Booking Korean Air awards on delta.com is the best Delta news since rollover MQMs – taking it for a test fly

Delta is not an airline to show customers much love. In NWA days I received frequent updates on the airline and the occasional personal touch. Delta sends this Diamond Medallion a generic e-card at Christmas. The year the merger was implemented the team, presumably ex-NWA, was excellent at providing status updates. After the year closed, things went dark. The prevailing attitude seems to be one of ‘take it or leave it.’ They increase award prices with no notice and now a good thing, add partner online booking with no notice, so the policy is consistent in not reporting anything relevant.

Since the merger there have been changes, both pro and con, rollover MQMs I consider the best.

The worst for every ex-NWA flyer is the ongoing debacle with delta.com. The best airline website in the world was scrapped for a broken site that in several years has only managed to have new images on the homepage. Some of my last awards booked on nwa.com included China Southern to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (ASB) and Korean Air to Vladivostok, Russia (VVO). Nearly anything thrown at nwa.com could be booked. A thing of beauty. Transparent, easy, and no need to spend my time and Delta’s battling on the phone.

There have been occasional claims from Delta that they are working on the website but every purported example of progress has proved empty or exception-riddled. Itineraries often don’t even show the terminal at multi-terminal airports, a simple touch from nwa.com, etc, etc, etc.

The appearance of Korean Air awards on delta.com this week is the first tangible sign of progress, the first sign that they are actually working on online partner booking. United and American have bounded far ahead after the NWA lead was ceded. If we get one partner added ever 2-3 years we might be back to nwa.com by 2030, let’s keep up the momentum, Delta!

So, let’s give it a spin.

Korean Air flights do indeed appear on many routes, such as Seoul-Taipei:

DLcom KE 001

But it fails the Vladivostok test (and Irkutsk and Ulan Bator):

DLcom KE 002

And the really attractive routes, like Los Angeles-Sao Paulo, which will be upgraded to 777-30ER starting October 30, seem to be “not available” in perpetuity (update, see comments, reader DTO reports success on some dates by searching for price if search by schedule shows the flights as ‘Not Available,’ I re-ran some of my test searches and it is hit or miss but better than getting nothing.)

DLcom KE 003

So, we’ve added a partner, but not for all markets, and still run into general Delta partner issues of time periods and routes that appear to be blacked out. For Delta, even that is progress, so I will champion it like I trumpet TSA PreCheck, lipstick on a pig it may but since I am kissing anyway, let’s slather it on.

 

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  • Ted F

    Ah yes, I know you did that sample route for me too! But I’ve been having semi-hard time finding availability on JFK-ICN!

  • DTO

    If “search by schedule” shows a KE flight but neither Y or J is available, it usually means Y is available, and is bookable if you search by PRICE.

  • @DTO – thanks for the tip, on the searches I tried for a number of dates I could not get the flight to show at all by price which is why I switched over to schedule to see if the system even had it. I will keep that in mind and see if it works for other flights.

  • DTO

    I should have said “it usually means either Y or J, or both, is available”.

    If indeed neither Y nor J is available, the flight won’t show up using “search by schedule”.

  • DTO

    @Rapid Travel Chai: An example is Oct 31 LAX-GRU: both Y and J are available using “search by price”, but neither is available using “search by schedule”.

  • Michael

    Beware of blackout period of December 7 – December 31, 2012 for Delta-KE award redemption. I’m also having trouble finding JFK-ICN (direct, non-stop), biz class, flights on KE through delta.com

  • @DTO – I see that one, now, thanks and am updating the post. I re-ran some of the searches I did earlier and still can’t get those to show in Price, most were in Nov and next Mar, so like so many things Delta it seems nothing is universal but you have found a way to get some results.

  • mspswede

    And one of favorites about Delta.com: Not being able to book F (dom) or C (intl) one-way and Y the other way. It’s still a round-trip, but of course they don’t allow one-way awards.

  • pablo

    How about domestic korean air award? And what’s the rule for domestic korean travel? Do we enjoy a two stop-overs as the normal Delta award rule? Thanks so much!

  • @pablo – the stopover rules should in theory be the same across Delta awards, getting them to price correctly is another matter. I am testing some Korea domestic flights and getting errors like I got for Vladivostok that the market cannot sell or showing no availability, so best to call.

  • When delta decides to keep delta.com instead of moving over to newer an better nwa.com it was a sad day for now fliers. From years I’ve been awaiting a delta.com upgrade and of course nothing has come. Delta makes announcements about “improvements” but really we are still way behind what they had premerger. I lived in Beijing for over a year and booked intranet Asia flights on China southern and Korean and booked to markets not served by most skyteam partners I.e. kashgar and Urumqi. Delta.com can’t find either!! #overIt when will delta IT get their shit together?!

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