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Understanding Expert Flyer

Danger

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I'd appreciate some help understanding the information EF provides. For example,

F6 A6 J9 C9 D9 I0 B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V9 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0

What letters do I look at to try to work out how many seats are still available in economy?

What letters do I look at to try to work out how many upgrade seats are still available (from discount economy to business)?
 

serfty

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It's more than expert flyer, this is how the Majority of airlines show fare availability for a flight.

The Alphabetic characters represent "fare bucket" codes and the numbers adjacent to each represent the minimum number of seats in that fare bucket an airline is prepared to sell for a particular flight at the time of query.

Now with the numbers, in order to keep competitors somewhat in the dark as to how many seats are actually available, the airlines have their own determined maximum number to reveal at any one time.

For QF it's generally 9, for AA it's 7 and for JQ, 4.

As a general rule of thumb, the letters indicate availability in a descending notional value order from left to right.

F6 A6: Qantas are willing to sell up to 6 seats in the Fist Class cabin. This at either the full rate (F) or discounted (A). This does not mean that there are 12 seats available. Note that currently, Qantas First class cabins have 14 'seats'. What would normally happen if someone booked on the flight into one of these code is that both numbers would reduce, i.e. it goes to F5 A5.

J9 C9 D9 I0: Business class seat and at least nine are up for sale at the Full (J) rate, Discounted (C), more discounted (D) rates. None at the deep discount rate (I).

B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V9 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0: These are the WHY rates and there are probably plenty of seats for sale, but none at deep discount (N, Q, O) and no award seats (X).

(Due to the numbers posted I would hazard a guess that this flight would be imminent, possibly within the next week)
 
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serfty

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Danger said:
... What letters do I look at to try to work out how many upgrade seats are still available (from discount economy to business)?
Unfortunately, since the middle of January, Qantas have stopped making such classes available for viewing. These are Z for First and U for Business. (also T for WP/CL/SG whY awards)

The only way at the moment is to do a dummy award booking online.


This is no longer the case, E/F now does show P, U, Z and X availability being award First, Business, Prem. Economy and Economy classes.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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serfty said:
As a general rule of thumb, the letters indicate availability in a descending cost order from left to right.
Only within a class of service, and only if considering point to point fares from a single market. There are many, many cases where the fares are in different order - some of which are of great interest to AFFers :D
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Danger said:
I'd appreciate some help understanding the information EF provides. For example,

F6 A6 J9 C9 D9 I0 B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V9 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0

What letters do I look at to try to work out how many seats are still available in economy?

What letters do I look at to try to work out how many upgrade seats are still available (from discount economy to business)?
There are at least 9 seats available in economy, but none at the very cheapest fares. Given reasonably discounted booking classes show availability at 9 it looks a fairly empty flight at this stage.

Care is needed in interpreting the booking class availability as there are wide differences in how bookings go for routes and even particular flights on the same route.

Some may be oversold by lots, if the airline expects a lot of no shows or is willing to operationally upgrade (op-up) passengers. Obviously to op-up the next highest class of service needs room, and maybe even first class if they need to move some pax out of business to make room for op-ups from economy. Different routes/flights/dates will affect how willing the airline is to oversell (and by how many). Each airline will base its own experience for the specific flight to determine the optimum number.

Even without oversold situations there is care needed in interpreting due to the arcane ways of revenue or yield management. For example availability in a certain booking class may be restricted to certain fares (eg allow round trip discounted business but no more RTW business - both of which use the same booking class), to certain markets (eg allow sales ex-Oz for SYD-LAX but not ex-US), to through fares (eg allow SYD-SIN if it is part of SYD-LHR) or excluding through fares (eg allow SYD-SIN only if SIN is the destination). Etc.

Airlines may remove availability even without a sale, or add more availability, if their view on what level of fares they can get for the remaining seats changes.

It takes practice to see how airlines handle these and observe the effect on the booking class availability, and what it means in terms of being able to buy seats, how many and when, upgrade chances (either paid for or op-up), award availability, chances of getting spare seats beside you, etc.
 

rjphin

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serfty said:
Unfortunately, since the middle of January, Qantas have stopped making such classes available for viewing. These are Z for First and U for Business. (also T for WP/CL/SG whY awards)
Aren't these the award seats available - Z (First) and U (Business) ? The OP is asking about how many upgrade seats are available, which I did not think you could decipher from this information.

rp
 

serfty

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rjphin said:
Aren't these the award seats available - Z (First) and U (Business) ? The OP is asking about how many upgrade seats are available, which I did not think you could decipher from this information.

rp
Domestic upgrades from WHY to Business book into U class; the same category as for business reward seats.

This used to be the case for International upgrades as well, with the addition that upgrades from Business class to First class booked into Z class; the same category as for First Class reward seats. This changed on 25th May 2005 and now for international upgrades Qantas Yield Management make their decision approx. 24 hours before a international flight as to whether any upgrades are to be made available.

There is some conjecture that Z & U become available for these international flights for the purposes of any possible upgrading, but within the 24 black out for award bookings/upgrade requests so can't be accessed by QFFers.
 

NM

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serfty said:
There is some conjecture that Z & U become available for these international flights for the purposes of any possible upgrading, but within the 24 black out for award bookings/upgrade requests so can't be accessed by QFFers.
My international upgrades from business ot first class have been booked into P class, not Z.
 

simongr

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serfty said:
There is some conjecture that Z & U become available for these international flights for the purposes of any possible upgrading, but within the 24 black out for award bookings/upgrade requests so can't be accessed by QFFers.
Would that mean that within 24 hours of my flight I can check whata avilability there is to get an indication of availability of UG that I had previously requested (obviously I wont know how far down the line I am)?
 

NM

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simongr said:
Would that mean that within 24 hours of my flight I can check whata avilability there is to get an indication of availability of UG that I had previously requested (obviously I wont know how far down the line I am)?
No. Yield Management can allocate any available seat to an upgrade if they wish. You cannot tell how many will be used for upgrades from any information available on tools like EF.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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NM said:
No. Yield Management can allocate any available seat to an upgrade if they wish. You cannot tell how many will be used for upgrades from any information available on tools like EF.
Not directly. But all zeroes a few days before departure is a fairly good clue ;)
 

serfty

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NM said:
My international upgrades from business ot first class have been booked into P class, not Z.
Possibly only relevant for AA awards.

Danger's sample availability is more representative of Qantas.
 
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NM

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serfty said:
Possibly only relevant for AA awards.

Danger's sample availability is more representative of Qantas.
No, this was a QF flight upgraded with QF FF points. QF Yield Management must have moved my fare class from D to P when the upgrade was processed.
 

serfty

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NM said:
No, this was a QF flight upgraded with QF FF points. QF Yield Management must have moved my fare class from D to P when the upgrade was processed.
Fair enough; P didn't cross my mind in relation to Qantas TBH. It's not showing on E/F and I'm in the process of booking some P class flights on AA. ;)
 

Danger

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Oky, if I understand correctly:

a) Qantas are never likely to show more than 9 seats available in any class
b) Domestic upgrades from economy (any sort of economy) to business book into U class and this doesn’t show on EF
c) I should be looking at U (even though it’s not shown!) for the possibility of an upgrade from economy to business on an international flight
d) There is actually no way, using EF, to determine if Qantas has business or first upgrade seats available (other than the obvious zero next to codes).

Is it reasonable to assume that high numbers of J D or C indicate a fair few empty business seats and, therefore, (hopefully) a better chance of a business upgrade with points? Similarly, high numbers of the economy codes (eg. Y, R, O, N, etc.) suggest plenty of availability in the economy cabin?
 

serfty

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Danger said:
...Is it reasonable to assume that high numbers of J D or C indicate a fair few empty business seats and, therefore, (hopefully) a better chance of a business upgrade with points? Similarly, high numbers of the economy codes (eg. Y, R, O, N, etc.) suggest plenty of availability in the economy cabin?
Yes, Yes & Yes.

Also, the higher the numbers are the closer you get to flight time the higher the chances are.

I'm travelling with SWMBO to HKG at Easter time; currently booked into WHY with upgrades requested.

It's showing: F4 A4 J9 C9 D9 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M0 R0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0, the presence of D9 indicates a reasonable chance; the longer this hold, the better.

Friday I'm on a flight which seems pretty empty: J9 C9 D9 I9 B9 H9 K9 M9 R9 L9 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0.

However, the return on Sunday is filling up: J3 C0 D0 I0 B0 H0 K0 M0 R0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 X0 E0 (Was B3 this morning).

Another example is this QF9: F0 A0 J0 C0 D0 I0 W0 R0 T0 Z0 Y3 B3 H0 K0 M0 L0 G0 E0

This indicates that First, Business and Premium Economy are sold out. Y3 B3 indicates Qantas are willing to sell up to three seats in high priced economy - possibly banking on some no shows. If in economy I would not expect a points upgrade, let alone a "operational upgrade" - even as a WP.
 
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Kiwi Flyer

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Danger said:
Is it reasonable to assume that high numbers of J D or C indicate a fair few empty business seats and, therefore, (hopefully) a better chance of a business upgrade with points? Similarly, high numbers of the economy codes (eg. Y, R, O, N, etc.) suggest plenty of availability in the economy cabin?
Y is less indicative. That is full fare economy, often more expensive than some business class fares. Most airlines would be happy to sell a few at the last minute and bump someone else off the flight (if needed) or op-up.

However, availability in the lower booking codes NOQ for example, would suggest plenty of room - especially if close to departure. Then, on some routes (eg SYD-MEL), you may need to worry about strategic cancellation by the airline (aka combining 2 flights into 1).
 

NM

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Danger said:
a) Qantas are never likely to show more than 9 seats available in any class
No airline ever shows more than 9 via the publicly available views. Common maximum values used by some airlines are 7 and 4. QF generally uses 9 as their maximum for all classes and flights.
 

NM

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Danger said:
b) Domestic upgrades from economy (any sort of economy) to business book into U class and this doesn’t show on EF
U for QF flights is not currently visible on EF. However, the EF team noted a few weeks back when U (and Z) visibility was lost that this was expected to be a temporary problem and they hoped to have it resolved quickly so we can see U and Z for QF flights once again. Its about time to seek an update from EF.

It is only the confirmed domestic upgrades that can be requested before the flight day that book into U. If U is not available, you cannot waitlist for a domestic upgrade. The only other option is to request an on-Departure Upgrade (ODU) at the Qantas Club lounge once you have checked in for the flight. These do not require U class availability.
 

NM

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Danger said:
c) I should be looking at U (even though it’s not shown!) for the possibility of an upgrade from economy to business on an international flight
No, for International Flights, U is only for award flights, not for upgrades. Now if U is available (and this can be seen by checking the Qantas FF web site for business class award availability on the flight you want) then it is an indication that loads are light in business class and it is likely that some waitlisted upgrades will clear in the 24 hours before departure.
 

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