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AA seat assignment loss / change / glitch / problem / FAM (master thread)

AA seat assignment loss / change / glitch / problem / FAM (master thread)

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Old Jan 21, 19, 10:30 am   -   Wikipost
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AA aa.com seat / seats selection / loss / change, etc. issues / glitch / FAM

Seat issues are not uncommon between finding, holding, booking and during the interim between booking and flying. There may be various reasons this can happen.

Seat assignments Link
  • We make every effort to ensure you get your chosen seat, but seat assignments are not guaranteed.
  • We reserve the right to change seats for operational, safety or security reasons.
  • You must check in at least 30 minutes before departure and be at the gate 15 minutes before departure or you may lose your seat.
Seat held, changed or gone at booking: One member theorizes a held seat may be taken by a positive purchase by another passenger. But it could be due to another factor listed below.

Disability designated seat: Some seats are assigned preferentially to people with disabilities, and their companions, under the Air Carrier Access Act. Even some non-disability seats may be required for a person with a disability in some conditions.

"American blocks a limited number of seats on each aircraft to accommodate customers who identify themselves as having a qualified disability. Adjacent seats are provided, under certain circumstances, for customers with disabilities who must travel with a companion for assistance."

Flight nearly full: Once a flight has reached certain capacity guidelines, no further seats will be assigned. This leaves airport staff room to deal with the needs of persons with disabilities, no shows, delayed connections, etc.

Boarding pass scan fail: Sometimes a boarding pass scan fails (listen for the "Beep!") and your seat may register as no show, so another, later Passenger or standby gets your seat too.

Equipment change: AA Information Technology's very inefficient at these. You may have selected a Main Cabin Extra as an elite, yet a change from one aircraft subtype with differently numbered seat rows to another and you may find yourself moved from your carefully selected MCE aisle seat to a middle seat in one of the last rows. Aircraft substitutions from one type to another (77W to 772 or v. v.) or even "downgauging" (767 to 757) may occur - this will generally result in unanticipated seat changes.

Equipment malfunction: A seat may not be available on a specific flight because it was reported as malfunctioning and has not been repaired yet.

Crew rest seat: Some seats are contractually required to be set aside for resting crew, on flights of specific lengths.

Federal Air Marshal ("FAM"): FAMs are generally accommodated in the highest class of service in seats that are often popular with passengers. These accommodations may occur at any time, and by law AA must both comply and not reveal to passengers the reason for their seat loss or change. That's correct: AA is prohibited by law from telling you your seat was given to a FAM, so you will only hear implausible and made up reasons of how you lost your seat.

Passengers seated in the front cabin (or front of the cabin in single cabin and class aircraft) may occasionally find themselves displaced from their seat without any notice or comment, displaced to a less favored seat or even downgraded to the next lowest class of service. Contacting AA may provide answers as to "why" that don't make sense, multiple or non-specific reasons. These will often mean your seat has been requisitioned by a Federal Air Marshal (FAM).

Q. Why won't AA tell me why I lost my seat?

AA is prohibited by law from telling you your seat was requisitioned by a FAM or otherwise revealing there is a FAM on board or where they might be seated. FAMs are supposed to blend in with passengers. At best, you may be told "it's a security issue"; that's usually a confirmation of a FAM seat requisition.

Q. Can I get "unFAMed"?

There is no way to recover your original seat if it has been requisitioned by a FAM; you have no recourse other than to work with the AA system to seek a better available seat, or even reaccommodation on another flight with available and similar seating.

Q. Can I get compensated for losing my seat?

You can request fare differences, compensation and certainly get upgrade instruments reinstated if you were displaced to a lower class of service. You will not be eligible for compensation if your seat was changed within the same class of service (even if you are now separated from travel companions), however, as if you book a specific seat, a specific seat is not guaranteed by American Airlines.

Q. What is a FAM, anyway?

A Federal Air Marshal is a specially trained plain clothes anti-terrorism law enforcement officer of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), "a United States federal law enforcement agency under the supervision of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)." (Wikipedia)


Q. What is a FAMs specific job?

"The Air Marshal Service is meant to promote confidence in civil aviation by effectively deploying federal air marshals (FAMs) to detect, deter, and defeat hostile acts targeting the United States." (TSA)
Other: AA might be required to seat a passenger with a small child together, displacing another passenger. There may be other reasons as well.

It is suggested you regularly check your itineraries to deal with route and flight changes (often unannounced) and seat changes (always unannounced).

Link to thread detailing use of Twitter for contact with AA (some have used for seat loss remediation)

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Old May 16, 21, 8:17 am
  #646  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EXP, DL Gold, HH Gold, MMRRT Plat
Posts: 874
Originally Posted by luitje View Post
Sorry if this is a known issue and has already been discussed elsewhere. I honestly searched this thread and couldn't find any mention of it; so will appreciate a gentle push in the right direction.
I am encountering a peculiar issue with pre-selecting a seat on AA site. I made a booking with a travel agent (complex itinerary, ticket issued by AY, two legs of the flight are on AA metal marketed by AY). Whole booking is on R fare (Business). I have AA PNR, and see that I was assigned a seat on my outbound (4F) and no seat on the inbound.
When trying to select/change seats, AA.com only gives options in Main Cabin. I checked seats availability on both flights and it appears to be quite good (8 seats out of 16 in F show as unoccupied). Anyone knows if there's a workaround without calling AA - I would hate to waste someone's time on such a petty matter?
[Slowly realizing that I just did exactly that by posting this message; oh well....]
This looks like a mixed-fare ticket, or sometimes OW airlines will ticket you on a biz fare (R in this case), but some legs of your journey will simply be in Y. I would suggest trying to find other options with AY, and/or at least ask your travel agent to try to get you in the right cabin. This is not a petty matter. If you paid a travel agent to put you in biz, you should be in biz.
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GlobalMatt is offline  
Old May 17, 21, 8:46 pm
  #647  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Francisco
Programs: AA EXP; Marriott BonVoy Titanium Elite, SPG LT Plat
Posts: 1,641
I'm just wanting to know if I should "prematurely" anticipate being upgraded or if there's just a glitch with seat maps.

Long story short, I'm booked on EX-USA returning a 2-stop flight using SWU for the upgrade. My flight to the USA cleared. However, for the past two days, my seat assignments for points B and C are available on AA.com but not on the AA app. I still have 2 weeks to go before I'm butt in a seat at this point so, I'm not pressing for immediacy as both flight loads appear to be wide open for the upgrades on the AA.com seat map as well as EF availability.

Just found it interesting that a possible 2 day lag with updates is still pending.
Zacnlinc is offline  
Old Mar 28, 22, 12:14 pm
  #648  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 892
I booked a flight on Saturday for this coming weekend and I know I picked seats for both directions. However, I just got an e-mail inviting me to pick seats for my first flight. When I went into the app and looked at my reservation, there were no seat assignments. Further, there were no seats available to select. EF shows five seats "blocked" but no other available seats.

The seat assignments for the return flight were there.
MASTERNC is offline  
Old Mar 28, 22, 5:20 pm
  #649  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 8,481
Originally Posted by MASTERNC View Post
I booked a flight on Saturday for this coming weekend and I know I picked seats for both directions. However, I just got an e-mail inviting me to pick seats for my first flight. When I went into the app and looked at my reservation, there were no seat assignments. Further, there were no seats available to select. EF shows five seats "blocked" but no other available seats.

The seat assignments for the return flight were there.
I get emails inviting me to pick seats even when I pick at booking. I think that's just standard.

Your seat disappearing is bad though. I would call in. You will definitely get a seat but it might not be a great one if you wait until you check in.
VegasGambler is offline  
Old Mar 29, 22, 7:12 am
  #650  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 892
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I get emails inviting me to pick seats even when I pick at booking. I think that's just standard.

Your seat disappearing is bad though. I would call in. You will definitely get a seat but it might not be a great one if you wait until you check in.
I was told that I had attempted a failed upgrade request (I did not). The Twitter team said only airport staff could assign me seats so I have to wait until I get there. Per EF, most of the seats are in the very last row but there are two blocked seats in the middle of the plane around where I had originally picked seats. All the paid seats are full (this is a trip to New Orleans from a town whose team made the Final Four) so not sure any upgrades will open seats at check-in.
MASTERNC is offline  
Old Mar 29, 22, 10:20 am
  #651  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 8,481
Originally Posted by MASTERNC View Post
I was told that I had attempted a failed upgrade request (I did not). The Twitter team said only airport staff could assign me seats so I have to wait until I get there. Per EF, most of the seats are in the very last row but there are two blocked seats in the middle of the plane around where I had originally picked seats. All the paid seats are full (this is a trip to New Orleans from a town whose team made the Final Four) so not sure any upgrades will open seats at check-in.
I'd call in
VegasGambler is offline  
Old Mar 29, 22, 11:55 am
  #652  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 892
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I'd call in
Did that. Same answer. Airport is blocking 9 seats that won't be released until check in - the entire back row, two seats in the middle of the plane, and one up front.
MASTERNC is offline  
Old Mar 31, 22, 7:14 am
  #653  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 892
This is getting a little nerve wracking. There are no seats together except in the very last row. One of the blocked seats is now occupied (despite never being released - I have EF seat alerts). I got my fiancée a middle seat that popped up not in the last row, but I am still unassigned. Now I'm getting the offers to move to different flight, likely because it's overbooked. All the alternate flights arrive too late for my event Saturday night, so I have to be on this plane (same with nearly everyone else on this flight, I imagine). Hoping one of these seats not in the back row is released or that I don't get bumped (despite assurances from AA that I will be on this flight).

Would AA Gold give me any priority for the remaining seats?

UPDATE: Just got an EF seat alert for a window seat a row up from my fiancée and successfully put myself in it. Subscribed to EF for all the schedule changes I've already experienced but this feature just made having the subscription even more valuable.

Last edited by MASTERNC; Mar 31, 22 at 12:44 pm
MASTERNC is offline  
Old Mar 31, 22, 10:55 pm
  #654  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 8,481
Originally Posted by MASTERNC View Post
This is getting a little nerve wracking. There are no seats together except in the very last row. One of the blocked seats is now occupied (despite never being released - I have EF seat alerts). I got my fiancée a middle seat that popped up not in the last row, but I am still unassigned. Now I'm getting the offers to move to different flight, likely because it's overbooked. All the alternate flights arrive too late for my event Saturday night, so I have to be on this plane (same with nearly everyone else on this flight, I imagine). Hoping one of these seats not in the back row is released or that I don't get bumped (despite assurances from AA that I will be on this flight).

Would AA Gold give me any priority for the remaining seats?

UPDATE: Just got an EF seat alert for a window seat a row up from my fiancée and successfully put myself in it. Subscribed to EF for all the schedule changes I've already experienced but this feature just made having the subscription even more valuable.
Having or not having a seat assignment does not affect your chances of getting involuntarily bumped. But this is pretty rare.
VegasGambler is offline  
Old Apr 24, 22, 9:57 am
  #655  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 1
Seat map suddenly 100% open

Flying from ORD-LHR on AA 90 on 4/27. When looking at the seat map, all seats on the plane are suddenly empty. ExpertFlyer confirms this. My upgrade to business was confirmed but I am worried about a cancellation or equipment change. Called AA and they have no information. Any thoughts on what could be happening?
Brwarner is offline  
Old May 19, 22, 5:58 pm
  #656  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: SYD
Programs: QF Gold, CX Silver, HH Gold, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 54
In a scenario where Business is overbooked, is there a specific hierarchy that AA follows to determine who is downgraded?

I’m booked in Business on a cash fare from STT-MIA next week. I have no AA status but am OW Ruby. I cannot select a seat and all seats have been allocated (and I have verified that against EF, so it currently appears to be oversold).

As my final destination on the same ticket is LAX, I can be flexible with how I get there but it looks like all AA flights ex STT that day are C0 J0 (including the ones to JFK, CLT and the other two to MIA).

Is there anything I can do other than wait to go to the airport? As far as I can see, there might be potential options via SJU or STX but they’re not particularly practical.
rabbits5 is offline  

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