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Switching seats on United?

Arroyo Grande, CA
posts: 27
reviews: 12
Switching seats on United?

My husband and I have flight credit dollars that can ONLY be used for travel for the two of us. And it's a big amount. We are taking my daughter and her best friend to Ireland next summer after their high school graduation, as a gift. We have enough flight miles to book their 2 seats in economy, and enough credit to book ours in 1st class. Once we get to the plane, are we allowed to switch seats and let the girls have the first class seats? I know, you all think we're crazy! But this is THEIR gift and the only reason we are having to go along on THEIR grad trip is because they are both young graduates at 17 yrs old and can't rent cars or check into hotels themselves! Thanks in advance!

21 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
posts: 2,607
reviews: 30
1. Re: Switching seats on United?

I haven't been fortunate to ever have been seated in First Class. But I've switched economy seats with my family members without problems on other airlines. I've seen other passengers (who knew each other) switch seats and the flight attendants didn't even realize it too. I would like to think it's the same for other classes. I don't see what the issue would be if you were to switch your seats with your daughter and her friend. Even if there were a question you're there to explain it.

Edited: 11:51 am, August 20, 2014
Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
posts: 3,436
reviews: 17
2. Re: Switching seats on United?

Why not book them directly into F?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 12,856
reviews: 23
3. Re: Switching seats on United?

Why can't you simply book yourselves in Economy and your daughter + friend in First Class if the booking is being paid for by your flight credit dollars.

Switching seats between cabin classes is not an automatic right and down to the discretion of the cabin crew.

Hanau, Germany
posts: 1,473
reviews: 25
4. Re: Switching seats on United?

There was a big discussion about that on here a few weeks ago, the essence no, you can ask if you can switch, but if the crew says no that's it, they might or might not let you do it.

Maybe better use of your miles is to pay for eco tickets and then upgrade the two girls with miles, others will explain that better.

They can't rent cars, but public transport is much better in Europe than in the US, so they can get around on their own, also checking into hostels shouldn't be a problem at 17, but then I do understand that you don't want to let two young ladies go on their own on such a big trip.

Oahu, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 10,129
5. Re: Switching seats on United?

"Why not book them directly into F?"

Presumably because:

"My husband and I have flight credit dollars that can ONLY be used for travel for the two of us".

OP, reportedly, pax have done this without problem, so long as there aren't multiple switches back and forth.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 20,622
6. Re: Switching seats on United?

Because they can only use the credits for their own tickets.

Erin, I would just have the girls board the plane with your boarding passes, rather than trying to switch once you're seated. Obviously you have to go through security with the correct boarding passes, but once you're at the gate no one cares whether one member of the party sits in another's seat, as long as they do so for the whole flight.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 20,180
reviews: 5
7. Re: Switching seats on United?

From what I read Erin plans to switch seats with her daughter + friend for the entire flight (girls in BusinessFirst and adults in Economy) with no seat swapping mid-flight. That should be no problem. The issue comes with "double dipping" - switching between J and Y during the flight, and as long as you don't do that you should be fine.

I agree with the others. Board together using your assigned boarding passes and then explain to the purser on the plane that you would like your daughter and friend to have your seats and you have theirs. The potential issues could come with ground staff if you board with someone else's boarding pass (they often to a passport check at boarding) and if you try to get them into the lounge (they do a boarding pass and ID verification there too).

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 20,622
8. Re: Switching seats on United?

USBT is right about boarding with the right boarding passes in case of passport check, but once you're on the jet bridge, I would really just have the girls proceed to your seats and you proceed to theirs. There's no reason to involve the purser, who will be busy. If you're switching for the whole flight, it makes no difference to the flight crew.

UK
posts: 46,972
reviews: 90
9. Re: Switching seats on United?

but once you're on the jet bridge, I would really just have the girls proceed to your seats and you proceed to theirs. There's no reason to involve the purser, who will be busy

=====

+1. And the purser could always say "no" if you ask, which is a reason not to :-)

But if you just go sit in those seats, then its a done deal.

Should they question later, if they find out you arent who they have on their list, which could happen, just explain you swapped and will be staying there for the duration and there wont be any to-ing and fro-ing which would be their only concern

Edited: 1:01 pm, August 20, 2014
Seattle, Washington
posts: 9,171
reviews: 100
10. Re: Switching seats on United?

If you are talking about Global First, not BusinessFirst, yes, you are crazy :).

UA FAs will have a list of who is supposed to be in F, and they will know you switched seats. However, as long as you don't engage in any seat switching during the flight, this usually isn't any problem.

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