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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how ExpertFlyer can help you find award availability through its alert capabilities. In it, I lamented the fact that Delta forced the site to remove all data last fall. However, I am excited to share that some Delta functionality has been restored: as of today, you can now see low-level award inventory for Delta-operated flights.
To access this new feature, simply log-in to your ExpertFlyer account and then access the Awards & Upgrades link at the right. You’ll see that Delta is now listed in the drop-down menu (under DAL – DL), and you can choose one or more of the following fare classes:
- Low Level First Class Awards: R (used for domestic flights)
- Low Level Business Class Awards: O (used for international flights and domestic flights that share an international flight number)
- Low Level Economy Class Awards: N (used for all flights)
The search results page will display any and all Delta-operated flights with availability in the class(es) that you’ve selected:
You’ll notice that it won’t actually tell you the total number of seats available in each award class. Instead, it will tell you whether or not the exact number you specified is available. In the above screen shot, I was looking for a single seat. If I click on Refine Search and change my criteria to 7 seats (the highest number allowed for these searches), notice what changes:
Two of the flights have one seat but not seven, and the results will indicate that.
The top of the page of these searches indicates that the functionality is still in Beta, and if you do encounter any discrepancies in the data, you should contact ExpertFlyer support to let them know. However, I found that the information matched Delta.com in all of the test cases I ran. Here’s the same Orlando to New York search I used above for one passenger:
And here’s the search for 7 passengers:
Notice that in each case, the results were identical to the inventory displayed on Expert Flyer, as the 8:00am and 10:30am departures were not available for seven passengers in first class at Level 1 (R).
It’s important to note that only flights with availability will appear on the results page. If they have availability in one class but not your desired class, you can go through the usual process of setting alerts. Simply click on the exclamation point icon and put in the requested information.
However, if your flight doesn’t appear, you can still set an alert to let you know when (or if) inventory appears. You’ll just need to know the exact date and flight number. Here’s how to do it:
- Click on Create New Flight Alert at the left-hand side of the site.
- Enter the requested information, including the airline (DAL – DL), the flight number and the class code (R, O or N).
- Click Verify and Create.
One other thing to note is that the site will only display flights if the departure or arrival airport is in North America. If you are looking for a flight that just connects in North America, you must search those as separate segments. This will probably only apply to a handful of searches, so I wouldn’t say it’s a significant drawback.
Chris Lopinto, President and Co-Founder of ExpertFlyer, sent us some FAQs that provide some additional information about this added functionality:
Q: Are all DL award tiers being shown?
A: No, just the lowest level award classes R (First), O (Business), N (Economy).
Q: What flights will be shown for the DL award search?
A: DL operated flights only.
Q: Can we set Flight Alerts and be alerted for inventory for those classes?
A: Yes! Flight Alerts can be set either from the Award & Upgrade results for shown DL flights, or via the Create New Flight Alert page.
Q: Does this mean that upgrade availability is being shown again?
A: No, the R and O classes being shown represent awards, not upgrades. Upgrade inventory was only available via the reservation systems (GDS) which Delta is preventing us from using for accessing their data.
Q: Does this mean that the other non-award DL data (fare classes, seat maps, etc) will be returning to ExpertFlyer?
A: No, Delta still is preventing us from accessing any reservation system (GDS) data.
This is a welcome enhancement to ExpertFlyer, and I applaud the site for adding this functionality. If you don’t currently subscribe to the site and are a regular Delta flyer, I think this is a no-brainer now, especially for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. Those two tiers get free changes and cancellations on award tickets, so if you lock in a Level 2 or 3 redemption at a higher mileage amount, setting an alert for R, O or N will allow you to get miles back for free if Level 1 inventory is released.
What do you think about this new functionality?