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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:47 pm   #1
Company Representative - United Airlines
 
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"Expert Mode" Changes

Hi Everyone,

Later this evening we’ll be making a change on united.com that will remove the ability to see the specific allocation of seat inventory made to each Fare Class (this is the Fare Class hyperlink found in the right-most column when searching for flights or viewing itinerary details). I know that this is a popular feature for many of you here – in fact, we liked it too. But, it wasn’t without issues. Specifically, for many customers who are not as familiar with the ins and outs of fare structures, there was often room for this information to be misinterpreted. It also left the door open for undesired exposure that allowed automated scripts to scrape and re-display information in ways for which it was not intended.

That said, we have great appreciation for the transparency this information offered. For example, having a better understanding of how full a flight is, along with knowing how many other customers want to upgrade on a flight, can be critical in deciding whether to pay to guarantee a seat immediately, use mileage to upgrade, hold out to see if a space-available upgrade will clear or select another flight all together. We are committed to improving transparency around this. But, instead of simply exposing fare class inventory (which is quite confusing to most customers), we are working on better ways to share this more meaningful information. You’ll see one new feature added with this release and even more changes that work toward this effort in future releases.

9/14/2012: Important update on Expert Mode posted here

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines

Last edited by UA Insider; Sep 14, 12 at 9:34 am.. Reason: Update posted in new thread
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:51 pm   #2
 
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This is an incredibly terrible move. So regressive. Please reconsider.

This will drastically affect how often I book on United.

I can't believe that rather than fix issues, you've chosen the route of opacity.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:51 pm   #3
 
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Wow. You might have found a topic on which all FTers agree. A rarity.

Unlike many around here, I don't have a track record of ranting against the new UA, but this one is squarely in the 'hate it' category.

And the notion that it has anything to do with confused customers, with all due respect, strains credulity to its outer limits.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:51 pm   #4
 
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Thumbs down

This is a very bad move.

So UA could sell TOD upgrades and elites have no idea R>0.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:52 pm   #5
 
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Thanks Shannon.
But I think this is a very bad move.
Could you tell us please what is the "new feature" and how it will differ and/or add to the available information?

Last edited by UAPremExecflyer; Sep 7, 12 at 2:53 pm.. Reason: added 'bad move' which I omitted in hastily posting
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:54 pm   #6
 
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Will sites like expert flyer still be able to display inventory???
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:55 pm   #7
 
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Angry

And yet another (everyone in unison now) "change we'll like"!
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:56 pm   #8
 
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It's not just upgrading transparency that's an issue here, it's vital that we know which booking classes are open if we want to do same-day change or figure out how likely it is that we can SDC in advance. This is especially true because the website and/or the kiosk often won't display all of our SDC options, especially those with more than one connections.

It's just helpful in all sorts of ways to be able to see booking class availability.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:58 pm   #9
 
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Boy, the other day I was looking to get two G fares in a market. Nothing came up. I realized, because of the ability to see fare classes, that only 1 G seat was left. So I bought the tickets separately, one at a slightly higher K fare.

Without the matrix, it will be impossible to investigate.

Very disappointed in this move.

Still, I appreciate Shannon for communicating it.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:59 pm   #10
 
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shannon,

Will you also remove flight arrival and departure times from united.com as they are rarely accurate and given United's operations, most customers are very confused when comparing your timetable to reality.

The enhancement could be for new flight timings could be: "Crack of dawn" "Sometime after first coffee" "Afternoon Siesta" "Dinnertime for purchase" "Pitch Black" and my favorite "Manana"
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Old Sep 7, 12, 2:59 pm   #11
 
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Should I regret the fact that I just renewed my EF membership?
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Old Sep 7, 12, 3:00 pm   #12
 
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This is a real shame. It's sad that United couldn't find a way to continue to offer this functionality to those who specifically desire it. Couldn't have UA developed an opt-in just like the Preview site? Perhaps that's a little too much to ask, but it would be undoubtedly appreciated by all of us here.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 3:01 pm   #13
 
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Oh no. I use that almost daily.

It may sound ridiculous, but these are VERY important things, especially with suspect automatic processing of upgrades already. The only alternative may be to call every day to ask if space has come available- a burden I don't think the airline wants on it's phone system.

It's funny- A lot of discussions here surround how processes work; everything from meal choice to upgrade priority. When everyone else is asking for clarity, things suddenly get even more vague.

You mention that the information is used to decide "whether to pay to guarantee a seat immediately, use mileage to upgrade, hold out to see if a space-available upgrade will clear or select another flight all together" Not having the information at all may seal the decision to actually move to another carrier.

Though I've held out this long, maybe it is finally time for me to look around...
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Old Sep 7, 12, 3:02 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
This is a real shame. It's sad that United couldn't find a way to continue to offer this functionality to those who specifically desire it. Couldn't have UA developed an opt-in just like the Preview site? Perhaps that's a little too much to ask, but it would be undoubtedly appreciated by all of us here.
That's how the sUA site worked - it was a feature that users had to specifically turn on to see that data.
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Old Sep 7, 12, 3:02 pm   #15
 
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" It also left the door open for undesired exposure that allowed automated scripts to scrape and re-display information in ways for which it was not intended."

That is the meat of this one right there. Undesired exposure certainly aren't the customer's words, those are business terms. UA thinks people are manipulating the system and controlling this information is the best way out at the moment. I expect since this information is in a relatively "public" system that we'll all just find another way to access it and UA will be left with another public bruise over something relatively minor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi Everyone,

Later this evening we’ll be making a change on united.com that will remove the ability to see the specific allocation of seat inventory made to each Fare Class (this is the Fare Class hyperlink found in the right-most column when searching for flights or viewing itinerary details). I know that this is a popular feature for many of you here – in fact, we liked it too. But, it wasn’t without issues. Specifically, for many customers who are not as familiar with the ins and outs of fare structures, there was often room for this information to be misinterpreted. It also left the door open for undesired exposure that allowed automated scripts to scrape and re-display information in ways for which it was not intended.

That said, we have great appreciation for the transparency this information offered. For example, having a better understanding of how full a flight is, along with knowing how many other customers want to upgrade on a flight, can be critical in deciding whether to pay to guarantee a seat immediately, use mileage to upgrade, hold out to see if a space-available upgrade will clear or select another flight all together. We are committed to improving transparency around this. But, instead of simply exposing fare class inventory (which is quite confusing to most customers), we are working on better ways to share this more meaningful information. You’ll see one new feature added with this release and even more changes that work toward this effort in future releases.

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines
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