From time to time, award space will appear available, but when I attempt to book it I receive an error message or am told that seats are no longer available. But then when I search again, the space still remains. Is it possible to book this “phantom” space? The answer is yes.
Earlier this week LAN Business Class space was showing as available from Miami to Santiago and I attempted to book it through my British Airways Executive Club account. The space showed up, but I kept getting an error message saying the space was no longer available.
Yet when I went back a few minutes later, the space still showed as available. I called up the Executive Club and the agent saw the space, but got a similar error message when trying to book it. The agent told me, “Well, that space just is not there. Sorry we can’t help you.”
I never take no for an answer, so I kept trying, and trying. The error message persisted for the next couple hours and finally I set it aside and moved on to something else. A couple hours later, though, I tried it again and voila, the booking went through and the tickets were issued.
I have no idea whether British Airways or LAN Chile was behind the glitch (I should have called AA to see if they could have booked the itinerary), but through persistence I was able to get what I wanted. The lesson to take away is that if award space appears, do not give up if you have trouble booking it.
Earlier this year, I ran into a similar issue booking Lufthansa space on continental.com. Continental continued to show the space, but every time I clicked through I received an error message. I solved the problem by calling Continental web support and they were able to book the reservation over the phone.
Technology is not perfect, but if the space shows as available, there is a good chance it is available, even if you have trouble booking it. If you run into a similar issue the best advice I can give you is to keep trying. Eventually you might find success.