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First Choice Premier Warning...

London, United...
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66 posts
2 reviews
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First Choice Premier Warning...

We are flying to the Maldives this weekend and a couple of weeks ago we upgraded our flights to premium as the cost had dropped down considerably.

We are booked to a 'Premier' resort and had group seating included as part of our package.

I'm quite a nervy flyer and when I called and upgraded I was advised that seating was allocated on a first come @ check-in basis, and it would be worth our while doing 'day before check-in' at Gatwick so we could have the pick of the seats. Obviously as we have group seating included I was told that we would be sat together in most circumstances. So this Saturday we were going to do the 80 mile round trip to Gatwick to ensure this was sorted.

However, I just called First Choice to book day before check-in, and I have now been advised that because we upgraded we have lost our group seating, something I wasn't told when we upgraded, and that again, contrary to what I was told seating is allocated 4-5 days in advance and irrelevant of when you check-in we could be separated, be it the day before or the hour before.

I was also told that seats are allocated on a first booking first served basis, so whoever upgraded first will be seated first, and that as we only upgraded two weeks ago we're probably near the bottom of the list and could be stuck at separate ends of the Premier section, even though we booked the actual holiday 6 months ago.

Had we realised this I don't think we would have upgraded, as however better the standard in Premier, I can't think of anything worse than an 11 hour flight separated from my partner.

I thought I'd post about this as 1. I really need to rant but can't as I'm sat at my desk, and 2. so that others realise the consequences of upgrading seats close to departure date. Even if you booked the holiday a year ago, it is irrelevant.

Has anyone else found themselves in this situation, and do you know how likely it is that we could be split up? First Choice said that Premier on our flight is fully booked, so there will be no room for manouver with our seats.

Thanks

Steph

Stourbridge, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
2,070 posts
34 reviews
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1. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Hi Stizzy

I went to the USA a few weeks ago and we had a similar problem with being split up, but what you can do is find another couple that have been split or a single traveler to swap with that is what we did, the stewards were excellent in trying to get us togetherand swaping everybody around, hope this helps

susie

Burnley, United...
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289 posts
84 reviews
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2. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

I thought seats were allocated when you check in normally as they have asked us before if we want window seats and we have asked for certain ones and got them.......or is this just for non premier first choice. So if you pay the extra to be guaranteed to sit together (not premier club/class) you may not? am i right?

London, United...
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66 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

I think it must just be for standard, not premier. I'm just really annoyed we weren't advised of that when we upgraded, as it would have affected our decision of whether to or not.

It will be all well and good going premier, but it's just not going to be enjoyable if we're not sat together, it must put such a downer on the beginning of a romantic holiday. I was really excited about the flight and the fact we've upgraded as it sounded so good.

Am hoping my worries are unfounded and we'll get there and be sat together, but will have to be prepared we may not be.

Sx

Liverpool, United...
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2,524 posts
11 reviews
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4. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Tell them you are a nervous flier, and you need to be wiyh your partner. They WILL sit you together.

Go on to internet, Amazon.com and look for a book called 'this is your captain speaking', it is a book for nervouus fliers (I WAS one, once) the book is superb and you will enjoy your flight!

Mark

London, United...
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66 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Thanks Rousey, I did tell them this yesterday but again they said they couldn't do anything to ensure we're sat together. Will get to the airport early and hope that if we are separated then someone sympathetic might help!

Fingers crossed it doesn't happen though!

Sx

Cotswolds, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives, North Male Atoll, Southern Ari Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll
Level Contributor
4,645 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Stizzy ... interesting! We are off in 5½ weeks time in premium but with Monarch and I'm wondering if Monarch split people up as well? anyone knows? or is it just restricted to Frist Choice?

but agree with everyone else, but why do they split people up? seems all daft to me and childish of the airline to me!

.......... activegirl

cfc
Crawley, United...
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1,349 posts
17 reviews
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7. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Hi AG Monarch will split as well.2 years ago all 4 of us were sitting apart though they were very good in trying to get us all together.Seems that even in this day and age a computer cant sort out seating?

think it also comes down to the fact that a high number asked for window seats.Our return seaplane was late back at Male ,so we got what we were given !!

London, United...
Level Contributor
66 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

This is one time when technology and advancing check-in procedures doesn't work for the better in my opinion. What was wrong with allocating seating on check-in and arrival at the airport?! At least then if you were separated it was because you were the last to check-in, so probably no one to blame but yourself for not getting to airport earlier.

I just can't see how airlines can justify splitting parties up 4 days prior to the flight. Or allocating seats on a first upgraded basis. We've had the holiday booked for 6 months but as we only upgraded two weeks ago, it means that if someone booked their hol from scratch 3 weeks ago and upgraded at the same time, they would be more likely to sit together. Whilst I understand for the airline it may make things easier, it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of flying, as I was really looking forward to the flight and now I'm full of apprehension of what might happen at the airport.

On a shorthaul flight it's bearable, we were split up on BA to Edinburgh and whilst it was annoying, it was an hour. But on an 11 hour flight across the world surely there must be more they can do. After all, it's just bad customer service.

Sx

Devizes, United...
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598 posts
113 reviews
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9. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Airlines don't like splitting people as it causes upset and arguments however sometimes they become slaves to their own systems. Understandably seats become a very emotive subject and, the less seats they are the bigger the problem which is why the fewer premium seats are hard to organise especially when the bookings do not fit seamlessly into the way the seats are laid out in the cabin. So you could get a couple booking one minute, a family of 5 the next and an individual after that. Eventually, when the plane gets full a problem evolves so they immediately try and please the most people first by giving priority to early bookers.

HOWEVER

Some airlines try very hard to help people who have a genuine issue like nervous flyers etc, one to be nice and two to avoid liklehood of fuss in the air. Because they have their rules they promise nothing but, behind the scenes, they work quite hard to fix it. My recommendation is to go to the airport, be really nice at check in and, explain about worries of panic attacks and sickness if split up. If this fails very nicely ask for the supervisor, don't get mad, and repeat the process. If that fails repeat with the senior crew member on boarding as they definately don't want the risk of fuss on their plane. ONE KEY RULE which is avoid getting angry at check in otherwise they will dig in their heels!!

Cotswolds, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives, North Male Atoll, Southern Ari Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll
Level Contributor
4,645 posts
3 reviews
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10. Re: First Choice Premier Warning...

Sound advice there from Craven. I'll take his advice on board (no pun intended!) and keep calm and hopefully we'll sit together.

So the consensus is, I need to arrive early at check in to maximise my chances. Good point cfc, re the return journey re late planes. Pity it is not prebookable before hand.

................ activegirl