Expert Flyer is a web-based service that lets you see availability of flights, look up fare rules, search for award space (on a limited set of airlines) and even have their system automate searches and email you when space opens up. That’s the most useful and unique offering they have in my opinion.
The system also has ‘seat alerts’ — you book a flight but can’t get the seat you want, maybe only middle seats are available or perhaps you’re flying United and you want an economy plus aisle but no economy plus aisle seats are available. Or maybe you’re looking for an exit row, but all the exit row seats are full. Expert Flyer will keep searching for the seats you specify to open up and email you when they do, which frequently they will especially on domestic flights because the people in the seats you want may be elite members ahead of you in the upgrade queue — when their upgrades clear, their coach seat opens, and this gives you an advantage in grabbing the seat they had previously held.
I find it worth the $99 annual fee for premium membership, which includes all of their functionality and plenty of automated alerts. They have long offered a 5-day free trial so that you can test out the system before committing.
Today they announced on Milepoint the introduction of a free account. It’s pretty limited, but will be useful to some.
- With the Free account, you can only create Seat Alerts
- 1 Active Seat Alert at a time is included with the Free account
- This 1 included free alert can use the Any Window Seat, Any Aisle Seat, or Any Seat alert options. The Any Exit Row Seat, Any Two Seats Together, or Specific Seat alert options require a paid Seat Alert which is $.99
- Additional Active Seat Alerts can be purchased for $.99 each and include all alert options.
- If you sign up for a Free Account to start, you can at any time click the Upgrade button that you’ll see after you log-in to start a 5-Day trial of our Premium service, or to reactivate your Basic or Premium subscription if you already had your 5-day trial.