US Airways apparently did not appreciate my story on how to book blocked Lufthansa award space, because a new memo has been issued that explicitly instructs Dividend Miles agents not to manually request award space on any flight.
It was only in late September when US Airways told me “If a customer should request a long sell (which we don’t think happens that often), and the agent actually knows how to do this function we will try to accommodate the request as best as we can.”
The “try to” and “as best we can” equivocations should have been a warning sign–US Airways has now moved swiftly to block customers from being able to get around its broken system! This pernicious policy choice exhibits fundamental dishonesty and undermines the assurances from US Airways that the blocking is unintended and technical in nature rather than a deliberate means to cut redemption expenses after selling billions of miles at a steep discount.
Interestingly, the memo–which another award booking service alerted me to and I then confirmed myself–explicitly mentions my name and article, then explains that US Airways agents are not permitted to use the long-sell process I outline in my story.
I asked John McDonald, US Airways’ Vice President of Corporate Communications, what was going on and he sent me a one-line response, “Nope, no further comment, Matt but thanks for asking.”
So now the one avenue for getting around the severe blocking on Lufthansa (and ANA) has been curtailed. With US Airways and American Airlines settling its DOJ lawsuit and US CEO Doug Parker likely to take the realms of the merged airline, look for similar tricks to continue–this fundamental dishonesty, a bait and switch, is reason enough that the DOJ should have extracted more concessions out of US and AA before dropping its lawsuit. With such poor showmanship on the frequent flyer front, it is not unreasonable to surmise that the cancer of avarice and deceit has spread to other areas of the airline as well and will spread to AA too.
Regarding Lufthansa award space: keep in mind that the blocking does not seem to affect flights departing on Wednesday or Saturday. At least on those two days you should not have a problem securing Lufthansa award space made available to Star Alliance partners.
There is one upside–the same US Airways agents who think that Australia is in North Asia or that Tokyo is part of “the China” have not read this memo. I make it a point to ask every agent I reach if they have read any memos recently about long selling award seats. Some claim not to even know what long selling is, while most say they have not read the memo.
But the memo was issued and US Airways misled me and misled you. Shame on them.