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In addition to the ability to set alerts for award seats (and save time and frustrating searches by being able to book an award as soon as it opens up), of the best features of ExpertFlyer is its flight availability tool, which allows you to see the availability of certain paid fare classes and gauge your chances at upgrades, same day confirm changes and standby’s if you’re an elite frequent flyer. Not only that, but if your flight gets canceled for some reason, you can use it to search alternate flights and routings to rebook yourself without having to rely on airline agents who might not know what they’re doing.
Unfortunately, last week, Delta forced ExpertFlyer to remove the visibility of elite upgradeable fare classes (RU/OU) on the airline, prompting ExpertFlyer to send out the following email to its subscribers:
“Dear ExpertFlyer Subscriber,
As of today, Delta has requested that we remove the visibility of the DL elite upgrade classes (RU/OU) from ExpertFlyer.com. As such, your Flight Alerts for these 2 classes can no longer check for availability in those classes so their status has been changed to Expired so they do not count against your available alert allocation.
If you would like to send feedback to Delta regarding their decision and how it may affect you, please use the following link to email them. Delta Email Feedback
As always, thank you for your support of ExpertFlyer.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team”
ExpertFlyer reached out to me before their Delta meeting to get support on behalf of frequent flyers and I procided them with a statement (which clearly Delta didn’t care about). I see this as a pretty customer-unfriendly move on the part of the airline. I can’t say I’m surprised given Delta’s other such moves this past year including devaluing parts of its award chart, cutting award ticket holds, hacking away at same day flight change benefits for elites and instituting an revenue-based Medallion elite requirement, but I am still very disappointed.
One bright spot is that ExpertFlyer will still display miles and Systemwide Upgrade fare sets (RP and OP classes), so not all is lost.
If you are a Delta elite and want to know whether there is still upgrade space available on your flight, you can make a dummy booking in the full-price economy Y class by being logged into your SkyMiles account and clicking on “More Search Options” on the main Delta page.
That will redirect you to this page where you can specify the fare class of the ticket you wish to search or purchase. Select your dates and “Economy Y or higher.”
Yes, it takes a few steps and it doesn’t tell you the number of upgrade-available seats there are nor let you set an alert if one opens up, but it’s better than not knowing at all, so that’s the way I’ll be checking my flights for now.
In the meantime, I am going to write a strongly worded letter or Tweet to Delta letting them know what I think about these changes and I urge you to do the same. This isn’t about frequent flyers gaming the system or wreaking havoc on the airline’s ticket-selling process. Rather it’s about letting elite flyers enjoy the upgrades they are entitled to as part of their benefits package and encourages them to actually buy tickets and fly the airline and I hope that Delta comes to see that.