Expert Flyer Introduces Free Account with Seat Alerts

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.

Free Account:

  • 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interesting model, might actually work better for them than the annual or monthlies. somebody’s thinking!

  2. I signed up for the free trial last spring and cancelled when Delta disagreed with what Expert Flyer was telling me. I signed back in today and now my account is listed as “Free Service”. This is a much better way to try the service than the old 5-day trial.

  3. TO get a wider coverage of Airline awards and upgrade availablity I would suggest ExpertFLyer as well the KVS Availability Tool. I find both have their uses.

  4. Hi Gary, thanks for the post, fyi the link to EF is broke.

    tivoboy – Our existing subscription model works great, however we wanted to add something that can appeal to a wider audience and Seat Alerts is a concept that anyone can understand.

    Chris – As noted in our MP post, the Free account is just Seat Alerts, where the 5-day free trial allows you to try all the ExpertFlyer features. You can upgrade from Free back to Basic/Premium at any time. As for Delta, just call back and get another agent. 🙂

    hobo13 – Yes, as noted in our MP post, and our features page here: Seat Alerts has been added as a Basic feature, you can have up to 4 Seat Alerts at a time as a Basic user. Login and try it out.

  5. Does Expert Flyer have the ability to notify you via email when an upgrade award or free Saver international First class ticket becomes available on United Airlines?

  6. Thanks EF Voice. I realized after I posted my initial thought that that was the case.

    Pretty incredible that you are able to actually put an alert on a specific seat of a plane.. Great stuff.

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