Solved: Problem booking Air France/KLM with Virgin points

74

Virgin points are often the cheapest option for booking Air France or KLM flights. For example, for a trip to Paris I’m planning, I found a great Air France business class award that was available. If I booked through Air France Flying Blue, I’d have to pay 303,000 miles plus $225 per passenger. No thanks! Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic showed the same flight for 48,500 points plus $281 per passenger. Much better! Exciting right?

The problem comes in after you click through to book the flight… after you enter each passenger’s information… after you enter your credit card details. When you click to actually finalize the booking, the system thinks for a little while then decides “no soup for you!” with a message that says “Sorry, there are no longer seats available on your chosen flight. Please try another search.” The same thing happens via a desktop browser, the cell phone app, and the mobile website. Believe me, I know. I learned this over and over and over.

I know from experience, that some call center reps can push through these bookings and some can’t. The conventional wisdom here is to keep calling until you get a rep that can do it. The problem with that approach is that phone waits can be very, very long. Ask me how I know. Fortunately, there’s an easy work around. Chat.

Problem: Air France & KLM awards can’t be successfully booked online through Virgin Atlantic’s website or app

Here’s a quick summary of the problem: Via Virgin Atlantic’s website or app, you find Air France or KLM awards available and you try to book them. After the final checkout screen, a message pops up saying that something went wrong. Then after a few seconds that’s replaced with “Sorry, there are no longer seats available on your chosen flight. Please try another search. #100503A”

That error message makes it sound like the award space had been gobbled up in the time it took you to book the flight, but if you search again you’ll see that the award space is still there.

Solution: “Need Help? Chat to us”

Virgin Atlantic offers an online chat function. You might not see it on their home page, but if you click through on a desktop browser from their home page to “My booking… Manage booking” (or browse directly to: virginatlantic.com/my-trips/search) you should see a red box in the bottom right corner that says “Need Help? Chat to us.” Click that. If you have any trouble with it not popping up after clicking, try another browser instance.

Now that the chat window is open, your next goal is to get past the automated system to a person who can help.

Here’s a quick path through the prompts to get to a real person:

  • Please select from the following options:
    Flying Club
  • What can I help with?
    Spending Points
  • How would you like to use your points? Please select a category below to begin.
    Our Partners
  • Fantastic! Were you looking for information on partner airlines or other partners?
    Partner airlines
  • Did that answer your question?
    No
  • I’m sorry I wasn’t able to resolve this for you at the moment. What would you like to do?
    Speak with an advisor

In my case I got a real person online pretty quickly and she was able to help me book the flight without any muss or fuss at all. The entire process from start to finish took about 30 minutes. After I told Nick about this (he was having the same issue with a different booking), he also got his done quickly.

I can’t promise that the first rep you get will be able to help you. But if they can’t, I recommend waiting a bit and trying again and again until you find someone who can.

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74 Comments
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John

AKFL will deny boarding if these are issued incorrectly by partner airlines

Jess

I was told that by a rep named John, I think. But no other agents have said that. Is that where you got the information?

John

Known problem on AFKL unfortunately both have confirmed

Bruce

AKFL?

John

Typo – AFKL, Air France KLM*

Bruce

Thanks for clarifying. Any idea what you mean by incorrectly booked? I was able to get a rep to book two economy seats on AF for 48k points + $780. I got booking numbers on both VS and AF, and it all seems normal. Is AF able to confirm the tickets are valid ahead of time?

Last edited 11 days ago by Bruce
Brittany C

I’ve tried the phone once and chat twice today for booking an East Coast to France itinerary on the date I need (unfortunately not flexible on the date) next summer, and haven’t had any luck. Two agents said they can’t see any AF/KLM flights on his end for that day (phantom space) and it’s an issue with KLM sending them over the inventory, and the other agent said to try again on or after 7/9 when a supposed system wide issue is resolved. Will try again a couple more times today, but really hoping the issue is fixed tomorrow!

Kristen

Hi! I got that same answer from the agents a number of times. I finally got the agent “Cameron” and he was the one who booked it for me. Keep trying the chat. I never called.

Brittany C

Thank you for the persistence push! We were able to get it booked and ticketed today through chat on my 5th attempt!

Kristen

Finally after 5 tries in 4 days it went through! Keep trying!

Ryan

That’s awesome. KLM or AF?

Kristen

AF!

Ryan

I’m trying for KLM, so I wonder if the KLM issues might be worse than AF. Fifth contact with an agent today, and still no go. It’s at least the third agent that’s told me it’s impossible to escalate it anywhere, despite others in this form indicating success with escalation. Will try again tomorrow! Might have given up at this point, but I’d already transferred points since I had zero issues booking through the website into AF metal last year.

Last edited 14 days ago by Ryan
Laura

I’ve tried booking online several times today and also called today (since it’s now the 9th) but it still hasn’t worked. Were you able to get help via chat or phone?

Kristen

Chat. Keep trying. It eventually worked. Some guy in this forum tried 11 times!

Laura

Wow! Ok. I just tried the Chat and they said it’s still not working for them and suggested I try again after 7pm today (UK time)

Laura Heilman

Updating to say the issue still persists and the new “fix date” is July 30th – I’ve tried chat several times (lost count at this point) and it’s still not working. I’m going to try asking for my Chase points back at this point.

Ryan

Tried today calling and with the chat, and no one was able to get it ticketed. Will try probably again on Monday when hopefully the most experienced representatives are working.

Kristen Flynn

The exact same thing has happened to me – I will try the chat!

Tina

Wanted so bad for it to go through without intervention. Ha! I was literally peeing in my pants while I was conducting my first big point redemption via chat. Thanks for posting! What nice VS reps I got as well. Made it a little less painful. LOL

Allison

Just called and was able to put a hold on the flights that I had been an error code on all week! Chat box didn’t work on Chrome or Microsoft Edge, but I downloaded Firefox and it worked there. Once I was connected to a human there was no issue and I now have 48 hours to call or chat to purchase the flights. Thanks so much, this was so frustrating!

Allison

Realized I wrote that I called, but I meant to say I just chatted and was able to get my hold with no issues. Got it on my first try!

Christi

DP for today (7/3). Am waiting for chat #3 to start. Chats 1&2 said nothing can be done should be fixed on 7/9. Agents on chats 1&2 wouldn’t even try looking the flights up to see if they could book

Kristen

Same I’m on chat #2 fingers crossed

Christi Camel

Update: Chat #3 worked after waiting 45 min to get a live person. I told them right away what I specifically wanted including the dates, flight times etc and they booked for me in a matter of minutes!!!!

Mkparrill

Followed everything to the detail and this saved me! Definitely open google chrome browser and the Chat will work. Also, if the chat says all advisors are busy, and says wait or call this number, that number gets you someone quick…. or at least in my experience in the US. Great article and thanks!!!

flyervick

is there a special trick or any tips on opening the chat feature that eventually worked for you? I tried several browsers (even in incognito mode) with no luck.

Philip

Issue im told is that Virgin have put a block in place on some and it has to be overridden. The rewards flights were being booked but AF/KLM where then charging Virgin for cash flights and so Virgin were losing £000s and so have put a stop to it. So i was told on the phone to them today.

Ebbo

Adding another data point. Tried calling in to book a couple CDG-BOS tickets in business. Rep was very apologetic but said she couldn’t get it to go through on her side and to wait until either Friday 7/5 or Sunday 7/7 when the issue should be resolved. I then went on live chat (after several attempts saying the queue was full) and although the agent couldn’t book the exact flight I wanted, was able to find availability the next day. They seemed genuinely happy and that I was the first person they were actually able to find availability for — they said they’d been fielding many requests related to AF/KLM all week

Germaine

I was able to book my KLM tickets KLM via chat this morning. The complete process may have taken 10 minutes. A little persistence pays off. A big thanks to everyone for encouraging us not to give up after a few tries!

Vikas

Greg, this was a lifesaver! Spent all day trying to book flights, each time ending with a 4067A error. Chanced upon your post and followed the instructions. First time lucky. The agent was extremely helpful and got the tickets done in minutes. Phew 🙂

Vikas

So, apparently a “Mr.” was missing, which was leading to these errors. Further on, the payment link for the tax wasn’t working, so the agent got on a call to take Amex details to complete the booking. This was a very nice experience.

[…] (the short story: use Virgin Atlantic’s “Chat to us” feature. More detail in his post: Solved: Problem booking Air France/KLM with Virgin points). I’ve now used his trick twice — once before he published the post and once since. The good […]

Nikola

Thank you guys! I was able to book with a chat agent, on a second try! Tried booking on a website and calling yesterday unsuccessfully, but persistence worked!