For quite a while now US Airways has been engaging in the practice of Starnet blocking, whereby they block partner award space as a revenue protection measure. It was worst with Lufthansa transatlantic flights, where they blocked virtually every first class award seat.
US Airways claimed it was a problem with their systems for a long time as opposed to intentional blocking. I suppose that’s a possibility, though it’s certainly a convenient problem to have, if you ask me.
Well, a few weeks ago US Airways updated their systems (as evidenced by their less-than-stellar agents taking even longer than usual to book awards), and I had no issue getting Lufthansa first class seats. In the past it wasn’t too tough to get an agent to “manually sell” space, though that’s not needed anymore as far as I can tell.
So has anyone else noticed that Lufthansa first class award space isn’t blocked at all anymore through US Airways?
Now, US Airways is still doing some blocking. I’m still having trouble with award space on ANA, though that’s about the extent of it.
With all that good news out of the way, I think I’ve figured out US Airways’ new convenient “system error.” When you call US Airways’ reservations phone number the voice prompt asks whether you’ll be redeeming Dividend Miles for a reservation. Whenever I say “yes” I get a recording saying “due to extreme weather at many of our airports we can’t take your call right now.” Whenever I say “no” I get connected to an agent right away. Brilliant.