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.