One of the improvements to the KrisFlyer program announced earlier this month, at the same time as a devaluation of the scheme which came into effect last week, was the ability from today to make searching for award flights easier by adding the function to search +/- 3 days of your selected date, in other words across a 7-day window at a time.
Previously, and rather frustratingly, the only available method was to click the ‘Next day’ or ‘Previous day’ links once the search results had been generated for the date you searched, so this enhancement was welcome news.
The function has now gone live, so let’s see how it looks.
Even if you make a regular search without checking the ‘Flexible travel dates’ option, you can switch into this mode from the normal search results, provided at least one flight is displayed for your chosen date.
The flexible dates view will then be displayed, with the following example showing a First Class award from Singapore to Auckland.
Remember the date you search is the mid point of the range, so if you want to see availability for the 1st to the 7th of a particular month, make your search for the 4th with the ‘Flexible travel dates’ option checked. For a Monday to Sunday view, search for the Thursday, etc.
This will then show the desired range (+/- 3 days).
The big problem
If, like us, you thought the flexible dates method would allow you to skip quickly through entire weeks on a route in order to find the availability you need, there’s a problem.
If there aren’t any immediately confirmable Saver or Advantage awards on a route in a 7-day block, it won’t show you that block at all. It simply refuses to move on.
That sounds a bit confusing, but it means even if there are Waitlist options on those next 7 days, you’ll just be stuck with the error message. This is inconvenient as you then can’t continue to use the ‘Next 7 days’ / ‘Prev 7 days’ links to skip through to the adjoining week, you’ll have to make search again from scratch.
Why from scratch? Because even if you select a specific day with flight availability and then use the ‘Edit search’ link, the ‘Flexible travel dates’ button is missing!
That means you have to go right back to the main KrisFlyer search page to see the option again. That’s really silly and, we hope, easily fixed.
If you use the Singapore Airlines mobile app to search KrisFlyer award availability, which many people do as it tends to be a bit faster than the website, the 7-day search window is unfortunately not available.
Here you’ll only be able to see a 3-day availability window (i.e. +/- 1 day from your original search date).
We can see why they have done this, due to screen size constraints on mobile devices, however that does make it much more limited. You’ll need to click 10 times to scan availability for a whole month, rather than four times using the desktop site.
There are a few other quirks on the mobile app, the ‘Flexible dates’ option doesn’t (yet?) exist, so once you see the search results for the initial search date you will have to click on the ‘View 3-days calendar’ link in order to quickly see the availability on the day before and the day after your selected date.
Unfortunately the mobile app has the same limitation as the desktop site, which means if there is no immediately confirmable availability in the next 3-day block, clicking the ‘Next 3 days’ link in the 3-day calendar window will generate an error. You can’t click through until you find a 3-day block with availability in it, you must start your search again.
Even a waitlist won’t show, one of the three days must have at least an immediately confirmable Saver or Advantage award for the number of passengers you selected.
We did note that the Singapore Airlines app for tablets (in my case on the iPad) allows for a +/- 2 days search window, in other words a 5-day calendar view, which is a bit better than the mobile app.
Of course the same search limitations apply.
Strangely when the 7-day (or 5-day, or 3-day) view appears, it sometimes shows ‘Check availability’ on certain dates, or simply ‘Check’ on the mobile versions.
For each of those days you need to click on the date itself, which will result in the spinning wheel for a while as it thinks about it, and then a result will appear. Don’t get your hopes up, so far all we’ve ever seen it change to is either ‘Waitlist’ or ‘Not available’, suggesting it will not hide immediately available Saver or Advantage seats and these will be shown by default, as in the above example.
Most of the time the flexible dates calendar view seems to be providing accurate information, however when we tested more complex routes like Sydney to Bangkok in Business Class it suggested there was Saver award availability every day.
This was not the case, with only Advantage awards actually available on some of the days, once the individual date was selected and we went through to book.
Whether that’s an issue with indirect routings or suggests the calendar results aren’t always accurate, we’re not sure at this stage.
It’s only for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
It was probably too much to ask at this stage for Singapore Airlines to provide a 7-day award availability function including Star Alliance and partner airline seats, so it’s currently just for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights.
We had hoped for British Airways
Possibly the only time you’ll hear us say “we hope SIA follows British Airways”, but like us you may have been hoping for search functionality along the lines of the one it provides its frequent flyers
There you can skip across the dates at the top and the specific availability is then displayed directly below. You can also quickly move back and forth by 7-day periods regardless of whether there is any availability in that ‘block’ or not.
When you consider that the BA system also displays oneworld and partner availability, this Singapore Airlines version still lags behind. For BA-only flights, a full month view is also available, and even United offers Star Alliance and partner award flights view for a whole month through their MileagePlus portal.
It does what they say, more or less, but we don’t think it’s been tested by someone wanting to do what most of us want to do with the function, and that’s locate those rare awards on popular routes by skipping week by week until they appear.
Ultimately we wanted the function to view award availability for a whole week, and happily click away at the ‘Next 7 days’ button to scan easily and quickly through a wide date range on a specific route. For example, to find a pair of Suites saver redemptions to Auckland in April or May.
This is a much more fiddly system requiring you to go back and reinsert dates regularly in many cases.
They haven’t actually made it that easy, because it depends on there being at least the number of awards you require in either the Saver or Advantage category on at least one of the seven days in your search window, otherwise it won’t display it at all.
For the mobile app it’s even more complicated, with availability only displaying +/- 1 day, and no function to edit your search to add the ‘Flexible travel dates’ option, meaning you have to go through day by day until you find at least one date with at least a waitlist option before you can trigger the flexible dates view. Phew!
There are also some concerns over accuracy with the system showing ‘phantom’ availability when we searched some indirect routings.
Overall we applaud Singapore Airlines for making this improvement, anything is better than nothing, we just hope some of the limitations can be ironed out to make it work even better in future.
Do try out the new function at singaporeair.com or through the mobile app. Let us know your experience in the comments section below, including if you notice any other quirks or ways to make searching easier.