ayubogg
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:56 am

How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Fri May 30, 2008 5:04 am

I'm really interested in knowing load factors for my upcoming flight and the only way to get a general idea that I know of is with seatcounter.com . I know that if a fare type shows a 9 is a good thing, but why not flat out say how many seats are left? Just in general, is the site reliable?

Also as a closing question: how fast do C or J class seats usually sell out on a TATL flight? Do business travellers buy them shortly before departure or with months' of anticipation?

Any info greatly appreciated,

-Ayubogg
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Maverick623
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Fri May 30, 2008 7:42 am



Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
I know that if a fare type shows a 9 is a good thing

Multiple fare types showing nine are usually good, but that could mean that the airline is willing to sell 9 more tickets in any fare class. On many routes, the authorized oversell amount can be as high as 25 tickets.

If you're familiar with airline jargon, I'll make it simple: It shows availability, not booking level.

Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
but why not flat out say how many seats are left?

Trade secret. If airline A got a hold of airline B's exact booking level in the 2 weeks prior to the flight, they could use that to manipulate prices to their advantage.

Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
Just in general, is the site reliable?

I much prefer GoZed.com. The site looks at the exact booking level, and uses smiley indicators to tell you how the flight looks. Green means 15+ open seats, yellow 5-15, and red less than 5 seats available.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
emalad
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Fri May 30, 2008 11:26 am

I don't understand all of the different fare types that I am looking at. We are flying on BA558 LHR-FCO on 26th August. We have 2 seats booked in Club Europe. Can anyone help to see how many others there will be on our flight?
 
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vhqpa
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Fri May 30, 2008 12:59 pm



Quoting EMAlad (Reply 2):
I don't understand all of the different fare types that I am looking at. We are flying on BA558 LHR-FCO on 26th August. We have 2 seats booked in Club Europe. Can anyone help to see how many others there will be on our flight?

C class still shows 9+ seats for that flight so at the moment it looks wide open but it's far too early to get an accurate picture.



Vhq
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ayubogg
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Fri May 30, 2008 9:45 pm



Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 1):
I much prefer GoZed.com. The site looks at the exact booking level, and uses smiley indicators to tell you how the flight looks. Green means 15+ open seats, yellow 5-15, and red less than 5 seats available.

Thanks for all the info but unfortunately I don't get access to Zed or Miba  Sad
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goldorak
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Sat May 31, 2008 9:26 am

Note that some airlines apparently choose to use another number than 9 to display available seats. By example, AA use 7 in seatcounters. Of course, you never know if it is exactly 9 seats that are remaining in a particular booking class or if it's 15 or 50...

In my experience with a lot of AF flights (all kind : domestic, intl medium- and long-haul), Seatcounter was always reflecting the reality of the loads of my flights. But the bookings of a particular flight are constantly changing due to changes of itinerary, cancellations of trips, etc. Group bookings can have a great (positive or negative) impact on loads. So only a check on seatcounter the day of your flight will give you a close-to-final picture.

To have a good projection of the loads of your future flight, you absolutely need to have a good knowledge of the significance of the booking fares for your airline (the letters that are displayed in seatcounters), as these are different between airlines and even within an airline it can be different between domestic and long-haul sectors. So, to make it simple, you have to know which letters correpond to :
- discounted Y fares
- more flexible Y fares & full Y fares
- discounted J fares
- full J fares
- F fares
- award seats (for frequent flyers)

The discounted fares are the ones that are sold the most rapidly so you should see over days progressively the numbers of seats in these fares going below 9. After it will be the full Y/J fares who will go below 9 if bookings are going well. So a few days before your flight, if you still see plenty of availability in the discounted fares (>9 or close to 9), that means that the loads will be probably "light", or at least that your flight will not be full.

Also, as said by Maverick623, airlines are overbooking flights and this is impossible to distinguish in Seatcounters.

Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
Also as a closing question: how fast do C or J class seats usually sell out on a TATL flight? Do business travellers buy them shortly before departure or with months' of anticipation?

Both situation exists. A lot of short- and medium-haul business trips are decided in a short notice (less than 2 or 3 weeks) but for long-haul it is sometimes more anticipated as you can need a visa or some routes are very busy and therefore you need to book well in advance if you want to have a seat in J.
 
JGPH1A
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Sat May 31, 2008 9:40 am



Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
is the site reliable?

It depends where it is getting the information from. If it is getting it from a US GDS, then the figures for US carriers may be accurate but won't necessarily be for others. GDS's get their availability data in the form of AVS (Availability Status messages) or NAVS (Numeric Availability Status messages) that give either a class status (Open, Waitlist, On Request, Closed) or Numeric Status (a number from 0 to 9). This information is show in the form of a numeric posting level, derived from a default in the case of AVS or from the true numeric value in the case of NAVS. Many carriers also support real-time availability queries which will go to the airline's own inventory system and get essentially the same information, but with a greater degree of accuracy, and also customised for the specific point of sale making the request.

Either way, you will almost never know if more than 9 seats are available. Airline agents can have this info at their disposal, but it is not available to travel agents or (usually) other airlines. I don't know how FlyZed determines 15 seats available or more as stated above, I suspect that it can't without performing polling, which costs the airlines money and would almost certainly not be supported for a non-revenue travel website.
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Viscount724
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Sat May 31, 2008 10:00 pm



Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
I know that if a fare type shows a 9 is a good thing, but why not flat out say how many seats are left?

That kind of information is very valuable to competitors so airlines will never make actual load information public. The 9 (or 7 or 5 etc. depending on carrier) seats available information isn't very helpful. It's of course better than 0 or 1 or 2, but 9 seats simply means that there are 9 or more seats in that booking class open for sale, so it could be 9 or 250. And if it shows 9 it could also mean that every seat on the aircraft is booked but they are overbooking up to a certain limit based on the usual no-show rate for that flight.
 
deltairlines
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RE: How Accurate Is SeatCounter.com?

Sat May 31, 2008 10:37 pm

I've never had a problem with SeatCounter and ExpertFlyer (a pay service that's very similar to SeatCounter, just has a few more things that make it worth paying for) - it's helped me out numerous times when I've been been trying to do a Same-Day Confirmed for a flight and checking loads - there have been times where I've grabbed the last seat on the plane (ie checked SeatCounter, saw one seat, called Delta, had the seat 2 minutes later, then checked SeatCounter again and saw that it was zeroed out).

A couple of my friends that are 2Ps on UA also use SeatCounter religiously.

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