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UA Blocking Expert Flyer and KVS Access to R and Elite Award Searches.

UA Blocking Expert Flyer and KVS Access to R and Elite Award Searches.

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Old Mar 25, 14, 8:09 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Ocn Vw 1K
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UA Insider's reply in posts 247 and 254 of this thread:
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi everyone,

We recognize the importance and value to you of accessible and transparent information about United flights. It’s a meaningful part of your travel planning, and we are committed to providing useful information that is both accurate and preserves the integrity of United’s data and systems.

While we are committed to data transparency, Expert Flyer has been accessing united.com in an unauthorized fashion to retrieve UA availability. In addition, these activities have consumed significant united.com bandwidth that could otherwise be used by regular consumers. As a result, we had to take this action to protect the security and integrity of United’s systems.

Thank you for your understanding as to why we had to take this action. We continue to look at ways in which we can provide you with timely and useful information (some of which you will see in new releases of our own digital channels) as well as with partners that have authorized access to our data.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Expert mode/visibility in UA channels is unaffected by this.
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Old Nov 12, 13, 5:36 am
  #631  
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
:-: you're on the right track here. ... I think you may even be on the low side here in the estimate of how frequently some of the polls were performed.
I guessed low purpsely because I knew comments like this were coming:
Originally Posted by pete4212 View Post
Probably not...
EF can say whatever it wants about how often it queried, etc. Tools such as this do create a load on a server. How large depends on the configuration and we know pretty little about that. The point of fact is that UA, the source of the data, didn't appreciate it. Whether that was for data load reasons or for competitive reasons or something else does not matter. The point is that the data belongs to UA and they can control it however they wish to do so. From a consumer perspective it may stink, but given what else we've seen from UA of late this is just icing on a rather unpleasant tasting cake.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Nov 12, 13 at 5:43 am
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Old Nov 12, 13, 6:59 am
  #632  
 
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I feel bad for canceling my EF subscription because it's a great site/service. If the functionality returns I'll definitely renew.
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Old Nov 12, 13, 8:14 am
  #633  
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Plenty of variables in here, and feel free to challenge them but this is a starting point for those who are sceptical about the load from 4-6 searches per second:



Pax count is UA's full-year number for last year, all of the other figures are estimates in the absence of any hard data.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 1:11 am
  #634  
 
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Searching R space / Alternatives to EF

Pleased so far with EF, I was not familiar with the issue before the latest UA decision - Beyond scrolling this thread for the past 20 pages, I found all my answers by reading :

Eddy
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Old Nov 13, 13, 9:05 am
  #635  
 
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Plenty of variables in here, and feel free to challenge them but this is a starting point for those who are sceptical about the load from 4-6 searches per second:



Pax count is UA's full-year number for last year, all of the other figures are estimates in the absence of any hard data.
Thanks for the data.

It looks quite impressive that EF would generate that many searches.

If this is true, then EF should pay UA for access of data.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 9:50 am
  #636  
 
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Plenty of variables in here, and feel free to challenge them but this is a starting point for those who are sceptical about the load from 4-6 searches per second:



Pax count is UA's full-year number for last year, all of the other figures are estimates in the absence of any hard data.
Like you said, there are plenty of variables here. We don't know how EF did their searches for R space. We would need to know how EF searches, how many r alerts were set and how often per day each flight is searched. It could be as small as a few thousand searches a day.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 9:57 am
  #637  
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Originally Posted by Weez_1000 View Post
It could be as small as a few thousand searches a day.
It could be but it wasn't. If they were generating enough requests for UA to ntice, there had to have been an awful lot of them. UA didn't just decide to pick on EF.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 10:21 am
  #638  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
It could be but it wasn't. If they were generating enough requests for UA to ntice, there had to have been an awful lot of them. UA didn't just decide to pick on EF.
On the contrary, it looks like that's exactly what happened. EF has had UA award/upgrade information for years, so it was nothing new and it has been mentioned that EF was a source of this information on FT for years as well. Also none of the other UA screen scrapers were shutdown, so it would appear that EF was targeted, maybe a change in policy at UA.

Originally Posted by kb1992 View Post
If this is true, then EF should pay UA for access of data.
Well given...

Originally Posted by pete4212 View Post
I received this email from EF support:
With regard to United Award and Upgrade inventory, that information is currently unavailable at the request of United. ExpertFlyer is attempting to negotiate an agreement with UAL. So far, UAL has made not made any offer, or counter offer, of their own. However, we continue to discuss the matter with UAL in hopes of reaching a mutually agreeable conclusion.
It would seem the ball is in UA's court to accept or counter EF's apparent offer. Paging UA Insider, are you going to consider EF's offer or ignore it?
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Old Nov 13, 13, 10:48 am
  #639  
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Originally Posted by pete4212 View Post
On the contrary, it looks like that's exactly what happened. EF has had UA award/upgrade information for years, so it was nothing new and it has been mentioned that EF was a source of this information on FT for years as well. Also none of the other UA screen scrapers were shutdown, so it would appear that EF was targeted, maybe a change in policy at UA.
Given that nobody else was shut down one has to look at the way they scrape and the amount they scrape. Those who scrape centrally (like EF) are much more likely to be detected. As far as the amount, one has to represent a decent load in order to attract the attentin of UA. EF wasn't collecting data just once an hour for close-in stuff. I have no idea what the collection rates were, but all those queries do add up.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Nov 13, 13 at 11:52 am Reason: Whoops!
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Old Nov 13, 13, 10:54 am
  #640  
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Plenty of variables in here, and feel free to challenge them but this is a starting point for those who are sceptical about the load from 4-6 searches per second:



Pax count is UA's full-year number for last year, all of the other figures are estimates in the absence of any hard data.
How does the 21.8M related to the following from http://www.unitedcontinentalholdings.com/

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,341 flights a day to more than 360 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers.
is the 21.18M tickets / PNRs and 140M counting each segment? average of 6 segment / ticket seems high.

Count you explain how the EF number was derived? -- what were your assumptions.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 13, 13 at 10:59 am
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Old Nov 13, 13, 11:15 am
  #641  
 
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I have another (wacko) theory as to why EF access was yanked. Being in the computer industry, I think these query numbers are really, really small to make a big difference to UA. I think they yanked it to avoid people skipping the upgrade line when R opens up and their stupid system does not process the upgrade waitlist immediately. People can still manually search for R space but it is probability that the automated batch job runs between two manual queries is much higher.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 11:28 am
  #642  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
It could be but it wasn't. If they were generating enough requests for UA to ntice, there had to have been an awful lot of them. UA didn't just decide to pick on EF.
Again it's total speculation. I would argue that UA decided to stop EF because EF was exposing a problem in their CPU process. Maybe they really did care about elites getting jumped in the queue ( highly doubt it) but to say they stopped EF because of load on their website is pure speculation. No one else provides this service (other than KVS) so who else IS there to pick on??? And we know why they can't stop KVS, if they could they would IMO.
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Old Nov 13, 13, 11:31 am
  #643  
 
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Lightbulb

Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
How does the 21.8M related to the following from http://www.unitedcontinentalholdings.com/

is the 21.18M tickets / PNRs and 140M counting each segment? average of 6 segment / ticket seems high.

Count you explain how the EF number was derived? -- what were your assumptions.
1) There is no way an average UA ticket has 6 segments.

2) He probably assumed that EF does hourly inquiries on alerts so 126,144,000 searches per year translates to 14400 alerts total in any given hour.

Then he assumes that at ANY given time, there are 1200 EF subscribers with 12 alerts. All UA.

:-::-::-:
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Old Nov 13, 13, 11:50 am
  #644  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
How does the 21.8M related to the following from http://www.unitedcontinentalholdings.com/
Distracted posting on my part - that's only Q4 Full year passenger numbers are obviously quite a bit higher
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Old Nov 13, 13, 4:20 pm
  #645  
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Originally Posted by expressboy View Post
I have another (wacko) theory as to why EF access was yanked. Being in the computer industry, I think these query numbers are really, really small to make a big difference to UA. I think they yanked it to avoid people skipping the upgrade line when R opens up and their stupid system does not process the upgrade waitlist immediately. People can still manually search for R space but it is probability that the automated batch job runs between two manual queries is much higher.
That's the likely reason. The official explanation (too taxing on our bandwidth!) is total BS...come on already.
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