ExpertFlyer.com just sent out an email to members which indicates that until further notice they’re not able to search award space or set availability alerts for many Star Alliance carriers:

Dear Benjamin,

We are emailing you because you have an active Flight Alert for an Award class of one of the following airlines:

Adria Airways – JP
All Nippon Airways – NH
Asiana Airlines – OZ
Austrian – OS
Croatia Airlines – OU
Egyptair – MS
Ethiopian Airlines – ET
EVA Air – BR
LACSA – LR
Lufthansa – LH
SAS – SK
Singapore Airlines – SQ
South African Airways – SA
TACA – TA
TAM Linhas Aereas – JJ
TAM Paraguay – PZ
TAP-Air Portugal – TP
Thai Airways International – TG
United – UA
US Airways – US

Unfortunately, award searching for these airlines, along with the Star Alliance award search, is currently unavailable. We are working to try to restore the information however it will be unavailable until further notice. All other functionality and information for these airlines in ExpertFlyer remain unaffected. Flight Alerts for any other airline are also unaffected.

As a result, any active Flight Alerts or saved searches for this award information will no longer work as of now. The Active Flight Alerts affected have been set to Expired as to not count against your 30 Active alert limit and will be set to Active again should the award information become available in the future. We regret any inconvenience this causes you.

Thank you for your continued support of ExpertFlyer.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team

They’re not very clear as to the reason for this sudden change. About a week ago ExpertFlyer stopped displaying United upgrade space and elite award space per United’s request. If I’m not mistaken they were previously pulling Star Alliance award space from United’s website, so my guess is that this change is per United’s request as well.

That’s rather disappointing, because to me the single biggest selling point of ExpertFlyer is the ability to set availability alerts, whereby they’ll email you when award space opens up in a specific cabin on a specific flight. Not being able to do that on most Star Alliance carrier takes quite a bit of value out of the service. They do still display it for a few Star Alliance carriers, including Air Canada, Air China, Turkish, and a few more.

My guess is this feature won’t return, though I hope I’m wrong…

  1. November 9th, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Skwok said,

    I figured as much. Found the message from expertflyer just a few hours ago.

  2. November 9th, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Kai said,

    Shouldn’t we be getting some form of compensation? This is quite a major feature we’re talking about here.

  3. November 9th, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Andrew said,

    You really can’t blame United. Why should Expertflyer be allowed to profit from a screen scrape of UA’s website?

  4. November 9th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Chris said,

    @Andrew: It’s not clear they were screen scraping UA for their *A search? Couldn’t they be using NH in the backend?

  5. November 9th, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Ryan E said,

    I thought EF used GDS for its information, vice KVS which screen scrapes? I could be wrong.

    I was about to get an EF subscription again, after having canceled it during a lull in flying. Kind of on the fence now.

  6. November 9th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Shane said,

    Just used two days ago to book a complex ticketd on *A and was wondering what was going on yesterday when I was trying to look at other options. This is a bad deal for me since most of miles are on *A Carriers. What’s the next best alternative ANA? Agree about the pro rata comp I just re-upped for a year a few weeks ago.

  7. November 9th, 2013 at 8:10 am

    lucky said,

    @ Ryan E — They definitely pull some space from the GDS, though I don’ think the GDS shows award space for most airlines. Interestingly the phantom Lufthansa first class award space that United showed also always showed up on ExpertFlyer.

  8. November 9th, 2013 at 8:11 am

    lucky said,

    @ Shane — The three best sites for searching Star Alliance award space are generally United, Aeroplan, and ANA.

  9. November 9th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Sonomwine said,

    I contacted EF when they pulled the UA availability and they were so generous to extend my billing cycle by a week. With this latest email informing us of pulling Star Alliance award availability I decided to cancel my subscription.

  10. November 9th, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Jamie said,

    This doesn’t seem to include all the *a carriers, for example Air China and Turkish Air was not on the list and I can still search them on expertflyer. But if the majority won’t return, I’m wondering if I can cancel my annual subscription and switch to month by month. Would that be doable?

  11. November 9th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Jorge said,

    Canceling now!

  12. November 9th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Mike said,

    Thanks for the heads up, Ben. Just cancelled my annual subscription. What a waste of money.

  13. November 9th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Jerod said,

    I’m sure much like many of you, I just had all 30 of my alerts I took a while to cobble together just wiped out! Without some form of backup! Infuriating.

    @Lucky – Are there any alternatives to EF for those of us that really need something for a trip coming up real soon?

  14. November 9th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Jerod – Not that I know of, sadly.

  15. November 14th, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Critique/help with complex Aeroplan booking to Europe. - FlyerTalk Forums said,

    […] properly now ExpertFlyer Pulls Star Alliance Award Space – One Mile at a Time (5 days ago) http://boardingarea.com/onemileatati…e-award-space/ […]

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