Oh what are you going on about today, Rene? Just this: in addition to the most basic of all rules when it comes to Delta reps, i.e. hang up and call back, is this second rule:
Delta reps will not think “outside the box” for you.
What do I mean by this? If you read all the E7 posts in the Essentials tab about booking low level seats on Delta you will see again and again I ask you to search for seats leg by leg. I want to look at all the flights for that day that are showing space at low level. Why is this?
There are times when you are working with a Delta rep and they may suddenly say with glee, “I have found you low level seats, but one of the legs is in coach.” and then they may ask, “is that OK?” At this point, if you have been looking for a long time, you may think “oh sure, it is just a 2 hr flight” as long as say the leg over to Europe or Asia is in business class then one leg in coach is fine for the same amount of points. But is this smart?
The rep will be spitting out connections to you that work from their computer. Rarely will they be looking for your leg all day for a specific route. There can be times that a later flight, maybe with a long layover along the way, could have low level business space open, but the early flight will have low level space in coach. The rep will offer you the coach seat because that is the way the computer has found space from A-B-C (keep in mind you can mix and match, all should price out low level business total). Another thing to consider is how long the layover is. More than 4 hrs domestic and it is a stopover and can cause issues. But, for me, I would rather spend say 2 hours in Atlanta and fly all business class than spend only 1 hour and fly some in coach!
Here is where the work on your part comes in. If you have done your homework and/or are at the same time searching live online for seats you may see another flight that works just as well. It could mean a very short but legal layover that could work well for you as a schedule change could give you even more power to pick just the flights you want.
Now let’s look at partner flights. Just like the above, there are times when the rep will say I have found coach on KLM or AF etc. With partners, only low level seats show up in the searches, but there are also times that the results on Delta.com are wrong. So, you cannot ask them to force or oversell that space for you even if there is a schedule change. But, you can ask them to grab the coach seats and then request if space is in fact open in business from the partner right away. Many times they will get an answer back that space is in fact open and it is so much simpler to lock in at booking than to keep looking later on and can save you change fees as well.
Let’s wrap all this up then. If you are a PM or DM you can always keep looking on any legs you booked if space has opened up and change for free or even change to another set of flights. But, if you are not at that level you would have to pay a change fee (unless there is a schedule change). This is where you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. If it is a short flight, I would not do it. If it is a longish flight, say 3 to 5 hours transcon linking up to say a flight on to Asia then maybe yes it is worth plunking down $150 to switch when a better option opens up low level. – René
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