Eliminates a Really Useful Tool. Here’s What You Can Use Instead.

My favorite free source of flight availability data was, a site I explained how to use to find flights that have award availability, or even just seats available like when your flight gets cancelled and you want to find other plans to suggest to an airline instead of just relying on them to figure out how to get you home.

Flightstats is mostly used for checking on how a given flight is doing, or showing how an entire airline or airport is doing on a specific day.

I suspect the flight availability feature was one used by a small number of customers, but those who used it tended to be experts (the kind of people who knew they wanted seats in “O” or “A” inventory buckets) and really relied on it.

Sometime today they removed the flight availability feature. I had hoped this was temporary, but I reached out to FlightStats to see what was going on and here’s what they said:

We just released some enhancements to including user interface improvements to the mobile site. We also removed Flight Availability. We fund the free tools on the site with advertisements and occasionally add/remove features based on customer demand.

So they decided it was too costly for them to support given its use, at least that’s their explanation.

FlightStats was useful for nearly every airline except for American. Although it was an interface for availability via the Sabre reservation system, which does have American flights, American Airlines inventory was not displayed at FlightStats.

For that reason I find Expertflyer, the pay service, to be indispensable. Expertflyer shows flight availability just like FlightStats did, plus it includes American Airlines and has ‘special classes’ for American that I cannot access anywhere else (like American’s “C” inventory which is upgrades for a paid ticket from economy to business class).

It’s a sad day indeed to see this excellent tool decommissioned.

In the meantime, and for those who don’t find subscribing to Expertflyer to be worthwhile, you can get a yes/no for availability in each class of service (first/business/economy) but not the number of seats or specific fare buckets or special classes from BCD Travel.

And will show availability in individual fare buckets for those airlines it supports when logged into your account and set to Expert mode.

I’m going to need to search for some more data sources… if only as a backup. I’ll use Expertflyer of course but knowing more sites is helpful just in case.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @viewfromthewing
    well thats not very nice of FS. i rather enjoyed the flight availability feature after you showed me how to use it. was good while it lasted.

    do tell of other similar service you discover.
    ill check out this BCD in the meantime.. do you have a post on how to use BCD?

  2. Like Marshall Jackson said, there is no access to DL inventory anymore. Based out of DTW, that’s a big hurtle for me.

  3. Flightstats availability was very good for a quick check on rerouting options.

    BCD displays much less info, and thus not a great replacement. Eg a yes for economy could represent Y1 (everything else 0) or (all 9s).

  4. It is really disappointing.
    What even more incredible is that I was actually on when they removed that feature yesterday PM.
    Was looking for some award availability between US and Pacific and suddenly there was no option. I WILL MISS IT

  5. Problem with BCD Travel – While it shows availability, it does not appear to distinguish between saver and standard seat availability.

  6. I too was left wondering whatever happened to seat availability while using it.

    What really amazes me is how badly flightstats handled this, not even a small note telling to its users that they were discontinuing the service, and explaining why. Totally arrogant. I’ll never use them again.

    (and thank you for your information)

  7. I’d go so far and put the blame on kvs. They have been scraping the information from flightstats for their flight availability tool and flightstats didn’t agree with this.
    A simple user request on flightats own website does not create heavy costs for flightstats, but screenscraping without showing any ads was really bad on the pocket or flightstats.

  8. As a frequent Non-Rev traveler I was very disappointed that Flightstats pulled the seat availability function. I’m Glad to see BCD travel picking up the slack. I tried BCD this morning and looks like a good replacement for me.

  9. BCD travel tool is broken.
    Anyone knows if there’s any intention of fixing it, or any other site that offers similar tool?

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