Last month I received several questions from readers about why United wasn’t showing award space on Air Canada that appeared to be available to every other Star Alliance partner?
If you called United and spoke to an agent they’d generally be able to ‘see’ the inventory (in other words, X and I buckets for economy and business appeared to have space) but they couldn’t book it.
What’s more that’s at a time when Air Canada availability looked excellent when searching on other partner websites, like Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, even for tough-to-get flights like Vancouver – Sydney.
Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo
I’ve been trying to chase down what was going on here for a couple of weeks. Finally I learned from United that this was an Air Canada issue and so I checked with them.
- That surprised me, of course, since the issue seemed to be United not showing space that was available.
- And United has had issues booking awards on partners, such as Thai, Singapore and TAP Air Portugal.
Though it took awhile and confusion sorting through things on the United end, Air Canada got back to me in hours explaining that the issue was on their end and that it’s been fixed.
We recently made a series of technical changes to how we send award inventory data to our partners. Specifically, we made a change that enabled us to communicate directly with Star Alliance’s award availability system (instead of via our soon-to-be-sunset ResIII system). This was in preparation for our upcoming PSS migration to Amadeus.
In doing so, there was an issue that caused our partners to misinterpret our award availability – all except for United (because they use ITA as their backend engine). This caused our partners to incorrectly erroneously show flights as available when they weren’t, and when booking was attempted, it would ultimately reject – noting there were relatively few rejections since United is our biggest partner.
Credit goes to our colleagues at United for reaching out to us and helping identify the problem, which is now corrected.
I had assumed that it was United’s IT at fault, unable to book award space that other airlines had access to, when in reality United was correctly showing (lack of) Air Canada award space and other airlines were the ones showing phantom availability.