Delta Term to Book Phantom Partner Awards

“There are no awards on Korean Air on any flights that day.”

I have been putting together what with other airlines would be a seemingly simple multi-partner award to Asia using Delta SkyMiles. Business for wife, economy for me. It took many calls to the Diamond line, transfers to the best and brightest of their agents to get the China Airlines, China Eastern and Delta segments in place. Surprisingly, the most difficult turned out to be Korean Air.

Korean Air’s flights were showing perfectly on but no matter who I talked to they could not see the availability or sell the seats. Across the board showed nothing. It was maddening to see them online yet not be able to get them into the trip.

Delta Phantom Awards Korean

Finally I reached a supervisor in Salt Lake City who has been with Delta 20 years. She verified the availability on the website and then set to work to find a solution. She tried system after system. First was Delta Access which she said is the current system and which most agents use. Nothing.

Then she went old school, “The system before the system before the current system,” Delta Term.

Aha! There were the seats. She grabbed then, moments later Korean Air confirmed and we were finally set.

I don’t know how prevalent this is with other partners, or if this is a temporary issues with Korean Air, though it has gone on at least for several weeks.

When desperate, ask for Delta Term.

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  • JohnnieD

    Ah, the wonders of skypesos……

  • I was having the same issues trying to book Korean Air seats using Skymiles. I found that almost all agents could not see any availability despite them being open online. Finally got a good agent who tried something else and then suddenly, she was able to see all the seats. I asked her what she did, and she told me she needed to use the “shopping tab” while doing the search on their system, instead of the regular search. From then on, every agent I talked to, I just told them to use the “shopping tab”, and voila, they could immediately see all Korean Air availability!

  • JB

    I have been booking and rebooking a trip to Vietnam in December (yes, ridiculously high season. I started out with some BS on China Eastern biz and lucked into a bid delta release of NYC to Narita. I have been trying to get a return on Korean In early/mid January but nothing shows up for biz avail. Is this just Korean not sharing? Will there be a last second release? Can I just use this last bit of Skypesos and get away from this airline?

  • @JB – you may be falling into Delta blackout dates for Korean, but even when not blacked out the JFK-ICN often has no award seats available, I have been trying that for my trip as well as never found anything. Fortunately I too saw that JFK-NRT availability on Delta and have those. My last problem is HKG-NRT which prompted the hunt for Korean space because of the high Delta price for the nonstop.

  • @milesglu – fascinating, so now we have “Shopping Tab” and worst-case get them to dust off Delta Term. I hope others are spared the many hours it took me to get this booked. I would love to see their systems in action.

  • CTravlr

    Same thing happened to me, and I wasn’t lucky enough to find an agent who knew what they were doing. I’ve given up on DL and will use the miles for domestic travel instead

  • JB

    Hmm… ever heard of last minute ICN to JFK releases?

    I am hoping to reroute my NRT-SGN-HAN leg to NRT-HAN as we get closer to the date so I would love to switch them both at the same time!

  • @JB – I don’t think so, you might have more luck with Korean Air’s other flights to the US, like ORD or SEA, from SEA you might be able to get Alaska Airlines’ flight to EWR.

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