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Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

Swindon, United...
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3,648 posts
26 reviews
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Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

Recently we flew to the Maldives with Etihad. On the return flight to Abu Dhabi the flight was overbooked, by which I think they meant that economy was overbooked. The check-in staff had overridden our pre-booked seats and gave us different seats. Their reason was the overbooking, but I couldn't understand what that had to do with it.

Is it normal practice that check-in staff can ignore pre-booked seats and put you elsewhere?

Lancashire, United...
Destination Expert
for Playa Blanca
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34,036 posts
57 reviews
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1. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

Seat numbers are never guaranteed, and can always be changed.

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
94 reviews
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2. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

Yes, this happens and as stated, no seat assignment is ever guaranteed. If you are the last to check in, you are usually the first to lose your seat. In the future, try to check in at the 24 hour point. No guarantee you will retain your seats, but it helps.

Swindon, United...
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3,648 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

Ok, thanks. If our seaplane hadn't been delayed so long we would have checked in earlier, and may have been one of the lucky ones to have been bumped to business class!

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
94 reviews
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4. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

In this type of situation, more airlines will start moving up their frequent flyers with status first.

Liverpool, UK
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19,317 posts
34 reviews
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5. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

"Is it normal practice that check-in staff can ignore pre-booked seats and put you elsewhere?" - As has been said seat assignments can be changed by check in staff due to overbooking, equipment changes or any number of operational reasons that the airline considers appropriate.

The only comeback you have is if you paid extra for a premium seat, such as extra legroom, where you might be able to get a refund if you're not seated in a similar seat.

6. Re: Check-in staff overriding pre-booked seats

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