Advertiser Disclosure

The backdoor way to see flight inventory data Delta wants to hide

by on Fri May 15, 2015 • 1 Comment


If you fly a lot, you know having access to flight inventory data can be a real help when you hit delays or cancellations. Or you’re just trying to diagnose why a flight won’t show up when you search an airline website.

Unfortunately Delta doesn’t want you to have that at your disposal, and cut access to the data from sources like

That’s counter to American and United who actually embrace it, and United goes so far to actually include it on its own website via ‘Expert Mode.’

Delta may think having the information makes it easier to do things like same day change to flights that have more first class seats, giving you better odds of an upgrade, and costing them revenue.

But if your flight is delayed, and you’re scouting options – it’s a lot faster to do a search with flight inventory instead of lumbering through

The good news is there is a backdoor way to see live inventory for Delta domestic flights on

Just choose Virgin Atlantic as the airline when you search for flight options. The airline code is ‘VS’.


Now that they are full partners and Delta owns almost half of Virgin Atlantic, most Delta domestic flights are codeshares with Virgin Atlantic.

So when you search for domestic flights on ExpertFlyer using Virgin Atlantic as the airline, inventory for Delta flights will appear, since Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have any flights of its own in the U.S.

The booking codes don’t exactly match those Delta uses. And there’s no actual upgrade inventory displayed. But you’ll get a real picture of total seats remaining on a flight in each cabin.

Here’s an example for Minneapolis to Chicago

You’ll want to focus on the letters J and Y.


J2 in the example represents there are 2 seats for sale in First / Business Class.

Y9 in the example means there are at least 9 (possibly more) seats for sale in Economy Class.

Other codes you’ll see, but use less often are:

  • First Class: J, C, D, I, Z
  • Economy Class: Y, B, R, L, U, M, E Q, X, N, O

The catch is most international flights are not codeshares among Virgin and Delta, so this is most useful for domestic flights.

So if you’re a savvy flyer – this is one small battle you can win in Delta’s war against the informed.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

One thought on “The backdoor way to see flight inventory data Delta wants to hide

  1. Michael Shackelford

    I just wish all flights were code-share on Delta to view all Delta Flight Inventory (Booking classes) but I’ll take what availability they do share on Cheers !


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *