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Philippines in Northern Asia, and Central Asia scattered all over the place.
Award booker Chris from Juicy Miles and I were recently talking shop about China and he pointed me to oddities of Delta’s Asia regions. We thought some of these may be recent changes, however as far as I can tell from cached sources like Internet Archive, these have been in place for a while and I never noticed. Northwest did not do it this way: I remember Beijing-Ashgabat pricing at 20,000, and bookable online.
Some of these can be really useful, some in converse can sting you when just trying to go to a neighbor country.
Here’s Delta with the oddballs bolded:
Northern Asia: China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Korea (Republic of), Micronesia, Philippines and Taiwan (Province of), Russia (East of the Ural Mountains), Guam and Saipan.
Southeast Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos (People’s Democratic Republic of), Macau SAR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan and Vietnam
South Asian Subcontinent: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory; India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Middle East: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates (composed of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras El Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Qaiwain), Uzbekistan, Yemen (Republic of)
How do Mongolia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan end up in Southeast Asia? And the other 3 ex-Soviet ‘stans neighboring them in Middle East? And why are none of the ex-Soviet ‘stans in South Asian Subcontinent where most airlines stuff them? For Philippines I realize they are positioned fairly north, but they are as Southeast Asia as a country can be.
In contrast United has a very orderly North Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Japan and Middle East progression, where most countries make sense once you realize ‘South Asia’ is Southeast Asia, and that Hong Kong and Macau make little sense in that region. And I suppose Bangladesh more properly fits with the countries in Central Asia. AA has a tiny Asia 1, and huge Asia 2 and Indian Sub-Continent / Middle East regions.
What does this mean for travelers?
A simple example, starting the US, consider starting a Southeast Asia trip in Philippines to pay the lower Northern Asia mileage.
I am most interested in Central Asia where SkyTeam has some of most options with Aeroflot, China Southern and Korean Air. Aeroflot and China Southern add massive fuel surcharges to awards, unfortunately. The ex-Soviet ‘stans are great travel destinations, safe and fascinating. Using these wacky zones you can do well or poorly.
Flying from China Southern’s Central Asia hub in China’s Ürümqi, you are going to pay 45,000 roundtrip in economy to get to Southeast Asia and a whopping 80,000 to Middle East. Maybe start the ‘stans tour in Ashgabat rather than Almaty to save 35,000. You may think you can do even better to pick up China Southern in Singapore and connect through Urumqi, but actually intra-region travel in Northern Asia and Southeast Asia prices the same as travel between the two regions, 45,000 roundtrip in economy.
Also the same for either to Middle East.
But not necessarily for regions farther away.
That is confusion worthy of Delta!
Hopefully you’ll find something that works to your advantage.