View Full Version : Travelocity and United

11-27-2005, 03:21 PM
You know I'm not sure I ever want to use Travelocity or United ever again. I knew I should've used my intuition and booked directly with United (or another airline).

I booked a flight three months ago for Thanksgiving weekend (yeah, I know, it's one of the busiest travel times). I booked from LAX to Newark and JFK to LAX. The outbound flight I had no problems getting a seat assignment (although I had to write Travelocity to assign me a seat). The inbound flight is the problem. Travelocity said they couldn't book me a seat. I said to myself, ok, it maybe because they don't know what equipment they'll be using.

A month later, I asked United to book me a seat, they said no can do. I have to get a seat at the airport. The day of my departure (Thanksgiving eve), I asked the gate agent on my outbound flight to see if she can book me a seat. She said she can't because the flight is full and I have to get a seat at the airport. My outbound flight is MONDAY, not Sunday.

Funny thing is, I had no problems booking and getting seats when I booked directly with United for Christmas.

I never had a problem with the same situation when I booked directly with America West. They booked me a seat, and, when they changed equipment, they re-booked a seat for me. Maybe it's time I switched allegiances.

11-27-2005, 04:19 PM
Steven: As a Travel Professional with over 20 years of expierence let me see if I can help you.

Many times, especially a very popular flight on a very high travel day, the seats are reserved long in advance. Thankgsgiving week end is the highest traveled day of the year. United is one of the airlines that allow seat asignments way out. I am not sure what their rules are, but I have done seats 6 months prior to the flight on United.

Most airlines hold a certain percentage of seats for "airport check-in". That translates into 3-6 hours prior to the flight time in most cases. It sounds as if your flight had all the pre-asignable seats gone and the balance were for the date of the flight.

Some airlines allow you, the passenger, or me the travel agent working for my client, to go online 24 hours prior to the flight and asign those "airport checkin" seats (and print boarding passes). I do this for my clients all the time with NW and Sun Country. Even if the flyer calls they cannot get a seat, but on the internet 24 hours prior they can.

Hope this helps you with future tickets.

11-27-2005, 04:39 PM
Hi, agentplus.

Thanks. I did call United the day before (today) and they said only airport check-in seats were available.

I just hope I can get my preferred seating (window).

Like I said, I was really surprised with the Christmas tickets from United because those I could reserve seats in advance and I bought it one or two months ago. I have a feeling it's because I bought it directly from their website.

11-28-2005, 01:21 PM
I'm glad you got your seats for Christmas travel....but I agree with Agent. The airlines only allow about 80% of the seats to be pre-assigned before flight time. After that percentage is taken, most everyone must wait until flight time at airport check in. Some frequent flyers with status are able to get seat assignments. But, there are those instances that I don't care who you know, it's impossible to get a seat assignment ahead of time.

11-28-2005, 02:18 PM

It doesn't matter how you booked your ticket. As the other travel professionals stated, a small percentage of pre-assigned seats is blocked for airport check-in only. As an ex-gate agent, the airport has to have control of the last few seats in order to work the flight......like being able to move small children who are seating separate from a parent, or elderly or disabled passengers who might require bulkhead seating, etc. Has nothing to do with how you made your reservation.

11-28-2005, 02:50 PM
One other thing to consider, depending upon your status with United and the fare you purchased, you may have fallen into the "we don't have seats for you" trap. If you don't have status and you book a very low fare frequently there are no seats to preassign, even 330 days prior. If you have frequent flyer status that may open up some seats but around the holidays that can be a challenge. And just to be clear, this isn't just something that United does, Delta, Continental, American, Northwest also do the same sort of thing.

Eileen Sellers
11-28-2005, 03:30 PM
UA opens their seat chart 24hrs prior to departure, if there is a seat to be had it will show up at that point. If still no seats are available, the flight is oversold, and they will be bumping at the gate.

11-28-2005, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by jjjenny@Nov 28 2005, 03:21 PM
Some frequent flyers with status are able to get seat assignments.* But, there are those instances that I don't care who you know, it's impossible to get a seat assignment ahead of time.

I'm sure there are instances when you just can't get a seat assignment, however, it has been my personal experience that when I've booked a flight and not been able to get a seat assignment at the time of booking, that I have never failed to get a seat assignment by immediately calling the elite frequent flyer service number and asking them for a seat assignment. It might not work sometime in the future, but so far so good.

11-29-2005, 10:13 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your responses. I didn't have the problem last year when I went directly with the airline. So now I know--use a travel agent or use the airline's website.