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While I was writing a post about why you should use ANA’s website to search for the availability of Star Alliance flights, I came across a separate trick that I thought would be useful for those of us who often have flexibility in award searching.
As you likely already know, because ANA is in the Star Alliance, it shows availability for (most of) its other Star Alliance partners’ flights.
(SEE ALSO: Introduction to Air alliances)
The Traveler’s Triangle
Awhile ago I posted about the Traveler’s Triangle, which talks about the correlation between your flexibility on time, location and price
This trick helps when you’re flexible on time and fixed on price (wanting to redeem your miles for the lowest category)
Searching Star Alliance flights 7 days at a time
Once you’ve used the trick to show all Star Alliance flights on ANA’s website, you’ll be taken to a screen like this:
Instead of clicking the “Next” button, which will take you to the main search screen, choose the bottom button (shown with the tasteful green arrow) which says “7-Day Availability (direct flights only)”. That brings you to the next screen where you can choose to search Star Alliance flights, 7 days at a time
You can see by the parts that I have outlined in green 2 indicators that indicate that you’re in the right place. Enter any 2 airports served by Star Alliance flights, and pick your dates. You can see that I’ve picked Zurich (ZRH) and Newark (EWR). Once you’re ready, just choose Next, and you will be taken to the results screen
There are 4 flights per day in both directions: 2 from JFK and 2 from EWR. 3 of those are operated by Swiss Airlines (LX) and one by United (UA). You can use the Previous and Next buttons on either direction to go 7 days in that direction, or the Change Class button to (wait for it… wait for it…) change into another class of service (Business, First, etc.)
As the instructions say, this is only for direct flights, so this is most useful when you are trying to book something like a transatlantic award, where you are flexible on location and time, and you need to make sure to get the over-water segment nailed down first before making other plans.
For someone like me, who does not live in a Star Alliance hub (but has easy access to several of them), this is perfect. I am planning a trip to Europe for the fall and there are 10 flights from places I can get to easily even to just Frankfurt (IAD, JFK, BOS, ORD, YYZ, DTW, CLT, ATL, PHL, EWR). This can help figure out availability, when you’re flexible on time and location.
Did you know about this trick? Hope it can help someone!