This is a déjà vu from 2013 when Delta and United both removed/asked ExpertFlyer to remove their upgrade availability (read more here) from this online tool that many frequent fliers use.
Delta upgrade availability came back, but is now again gone after Delta requested ExpertFlyer to remove this information.
Here’s statement released by ExperttFlyer on Flyertalk (access here):
Delta has unfortunately chosen to remove all of their upgrade inventory from ExpertFlyer and as such it is no longer available at this time. This is after previously being authorized by and told by Delta that upgrade inventory would continue to be made available. As such all Flight Alerts for the affected upgrade classes will be set to Expired later today as to not count against your active alert limit. We will then email ExpertFlyer subscribers that currently have active DL upgrade alerts to notify them of this change.
To be clear, not only was the data legitimately purchased via our GDS data contracts, but executives at Delta were aware that ExpertFlyer was showing DL upgrade inventory and we were allowed to continue doing so until a recent policy change.
We agree with the sentiments of our customers that ultimately this does more harm than good to their best customers and suggest that you contact Delta and express to them how you feel about the ability to see, evaluate and use these various upgrade inventories and the value it adds to your elite status with Delta. Please use the following link to email them.
ExpertFlyer Later Clarified:
– ExpertFlyer did have authorization from DL executives to access and show the upgrade inventory, however DL changed their mind and asked us to remove DL upgrade inventory from ExpertFlyer at this time.
– We have attempted to negotiate a new agreement, however DL has refused all of our offers and not made any of their own.
– The information is still available in the GDS for agents to see, however we have found that most agents don’t even know it is there or how to access it.
Delta has made no announcement about this beyond the following reply that you get from Delta if you contact them regarding this issue:
We do not have a business relationship with ExpertFlyer and the organization used unauthorized information to provide Complimentary Upgrade availability to their subscribers.
At this time, we do not provide the number of seats available for Complimentary Upgrades. However, you can view whether or not a flight has Complimentary Upgrade availability when booking at delta.com. Just look for “Upgrade Available” when searching for a flight.
We appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration as we continue to update our technology tools and services.
What ExpertFlyer states “.. executives at Delta were aware that ExpertFlyer was showing DL upgrade inventory..” and “ ExpertFlyer did have authorization from DL executives to access and show the upgrade inventory” are contradictory.
Executives were aware and they had authorization to show are not the same thing. Either you have contract in place that allows you to show this information or you don’t.
This information is still apparently available on the GDS that travel agents use to sell Delta flights. Delta just doesn’t want this information displayed online by a 3rd party in an uncluttered way.
Overall, this is negative change for those Delta fliers that have relied on ExpertFlyer to pull up this information without having to call Delta. Let’s hope that these two parties would reach an agreement that would allow this online tool to have access to Delta’s upgrade inventory again.