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.
- The new united.com primer: How to find upgrade inventory
- Continental Expert Mode, now on steroids
- “Expert Mode” inventory listings coming to continental.com