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Flying Blue Removes Domestic Delta Flights From Desktop Online Booking, Adds Fuel Surcharges

Nov. 27, 2018
4 min read
Flying Blue Removes Domestic Delta Flights From Desktop Online Booking, Adds Fuel Surcharges
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UPDATE: Delta domestic flights do appear on the KLM and Air France apps, but there's also an additional surprise: domestic Delta-operated flights now carry what appear to be fuel surcharges. The longer the flight, the higher the surcharge:

$15.76 in "other taxes" are added for an Atlanta (ATL) to Seattle (SEA) flight:

For a short hop from Atlanta to Charleston (CHS), only $10.15 is added:

With flights showing on the app but not the desktop site, it's likely this is some sort of website glitch for the time being.

Original Post:

Over the last few weeks I've been doing considerable research on booking domestic award tickets for a variety of articles. Flying Blue, the loyalty program of SkyTeam members Air France and KLM (among other carriers), has been a routine source of domestic award tickets operated by fellow alliance member Delta. However, it now appears that the Flying Blue online search engine is no longer displaying wholly domestic award flights on Delta metal.

In the last month, I haven't been able to find a single domestic Delta flight on the Flying Blue award search engine. Regardless of the route or date, this is the error message I receive:

Even when using the award calendar option, which initially disappeared with June's program changes but then reappeared the following month, no Delta flights will display.

It's worth noting that this is a relatively recent development; even after all the changes were completed this summer, you could still find and book domestic tickets online. We weren't sure how these tickets were going to price, but they did show up as options:

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What's even more interesting is that Delta-operated flights do still appear for international flights, including any connecting domestic segments to reach the international gateway. For example, here's an itinerary from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Amsterdam (AMS) via Minneapolis-St Paul (MSP), and the initial flight from SLC to MSP appears:

However, if I search for just the domestic leg (on September 4, 2019), the Flying Blue site displays no results:

I called Flying Blue to ask if they could see availability and book domestic Delta tickets over the phone. For the above Sep. 4 flight from SLC to MSP, the phone agent returned four different Delta nonstop flights, each requiring 13,500 miles. I asked him if there had been a change to the program where domestic Delta tickets were no longer going to be displayed online. He didn't know of any changes and tried to replicate the lack of results on his own browser. He saw the same thing I did: no domestic segments (after checking both Chrome and Internet Explorer). He was confident at first that I was doing it wrong, but by the end of the call appeared to be just as surprised as me that nothing would show. He promised to forward this situation to his supervisor to try and get feedback.

Bottom Line

I truly hope this is some kind of glitch, but it has been at least three weeks now with no domestic Delta award flights showing online through Flying Blue. In addition, because domestic Delta flights are appearing on international itineraries, this leads me to believe this is not a system problem. If it is (in fact) a purposeful move, this is simply another data point revealing Flying Blue's new program is almost completely illogical and now even more user unfriendly. While you can still book these flights over the phone, that's an unnecessary step for what should be a simple task.

I'm not sure what the new Flying Blue is trying to accomplish with dynamic pricing, opaque booking and shortcuts to elite status with a few short international hops, but one thing's for sure: I don't see anything in the new program that should attract regular flyers to be loyal.

Featured image by Just another busy day at ATL's B Concourse, full of Delta jets ready to depart (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

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