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I may get yelled at for posting this one but I am pressing ahead anyway (I tend to save tips like this for events like the Chicago Seminars).
Delta has very specific rules about schedule change (as we all should know by now) as well as what is a legal connection. International connection times, on this side, are hard to work around, but still not impossible to tweak. Having said that, we also know Skyteam members are not getting along all that well plus the fact that the EU rules for say a delayed flight are much different than over here in “the colonies”.
So here is my tip. Delta cannot FORCE their partners to give up space on a later flight if it does not show low level award space. That is if say business class is open on a noon flight, but not on a 4pm flight then there is NOTHING Delta can say or do to force this to happen. Or is there?
If you can get Delta to book (or rebook) an arrival “over there” with say only a 45 min or even better 35 min connection, a legal connection many times in Delta computers, then what will often happen after the ticket is reissued is that the Skyteam partner will see this change and their computers will say…
YIKES – we don’t want to pay a voucher for a miss connection or worse and you will be automatically rebooked to the later flight.
Here is where it gets really fun. Delta says, per the schedule change rule, if you have a more than 1 hour change in your departure or arrival you can change to just about anything you want, but only on the Delta metal side of the trip. But, the partner change lets you then change the Delta side all you want to the perfect flights. So this can be a way to “game” the Skyteam side to help you on the Delta side too.
Now I know all of you are saying none of this would be necessary if the Delta award booking calendar were not so hopelessly broken and Skyteam was not acting like a dysfunctional step family and I agree with you. But until that day arrives this is one more possible way to get the perfect flights all at low level award availability albeit in a convoluted kind of way!- René
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