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United Pulls Upgrade Inventory From ExpertFlyer

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ExpertFlyer is one of my favorite travel tools- it gives flyers access to upgrade and award availability on a number of airlines. This can be extremely useful when deciding which flights to book based on upgrade availability. Not only that, you can set alerts so that if hard to find award availability space opens up (like Qantas first class) you can get notified and book it before anyone else has the chance.

Sadly, last week ExpertFlyer announced that Delta was going to block access to elite upgrade space and in typical airline copycat fashion United is doing the same. Per an email from ExpertFlyer:

“UA has told us that ExpertFlyer can no longer access UA’s upgrade or elite award inventory. It is our understanding that this is a universal policy at UA regarding access to this data.

ExpertFlyer and UA continue to have an ongoing good faith dialogue that we hope will result in the future re-establishment of this information on ExpertFlyer. However, we have no choice but to honor their policy at this time. As such, any pending Flight Alerts or searches for this information will no longer be processed after this Thursday, October 31st. We regret that we must take this action and any inconvenience it causes you.”

Looks like these four buckets will disappear starting November 1, 2013:

United upgrade space will be disabled November 1, 2013
United upgrade space will be disabled November 1, 2013

This certainly strikes me as a flyer unfriendly move even as United tries to rebrand as the “flyer friendly” airline.

Ripping away visibility for frequent flyers to see upgrade space doesn't seem so friendly to me
Ripping away visibility for frequent flyers to see upgrade space doesn’t seem so friendly to me

If you are upset by these changes I suggest Tweeting @United and letting them know that you don’t appreciate the #unitedunfriendly changes. You can also write on their Facebook wall or simply call or send an email with a formal complaint.

Hopefully award space will still remain, which is helpful when setting award seat alerts.  

As an American flyer, I’m hoping/praying/wishing that they don’t join this nasty bandwagon. But considering the American AAdvantage team is the most flyer friendly of the airlines (in my opinion) with responsive, helpful social media team and friendly policies on services such as AwardWallet. I’m hoping they buck this trend and support their most loyal customers instead of fighting them.

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