Is there a way to get an idea of how many open seats there are on a flight the day of the flight? I know I can go on the UA web site the day before and view seat maps but this ability goes away at some point, usually around 24hrs (?) prior. So is there anything similar to CO's pda site that continually updates the seat map up until, and even after, the flight? I know that it only represents checked in PAX so it's not exact but at least it gives an idea. Should I just use one of the non-UA availability tools? I've always had a hard time understanding the way they worked.
Sorry if it's a rookie question but I did a search and looked through the FAQ. Thanks!
Programs: UA 1K MM, Starwood Plat For Life, Nexus/GlobalEntry
The only way you can do it is if you're actually booked on the flight and can use the online checkin system. Otherwise there's no way to see the seatmap once it goes to airport control. Usually it's 6 hours before the flight when that happens, but can sometimes be earlier.
Programs: UA 1K/1.8MM; SPG Lifetime Plat; HY Plat.; HH Gold; Nat'l Executive.
However, unclaimed seats on a seating map will not necessarily equal the number of unsold seats. So if someone is using a seat map to look at the "flight load", that search won't necessarily be accurate. It will be accurate for deciding whether another customer is already assigned a particular seat at that moment.
Programs: UA Plat, AC, AA, DL, Marriott Gold, Hyatt
Don't know if you can get the exact number, but there are a couple of ways that can give you an idea:
On .bomb, if it is more than 3 hours before departure, you can log in, and go through the steps as if you are booking a ticket. If you're in expert mode, when the flights come up, under flight details, a list of booking classes and the number of seats remaining to be sold will show up. You can also go to seatcounter (and flightstats has a way to see this too, now), where you can plug in your route and time of day (and preferred airline), and see this in the same general format. Use Y for the economy cabin, as these are the highest price tickets sold, so these will be the best representation of what they're willing to sell. A 9 means that there are at least 9 seats available for sale still (i.e. 9 or more). Anything less means there are that number of seats left. Note, due to oversell's, no show's etc. these numbers aren't 100% accurate, but they give you an idea.
I've also always gotten answers from phone agents on the day of/before travel. Sometimes I'll call and say I'm looking to standby for an earlier flight between XXX and YYY, or I'm looking to standby on flight XXXX, and was wondering if there's a good chance to be accomodated. Often, I am actually trying to standby. They won't give you exact numbers, but if they tell me yes, I'll often ask if there are a few, or many seats left, and if they say not really, I'll ask if there are still a couple of seats available, or if its actually sold out/oversold, and they usually are able to give you that information. Again, not exact, but it gives you a good idea.
Thanks all! I will check out those sites as well as expert mode on the UA site (that is what you meant by .bomb right)?
I will say one thing for the UA site -- I often search for one-way routes and there's nothing more annoying than having to click a link or have the entire page reload just because you select one-way. UA got this right by just removing the return date, instantly upon selecting one-way. A lot of sites make you wait while your possibly slow connection has to reload a special page for the "unusual" request.
Another plus is that, when you tab from "origin", the cursor goes right to "destination" without tabbing through other junk. That's smart design that avoids the frustration factor. Other sites, please take note.