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Delta FF tickets - getting the dates you want

Delta FF tickets - getting the dates you want

May 3rd, 2006, 08:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 66
Delta FF tickets - getting the dates you want

Re: the 331 day rule: Did those of you who have tried to reserved FF seats on the 331st day prior to travel have success? Any "tricks" you'd be willing to share? I'm aware to start calling at 12:01 am, I'm assuming that's EST?
RSSmith is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,007
Delta is in Atlanta, which is on Central time, I believe. Anyway, I called at 10:05 PST for a SFO to Rome flight in June. The reservationist said that the flights were displayed, but no FF seats were available. I called twice a day for about 2 weeks & still nothing. I asked if I could be wait-listed, and the reservationists said "yes - but only in a blue moon does something open up". I finally bought regular tickets. Two weeks ago, Delta called me & asked if I would like to change my flights to a much earlier time (longer layover), since the flight I was booked on was oversold. I said "no". Delta has more demand for many Europoean flights than it has seats - don't expect to find anything for summer travel.

I've tried 3 times over the last 2 years to book Delta FF tickets for summer travel - no luck so far.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,147
We got what we wanted last summer - flew into Amsterdam and out of Paris. Departed US in late August. We did book our flights on the first day that we could (331? days out)And I forget how we booked our return since of couse the return flight was more than 331 days away but the agent was very helpful and it all worked out. I think I called around 7am the day the flight opened up.
suec1 is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I tested the 331 day rule yesterday (5/2/06) for a trip to Paris from Portland, OR. This was a just test to see if it would work and it did. Not only were there seats available, but 4 of them were SkySaver. Of course this was for the low season and that probably makes a difference in availability.
nwtraveler is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,463
we did it 331 days in advance for FFs to Florida during Christmas week (which is a toughy, only select days are not blackout dates). My husband is an early riser so he called in the early morning but not 12:01 early. We got the tickets.

I haven't done FFs for Europe.
MFNYC is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:07 AM
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One correction to above. Atlanta is on Eastern time, not Central.
May 3rd, 2006, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,987
Keep in mind that 331 days is just the first day that you can start checking for award seats. That doesn't mean that award seats will be available at that time on every Delta flight and not all partner airlines release award seats at the 331 day mark. Award inventory changes up until the day of departure so if at first you don't succeed, keep trying. I've never tried booking 331 days in advance as I can't plan ahead that far. I generally book my award reservations between 3-6 months prior to travel and don't have a problem finding the flights I need, but I also tend to travel in low season.
Patty is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
I've booked FF flights in a 3 month time frame , but my dates have always been flexible and seats open up in the ensuing days after the 331 start date.
jody is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If this is for Europe, speak with an agent at the partner award desk. These agents are usually very knowledgeable (though I did encounter my first ever clueless one 2 weeks ago) and can check transatlantic award inventory on Delta, Continental, Northwest, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and Czech Air. In addition you can also use Alaska Air for your domestic connection to your transaltantic gateway. IIRC Partner awards is available from 6:00am to 11:00pm Mountain time.

If you're flexible as far as flights and routing (i.e. making multiple connections, flying at a less convenient time of day), there should be something available on a combination of the above carriers.
As an example, I'm flying from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to LAX on Dec 17 using awards for two passengers in business class and had to route Dar-Amsterdam-Vancouver-LAX on KLM and Alaska Air. Think creatively. Economy class awards seats are generally easier to find than business class.

Also keep in mind that award reservation holds have been reduced to 2 days (formerly 14 days). I believe the current procedure for those needing to book at 331 days is to ticket your outbound immediately and call back to add your return. The $50 reissue fee should be waived if you're just adding a return. Double check this information with partner awards.
Patty is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 150
I know someone that previously worked at Delta reservations and she said the sooner you try to use your FF miles, the better. They normally hold only a couple seats per "premium" flights, ie, direct or prime flight time, and the sooner you call, the better the odds.

As others have stated, if you're flexible in your arrangements you can wait longer before making the reservation.

I know 2 years ago I waited on using FF miles to go to Provence and ended up going around Robin Hood's barn to get there. This trip to Switzerland coming up on the 15th I used FF miles and got the direct flight from here in Atlanta to Zurich but I got the ticket in August of last year.

csroe is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 47
Our family of four got first class tickets from Boston to Hawaii on Delta two years ago using points. We waited up until 12:01 am to call, and we able to get them. For the return flight which was 12 days later, we had to wait another 12 days to call as those flights weren't available until 331 days out. It was REALLY helpful to have researched and printed out all the different itineraries, so we would be aware of different connection possiblities (ie. stay away from NY airports!). I found that not every leg was available for first class, but they did allow us to waitlist for what we didn't get. Also, we were switching some miles from AmX and they will hold the reservation for two weeks for the points to clear. In the end, the only leg we were not guaranteed of 1st class was the longest-Honolulu to Boston, but we were second to check in at the gate and I told the attendant we'd been waitlisted and we ended up getting the first class!! It was wonderful. I found Delta to be very helpful in every aspect, from booking to the actual flights. Every flight was on time. BTW, we got skysaver seats which were only 60,000 points each for 1st cl. I know it has gone up since then. We got about $10K worth of tickets free!! I hope Delta manages to keep their airline together, and will keep using them just because I was so impressed with how everything was handled. Good luck with your planning!
pks2000 is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the generally optimistic (?) replies. I have actually gotten FF seats to Europe twice before (only about 4-5 months before flight dates) but have never tried during "peak" summer season. It seems the best advice is to call early & often and be prepared for something other than your 1st choice.

Stu, did you try alternative routes/dates or were you set on a direct flight to Rome on one particular date only? I have limited ability to be "flexible" with multiple connections, etc since I'll be traveling with 2 young children, but I can be somewhat flexible with dates.

Patty, I'm not familiar with IIRC Partner Awards. Who is that and how do I contact them?
RSSmith is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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<< IIRC Partner awards is available from 6:00am to 11:00pm Mountain time. >>

"IIRC" - - is internet speak for "If I recall correctly"...

Not a reference to "IIRC Partner awards"!


aka (also known as)... LOL! (Laughing Out Loud)

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Sometimes dumb luck is better than wisdom? We got first class FF tickets for our trip last September from Knoxville to Rome and back by calling about 8 months in advance - we weren't aware of the 331 day rule. We made the reservations through Delta (our FF program), although Delta put us on Air France.

For our cruise from Venice to Barcelona in June this year, we got 3 business class FF tickets for Knoxville to Venice and Barcelona to Knoxville from Delta (on Delta this time) by calling about 9 months out.

One of these days I'll actually call Delta 331 days out at 12:01 a.m. I guess, but haven't had to so far.

knoxvillecouple is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 122
We had a little bit of luck on our side getting two coach tickets from LAX to Nairobi! We were very flexible with our dates and spent many hours on the phone with agents trying to get seats. We got the dates we wanted and are leaving at the end of September. We booked the tickets about 3 weeks ago. Most of the agents were very helpful.
producerkoof is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 192
Tuesday, May 2, was 331 days from the day I need two tickets from Salt Lake City to Paris using FF miles. I called at 12:01, told to call back at 3:00, told to call back in a week. However, I have been checking online and calling back each day. The people I've spoken to (all very nice) said they just don't know when "they" will make Skysaver seats available. Any suggestions other than the great ones already posted? (very informative) We are flying to London on March 29 and home from Paris on April 13.
Brockbank is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes, IIRC stands for "if I recall correctly". Sorry about the confusion. Just call the Skymiles number and follow the voice prompts. There are 6 steps to get to partner awards and it goes something like -

- say "Reservations" or press 2
- say or enter your Skymiles number
- say "International" or press 2
- say "Yes" to Skymiles redemption or press 1
- say "Partner Airlines" or press 2
- say or enter your pin number

I don't like Delta's voice (un)recognition system so I always key my entries in.

Did you speak with an agent at partner awards? Did they check all partner airlines or just Delta? Checking online only produces results for Delta operated flights. Are you looking for 2 seats in economy or business? Do you care what airline you fly and are you willing to make multiple connections? For example, you could route SLC-LAX-CDG-LHR. Would that be acceptable?
Patty is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 192
Delta checked partners for me on Tuesday, but they didn't have any ff seats either. There are two of us, and we are flying economy; I guess multiple stops would be okay, but I was hoping for one of the Delta slc-atl-lgw or slc-cvg-lgw flights. I'll check the partner's line again. Thanks
Brockbank is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Posts: 66
Brockbank, are they saying the FF seats haven't been released yet to reserve or are they saying all FF seats are ALREADY taken (this far in advance!!)?? This is stressing me out just thinking about it.
RSSmith is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,987
There's no guarantee that award seats will be released on any given flight 331 days prior or ever, which is why it's necessary to have some flexibility.

The routing I listed has availability for 2 passengers in economy. Partner awards should be able to come up additional alternatives for you (that just happened to be the first routing I checked). You could ticket whatever is available now and waitlist the Delta operated flights. Good luck!
Patty is offline  

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