While I’m not especially excited by some of the declines in service that accompany a merger between American Airlines and US Airways, I am glad to see that US Airways is adopting American’s approach to the controversial ExpertFlyer tool and making available award and upgrade space on its flights. Award space is not normally a top priority. Depending on the carrier you’re working with it may be easier to search on its own website. But ExpertFlyer can sometimes work faster and with fewer steps.
Upgrade space is the real winner. Knowing which flights have the most upgrade availability can help you choose which flights to book, whether you should request a same-day change, or if you need to change approaches and go from a complimentary elite upgrade to one supported by miles or other upgrade instrument. At the very least you can plan ahead so there’s time to eat in the terminal when you know the upgrade won’t clear. I already provided an example of how to this to upgrade on American Airlines.
American has been generally cooperative with ExpertFlyer lately, though Delta just took away access to much of their information after United did the same. At least United makes it possible to search for the same information using the expert mode feature on United.com. It is just, as I said, more cumbersome to work with an add-on to United’s booking website rather than a dedicated service. Hopefully more airlines see the light and find ways to cooperate with ExpertFlyer. In the meantime, here’s a complete list of the award and upgrade classes that ExpertFlyer provides.