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expertflyer question

Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
expertflyer question

I saw someone recommended the expertflyer.com site in one of threads on this forum so I decided to try it for my upcoming flight.

I have a flight with a stop-over, and I saw on one of my outbound flights (less than 2 months away) according to expertflyer, there are 150 seats on the plane and only 13 are taken.

Does that mean that only 13 people booked this flight? or that only 13 people have already chosen their seats? I chose my seat at reservation and I see it in blue (alone, in a sea of white...)

If only 13 people booked the flight - is there a big chance that the flight will be cancelled and I will be put on a later flight (there are more flights to my destination on that day)? If so - when will I know about it and how?


Level Contributor
2,992 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: expertflyer question

It means only 13 people have chosen their seat.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
51,310 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: expertflyer question

Rather than using the seat map only at EF, the flight availabiity search will give an approximate number of tickets available in the fare buckets for that flight.

Let's say you wanted to fly from Rome to Vienna. Make a search for FCO to VIE and flights with all airlines will appear, with (eg) J7 C4 R0 I0 Y8 B2 H4 L6 M0 O0 P0 showing for a flight at 1000 on 1 February, operated by Lufthansa.

The J, C, R and I fare buckets are for Business class seats, the others for Economy. I, M, O and P are sold out, but there are seats available in the other fare buckets.

If you look at the seat map for that flight you may find three seats in Business class selected and four in Economy - but some Economy fares are sold out for the journey.

In short, the seat map isn't a good indicator of ticket sales. Some pax won't select seats until OLCI or airport check in; airlines may allow only a certain percentage of seats available for advance booking, with the rest held for OLCI or airport check in.

I wouldn't take the information from EF as an indicator of undersold flights. If there are more flights on the day you plan to travel to your destination that indicates a good number of people want to fly the route.

Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
3. Re: expertflyer question

I was using the free service - it only has a "seat alert" for a specific flight feature - none of the other features.

I don't fly more than once or twice a year and I was checking this site out of sheer curiosity not for any practical reason so I don't think the paying option of the site is for me.

Thanks a lot for your answers though!

Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
14,709 posts
74 reviews
4. Re: expertflyer question



As an add-on to #1, which I wholly agree with.. is remember that cancelling is an act that's not done without a lot of pre-planning..

By that I mean, IF flight 123 from city ABC to city DEF is booked so light as to create a loss, it MAY be a good idea to cancel... but....

What about in city DEF? That airplane that arrives into city DEF is probably scheduled to fly onward to somewhere else-- be that back to ABC or even city GHI.. So by cancelling flight 123, they've created a 'gap' in DEF later on.. What's the plan there?

Plus you have crew issues-- you normally have crew assigned days, weeks or even as much as one month out.. Change that and you might have to pay a penalty to do so.. Also, you might now create a crew imbalance.. just like the above, that crew who works flight 123 might be needed in city DEF that afternoon, or the next day to fly something else. Now they're absent..

.. and that logic works down-line until the end of the operational day or longer.

All told, while it's not impossible to do short-term, sector/flight specific cancellations, it tends not to be a real common tool as the airline has to look at the larger system-wide picture.. Sometimes it's the lesser of two evils to fly flight 123 at a loss, in order to maintain schedule and fly a profitable flight 456 from DEF to GHI later that day on that same plane with same crew.

Travel Safe,

Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
5. Re: expertflyer question

Thanks for the explanation - it is really interesting to read things from an insider's point of view.

I'm actually not really worried about this flight. As i said, there are, if I remember correctly, 4 flights by the airline that day to my destination so I'm sure I'll get there. And as TravellerPlus said, I guess it shows it is a popular route.

6. Re: expertflyer question

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