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ExpertFlyer vs KVS Availability tools, as per administrator of Expert Flyer tool

ExpertFlyer vs KVS Availability tools, as per administrator of Expert Flyer tool

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Old Oct 26, 08, 7:24 pm
  #1  
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ExpertFlyer vs KVS Availability tools, as per administrator of Expert Flyer tool

I had asked the administrator of the expert flyer tool to compare his tool with that of the KVS tool. He sent me a private message with his responses, and gave me permission to post his response on FT. I will therefore quote his response.

Here is his response:

KVS and ExpertFlyer show different information because we get it from different sourcess. We buy it from the same airline reservation systems that travel agents use, KVS screen scrapes it from public websites. As such, we have access to information like enhanced Fare Rules and Routing Rules and upgrade and award information for certain airlines that KVS doesn't.

As far as features that EF has that KVS doesn't:
- Flight Alerts (the ability to be emailed when inventory on a flight opens up, either award, upgrade, or normal fare inventory).
- The ability to save searches so you don't have to type them again later.
- All our information is available on our mobile version at mobile.expertflyer.com
- Graphical seat maps for over 100 airlines (list of airlines here: http://www.expertflyer.com/sessionlessSeatMapList.do)
- Ability to see exactly how many award/upgrade seats are available for the airlines we support, not just a Yes/No answer

Also, all the information on your subscription and free trial is easily viewable on the Subscription tab on the My Account page, which is linked to from the top of the left side menu after you login.

Also you can find full documentation of all of our functions here: http://www.expertflyer.com/support.jsp

-EFV
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Old Oct 26, 08, 8:35 pm
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Good info - thanks for posting.
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Old Oct 26, 08, 8:38 pm
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Thanks, OP.

I'm hoping to start cashing in miles next year and I had been trying to decide between EF and KVS. I'm sure both have their strengths, it just helps me decide which tool is best for my particular needs in coming year.
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Old Oct 26, 08, 11:05 pm
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When you want to compare them, in the other thread (http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthrea...319244&page=52) there is also useful info, like this:

Originally Posted by KVS View Post
In terms of award availability:
  • Available exclusively via KVS Tool:
    BA/QF/IB/MA/LA,
    LH/US/OS/SK/TP/LO/JK/TK/SQ/NH/OZ/TG/SA/JP/OU/KF,
    CO/DL/KL/SU/AM,
    HA/YX/FJ


  • Available exclusively via EF:
    LX/CA,
    EK/MX
So not only the way it works differs, the info differs too, and -depending on the airline you want to travel with awards (in this example) can even rule either one out.
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Old Oct 27, 08, 5:13 am
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KVS- please compare features of your tool to EF tool - respond to EF administrator!

I believe for basic (Platinum level) functions, that the KVS tool is superior to the EF tool (even though I agree with the EF administrator in terms of the advantages of his tool over KVS that he has listed). I would hope that the KVS tool adminstrator directly responses to the EF administrator's statements by stating the the advantages of his tool, comparred to the EF tool.
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Old Oct 27, 08, 3:20 pm
  #6  
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Some of the advantages of the KVS Tool include:

  • Incomparably wider Award Availability coverage in all 3 global alliances (see http://Help.KVSTool.com/#Classes):

    • Available exclusively via KVS Tool (Awards):
      *A: LH/SQ/CO/US/NH/OZ/TG/OS/SK/TP/JK/SA/MS/JP/OU/KF
      *O: BA/CX/JL/IB/LA/RJ/MA/S7/MX/4M/KA
      *S: DL/KL/AM/KQ/VN
      **: DE/FJ/TL/FQ/OT

    • Available exclusively via KVS Tool (Upgrades):
      *A: LH/SQ/CO/US/NH/OZ/TG/OS/SK/TP/JK/SA/MS/JP/OU/KF
      *O: BA

    • Also available via KVS Tool (Awards):
      *A: AC/UA/LX/NZ/TK/BD/LO/SN/A3/JJ/CA
      *O: QF/AA/AY
      *S: AF/SU/AZ/OK/RO/CZ/UX
      **: AS/MH/UN/FM/LY/EI/AR/G3/EK/IT/TN/HA/F9/MP/VG/EC

    • Also available via KVS Tool (Upgrades):
      *A: AC/UA/LX/NZ/CA/BD/SN/A3
      **: FM/LY


  • Multiple user-selectable GDS & Point-of-Sale (POS) options for more relevant/accurate Availability and Fare data.

  • 'Always-on' approach: No need to log-in (except for once every 6/12 months when renewing membership); users are never 'logged-out'.

  • Keyboard shortcuts, which enable mouse-free interaction and can really speed things up.

  • PNR Manager

  • Reference Information Lookup:
    • Maximum Permitted Mileage [MPM]
    • Minimum Connection Time [MCT]

  • Flight Operational Info (With Airline Comments)

  • Visa/Immigration/Customs Information (TIMATIC)

Last edited by KVS; Feb 3, 11 at 9:10 pm Reason: Update
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Old Oct 27, 08, 4:20 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by KVS View Post
Some of the advantages of the KVS Tool include:
  • Incomparably wider award availability coverage in all 3 global alliances:
    • Available exclusively via KVS Tool:
      *O: BA/QF/IB/MA/LA,
      *A: LH/US/OS/SK/TP/LO/JK/TK/SQ/NH/OZ/TG/SA/JP/OU/KF,
      *S: CO/DL/KL/SU/AM,
      HA/YX/FJ


  • Text seat maps for most carriers, which can be easily copied-and-pasted into a FlyerTalk post or e-mail message, just like most other types of results (availability, fares, fare rules).

  • Multiple GDS & Point-of-Sale (POS) options for more relevant/accurate availability data.

  • 'Always-on' approach: No need to log-in (except for every 6 months when renewing membership); users are never 'logged-out'.

  • Keyboard shortcuts, which enable mouse-free interaction and can really speed things up.

  • PNR Manager.

  • "The ability to save searches so you don't have to type them again later" has actually been present in KVS Tool since early 2006 -- it's called "My Trips".
KVS:

Thanks, for the information. Can I ask you whether you agree with the EF tool administrator's comments in his first paragraph, in terms of your tool vs his tool?
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Old Oct 27, 08, 4:43 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by FlyerGoldII View Post
KVS:

Thanks, for the information. Can I ask you whether you agree with the EF tool administrator's comments in his first paragraph, in terms of your tool vs his tool?
I believe that everyone has a right to make comments, but commenting on them is not always necessary
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Old Oct 27, 08, 6:29 pm
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One thing I realized by using the KVS tool, and for 5 days previewing the EF tool:

1) KVS allows you to find award availbility by global alliance; EF does not have that function

2) EF does allow you to find a revenue ticket by global alliance; although KVS tool can find revenue tickets by single or multiple airlines; I am not aware that you can find a ticket from A to B (with stops in between) through a global alliance, using the KVS tool.
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Old Oct 28, 08, 2:31 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by FlyerGoldII View Post
One thing I realized by using the KVS tool, and for 5 days previewing the EF tool:

1) KVS allows you to find award availbility by global alliance; EF does not have that function

2) EF does allow you to find a revenue ticket by global alliance; although KVS tool can find revenue tickets by single or multiple airlines; I am not aware that you can find a ticket from A to B (with stops in between) through a global alliance, using the KVS tool.
You can't currently request regular availability or fares by alliance in KVS Tool, but you can instantly filter any results displayed by going to the [Filter] tab, and clicking the [*A]/[*O]/[*S] buttons.
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Old Oct 28, 08, 2:59 pm
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As someone who has used both tools, I'd throw out the following:

Both tools have their strengths and weaknesses, and which one you use really depends on your current needs. I would not be surprised to learn that many people have subscriptions to both tools.


Likes with EF:
  • Award availability for CA/FM/LX and more detailed availability on UA. When I was booking award tickets to China for the Olympics this summer, this was a huge help and timesaver.
  • Saved flight alerts/email alerts.
  • Fares and Routing Rules.
  • Graphical seatmaps.

Dislikes with EF:
  • I think it's kind of expensive for what you get.
  • It's not as fast for me as KVS (possibly a browser/javascript issue).
  • I think the banner ads are tacky and inappropriate considering I'm paying a monthly fee for this service, not to mention they really impact browsing from a mobile phone.

I haven't used KVS for over a year now, but at one time I had it installed at work and on my laptop and made frequent use of it (when I was using it there was no *A award availability checking).

Likes with KVS:
  • Fast, easy to use with keyboard.
  • Convenient award availability checking (this is assumed as I didn't get to experience it).
  • Better overall value.

Dislikes with KVS:
  • No configurable email alerts.
  • No award inventory for CA/FM/LX.
  • Sometimes seemed a little "clunky".

I honestly don't recall any details on printing from KVS - from EF, it's easy to do. EF can also search availability across a total of 7 days - this is very handy when planning award or MR travel - not sure how KVS compares. Finally, I'm not sure how the two compare for mobile usage - EF advertises a mobile homepage but I always forget the address when I'm traveling (dumb I know), and it's been too long for me to recall whether KVS had a WindowsCE version or not.

Frankly, the other thing that really helps a lot no matter which tool you use is a good understanding of how airfares/rules/routings work - with that knowledge, one or both of these tools, and extensive use of the ITASoftware website (free), you can really do amazing things when it comes to maximizing value on revenue or award travel.

Guess it's time to try KVS out again - would like to see how it compares to the ANA tool for award checking.
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Old Oct 28, 08, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by KVS View Post
[*]Incomparably wider award availability coverage in all 3 global alliances:
[LIST]
Available exclusively via KVS Tool:
*O: BA/QF/IB/MA/LA,
*A: LH/US/OS/SK/TP/LO/JK/TK/SQ/NH/OZ/TG/SA/JP/OU/KF,
*S: CO/DL/KL/SU/AM,
HA/YX/FJ

Except that KVS doesn't have upgrade inventory for many of those airlines, EF does. AA, NW, and DL are prime examples and especially important since neither AA.com nor Delta.com has upgrade searching on their own websites.

The full list of airlines we have award or upgrade data for is here: http://www.expertflyer.com/sessionlessClassList.do

To summarize, for awards: EI, AC, CA, AF, NZ, TN, AS, AA, BD, OK, LY, EK, AY, F9, MX, NW, QF, LX, UA

Upgrades: AC, NZ, TN, AS, AA, DL, LY, EK, NW, LX, UA

So if that list is what you fly, you're welcome to try out our 5 day trial, if not, send us an email with the airline you wish to see and we'll put you on the notification list.

Multiple GDS & Point-of-Sale (POS) options for more relevant/accurate availability data.
With ExpertFlyer, we have access to many different GDS as well, but we don't require our users to know about them or figure out which one to choose for every situation. We do it automatically on a per airline, per query type basis.

vysean: Please use our Mobile Edition of EF when using your mobile device at mobile.expertflyer.com. No ads or graphics, and all the functionality of the full site.

-EFV
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Old Oct 29, 08, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by ExpertFlyer Voice View Post
With ExpertFlyer, we have access to many different GDS as well, but we don't require our users to know about them or figure out which one to choose for every situation. We do it automatically on a per airline, per query type basis.
Is that right? I'd always understood that EF uses an American POS, which means that the fare availability differs for those of us who need to buy the tickets outside of the US. For instance, EF will show I class availability on BA (say) which is only available from the US. European customers do not have access to this class but there is no way to tell without separately pricing up on ba.com
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Old Oct 29, 08, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by csdf View Post
Is that right? I'd always understood that EF uses an American POS, which means that the fare availability differs for those of us who need to buy the tickets outside of the US. For instance, EF will show I class availability on BA (say) which is only available from the US. European customers do not have access to this class but there is no way to tell without separately pricing up on ba.com

EF does use a US POS, however a POS is not specific to a GDS. A GDS can have any POS depending on where the travel agent who signs up with them is physically located. In our case, all our GDS connections have a US POS. The value to us is that different GDSs have access to different airline information as one may have acess to an airlines seat maps or fares (like in the case of WN) and other may not. Being a US company, when we sign up with the GDSs we are only allowed to have a US POS, there are regulations preventing us from having a POS in a country we don't have a business presence in.

With KVS, the different websites the tool pulls data from happen to be from around the world. As such in that context a different GDS also means a different POS, it's just how it worked out.
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Old Dec 13, 08, 10:24 am
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Expertflyer banner ads

I have subscribed to expertflyer from the beginning and though I only use it a few times a year for some reason I never noticed the banner ads - for a subscription service having ads is really tacky - but what is more frustrating is that they are very distracting - searching for reward space over Xmas and there's some stupid flashing banner ad at the top of the page - it is enough for me to cancel with them (e.g. I've already removed my credit card number) I guess their business must be really doing well or perhaps it isn't - either way they've just lost a long time customer.
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