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Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Naperville, Illinois
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Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

In 2012 we were looking for award seats to Italy early in the year for September and there was nothing to be found. Then in late April, a few seats were available. Does anyone know if this a usual practice? I'm thinking that if a flight is not totally full, they will open seats to at least fill them and get the frequent flyer miles off the books. Do any of you frequent flyers out there know if this is usual or was it a one time fluke?

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Airlines use very sophisticated and opaque yield management computer programs to set fares and to decide when to release seats into award inventory. Yes, it's customary for airlines to add seats into award inventory right up to the day of the flight, depending on how the flight is doing in terms of seat sales, historic demand, competition, and numerous other factors.

Unfortunately it's usually very difficult to do vacation planning when you can't pin down airline availability until late in the game, so you need to monitor FF seat availability frequently. Also it's very worth the effort needed to learn about availability on your airline's partners, and to learn about routing options - you might think it's strange to fly to, say, Finland to get to Rome, but if it works, it's all good.

Depending on your airline, there are a few websites and paid subscription services where you can see award availability that might not be viewable on the airline's own website. What airline mileage program are you using, where do you want to go and where from, and when?

Naperville, Illinois
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2. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

We are using United miles from Chicago. We would like to go to Naples or Florence and return from Rome. We could also just do RT to Rome. There are other possibilities but we want to be in Rome around the second week of October for a few days to visit our granddaughter who will be studying there in the fall. We are thinking of leaving toward the middle to the end of September and spending about three weeks in Italy.

I've never heard of a website or subscription service to watch award availability. That would certainly make my life easier. Depending on cost, it would be worth it. Prices seem to be through the roof this year.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

>> We could also just do RT to Rome. There are other possibilities but we want to be in Rome around the second week of October for a few days to visit our granddaughter who will be studying there in the fall. We are thinking of leaving toward the middle to the end of September and spending about three weeks in Italy. <<

Well, I just went on United.com and found 2 seats to/from Rome on most days in late September, returning on most days before the middle of October. None of the flights were nonstops; the majority required a change of planes, usually in Germany, but there were many "saver" seats available for most days (30,000 miles per person each way, so 120K miles for two round trip.)

I didn't check Naples or Florence; you're usually better off using major airports such as Rome or Milan, although Pisa is an excellent stand-in for Florence (bigger airport, more flights, easy bus access to Florence itself.)

The reason I asked which airline is that some airlines have blocked the subscription sites from "seeing" their award inventory. Guess which airline is the biggest culprit? Yep, United.

Edited: 07 April 2014, 04:15
Garden Bay, Canada
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4. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Award seats usually open up in the final two weeks before departure when the paid load is fair well determined.

Naperville, Illinois
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5. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

I'm probably hoping for something that's not going to happen. I've seen the saver seats in economy class but I was really hoping to find saver awards in business class. As we've gotten older, it's really hard for us to travel that distance in a tight coach seat. I'd even be happy to buy an economy ticket in one of the more expensive classes such aa M, Y, or B and then use our miles for an upgrade. I'm just not finding any right now. I'll keep looking, maybe we'll get lucky.

I can't believe how much the price of tickets has gone up. A business class seat right now is double what it was last year when I was looking for flights.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Business class tends to open up closer to flight dates, once the computers have decided there aren't any high rollers likely to show up at the last minute. If you wanted to travel to Rome next weekend in either business or first class, no problem.

Madrid
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7. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

You can always book Y seats and upgrade them later.That way you can lock in your travel dates whilst you wait for better seats to become available.

Naperville, Illinois
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8. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Are you always able to upgrade Y class seats? I would hate to pay for a Y class and then not get an upgrade.

UK
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9. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

Are you always able to upgrade Y class seats?

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Of course you aren't. It depends if there is availability which is a function of numerous unknowable factors.

10. Re: Any idea when airlines open up more award seats for travel ?

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