Excellent Business-Class Award Availability on Joon With Delta SkyMiles
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Last year Air France launched a mysterious sub-brand, Joon, purportedly designed to appeal to younger travelers. Joon airplanes started appearing last year on many intra-European routes and, this year, on long-haul flights to destinations including Cape Town, South Africa, Fortaleza, Brazil and Cairo, using refurbished Airbus A340 wide-body jets configured with three cabins: business, premium economy and economy. The airline has also ordered A350s, but hasn’t provided firm service dates for that airplane.
Joon is wholly owned by Air France and doesn’t even have its own website (rather, the Joon homepage is a subfolder on the Air France site). This means that you can book saver award seats on Joon through SkyTeam partners including Delta and Korean Air, and there is plenty of room.
The airline’s business-class cabin isn’t the best; it features angle-flat seats (though you do get a virtual reality headset). Still, the airline promises award flyers great relief on routes to destinations like Cape Town, where business-class award options are nil.
Finding Joon Award Availability
Search for Joon availability on Delta.com or Air France. Availability appears almost universal in business class across routes, at least for now. Awards on the twice-weekly Cape Town to Paris Charles De Gaulle are fully open throughout the peak travel months of August and September.
I had some success finding connections on Joon, like this CPT-CDG-DTW-LGA connection, but sometimes obvious connections don’t appear.
Tip: Some Partner Connections Are Blocked
To find availability on Joon, your best bet is to search on a segment-by-segment basis (for now), just as you do with Delta partners like Air Europa, Jet Airways and China Airlines. Some SkyMiles and SkyTeam connections don’t appear in online searches, but are bookable over the phone.
It appears that delta.com treats Joon as a third carrier when performing award searches, even though Joon is wholly owned by Air France and all Joon flights operate under Air France flight numbers. This means that delta.com won’t show this Cape Town to New York (JFK) routing, involving two Air France legs (one on a Joon plane) and a Virgin Atlantic leg.
You’ll have to call Delta SkyMiles to book this sort of award, but this booking is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to encounter some confusion and consternation, as the Delta reservation system automatically wants to separate these two connections into a new record. You’ll need to get a supervisor to manually put the reservation together, and many agents are reluctant to engage in such a process. When in doubt, try, try again.
This appears to be a problem specifically caused by the introduction of the Joon brand, as Virgin Atlantic flights can be combined with normal Air France flights and other SkyTeam partner flights. Those connections do show up on delta.com.
Similarly, this Joon connection to a China Eastern flight is also invisible on delta.com, but should be bookable through the call center.
When in doubt, or when in trouble, try searching flights one leg at a time, connecting through the Joon hub at Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG).
Joon Adding Routes
Air France has been ambitious in its first year of Joon rollouts. By the end of the summer the airline will be flying to eight European cities — Barcelona, Berlin, Istanbul, Lisbon, Naples, Oslo, Porto and Rome, and six intercontinental destinations, Mumbai, Cairo, Cape Town, Fortaleza, Tehran, Iran and Mahé, Seychelles.
The Europe flights are generally daily, however the intercontinental flights appear limited to two or three frequencies per week, for now. Business-class availability is open on most flights.
Air France has not announced any further Joon routes at this point.
Joon appears to be a guinea pig project to test new marketing techniques, much as Song and Ted served as test beds for Delta and United in the early 2000s. Fortunately, Air France seems to be generous with long-haul business class award space on Joon, unlike mainline Air France flights. If you know where to look, Joon could be a good way to get to otherwise hard to reach destinations. Just remember to consider a point-to-point search to find potential missed connections.