Seat blocking

Old Aug 17, 2021, 11:05 am
  #1  
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Seat blocking

Im waiting to board my flight in about an hour from now but for the 2nd time (outbound last week) Im seeing the J cabin indicating 9/12 seats booked (6/9 checked in @-2hrs) but all but one seat on the map shows occupied (i.e. 11/12) including the one next to me which showed open yesterday @OLCI. Earlier this week the map showed all seats occupied.

Same on my outbound but I had the seat next to me empty despite showing occupied while the booking showed 11/16 with three eUpgrades waitlisted.

So is AC blocking seats next to elites? Why show seats occupied when theyre still open for sale (and even redemption at the lowest level J award level)?
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 11:07 am
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There's definitely been a lot of blocking during COVID, especially in row 1, to keep people away from the galley.
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
There's definitely been a lot of blocking during COVID, especially in row 1, to keep people away from the galley.
I don't think that's it. 1DF has been blocked on the 223 for a while to allow an FA to sit there for takeoff and landing, but I haven't seen that on any other type.

What I have seen a lot of lately is along the lines of what [MENTION=1119]Shareholder[/MENTION] was talking about. Many flights have showed very full seat maps, but EF has indicated many of them are blocked rather than occupied, and when I actually go to select a seat, many of the seats that appeared as unavailable can, in fact, be selected.

This has been most common on turboprop flights, but I've even seen it in J on a couple of flights.
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 11:35 am
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Guess I’ll see in a while. I’m on an A220 and the only open seat on the map is 1C.
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith
I don't think that's it. 1DF has been blocked on the 223 for a while to allow an FA to sit there for takeoff and landing, but I haven't seen that on any other type.

What I have seen a lot of lately is along the lines of what [MENTION=1119]Shareholder[/MENTION] was talking about. Many flights have showed very full seat maps, but EF has indicated many of them are blocked rather than occupied, and when I actually go to select a seat, many of the seats that appeared as unavailable can, in fact, be selected.

This has been most common on turboprop flights, but I've even seen it in J on a couple of flights.
1ACDF were blocked on a 7M8 I flew in July. GA had to override to move us into 1AC.

I've also seen EF show a seat was "blocked" even though it was assigned to me, so I wouldn't put too much faith in EF.
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith
I don't think that's it. 1DF has been blocked on the 223 for a while to allow an FA to sit there for takeoff and landing, but I haven't seen that on any other type.

What I have seen a lot of lately is along the lines of what [MENTION=1119]Shareholder[/MENTION] was talking about. Many flights have showed very full seat maps, but EF has indicated many of them are blocked rather than occupied, and when I actually go to select a seat, many of the seats that appeared as unavailable can, in fact, be selected.

This has been most common on turboprop flights, but I've even seen it in J on a couple of flights.
Hasn't it always been like this though?
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Old Aug 17, 2021, 8:36 pm
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This is a known problem and a major PITA, especially if you often book T-24.
The new system is programed to block seats for potential Employee Pass Travelers. It does not assign a person to the seat however it blocks the space by blocking a seat.
It is totally possible to book a ticket on a flight that is J6 and not be able to select a seat. Most of the AC customer service staff have not seen this nor know how to fix it, once and a while it can be magically fixed at the gate.
Here is an example below.


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Old Aug 18, 2021, 6:34 pm
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Flight went out with 1/2C and 3D empty though only 1C showed open on the seat map. My “blocked” seat (2D) was filled by a deadheading pilot.

BTW found the A220 J seat very uncomfortable but on my few B738Max flights before they were grounded quite comfortable. Flew in Y last month and found those seats more comfortable.
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Old Aug 18, 2021, 7:41 pm
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Originally Posted by YYC3722
This is a known problem and a major PITA, especially if you often book T-24.
The new system is programed to block seats for potential Employee Pass Travelers. It does not assign a person to the seat however it blocks the space by blocking a seat........
Originally Posted by Shareholder
Flight went out with 1/2C and 3D empty though only 1C showed open on the seat map. My “blocked” seat (2D) was filled by a deadheading pilot.......
[MENTION=743335]YYC3722[/MENTION] is right based on my collection of flights between December and July.

Sometimes I'm curious how the filling of seats progresses from the time I book, to when the UG window opens if I'm upgrading), and to OLCI. In J on the transcon WBs, I expected them to be non-revs of varying types for various reasons.

I had noticed a pattern of AC seat blocking Xs appearing where they had not previously, and appearing on EF usually 2-3 days prior to the flight. I still had some saved screen shots.

This transcon was interesting. It was 2 days prior.

I'm not sure if this was later the same day or at OLCI but I looked at the seat map in the app (thinking I might want to change my seat). You can see on EF above how many seats AC had blocked off but in the app, they were all available to select.

And yes, most if not all were non-revs. The only obvious ones I could see onboard were the DH pilots (uniforms of course) but I knew there were others. I don't know if a few seats went to gate upgrades or employees who had to fly last minute etc.





On a different transcon, also about 3 days prior these seats were blocked and again, were mostly DH pilots based on my count onboard.


AC also blocks seats in PY and Y of course and on one particular flight, I bumped into a large group of SDs and FAs - quite a few of whom I knew from my TPAC flights. The were all back in Y.



On a couple of flights, a few DH captains recognized me from prior flights. One was seated directly behind me and he explained that he and the nearby group of others were connecting back after having flown cargo TPACs. On another flight, a captain across the aisle said he and others in this group were all headed for SIM sessions. I am also lucky that I've been able to have the occasional chat with them and ask about engines and wings and such things that interest me. ✈️

The nearly empty flights over all those months gave me an opportunity I don't often get, so while it may not have been great for AC revenue, seat blocking with DH pilots was a great AC IFE experience for me.
.

Last edited by 24left; Aug 18, 2021 at 8:24 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 18, 2021, 10:15 pm
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I'm flying AC 7 tomorrow, and see the blocked seats in EF. Earlier today, 1D and 1G were also blocked, but they've since opened up. Seat map shows the blocked seats as occupied.



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Old Aug 25, 2021, 7:59 am
  #11  
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Now overbooking in J?

Just noticed, there are two seats for sale in J but the seat map shows a J cabin with only one seat available, on our flight tomorrow.

Would it now be the case that because of covid there are so many people with issues on flights from overseas to Canada, ending up unable to fly, that they started overbooking in J?

Last time I met a similar situation - a change of equipment- I got a call the previous night that my upgrade had been cancelled. So, I don't like this one bit...
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Old Aug 25, 2021, 8:19 am
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Originally Posted by Stranger
Just noticed, there are two seats for sale in J but the seat map shows a J cabin with only one seat available, on our flight tomorrow.
Seat maps are not a reliable indication of what's for sale.

For example, my flight for tomorrow afternoon is J1 O8, and if you try to buy two J tickets it won't show you the option to buy, but let's look at the PE seat maps, where there are still 8 seats for sale:


The seat map in the AC app shows only two seats available.

However, when we look at the EF seat map, things are a bit different:


The 2 seats EF shows in white are the same two AC shows as "available", but if you add in the 6 seats marked as "blocked", it totals the same 8 seats EF says are available for sale.
​​
If I try to buy 9 tickets in PE on that flight, that's unavailable, but the AC website will happily sell me 8, which indicates they aren't interested in overselling PE at all, even if they know they could make an extra $15K and still have a J seat open into which to op-up the one extra person.

Incidentally, the fact that all of those "blocked" seats are next to singles makes me wonder if they've tuned the algorithm to space out people who aren't on the same booking, or if they're blocking seats next to elite members unless the whole cabin sells...

Originally Posted by Stranger
Last time I met a similar situation - a change of equipment- I got a call the previous night that my upgrade had been cancelled. So, I don't like this one bit...
​​​​​​An equipment change is a different story, in that it may change the number of J seats available. For example, if a low-selling domestic flight moves from a 789 to a 788, the number of J seats cuts from 30 to 20.
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Old Aug 25, 2021, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by YOWgary
Seat maps are not a reliable indication of what's for sale.

For example, my flight for tomorrow afternoon is J1 O8, and if you try to buy two J tickets it won't show you the option to buy, but let's look at the PE seat maps, where there are still 8 seats for sale:

However, when we look at the EF seat map, things are a bit different:

​​
If I try to buy 9 tickets in PE on that flight, that's unavailable, but the AC website will happily sell me 8, which indicates they aren't interested in overselling PE at all, even if they know they could make an extra $15K and still have a J seat open into which to op-up the one extra person.
Agreed that seat maps are not a good indication but when in the other direction: often there are people who buy but don't pick a seat.

Incidentally, the fact that all of those "blocked" seats are next to singles makes me wonder if they've tuned the algorithm to space out people who aren't on the same booking, or if they're blocking seats next to elite members unless the whole cabin sells...
That would be related to distancing people from each other whenever possible. As mentioned in the previous article, right above. Which makes sense in PE or in narrowbody J. But in a 788/789 J cabin, where the seat arrangement already provides reasonable distancing?
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Old Aug 25, 2021, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by Stranger
That would be related to distancing people from each other whenever possible. As mentioned in the previous article, right above. Which makes sense in PE or in narrowbody J. But in a 788/789 J cabin, where the seat arrangement already provides reasonable distancing?
There are other, separate reasons that J seats get blocked, though these vary from one aircraft to the next.
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Old Aug 25, 2021, 4:21 pm
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Heh, J1 O8 Y9 turned into J0 O1 Y9 in just a few hours...
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