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Fare Class has Inventory - Not Able to Book into?

Old Mar 6, 2015, 4:46 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Common issue
Expert Mode shows ..... T9, L9, K9, G9, N9 but you not able to get united.com or other sites to provide a fare for N or G or .... WHY?

There are three requirements to be able to book a fare class
1) there needs to be a fare rule for that fare class for your O/D.
2) you need to meet all the requirements for the fare rule -- advance purchase, days of the week, min stay, qualified flight numbers, qualified routing (including a possible RT requirement), .....
3) there needs to be inventory in the fare class

So if the cheapest fare rule filed is K, you will not be able to book N or G
Even if a fare rule is filed and there is inventory then you still need to meet the fare rule requirements.

As for searching, if multiple fares qualify, the cheapest will be displayed unless you specifically force a fare class. While the fare hierarchy will generally match the cost, occasionally a high fare class will be cheaper than a lower fare class due to differences in fare flexibility such as refundable, changeability, ....

So there are multiple reasons for why a specific fare class is and not is offered. Confusion on this is one reason UA has been reluctant to make fare class inventory easily available and the reason UA requires one to accept the following terms before providing access to Expert Mode:
This is not a forecasting tool. Availability levels in certain fare classes should not be interpreted as indicating that we will make other fare classes available.

The presence of a particular fare class does not mean that there is a fare associated with it. For example, we may offer availability in a discounted fare class, but that does not necessarily mean we have published a fare that corresponds to it.
How can you see the fare rules?
While booking (on the first "Review trip itin" page) and after booking (on the online view of the reservation) , UA will makes them available -- but this is only if UA will display that particular fare.

Before booking or if unable to get access on UA, there are paid services -- KVS, Expert Flyer. ... can provide access to all published fare rules.

Related threads
Decoding the alphabet soup - New fare buckets for UA

How to get a P class fare to Europe?

Understanding Airline Inventory (non FT blog posting)

Desired Fare Class is available but has insufficient space, what can be done?


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Fare Class has Inventory - Not Able to Book into?

Old May 10, 2021, 1:46 am
  #1  
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Question: I see P2 over here (was P3 earlier in the day), but why is it selling at Z? I even tried r/t pricing just to see if that made a difference and still only offered seats at Z minimum. Trying to see if we can lower that price a bit so a relative can join up front. Thanks.
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Old May 10, 2021, 3:37 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit

Question: I see P2 over here (was P3 earlier in the day), but why is it selling at Z? I even tried r/t pricing just to see if that made a difference and still only offered seats at Z minimum. Trying to see if we can lower that price a bit so a relative can join up front. Thanks.
Because fare class availability doesn't mean the fare is available for purchase.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 10, 2024 at 10:43 pm Reason: cleanup after merge
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Old May 10, 2021, 3:42 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Because fare class availability doesn't mean the fare is available for purchase. Fare Class has Inventory - Not Able to Book into?
Ok I see what's happening, there's P availability but my one way probably doesn't fit the bill for allowing those P fares to show most likely. Makes sense, thanks!
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Old May 10, 2021, 3:51 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit
Ok I see what's happening, there's P availability but my one way probably doesn't fit the bill for allowing those P fares to show most likely. Makes sense, thanks!
You don't meet the P fare rules, likely the advance purchase requirement, but could be other reasons.
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Old May 10, 2021, 8:24 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit
Ok I see what's happening, there's P availability but my one way probably doesn't fit the bill for allowing those P fares to show most likely. Makes sense, thanks!
UA's pricing for most domestic F seats is based upon a combination of the F fare inventory and the Y fare inventory. This is done in order to make sure that F is never cheaper than Y, which used to be common for flights that were nearly sold out in Y (really). So, if you're seeing P fares on other flights the same day, but not on your flight, the likely reason is that Y is fairly full. On the other hand, if this is for the 5/20 flight that you were discussing on the upgrade thread -- the only P fare that I see requires both T inventory and a 21-day advance purchase.

You appear to have inferred from a change in P inventory that UA has sold one P seat. That's not necessarily true: UA can (and does) adjust inventory apropos of nothing; they also can (and do) adjust discount inventory if higher-class inventory is sold. So, if somebody bought a Z seat, the number of available P seats would almost certainly decline. Furthermore, if someone were already holding a P ticket -- especially for the return flight of a round-trip -- they may have been able to change to your flight. And, finally, it's possible that UA is selling, e.g., JAX-IAD-SFO on a P fare even when IAD-SFO is a Z fare, in which case somebody who bought JAX-IAD-SFO might cause a decrease in P inventory.
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Old May 10, 2021, 9:19 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
UA's pricing for most domestic F seats is based upon a combination of the F fare inventory and the Y fare inventory. This is done in order to make sure that F is never cheaper than Y, which used to be common for flights that were nearly sold out in Y (really). So, if you're seeing P fares on other flights the same day, but not on your flight, the likely reason is that Y is fairly full. On the other hand, if this is for the 5/20 flight that you were discussing on the upgrade thread -- the only P fare that I see requires both T inventory and a 21-day advance purchase.

You appear to have inferred from a change in P inventory that UA has sold one P seat. That's not necessarily true: UA can (and does) adjust inventory apropos of nothing; they also can (and do) adjust discount inventory if higher-class inventory is sold. So, if somebody bought a Z seat, the number of available P seats would almost certainly decline. Furthermore, if someone were already holding a P ticket -- especially for the return flight of a round-trip -- they may have been able to change to your flight. And, finally, it's possible that UA is selling, e.g., JAX-IAD-SFO on a P fare even when IAD-SFO is a Z fare, in which case somebody who bought JAX-IAD-SFO might cause a decrease in P inventory.
You are right they could've just dropped off P fare for no reason too. I've seen that happen far too many times. Also I was able to convince work to fly me out Friday rather than Thursday (my ticket went from C class to Z class), so the screenshot I posted was for 5/21, far more generous F class buckets than what Thursday 5/20 had naturally. But in either case, my not being able to see P class seats is probably for one of the reasons you mentioned, so I guess relative will probably bite on the current Z fare that exists. Thanks for the insight, always learning something new
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Old May 10, 2021, 10:31 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
UA's pricing for most domestic F seats is based upon a combination of the F fare inventory and the Y fare inventory. This is done in order to make sure that F is never cheaper than Y, which used to be common for flights that were nearly sold out in Y (really).
Well they're differential fares, so the P can be structured so it's always higher than the cheapest available Y fare. I think it's more accurate to say that UA now tends to limit P fares to deep discount Y inventory, the general theory being that if they don't have to offer deep discount Y to sell the flight, they shouldn't be selling deep discount F, either.

I have to admit UA's gotten very good at maximizing revenue based on demand. Certainly more sophisticated than what I see from AA, which is stone-age RM by comparison.
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Old May 10, 2021, 10:55 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Well they're differential fares, so the P can be structured so it's always higher than the cheapest available Y fare. I think it's more accurate to say that UA now tends to limit P fares to deep discount Y inventory, the general theory being that if they don't have to offer deep discount Y to sell the flight, they shouldn't be selling deep discount F, either.
Right. In practice, the way UA seems to manage this is that deep discount buckets (G/K/T) map to P, discount buckets (S/L/W/V) map to Z, etc. In theory, they could publish a P fare that would work in conjunction with a V fare, but they don't seem to do that.
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 12:06 pm
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Looking for some good FTer advice on this situation I am in.

I am needing to travel to Florida in mid-December (before Christmas rush hits), the flight I want currently has the following availability
J9 C9 D9 Z6 P4 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 S9 T9 L9 K9 G9 N9 (another flight that day is zeroed out in L K and G)

UA is only selling S fares on this route as their T, L, and K fares are currently only filed through 11/16/21 (no G fares are filed on the route).

So this is the issue I am running into, should I wait to see if UA files L K and G fares on this route and does anyone know where I can find data on historical filed fares?

-As a final data point, UA hasn't filed any discount fares past November, for example in February I can usually find a K fare if I am flexible but nothing filed for Feb yet.
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 12:12 pm
  #10  
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You can book now and get a credit if the price drops later.

However trying to use historical data / tends today may provide false projections, today is very unlike the past.

And given the unusually high demand presently for FL, UA may not find it necessary to offer the rock bottom fares. But the demand could lessen and then UA may offer the lower fares.

Expertflyer does provide fare info back 1 year, but that will be little help in this case

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 11, 2021 at 12:18 pm Reason: EF data
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 12:26 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by N104UA
Looking for some good FTer advice on this situation I am in.

I am needing to travel to Florida in mid-December (before Christmas rush hits), the flight I want currently has the following availability
J9 C9 D9 Z6 P4 Y9 B9 M9 E9 U9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 S9 T9 L9 K9 G9 N9 (another flight that day is zeroed out in L K and G)

UA is only selling S fares on this route as their T, L, and K fares are currently only filed through 11/16/21 (no G fares are filed on the route).

So this is the issue I am running into, should I wait to see if UA files L K and G fares on this route and does anyone know where I can find data on historical filed fares?

-As a final data point, UA hasn't filed any discount fares past November, for example in February I can usually find a K fare if I am flexible but nothing filed for Feb yet.
December might be high period for Florida, but November certainly isn't. I suspect UA just doesn't want to sell discount inventory that far out given the amount of schedule uncertainty remaining.
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 12:26 pm
  #12  
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Given the extraordinary demand for travel I wouldn't count on the prices dropping. I see demand only increasing at this point. It's still quite a bit lower than in the Before Times.
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
You can book now and get a credit if the price drops later.

However trying to use historical data / tends today may provide false projections, today is very unlike the past.

And given the unusually high demand presently for FL, UA may not find it necessary to offer the rock bottom fares. But the demand could lessen and then UA may offer the lower fares.

Expertflyer does provide fare info back 1 year, but that will be little help in this case
Thanks I appreciate the advice, I wasn't adding ticketing date so EF wasn't showing historical fares

Edit: It actually looks like EF has historical fares for 2 years, and in 2019 UA loaded all of their discount fares for December the last week of June, so I will give it a few more weeks and monitor before I buy. I will attempt to remember to update here.
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Last edited by N104UA; Jun 11, 2021 at 12:39 pm Reason: Update
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Old Jun 11, 2021, 8:32 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
You can book now and get a credit if the price drops later.
Unless you’re not sure if you could use a credit down the line, this would be my advice. As mentioned, historical fares may not mean much in the time we’re in. It is possible the fares never drop lower, and then you wait and you could just pay more. Bigger possibility with FL at holiday season than other places. With no change fees, and the fare rules now allowing residuals to come back,I would book now if you know destination/date, and keep checking and rebook lower fares if they become available, with the ability to use the residual on a future trip.
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Old Jun 20, 2021, 2:02 pm
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Is there anyway on United's expert mode to book 2 passengers in different fare classes? i.e. if there is only 1 seat in the cheaper inventory can you book 1 and 1 as opposed to going to the higher class?

Doesn't work with most airlines, but UA does seem to have a bit more flexibility sometimes
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