Why US Airways Doesn’t Have Access To Lufthansa Award Space

US Airways has long engaged in the practice of blocking Lufthansa award space.

It started off with them blocking Lufthansa transatlantic first class award space, then them blocking Lufthansa first class award space worldwide, and finally with them now blocking Lufthansa business class award space most days as well.

Now, most agents don’t know that it’s US Airways doing the blocking, but rather they’re told that airlines allocate different award inventory to different airlines, it’s the other airline blocking the space, etc.

But I had a real gem of an agent that had quite possibly the best explanation of all:

Me: “I had some specific Lufthansa flights I was looking at, could I maybe give you the flight numbers and route?”
Agent: “Let me see what I can do, Looftanza isn’t playing nice with us lately.”
Me: “Oh, what’s wrong?”
Agent: “Well since we are such a valuable airline partner they are disappointed we are leaving the Star Alliance and are trying to change our minds. This is their form of retribution.”

Now, admittedly over the years US Airways probably was Lufthansa’s most valuable airline partner…. for booking first and business class award seats. But given how low the reimbursement rates between airlines are, something tells me that’s revenue they can live without. šŸ˜‰

Once the reservation was on hold I wanted to go ahead and issue the ticket, though the agent said “what I will do is place this on a courtesy hold, and then you need to call back in two days. Given howĀ Looftanza has been acting so crazy, we don’t want them coming back to cancel the ticket in couple of days after you issued it.”

šŸ˜‰

Comments

  1. I’ve had agents tell me numerous times the reason they can’t see Lufthansa space is because they’re “leaving the Star Alliance.” I quickly point out that they haven’t left yet, but they seem to think that leaving is a gradual process that slowly reduces their access to alliance partner inventory.

  2. Haha – I don’t think that’s unique to that agent, I think that’s the coolaid they’re being forced to drink! Yesterday I had a very similar experience, laying the blame on LH, trying to say it was because US was leaving. I just nodded and smiled.

    Keep in mind, that same agent asked me if BIO (Bilbao, Spain) was in Europe šŸ™‚

  3. Keep in mind I was trying to get ZRH to MIA on Wednesday and both business and coach were blocked.

  4. @ jo — The space was actually there when she went to look, I guess she was just trying to “prepare” me for the worst.

  5. @ Stvr — On what carrier? Swiss? They do seem to block most Swiss space, and it has nothing to do with days of the week unfortunately.

  6. I can’t wait until Lucky posts his experience booking some crazy OW awards once UA agents can book those! šŸ˜‰

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