You can find almost anything you need to know about airline schedules, seat maps, flight statuses and more using ExpertFlyer, but today’s guide is focused on one functionality: searching for award and upgrade space. The platform currently allows you to search for this inventory on nearly 90 different airlines, though the exact fare classes vary from carrier to carrier. Carefully review the list to see what inventory is available for your desired airline — American, for example, shows both award and upgrade space for its flights, whereas Delta upgrade space was removed several years ago.
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The FareIQ feature is unique amongst all tracking websites in that it will also track your flight after purchase and send a notification if the price drops, as you could be entitled to a refund from airlines that will refund the difference when the price drops. It pays to know the refund policy of each carrier in this case, as that could be the difference between getting a refund or not.
Air Canada has introduced enhancements at the departure gate which facilitate the processing of all customers on the airport standby list. At flight closure, based on the number of available seats in each cabin, all customers on the standby list are processed automatically. As such, if you are waitlisted for an upgrade and space is available once the flight is ready to board, your seat will be changed automatically between 45-60 minutes prior to flight departure depending on your destination.
Your flight may only have one or two upgrade places available, so maximise your chances of bagging them by rocking up at check-in ten hours before the scheduled departure. If it backfires, you’ll have to kill a murderous amount of time in Starbucks, but it worked for Product Manager David Low: “My wife and I were flying to the Dominican Republic. We’d got to Glasgow Airport far too early but at least there was no queue. The check-in lady told us that they had two spare seats in first class, and since we were first to arrive, we could have them for free. So we happily accepted.”
Your flight may only have one or two upgraded seats available. To have a better chance of scoring a spot in first class, check in 11 hours before your scheduled departure, Sky Scanner says. If you get there before anyone else, the check-in attendants may be able to let you know if there are spare seats in first class. Since you’re the first one there, you’ll more than likely get dibs.
Call centre service fee when subsequently booking additional services that can be booked online (e.g. additional luggage) RAD €10 / £9 / CHF 12 / $12 / CZK 257 / SEK 102 / NOK 95 / PLN 43 / HUF 3,190 (per booking, not per person and per journey) €10 / £9 / CHF 12 / $12 / CZK 257 / SEK 102 / NOK 95 / PLN 43 / HUF 3,190 / AED 47 / THB 500 (per booking, not per person and per journey)
Travel requires that you keep yourself updated with the latest flights status. Often, you would need to check the flights schedule of the airlines for a particular sector while planning your travel. In the age of internet, you can check the flights status and do the bookings far easily than ever before. Instead of running to the travel agent office or making frequent calls, you can get online with Yatra.com which provides an easy online interface to check out which all airlines are operating flights at what all times in a particular sector. We comprehensively cover more than 550 sectors within India, providing the latest sector-based flights information about the airlines operating in the area.
Yapta.com allows you to set up an alert for a specific flight. They call it a “refund” alert, since they set it up for watching a flight you’ve already booked but want to know if the price drops in case it’s with an airline (such as Alaska in my case) that gives refunds without fees if your price drops after booking. However, they don’t actually check whether you’re on the flight, so you could use it to simply watch a flight that you’re interested in but HAVEN’T YET booked. This wouldn’t be practical if there’s a wide variety of flights flying the route you want on the day you want in the time span you want, but in those cases where there are only a few flights that fit your needs, it might be practical to use this feature at Yapta.com to set up a fare alert for those specific flights.
If your plan for finding airline award space involves only relying on airline websites and phone agents, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Many sites lack the functionality and flexibility to show you every available award flight routing, and while phone agents work hard, many lack the required training on award booking rules, fare classes and airline partnerships necessary to find all available award flights. This can put an end to your quest to book flights with points and miles before it ever begins.
And it is not just a combination of luck and automation that will shut you out of upgrades — at some airlines, it may be a matter of policy. “Most airlines state, in no uncertain terms, that their policies prohibit arbitrary upgrading, both at check-in and onboard,” says Randy Petersen of InsideFlyer. “It’s a firm rule, with no room for negotiation or interpretation.” Petersen agrees about the root cause: “This becomes understandable when you consider that upgrading is now often done electronically, rather than by queuing up at the check-in counter.”
Try a smile and a nice word or two when hoping to upgrade, Carolyn Paddock, owner of Inflight Insider, told Bankrate. From the second you enter the airport, be friendly. You’re not sure who will ultimately make the decision about your upgrade. And frequent fliers may have an even bigger advantage. If someone at the airport recognizes you and remembers how friendly you are, it could greatly increase your chances. So whether it’s an early morning or a late night, smile.
The best time to check in with airports is typically around 24 hours before your departure. You can also sign up for flight alerts, which allow you to program your flight or preferred flight for an upgrade. The alert will automatically search for open availability and let you know as soon as it’s open, giving you the best chance to scoot on up to the front.