I stumbled across something interesting while trying to help my parents find award flights on United.com – not sure if it’s a bug in United’s system or just a fluke.
My parents are looking for two business class award tickets from Rome, Italy back to Washington, DC this summer. They are flying out of Dulles (IAD) so it would obviously be easiest to return to Dulles instead one of the other DC area airports since they will have a car parked near Dulles.
But award availability on United is not great with only one ‘Business Saver’ option available that includes an overnight connection in Dublin for a 25 total hour duration.
Notice how the search was to ‘WAS’ which is supposed to include all Washington DC airports – Dulles (IAD), Baltimore-Washington (BWI), and Reagan National (DCA). I also had made sure that under the Advanced search tab – all three boxes were checked so the results should show nonstop, 1 stop, and 2+ connections.
I next changed the search to IAD instead of WAS, and I got the same result – only the one Aer Lingus Business Saver result. I next changed the search to BWI instead of WAS and did not get any Business Saver results.
Finally, I changed the search to DCA and look what comes up? 5 different Business Saver Award options!
Now granted these are all 2 stop flights, but 4 of the 5 are have a much shorter overall duration and with no overnight connections than the original search of all Washington airports (WAS).
So if you are traveling to New York City or Washington – double check each of the individual airports in the region and not solely rely on NYC or WAS – you might be surprised to find a few more options.