ExpertFlyer Pulls All Delta Information

As I explained a couple of weeks ago, ExpertFlyer is one of the travel tool subscription services I pay for, given that it saves me a ton of time and does display some information which isn’t otherwise readily available online.

Over the past couple of years they’ve certainly fought their fair share of battles with airlines over which space they can and can’t display. ExpertFlyer is a great service and makes life easier for the frequent traveler, but in many cases that’s not something the airlines like. For example, if you can set alerts whereby ExpertFlyer emails you when award or upgrade space opens up, the airlines aren’t a fan of that for obvious reasons. While they create the rewards systems, they don’t want to make them easy for us to use. For example, late last year they stopped displaying most Star Alliance award space, as well as British Airways award space.

A couple of weeks ago Delta requested that ExpertFlyer stop displaying Delta upgrade space on their website, and ExpertFlyer complied. It looks like they just took it to a completely different level, though. The following notice was just posted on ExpertFlyer:

Delta-ExpertFlyer

Now Delta isn’t just blocking upgrade and award availability, but they’re actually not letting ExpertFlyer display any information about their flights, including revenue fare classes, seatmaps, etc. There are several airlines that have requested ExpertFlyer stop displaying award and upgrade space, but as far as I know Delta is the first to request that they stop displaying revenue space, seatmaps, etc., as well.

ExpertFlyer has posted the following notification on their website:

Delta has requested that we no longer offer to you any information on ExpertFlyer pertaining to Delta. Since our inception almost 10 years ago we have accessed Delta information through a GDS where they publish information for the benefit of various travel providers. We have always done this with the full knowledge and tacit approval of Delta. However, there now appears to be a change of thinking at Delta where this is no longer the case. As a result, we will no longer display Delta information in any of our Tools, including Flight Availability, Upgrades, Seat Maps, Fare Information, Flights Status, Flight Details, and Flight Timetables. All Alerts of all types for Delta will be set to Expired as to not count against your active alert limit.

To be clear, this action is not unique to ExpertFlyer. Delta has recently been removing their data from many websites, both booking and non-booking, in an attempt to force as many travelers as possible to only use delta.com and their apps for Delta information. In our many conversations with Delta it was made clear to us that their new policy is that any service or website that is not explicitly authorized to show Delta data will be forced to stop, especially any that screen scrape data from Delta.com or any Delta partner or agency website.

Our many attempts to forge a new agreement for the display of this information on ExpertFlyer with Delta have been rejected. We believe, and have explained to them, that ExpertFlyer brought value to Delta’s best customers and by extension to Delta itself. We hope in the future Delta will come to see the net value that ExpertFlyer gives to them as you have already discovered. Should you wish to express your thoughts on this matter to Delta, you can reach customer support here:
Delta Email Feedback

You may also send a copy of any feedback you send to ExpertFlyer at testimonials@expertflyer.com and we can pass it along to our contacts at Delta.

As always, thank you for your continued support.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team

Very disappointing on the part of Delta, and not at all customer friendly…

Comments

  1. Indeed, baccarat, after reading that article, it certainly seems that Delta’s actions towards Experflyer were probably motivated by that lawsuit – or if not by the lawsuit directly, then by a general move towards controlling how tickets are booked so they can manipulate prices. From the article:

    “Delta uses software from Amadeus to segment buyers into groups and figure out their willingness to pay. Based on that, the software manipulates fare inventory and prevents customers from seeing and ordering the cheapest fare class on connecting flights.”

    The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims this is fraud, breach of contract, etc. I’m not so sure it’s actually illegal: let’s say I own a tax preparation service and I want to help poor folks in my neighborhood. So, I charge them less per hour for my services than I do my wealthy customers. Is that illegal?

    Clearly not, but of course Delta isn’t trying to help poor folks – it’s trying to maximize profits by controlling and manipulating what its customers know. At the very least, it’s extremely obnoxious and any company that does something like this should be publicly shamed so that customers can avoid it in favor of businesses with more ethical practices.

  2. Delta has the largest profit margins of any other US carrier. Why? Because they’re greedy. It’s obvious their main goal is to provide as little to customers as possible while charging as much as they possibly can. You can see that when you fly them (dirty, older planes, subpar food & service in their premium cabins/lounges despite the fact that they charge just as much, if not more than international carriers who fly the same routes, and I’m convinced their EC product is he biggest scam in the skies). They’re big and no matter how much money they make, they’ll always look for a new way to screw travelers over to make an extra buck because they can get away with it. I’m getting more and more tired of their antics. My reluctant acceptance of their dominance is growing into full grown dislike. I hate how Delta does business and if I wasn’t hub trapped, I would never set foot on another one of their rust buckets again.

  3. Reine, I feel for ya, but you could say exactly the same things about any of the big carriers (particularly United). In general, US-based airlines’ business model has become, “provide as little as possible while charging as much as possible, because we will still have customers no matter how badly we treat them.”

    Loyalty doesn’t go as far as it used to, either, which is one reason why, for the first time in more than a decade, I won’t make even the lowest status tier on any carrier for next year. I’d rather just not fly than be treated like an animal, so for many of my trips this year that I would have flown on United in times past, I either drove, took the train, flew another carrier that had a better schedule, or just decided not to go at all. At the same time, I collect points in certain programs via credit card bonuses and spending, and use them for the only kind of air travel that isn’t yet finger-nails-on-the-chalkboard annoying: premium cabin international travel.

  4. Expert Flyer seems to be becoming marginalized through a death of a thousand cuts. UA and much of Star awards-gone long ago. BA awards-gone. One World awards which include any US Air flights-never arrived. Now all Delta info-gone.

    EF has a very user friendly website but doesn’t seem able to keep access to the info I need. I hope this turns around soon.

  5. This is no more than an action by a company to control how its own information is distributed – nothing more, and nothing less. For other consumer products, we don’t always have access to how much the company charges other customers or vendors for the same product, and sometimes we need to go the manufacturer to get all of the information we need to make a buying decision. EF is a useful tool that made it easier to get DL’s inventory information for a relatively small number of travelers, or at least a small enough number that DL didn’t see themselves alienating many customers with their decision.

    What I have trouble understanding is why so much of the response toward this decision has been so one-sided against DL, and I find the “piling on” rants above about the airlines in general to be unrelated at best, and completely not objective at worst. DL is making money because they are doing a better job of offering a product that the consumer wants at a price that they are willing to pay. It’s hard to justify it as greed when the overwhelming majority of their employees are non-unionized and happy, are sharing in DL’s profits, and survey after survey ranks them as a top domestic carrier.

    As with each of the previous changes that have occurred with EF over the years, we’ve only been given one side of the story from EF. I’ve yet to see a convincing argument as to how the decision to pull their own information from EF is unethical or customer unfriendly. All of the same information is still available through other means.

  6. George-

    I doubt those surveys you cite showing Delta be the top domestic carrier focused on readers of this blog. Or Flyer Talk. Or regular Southwest customers.

    Maybe they were the same surveys that indicated most Delta employees are happy.

  7. @George – +1.

    @Sam – Who cares if the surveys included people who read this blog? If these people aren’t numerous enough to effect DL’s bottom line, then it doesn’t matter.

  8. Brian-

    We agree. Delta doesn’t care about the most of people who read this blog (and Flyertalk), and most of those people couldn’t care less what Delta thinks or does.

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