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united airlines seat reservation question

Plymouth, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
united airlines seat reservation question

HI we are due to travel with our 6 year old daughter for Christmas and new year. In total 4 flights with united airlines. as we are from the UK we have not travelled united airlines, and so need some clarification regarding the seat reservation system.

when we recieved our e tickets today, I went onto the website and noticed the seat system. However when I logged in, it seems that most of the seats are already gone. In one flight there are no economy seats available for reservation and in another there are only 3 left, all scattered around plane (so no good - cant have a 6 year old sat on her own!).

Does this mean we have to pay extra for the premium seats, or if we wait will be allocated other seats?

Thanks for your help in advance...

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
13,568 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

"Does this mean we have to pay extra for the premium seats, or if we wait will be allocated other seats?"

You don't have to pay for premium seats and will be allocated seats in the economy cabin - however as you just received your e tickets I assume you have only booked these flights recently and as this is a peak travel period a number of passengers will already have selected seats.

There is no guarantee you will be seated together although I would expect United to at least try to sit your 6 yr old with one of her parents - the earlier you get to check in might increase your chances of getting it resolved satisfatorily.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
316 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

It does not mean you "HAVE" to pay extra; however, if sitting together is important to you, I would highly suggest it- at least for one parent and the child to have confirmed seats next to each other. United offers the economy plus seats for a nominal fee and for long flights, it is definitely worth it as a solo passenger and will certainly be worth it to get the seating arrangement you desire.

Otherwise, you will just need to rely on luck or a generous gate agent.

Edited: 10:10 am, November 30, 2012
South Pole
Level Contributor
15,383 posts
35 reviews
3. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

pity u didn't select seats when booking.

but keep checking back into the seating selection site as it can be fluid.

other than that u r at the mercy of the check in staff.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
20,637 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

United has up to half its economy (Y) cabin badged as Economy Plus (E+) which provides 3-5" extra legroom for a charge (unless you're one of their elite frequent fliers).

If all the seats in the Y cabin are taken, then you will be assigned seats at check in, or at the airport (so make sure you get there early). The airlines do block some seats for allocation at check in to address certain issues such as seating families with children, so United will definitely try and hopefully succeed in getting you sat together, though no 100% guarantee.

But, ALSO check your reservation and the seat maps very frequently, as things happen that could free up seats (people cancel, get upgraded, an aircraft switch or just a glitch in the system). And, especially look when online check in opens at T-24 hours. That's when the Silver frequent fliers can upgrade from regular Y to E+ and that may well free up seats together in the back.

Edited: 3:45 pm, November 30, 2012
Plymouth, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
5. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

Hi,

We booked back in September via a travel agent but were not allocated seats, and were not sent our etickets until today. We have never flown with an airline that had seat selection prior to checking in so ha no idea that we needed to do this. It was only because I had a look at our booking today that I noticed it.

Unfortunately for us it isnt just a nominal fee to upgrade it will be £200 for just one of 4 flights, and anyway on one of the flights there are no seats at all!

However, I cannot believe that any airline would think it acceptable for a 6 year old child to be seated on her own away from her parents, so we have to assume it will be OK somehow. I will keep checking the seat plan, and hope for the best!

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Palmetto, Florida
Level Contributor
2,900 posts
14 reviews
6. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

Hi,

I have flown on flights without being able to choose my seats and I always am able to seat with my child, though not sure 4 together is always possible. I agree with your thinking, just keep checking the seating plans, then show up on the day early-ish/ definitely within time, and sort it out. It will be OK.

hn
11 posts
7. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

Can your travel agent help you with this?

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9,346 posts
99 reviews
8. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

However, I cannot believe that any airline would think it acceptable for a 6 year old child to be seated on her own away from her parents,

*************

There's only so much the gate agent can do. If there are no seats together, they can ask for volunteers. Some are more willing to do this than others, as their main goal is to get the flight out on time, not deal with seating issues.

If they don't force someone to give up their seat, or can't find volunteers, I have watched GAs just tell the passengers to board and leave it up to the FAs or the passenger to deal with it.

That's where it can become difficult. Highly advise you check the seat assignments daily if you are not willing to pay for E+ now for two of you. Hopefully, something will open up and you won't be left to deal with this the day of the flight. I know there are many people who will refuse to trade seats so best not to leave it until flight time.

Plymouth, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
9. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

Hi, thanks fr your replies.... What a terrible system United have! What I don't understand is that on one of the flights there are no seats to reserve at all. Which does worry me quite a bit - does this mean they have overbooked this flight? I hope not, because that will mean we are stuck in a strange country with nowhere to stay on Xmas eve :-S

Will try and contact the travel agent and see if there is anything that we can do - perhaps they can get the upgrades for less money than us. (By the way it's not 4 people, but 4 flights - 2 each way)...

Thanks for your help...

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
49,981 posts
15 reviews
10. Re: united airlines seat reservation question

If you've looked at the seat map and seen most of the seats selected, keep in mind that a percentage of seats in each class of service will be held for OLCI and airport control.

UA may assign seats for you at 72h prior to departure time, but if not then do ensure you check in the minute OLCI (on line check in) opens at T-24h before departure, don't wait to select seats at the airport.

You may check to see how many seats are still available for purchase for your flights here: flightstats.com/go/…flightAvailability.do Nine is the maximum number shown for each fare bucket but there may be more than nine seats available in each fare bucket.