Reserving a seat at check-in

Old May 13, 16, 9:00 am
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Reserving a seat at check-in

My 82 year old senior citizen parents are flying on a 5 hour flight from SAN to YYZ on Air Canada on Tuesday June 14th returning Wednesday June 29th.

They need to have aisle seats for comfort. There is a $20 fee to reserve a seat before check-in. There is not a fee when reserving at check-in. On the 1st flight to YYZ there are currently 11 aisle seats showing as available. The return flight has about 25.

Is it possible there are actually more aisle seats available than what is showing on the seating chart? Will more be released prior to departure?

What are the chances they will be aisle seats available at check-in?

Edit: It is not necessary they sit near each other. Any 2 aisle seats will suffice.

Last edited by 17jwblue17; May 13, 16 at 9:49 am
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Old May 13, 16, 9:02 am
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Moving to the Air Canada forum for further discussion. /JY1024, TravelBuzz co-moderator
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Old May 13, 16, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
My 82 year old senior citizen parents are flying on a 5 hour flight from SAN to YYZ on Air Canada on Tuesday June 14th returning Wednesday June 29th.

They need to have aisle seats for comfort. There is a $20 fee to reserve a seat before check-in. There is not a fee when reserving at check-in. On the 1st flight to YYZ there are currently 11 aisle seats showing as available. The return flight has about 25.

Is it possible there are actually more aisle seats available than what is showing on the seating chart? Will more be released prior to departure?

What are the chances they will be aisle seats available at check-in?
As someone who also absolutely has to have an aisle seat, the only answer that's going to guarantee you the outcome you need is to pay the fee.

As far as your other questions - yes, it is possible that the seat map you're seeing includes seats that are blocked off, but there's no guarantee at all that this is the case.

Yes, it's possible that you'll get to check-in and find that there are still several aisle seats available without paying a fee - but it's equally likely that you'll get to check-in and find out that all that's left are middle seats.

So... up to you whether or not you roll the dice on this one - the entire point of AC charging a fee for this is that they're selling you the guarantee instead of leaving it up to circumstance.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:24 am
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If your parents need an aisle seat, then you will need to pay the seat selection fee. That is the only way that they will be guaranteed (mostly) an aisle seat. If they want to be seat near each other, you have the advantage of selecting seats across the aisle or one behind the other. And in the section of the plane that is most comfortable for them. In other word not all they way at the back of the bus.

There is a chance that they could get assigned aisle seats at check in. But there is a greater probability that they will get assigned middle seats somewhere.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:40 am
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As per the previous posters, I would highly recommend paying the fee and making sure that they get aisle seats.

If I was 82 and facing a 5-hour flight on Rouge, I would happily pay the $4-per-hour to get "some" comfort (and easier access to the head...).
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Old May 13, 16, 9:42 am
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100% agree with previous posters. If the need is a *need*, pay the fee.

I typically wait until online check-in 24 hours ahead, and then try to get an aisle seat. My success rate at 23:59 is well over 90%, but I am OK with being anywhere in the plane. My success rate closer to departure is much lower.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
My 82 year old senior citizen parents are flying on a 5 hour flight from SAN to YYZ on Air Canada on Tuesday June 14th returning Wednesday June 29th.

They need to have aisle seats for comfort. There is a $20 fee to reserve a seat before check-in. There is not a fee when reserving at check-in. On the 1st flight to YYZ there are currently 11 aisle seats showing as available. The return flight has about 25.

Is it possible there are actually more aisle seats available than what is showing on the seating chart? Will more be released prior to departure?

What are the chances they will be aisle seats available at check-in?

Why would you cause a lot of stress for $20 per seat? The chances of getting two aisle seats close together are limited. This is the same craziness as parents to cheap to buy seats traveling with young kids.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:49 am
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I am not sure if this is relevant but it is not necessary that they sit near or across from each other in the aisle.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
I am not sure if this is relevant but it is not necessary that they sit near or across from each other in the aisle.
No, it is not relevant. If they need aisle seats, then you need to pay the seat selection fee. I only mentioned it because someone people must sit near their travelling companions.
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Old May 13, 16, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
I am not sure if this is relevant but it is not necessary that they sit near or across from each other in the aisle.
There's still no guarantee that there will be aisle seats left at check-in. As others have said if you need a certain seat, pay the fee.
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Old May 13, 16, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
My 82 year old senior citizen parents are flying on a 5 hour flight from SAN to YYZ on Air Canada on Tuesday June 14th returning Wednesday June 29th.

(1) They need to have aisle seats for comfort. There is a $20 fee to reserve a seat before check-in. There is not a fee when reserving at check-in. On the 1st flight to YYZ there are currently 11 aisle seats showing as available. The return flight has about 25.

(2) Is it possible there are actually more aisle seats available than what is showing on the seating chart?

(3) Will more be released prior to departure?

(4) What are the chances they will be aisle seats available at check-in?

Edit: It is not necessary they sit near each other. Any 2 aisle seats will suffice.
(1) I agree with other posters and recommend that you get preselected seats for the $20 fee.

Further, is your parents requirement for aisle seat related to minor mobility issues (e.g. difficulty climbing stairs, discomfort walking long distances, require support of cane or other assistant devices). If your parents have minor mobility issues, then I would phone AC and request wheelchair services from checkin desk to the aircraft door. This will get your parents reserved aisle seats for free and they will be first to board the aircraft (therefore no chance of getting ousted by family).

The walk on the YYZ end is very long between gates and Customs. As well YYZ T1 customs (both Canada and USA) always has long lines. Wheelchair service will put your parents through the special assistance lanes at Customs. If you parents will be at the airport 2-3 hours prior to departure, they are excellent candidates for wheelchair service given their age.

(2) and (3) AC narrowbody aircraft only block 3 seats on the last row A-B-C side of the airplane. These are crew rest seats and are only released at the checkin counter or gate. These are the last three seats released on the airplane.

All other seats are subject to pre-selection fee.

Back in the day AC used to block the last 3 rows from pre-selection fee, however this is no longer the case.

(4) There is slim to no chance for aisle seat at checkin counter.

Also, the OP should understand that only Tango seats have the preselect fee for regular economy cabin. flex tickets come with free seat selection. On rouge flights, it is common for majority of the airplane to fly Tango rather than majority of the airplane flying flex like on mainline services. Consequently it is not reliable to count seats as an estimator how full the aircraft will be. Take a look at AC1884 YYZ-SAN for Monday May 16th. $1000 flex ticket but the seat map is wide open. The high fare tells me that there are less than 20 tickets for the flight in economy.
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Old May 13, 16, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by WR Cage View Post
Further, is your parents requirement for aisle seat related to minor mobility issues (e.g. difficulty climbing stairs, discomfort walking long distances, require support of cane or other assistant devices). If your parents have minor mobility issues, then I would phone AC and request wheelchair services from checkin desk to the aircraft door. This will get your parents reserved aisle seats for free and they will be first to board the aircraft (therefore no chance of getting ousted by family).
One parent does need a wheelchair. Thank you for the information.

We are not talking just $20.00. It would be $80.00 including the return trip.
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Old May 13, 16, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post
One parent does need a wheelchair. Thank you for the information.

We are not talking just $20.00. It would be $80.00 including the return trip.
So? Since one parent is in a wheelchair, I would think it would be best for the other parent to be close by. Don't let cheapness over rule common sense. $80 is not a lot of money for the circumstances.
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Old May 13, 16, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by 17jwblue17 View Post

They need to have aisle seats for comfort.
Do they travel often? Just curious why they need aisle seats for comfort. Most elderly people I know want to get on the plane and the most comfortable option is to be on a window so they don't have to get up mid-flight to allow other passengers to use the lavatory, nor do they have to get up at the end of the flight to let others out and can wait for assistance and/or a wheelchair. Just a thought, you may have other perfectly valid reasons for wanting an aisle.
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Old May 13, 16, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
Do they travel often? Just curious why they need aisle seats for comfort. Most elderly people I know want to get on the plane and the most comfortable option is to be on a window so they don't have to get up mid-flight to allow other passengers to use the lavatory, nor do they have to get up at the end of the flight to let others out and can wait for assistance and/or a wheelchair. Just a thought, you may have other perfectly valid reasons for wanting an aisle.
One needs to be on the aisle since she always needs to use the restroom. Other feels more comfortable in aisle.

Will probably just pay the fee.
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