No, Qantas A380 First Class Awards Aren’t Available Every Day Through End of Schedule. Why Do You Ask?

For the past week or so American’s website has had intermittent issues when searching for and booking award travel. The site has frequently errored out, necessitating a call. Fortunately American no longer charges a telephone booking fee for awards that cannot be booked online (which unfortunately remains the majority of partner airline awards).

For the past few days there have been several reports of American’s phone agents unable to see Etihad first class award space that can easily be found on the Etihad site. As a general matter American has access to the same O inventory (“Guest First”) awards offered to Etihad Guest members, but there have also been occasional technology glitches that prevent agents from see either all Etihad awards or just Etihad first class awards.

I put a call into American yesterday on this issue, got a voicemail back when I was in a meeting, and am still looking to connect again today.

However Terry R. points out to me that is also showing an inordinate amount of Qantas first class award space. This doesn’t seem to be the case on all routes, for instance I don’t see much space for Los Angeles – Sydney. But first class awards for 2 passengers London – Sydney show as wide open on American’s website:

Clicking through, specific flights are shown as options.

Exciting! Qantas has an excellent first class product on their Airbus A380.

However they cannot actually be selected. Once you choose a flight and continue, you’re back to the same screen with an error message.

It’s phantom space. This makes the American award calendar, at least for certain Qantas routes, unreliable at the moment.

According to the Qantas Frequent Flyer site Qantas flight 2 on April 18 has only economy available. That’s confirmed by the British Airways site. So the issue is limited to the American side of the house.

For now I find that the British Airways website remains the most useful place to search for award travel on oneworld partners. And when I want to power search, I use either the KVS Tool or Award Nexus (both of which are paid).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. American has been having problems with their site since last week regarding any award flight searches. Hard to believe the issue wasn’t corrected in short order. It doesn’t take days to fix something like this unless they’re making changes….

  2. Thanks for posting this! I was about to transfer a bunch of SPG points to AA based on the availability on QF out of LHR! Saved me from this big mistake!

  3. @ Daniel

    In my experience, the QF website is reliable for its own flights. However, I have come across problems when searching for Emirates award space on the QF website to use QF points on EK – reward flights show on the calendar, but “disappear” once you click through to the specific date.

    Also, the CX website can show availability which doesn’t appear on the QF website – I am unclear whether those flights haven’t simply been loaded yet onto the QF site or Asia Miles is favouring its own members.

    It’s worth remembering with the QF website (like the Alaskan) that it will show premium availability in the instance that just one sector of a booking has (say) first availability – thus it looks like a DFW-SYD is available in first on the calendar, but clicking through to that day shows that only the DFW-LAX is good for first and the LAX-SYD will be in economy – a mixed class booking for the FULL points for first! This is extremely annoying…

  4. Have also noticed that on EY’s website that GuestFirst and GuestBusiness availability from JFK & IAD has dried up. I was seeing availability even a week ago (IAD-AUH in F&J/JFK-AUH in J only) at least several days each week. As of this weekend, nothing available for months at a stretch. I don’t know if this is related to AA’s sudden inability to see the space on their end for other origins but it seems to have begun at the same time.

  5. Anyone get back to you on this Gary? With the new award chart announced, I’m anxious to get these booked as I’m sure people will be sucking up awards before the change

  6. @Westin the AAdvantage team wasn’t aware of this issue when I spoke to them at ~ 11am Eastern. So they had to go look at it. I do not know what they found during the day. But it’s definitely phantom space with Qantas.

  7. I can confirm AA is not able to see EY premium cabin award seats at this moment.
    I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m a bit anxious.
    Gary, do you mind following up with AA on this issue too?

  8. AA confessed on twitter to me. “It’s a known issue and it’s being worked on. Please call our Web Technical Support at 800-222-2377 for assistance.”

    I called tech, they supposedly saw the space but aren’t allowed to book. Called reservations thinking it was fixed… nope. Cant see the space.

  9. Latest DM from AA to me, is making it seem more likely that this is indeed a blocking of premium space done on purpose.

    “We reached out to our liaisons, and we’ve been advised the award space has yet to be released by EY. There is a known issue with booking all award space if you are not signed into your account when searching. Our apologies for any confusion.”

  10. @Westin – that’s nonsense since Etihad doesn’t show up on the website? And liasons are just saying they don’t see the space, which begs he question rather than answering it. But I am overreading the answer, still getting a different meaning from it 😉

  11. Hi Gary do you have updates from AA? It seems like they haven’t recognised the problem or not making the priority. I am talking about ey awards where ey website shows guest availability but aa agents see nothing. But there are some reports on ft that some managed to book with a different agent…so confusing now and aa agents are not helpful either

  12. While a slightly different EY issue there is still zero GuestFirst or GuestBusiness availability showing from IAD or JFK to AUH for all of 2016 (other than 9W). Seriously. Zilch. Checked pretty much every single day from Jan-October because, you know, hope springs eternal. This is despite the fact that approx. 2 weeks ago, you could at least find 1-2 seats in each cabin at least a few times a week. Could that really be a coincidence given the other EY award problems people are having?

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