It should not be hard to buy a ticket on!

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A reader sent me a “fun” e-mail the other day and it sent me down this path today. I talked about the change to Delta’s search page in this post. But right now the technology is still being tweaked. Take a look at this. My reader wants to fly from Salt Lake (SLC) to Peking China (PEK) sounds simple right. If you pick the best economy seat here is the best search can find:

Now if I use the simple ITAsoftware or even Kayak here is what I find:

Why can Delta not find this? It can but you have to switch your search from best to T class or higher and then the seats and routes do pop up right:

I know Delta is really big. We all long for the broken Skymiles search engine to be fixed. But for me booking a ticket should be easy and how many people just going to buy a ticket are going to try this? I hope this bug is squished fast! – René


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  1. And what is the incentive for the airline to fix that? Only if you savvy enough to know there is a better price you’ll go and look for it. If someone is coming only to (as opposed to any other internet consolidator which presumably will find the better price) then the airline will be happy to sell the ticket at double the costs.

    It is not a secret that for many airline search engines one really needs to know the answer before they start to “help” the engine find the best solution. As those who are savvy, will get there, and those who are not will pay the extra price – there is little incentive for the airline to fix it.

  2. Is that a bug or a feature? If you’re Delta, sounds like a nice money-in-your-pocket feature to me.

  3. I’m trying to construct TPA-HKG itinerary for June with maximum MQM. Delta’s search gives only TPA-DTW-HKG-DTW-TPA route. ITA matrix give a lot other options, however when searching those routes on, the search gives ‘the fare is sold out’. Kayak shows such routes, but when going from Kayak to Delta, the same itinerary costs $400 more (on ITA software I see mixing T/U fares, delta gives Q and T). Is there other way to overcome this problem?

  4. Touche.

    Saw similar glitch the other day. This was when I also randomly discovered the new site layout (before you blogged about it). Thought I had missed something since I haven’t been on the Dl in weeks.

  5. I also found this glitch yesterday searching for OW fares (ATL-LAX-NRT-MNL ) for a friend. K-fare was spit out at a ridiculous $3000 price, but creative searching shows same K fare for all segments (exactly the same flights ) but higher Q fare for ATL-LAX leg pricing at only $1300. Go figure that out. LOL. Quickly advised friend to book it with guaranteed Z upgrade on a repositioning 777 to LAX. Eitherway i am glad my home airport is TPA as starting from ATL on our beloved airline almost always guarantees a more expensive fare.

  6. Had the exact same issue last year this time when purchasing PHX-DTW-AMS-JNB-ATL-PHX. Available on kayak but not on Delta and was $400 higher, however had no issues purchasing the itinerary at the same price as kayak from Orbtiz. Called Delta as I was Medallion member but they could not help!

  7. You should pass this on to Delta, might help if they see bugs as they are discovered.

  8. I ran into a similar issue. I booked a ticket for 2 and on the final page, it showed as refundable. When I called to cancel I was told that it was not refundable. There is an issue with their search that it does not show refundable tickets even when you check refundable. Who should I contact for such a thing? It has been a terrible experience and I have decided to stay away from delta.

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