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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: ExpertFlyer.com - Master Information and Updates Thread
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This thread is for ExpertFlyer Information and Updates only (as per its title) and many subscribe to it for this purpose. For other issues, please see the ExpertFlyer.com Help Desk thread.

If you have any questions about using ExpertFlyer or wish to report any issues, please email them at customercare@expertflyer.com.

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Old Jun 9, 09, 10:45 pm   #1
Company Representative - ExpertFlyer.com
 
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Arrow ExpertFlyer.com - Master Information and Updates Thread

Welcome to the master ExpertFlyer.com Information and Updates thread. Here we hope to provide a central place for questions, updates, general knowledge & best practices for FlyerTalk users that are also ExpertFlyer subscribers.

As always, please first email customercare@expertflyer.com with any ExpertFlyer support questions as that is always the fastest way to receive help with using your ExpertFlyer membership.

Want to find out more about ExpertFlyer:
New to ExpertFlyer? Bookmark this page
Or check out these links:

Airlines Supported by ExpertFlyer:
  • Just about all airlines that participate in the global airline reservation systems support Flight Availability, Flight Status, Flight Details and Fare Information
  • For the listing of airlines that we have Award and Upgrade availability data for, click here.
  • For the listing of airlines that we can show Seat Maps for, click here.

To receive more information about ExpertFlyer and the travel industry:
Follow the ExpertFlyer Blog
Follow ExpertFlyer on Twitter

Thank you for your support,
-EFV

Last edited by ExpertFlyer Voice; Nov 9, 11 at 12:55 am.
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Old Jun 9, 09, 10:45 pm   #2
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For future use

Last edited by ExpertFlyer Voice; Jun 9, 09 at 11:31 pm.
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Old Jun 24, 09, 1:45 pm   #3
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For those of you who are in to that kind of thing, ExpertFlyer can now be found on Twitter: http://twitter.com/expertflyer We may post some unique content on there from time to time...
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Old Jun 24, 09, 9:15 pm   #4
 
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Nice to see the discount offer on the blog yesterday for new members ... keep up the good work ... invaluable tool for me.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 1:59 pm   #5
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Fuel Surcharges

We made an update earlier today that will now try to show the fares on a Fare Information search with any surcharges that an airline *may* have integrated into the base fare.

We know this was a problem with AA international fares with their fuel surcharge that was baked into the "before taxes/fees" price, and our fares now match the base fares shown on AA.com for that. If other airlines calculated their surcharges in the same way it would have the same effect.

As always, we do not show the standard taxes and fees in the prices as they can only be calculated when pricing out a specific itinerary.
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Old Aug 19, 09, 12:15 am   #6
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Air Berlin and Brussels Airlines Seat Maps

Expertflyer now has live seat maps for Air Berlin (AB) and Brussels Airlines (SN). The full list of airlines we have live seat maps for is here (84 in total now)

-EFV
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Old Aug 19, 09, 8:03 pm   #7
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CZ, SN, IT, HA Awards

We added 4 new airlines to the Award/Upgrade tool today:

China Southern Airlines (CZ):
First - Award (P)
Business - Award (I)
Economy - Award (O)

Brussels Airlines (SN):
Business - Award (Z)
Economy - Award (U)

Kingfisher (IT):
Economy - Award (R)

Hawaiian Airlines (HA)
First - Flex Award/Upgrade (P)
Coach - Flex Award (Q)
(Sorry, we don't have access to the Saver awards)

As always, the full list can be found here.
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Old Sep 9, 09, 4:06 pm   #8
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Qantas Awards now available on ExpertFlyer

We're happy to announce that full Qantas Award availability for all 4 cabins is available again on ExpertFlyer.com. Not only can you search for Award inventory and know the exact number of award available on a flight, but you can use our unique Flight Alert feature to have our system notify you when an award becomes available that is currently unavailable. If you have any support questions, please email us directly at customercare <at> expertflyer.com

-EFV
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Old Oct 8, 09, 4:32 pm   #9
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ExpertFlyer Website Timeouts

I looked for a general EF feedback thread and didn't see one, my apologies if this post belongs in a better place.

I book or change my travel arrangements pretty much constantly, usually keeping at least one airline site and one Expedia window open all day. I recently subscribed to EF to help watch for availability and upgrades and have found it largely useful. It's now part of my standard array of travel windows that stays open all day and I flip to as necessary.

However, one of the most maddening aspects of EF is that it's constantly signing me out. I checked out their FAQ and this is the #1 "Navigating ExpertFlyer.com" question:

Quote:
Why do I have to log in again after I am idle on your site?
As a security measure, ExpertFlyer.com will automatically log you off if you have no activity on the site after 45 minutes
This seems like a pretty bogus argument, however. First of all, whose security are we protecting here? My security, in case I leave my computer unattended and an unauthorized person hops on immediately? Though I do have a couple of saved queries related to upcoming/potential flights, there's basically no information that's available to my logged-in account that isn't already publicly available. The credit card details are ***'d out, so the worst thing someone could do to me is turn back on auto-renew!

No, I suspect the "security" we're protecting is access to the valuable information that people pay EF for. The site owners seem to be concerned that I might log on to EF (in an airport lounge, perhaps?) and then leave the computer unattended, after which some malicious pirate could freely access flight status information they've not paid for. But since this user could never count on consistent access to forgotten EF logins, they couldn't really use this occasional chance access as a substitute for a paid subscription. [In my case, I only ever access EF from my phone or personal computer, but I understand there are others who make use of public terminals.]

It seems that the 45-minute policy functions much the same as DRM on music - it makes life super difficult for legitimate users but doesn't protect the music publishers from anything. It's a security fallacy, something that makes the owners sleep well at night because they have something they can call protection, but it doesn't really protect against any lost revenue. I would hope that the EF administrators could reconsider this policy.

Does anyone else use EF this way? Does it annoy you as much as it does me? Do you have any tricks or workarounds to help alleviate the problem?

Last edited by baliktad; Oct 8, 09 at 4:33 pm. Reason: fix typo
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Old Oct 8, 09, 5:59 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baliktad View Post
Do you have any tricks or workarounds to help alleviate the problem?
In KVS Tool you don't have to [manually] login and are never logged-out .
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Old Oct 8, 09, 6:41 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KVS View Post
In KVS Tool you don't have to [manually] login and are never logged-out .
Yeah, but will KVS status-match me from EF Premium?
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Old Oct 8, 09, 6:56 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by baliktad View Post
Yeah, but will KVS status-match me from EF Premium?
Let's see what can be done ...

Please e-mail a PDF print-out/screenshot of your EF account summary to StatusMatchKVSTool.com
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Old Oct 8, 09, 7:39 pm   #13
 
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DRM? What you described is more of the airlines point of view, not EF's, sounds like you have issues with Apple and the record labels. ExpertFlyer isn't perfect, but that's the first time I've heard that comparison. A company concerned about users privacy is not a bad thing.

Either way, did you email EF for an expanded explanation? I'm sure they'd be more then happy to tell you why it is the way it is if you just asked.

As for KVS, having to register each computer you want to use it on with KVS kind of reminds me of back when you had to put a dongle in the parallel port of your computer to use a piece of software. It "locks in" your computer and is way more "DRM"ish.

Last edited by lopinc1; Oct 8, 09 at 7:55 pm.
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Old Oct 8, 09, 9:37 pm   #14
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Baliktad, Thank you for your feedback, we always welcome constructive criticism of our service. While we understand your concern, it seems you’ve made some assumptions that aren’t true. When designing the user/session/authentication system there were several concerns at play with regard to how the system works:

- Since we anticipated that our subscribers would use ExpertFlyer not only in the comfort of their own homes and offices, but also at a busy airport on the run, we thought it best to ensure that our subscribers’ private information stayed private. Since you could potentially see a subscribers name, address, phone number, the company they work for, email address(es), and some limited billing information, we thought best to be conservative and error on the side of caution. You may not use ExpertFlyer on a public computer, but other subscribers do, and we have to think about what’s best for everyone. You may not think it’s a big deal, however others do. This is one of the reasons why there is a session timeout. That being said, there are many web browsers and utilities out there that will remember the password to a website so that you don’t have to type it in again.

- Another reason is technical. When you login, the information about your session as you navigate the site takes up resources on our servers. When you log out, or the session times out, those resources are then released and can be used again. If sessions never timed out then the system would run out of resources fairly quickly considering the size of our user base. Just so you know, many websites do this, especially travel sites where information about what you’re doing needs to be tracked from one page to the next. For example, if you’re on an airline website and you’re in the middle of searching for and booking a reservation and stop for an hour in the middle of it, you’d probably have to start again from scratch when you returned. Same thing. Even if we implemented an auto-login with cookies so that you don’t actually have to type in the password again to login, you’d still have to start your search over again as your session information would be gone.

- Your comment about “protecting against lost revenue” has nothing to do with the session timeout. Each user is only allowed to have one active session at any one time, this is to prevent against someone purchasing a single subscription and giving the username and password to their friends. Also, this prevents screen scrapers from mining data from EF using automated means and then profit from it by passing it off as their own.


The DRM you refer to limits the ability of people that purchase music online from using that music how they see fit, playing or copying it to the personal devices they want, etc. Conversely, you can use ExpertFlyer on any computer/device/phone/PDA etc that you want, no codes or device pre-registration required.

When we designed ExpertFlyer, we specifically wanted to have a web based service. It allows the service, and all its features, to be available on any platform, and any web browser, including any mobile device, to people all over the world. It also allows the service to work behind the scenes, even when your computer is off, to do things like check and alert you to open general, award, and upgrade inventory (our Flight Alerts feature). We thought this was better then having a program that has to be downloaded and could be installed on only Windows machines and that only works for you when your computer is on. We think having to login to a website is a small price to pay for the added benefits... more of which we'll be introducing later this year.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask us at customercare@expertflyer.com

-EFV
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Last edited by ExpertFlyer Voice; Oct 8, 09 at 9:42 pm.
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Old Oct 8, 09, 10:59 pm   #15
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Thanks for the responses! This is what I love about FT.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KVS View Post
Please e-mail a PDF print-out/screenshot of your EF account summary [...]
I've sent the mail requested with a PDF of my account subscription page. Look forward to an opportunity to explore KVSTool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
While we understand your concern, it seems youíve made some assumptions that arenít true.
I humbly admit my speculation was just that - I certainly didn't know any of the reasons for the 45 minute timeout other than the vague security claim in the FAQ. And I certainly didn't intend to make any inflammatory accusations. After reading the explanations provided, I have a greater sense for the reasons the service exists as it does today. Might I suggest that it's possible to allay the concerns you've listed and still provide a hassle-free service?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
Since you could potentially see a subscribers name, address, phone number, the company they work for, email address(es), and some limited billing information, we thought best to be conservative and error on the side of caution.
Most sites (including our own FT) resolve this concern with a simple "Remember Me" checkbox on login. It can be unchecked for the same level of protection by default, but still allowing users the option of declaring this a private computer. Or consider what Amazon does: a 'soft' logoff after a certain amount of time that will restrict access to sensitive account information, but still keeps the user logged in so that site preferences and buying habits can be respected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
If sessions never timed out then the system would run out of resources fairly quickly considering the size of our user base.
I would certainly be OK if the backend server session timed out and whatever state maintained was lost. As long as the cookie on my machine could automatically reauthenticate me and allow me to start using EF again without retyping my password.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
Each user is only allowed to have one active session at any one time
Also perfectly OK with this; it's fine to logoff/end any prior sessions when I log on to a new location. Basically the same way most IM services work: stay signed in one location until you provide your password at a new location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
We think having to login to a website is a small price to pay
Thanks, but I'd rather pay for the service all upfront in cash than with a dozen micropayments of my time every day.

I won't pretend to understand the entire system or the constraints that exist, so please just consider the post a request for a way to make my usage patterns a little less burdensome. Any way you provide that will allow me to use my home computer day-in and day-out without constantly re-logging-in would be a welcome improvement. Thanks for listening to your customers!
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