly zeroed out, then you know for sure that award space won't be made available and you can simply start looking at alternatives now...
Not sure I follow. Zeroed out how/where?
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil
Not sure I follow. Zeroed out how/where?
Didn't you say you had Expertflyer? I don't, but you could find something like this for your desired flight.

F6 A6 J9 C9 D9 I0 B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V9 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0

If the S, N, Q, O, etc. fare classes - cheap Economy - are showing 0 availability, then the cheapest seats have been sold and are unlikely to come back as award seats. But if you see O5, then the chances of an award seat being made available at some point is much better.

It's not fail safe by any means, but if DL thinks it can sell (or just wants to sell) the remaining seats at a higher fare, VS isn't going to get award inventory...
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Old Nov 28, 2023, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by craigthemif
Didn't you say you had Expertflyer? I don't, but you could find something like this for your desired flight.
I don't "have" Expertflyer. I created an alert through them that showed seat availability as per the pic below. But if the Pro version shows the following:
F6 A6 J9 C9 D9 I0 B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V9 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0
it might be worth trying them out.

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Old Nov 28, 2023, 1:15 pm
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OK, so I signed up for the Pro version. This is what I got:

J9 C9 D9 I5 Z1 P9 A2 G0 W9 S9 Y9 B9 M9 H9 Q9 K9 L9 U9 T9 X9 V9 E9
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Old Nov 29, 2023, 11:15 am
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Change vs. yesterday - award space opened up on the 28th. The day doesn't work for us, plus it isn't a direct flight, but at least it's award space that hadn't been there before. There's hope yet, I guess...
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Old Nov 29, 2023, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil
OK, so I signed up for the Pro version. This is what I got:

J9 C9 D9 I5 Z1 P9 A2 G0 W9 S9 Y9 B9 M9 H9 Q9 K9 L9 U9 T9 X9 V9 E9
That's a lot of seats for sale in even the cheapest fare buckets. You certainly don't have to worry right now about DL thinking it will sell all of its seats. (so keep checking back for award seats)
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Old Nov 29, 2023, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by craigthemif
That's a lot of seats for sale in even the cheapest fare buckets. You certainly don't have to worry right now about DL thinking it will sell all of its seats. (so keep checking back for award seats)
Yeah, I've got Virgin's website with the route query bookmarked and am checking every day.

Our overall itinerary is OPO-LON-MSP. The only other viable alternative is transferring a bunch of points to Avios to book OPO-LGW/LHR-BOS and then BOS-MSP on JetBlue points. I was going back and forth on the two alternatives because there had originally been a 5K Avios/person discount for booking OPO-BOS with a stopover in London (the last leg on an A380 which I still haven't flown on), but that seems to have gone. Booking OPO-LGW and ensuring we have that leg covered only risks $1/person in taxes if the discount returns and I have to re-book with BA. So if VS never get theirs back in, as long as LHR-BOS is available, that will remain a backup option.

Last edited by highlanderfil; Nov 29, 2023 at 3:46 pm
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Old Dec 4, 2023, 9:51 am
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May 23 has disappeared. Not loving this dynamic, to be honest.
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Old Dec 5, 2023, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil
May 23 has disappeared. Not loving this dynamic, to be honest.
And now it's back. 28th gone now.
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Old Dec 5, 2023, 11:31 am
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The best advice I can give somebody fed up with DL is to move away from Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit or Salt Lake City...
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