Buh bye, United “Expert Mode”


For folks who enjoy seeing the details behind flight inventory availability the United Airlines "expert mode" option was one of the better options available. Any customer could see all inventory buckets, including awards and upgrades, with a reasonably simple search. Emphasis on "could."

The carrier is disabling that feature as part of their site updates this weekend.

The move takes away a great benefit to customers in order to allow them to better support their internal operations; apparently discrepancies in displayed data were causing overwhelming call volumes and put their reservations agents in a position where they were unable to effectively manage passenger expectations.

The data was available on the site for roughly the past 14 months; prior to that it was available on the United site though a bit more difficult to get at. With this change it is disappearing completely.

Obviously fixing the data discrepancies would have been a more customer-friendly solution, and hopefully that will happen soon so that the information can be returned to the website. But for the time being, this is a dark day for frequent fliers.

For folks who have been using the GreaseMonkey script I created to highlight award inventory this change will render it useless. Nothing I can do about that if they aren’t publishing the data. Sorry. πŸ™

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

26 Comments

  1. I am not happy. I never called about what I saw on the fare class availability, but I did really appreciate having it there as a means for guessing at my upgrade odds, and making decisions as to which flights to purchase or use RPUs on.

    1. I certainly won’t pretend to speak for the folks at ExpertFlyer, but based on this move I would be quite surprised if they are able to continue displaying the data. I suppose we’ll have to wait to see what they say in the coming hours/days. I’ve reached out to them so hopefully they’ll have a comment soon enough.

  2. This sucks, but since you can (presumably) still search for awards and upgrades at United.com, it’s not the end of the world.

  3. Its bad for same day confirmed, because the site often was not able to offer you routing available, but you could constract it yourself and then call. This way LGA-CLE-ORD could turn into LGA-IAH-ORD with the help of ICC πŸ™‚

  4. Taking away the ability to see R/RN space is presumably a lot easier than fixing the upgrade system.

  5. So another example of how United’s technology infrastructure is a trainwreck. So do they fix it? Of course not, they pull it. This is beyond frustrating and it’s getting very old.

  6. It seems pretty simple to me, make it an opt-in option like the old United site and have a little disclaimer that says displayed inventory is only valid on that routing. Problem solved.

  7. I frequently used the fare inventories in order to see which flights I could SDC before the 24 hour window. Maybe I should just call United every hour asking for the fare inventory.

  8. I am hugely disappointed in this change. Expertflyer has already posted they are impacted too

    It was very important to me to be able to see R inventory before purchasing flights.

  9. I just checked for flights on the UA site and saw that the full fare class viewing was gone. No problem, I thought, I’ll just pop over to Seth’s site – I’m sure he has already found the magic bullet that will fix this. Uh oh…now this is a dark day!

  10. FKM … “More changes you’ll like”

    Seriously, what does this accomplish but MORE calls to find inventory….

  11. The ExpertFlyer.com master thread on FlyerTalk, see post 754. EF says that Award and Upgrade inventory will be removed from EF. However, EF will continue to display the revenue fare buckets.

    The KVS Availability Tool thread is a bit more cryptic. See post 5098. KVS says that UA Upgrade Availability display changes from numeric to [+/-] format. I guess this means that KVS will be the only tool left that will let us know if there’s upgrade/reward avaibility?

    I’ve never used either tool, but I guess I’ll try out KVS.

  12. The decision to jump to AA for the time being is looking better and better. Ultimately I’d rather be with UA and *A, but until the United IT and customer service stop being a disaster, and until the fleet is up-to-date (read: has in-flight Wifi), I’m pretty comfortable with having made that choice.

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