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