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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 Feb 16, 16, 8:11 am
  #1  
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AA seat assignment loss / change / glitch / problem / FAM (master thread)

I just notice that when I purchased a ticket I had on hold they seats had been changed without notification. I have the original hold (customary 24 hour hold) reservation with my original seats. A few hours later I just simply hit the purchase button and the reservation it sent back had different seats, and they sucked. As an AA EP I am not happy. Just another way for AA to screw with premium customers.

Has anyone else seen this? or any idea why this happens?

Tks

Last edited by JDiver; Mar 6, 16 at 8:48 am Reason: Restore original thread title
dcovert is offline  
Old Feb 16, 16, 8:37 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by dcovert View Post
As an AA EP I am not happy. Just another way for AA to screw with premium customers.
Do you honestly believe AA singles out premium customers for unrequested seat changes?

I've had it happen from time to time, due to what I guess are IT glitches. It's mildly annoying but I've never had a problem switching back to decent seats again. Were you unable to change seats after booking the ticket for some reason?
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Old Feb 16, 16, 8:45 am
  #3  
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Being completely ignorant as to AA policy on this issue, I would say that if you have reserved seats for an ON HOLD rezzie and someone comes along who pays (regardless of whether with $$$ or miles) and buys a ticket, s/he has (should have) a right to grab your seats. As I said, though, I have no idea what AA policy is on this. Something along these lines: "So I'm standing here with cash in hand and you're telling me that I can't have those seats because someone else is thinking about buying them in the next day or so?" That would annoy me.
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Old Feb 16, 16, 8:48 am
  #4  
 
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Seat changes can occur for many reasons, aircraft change, FAM, maybe you booked a seat for persons with disability or bassinet and someone called and requested those seats. Remember, seats are not guarantee.
arollins is offline  
Old Feb 16, 16, 8:49 am
  #5  
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Welcome to FlyerTalk.

I'd see this as one of those mild annoyances that can occur for various reasons (change of operating equipment will do this, and the AA IT has a very indiscriminate and klugey way of dealing with seat reassignments, for instance).

I've never perceived any of this as being personal or some way AA imposed additional opprobrium upon Executive Platinums; I've just seen it as a result of a very antiquated, multilayered IT system.

Unfortunately, bankruptcy terminated the contractual relationship with H-P wherein H-P was to develop an entirely new PSS etc. called JetStream, and the Parker-Kirby administration seems disinterested in pursuing this option, so I rather suspect we're stuck.
JDiver is offline  
Old Feb 16, 16, 8:49 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
Being completely ignorant as to AA policy on this issue, I would say that if you have reserved seats for an ON HOLD rezzie and someone comes along who pays (regardless of whether with $$$ or miles) and buys a ticket, s/he has (should have) a right to grab your seats.
Nothing of the sort. When you reserve seats on a held reservation, those seats are taken off the map for the duration of the hold, just as if you'd purchased the ticket.
rjw242 is offline  
Old Feb 16, 16, 9:18 am
  #7  
 
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Annoying? Yep!

But, if you have not actually promised to fly (purchased), then stuff happens.

But, as mentioned, there could be other reasons.
NoStressHere is online now  
Old Feb 16, 16, 9:55 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by rjw242 View Post
Nothing of the sort. When you reserve seats on a held reservation, those seats are taken off the map for the duration of the hold, just as if you'd purchased the ticket.
As I said, someone who is ready to pay and buy the seats now should be able to eject someone who is thinking about maybe buying those seats tomorrow.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 11:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Seat Assignment Disappeared

I have a FC award flight scheduled next month between DFW and LHR on the 777-300ER. The award was a mile saver booked May 2015.

This morning the seat assignment disappeared. AA is telling me it will be taken care of at the airport and that I still have my FC booking. They are basically giving me a run around.

Over the last 2 weeks, the cabin went from empty(just me) to full.

Should I be concerned? I know what the Answer is. AA keeps saying they are sorry but have not done anything substantive.
AustinDiver is offline  
Old Feb 22, 16, 11:41 pm
  #10  
 
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When a seat in the front cabin disappears and the airline won't tell you what happened, insists it was a "glitch" they'll resolve, etc., the likeliest explanation is you got bumped for a FAM.
ubernostrum is offline  
Old Feb 22, 16, 11:55 pm
  #11  
 
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That is what I am ondering. AA is not offer suggestions. Offering to put me on the AUS to LHR direct flight. The run around is pretty condescending.
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Old Feb 23, 16, 12:26 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by AustinDiver View Post
That is what I am ondering. AA is not offer suggestions. Offering to put me on the AUS to LHR direct flight. The run around is pretty condescending.
Er, "AUS to LHR direct flight"?
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Old Feb 23, 16, 12:46 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by AustinDiver View Post
That is what I am ondering. AA is not offer suggestions. Offering to put me on the AUS to LHR direct flight. The run around is pretty condescending.
AUS-LAX-LHR? Id do that.

Do not wait until you get to the airport, you will be SOL. Keep at it...

GL
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Old Feb 23, 16, 1:00 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Er, "AUS to LHR direct flight"?
BA flies that on a 787. Not out of the bounds of reason that AA could reroute someone that way, but sounds fishy.
ubernostrum is offline  
Old Feb 23, 16, 1:04 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by AustinDiver View Post
That is what I am ondering. AA is not offer suggestions. Offering to put me on the AUS to LHR direct flight. The run around is pretty condescending.
Run-around not withstanding, if they are offering to put you on the BA AUS-LHR non-stop in First, I would quickly accept.

And then smile.
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