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. 😉
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 how 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.”