Get last assigned seat or wait later?

Old Nov 28, 16, 2:04 pm
  #1  
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Get last assigned seat or wait later?

When purchasing the ticket, no assigned seats available. Now there is one.

If I wait, is it possible that

A. More seats available at airport check in or advanced check in 24 Hours before departure?

B. Economy plus or whatever the name seats will be assigned?
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Old Nov 28, 16, 2:15 pm
  #2  
 
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There are likely seats available, but not visible to you if you hold no status with AA. Some seats are blocked/reserved for elites.

One way to check may be to search for flights, then click on view seats in the results (before selecting a flight for purchase).

If you don't select a seat, AA will assign you an available seat at check-in, which may or may not be MCE, Preferred, or just any ol' middle seat in the back. If you want to play your chances, you need to be OK with any of those outcomes.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 2:25 pm
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If the available seat is a middle standard economy seat, I'd wait. You have a chance of getting assigned an MCE seat at checkin. Even if none are showing now, upgraders are likely to come from those seats so that might be all they have to assign when the time comes. The downside is that there is a very slight possibility that not having a seat assignment could increase your chances of IDB if the flight is oversold.

If the current available seat is an aisle or window, then you might want to take it if you have a strong preference to avoid middles.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by djk7 View Post
If the available seat is a middle standard economy seat, I'd wait. You have a chance of getting assigned an MCE seat at checkin. Even if none are showing now, upgraders are likely to come from those seats so that might be all they have to assign when the time comes. The downside is that there is a very slight possibility that not having a seat assignment could increase your chances of IDB if the flight is oversold.

If the current available seat is an aisle or window, then you might want to take it if you have a strong preference to avoid middles.
I agree with this. If you do wait, then try to check in at T-24 if at all possible to reduce the IDB risk as much as possible.

If you use any apps that allow seat alerts, then I would set one for aisles and windows and be prepared to grab one if it opens up before check-in. Upgrades sometimes free up seats during the last few days.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 10:34 pm
  #5  
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Low level elite.

T-3 weeks: no seats available

T-70 hours, not logged in: one middle seat near the back, some MCE and preferred seats for purchase.

T-70 hours, logged in: more MCE seats available and 6 aisle seats mid fuselage (front of non-MRE economy section).

I could have risked it to try to get a MCE seat but didn't want to so I selected an aisle seat about two rows behind the wing exit seats.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 10:55 pm
  #6  
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I probably would have done the same if I were in your shoes.

If there were only middle seats available, I'd gamble until airport check-in. Worst case you get a normal middle seat. Better case you get a MCE middle seat. Even better case you get an aisle/window MCE or exit row seat.

If an aisle seat is preferred for you, then snag one while you can!
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Old Nov 28, 16, 11:46 pm
  #7  
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I would wait too.

But... unless something has changed recently, you can't check in online or with the app without a seat assignment. So if you're in a situation where you expect to be running late and getting to the airport by the check in cutoff (45 minutes domestic), then grab the available seat. Otherwise, wait, and you'll likely get a better seat at the airport.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 8:53 am
  #8  
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There's always the risk that by waiting, they stick you with the one available non-MCE seat left when you get to the airport, usually the one next to the lavatory.

So you have to balance that risk (arguably small-ish) against the chance of an "upgrade" to MCE (also arguably small-ish) in the context of the "bird-in-hand" seat that has just become available. Of course knowing what the full seat map looks like can help you gauge the various risks & opportunities.

Overall, I think it's hard to generalize about what to do.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 12:34 pm
  #9  
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If I needed to be on that flight I would take what seat offered to avoid an IVB. The OP can always check the seat map from time to time for a better seat. particularly close to flight time or request a better seat at check in or at the gate.
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Old Dec 1, 16, 12:38 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
So you have to balance that risk (arguably small-ish) against the chance of an "upgrade" to MCE (also arguably small-ish) in the context of the "bird-in-hand" seat that has just become available. Of course knowing what the full seat map looks like can help you gauge the various risks & opportunities.

Overall, I think it's hard to generalize about what to do.
I generally take a non-MCE aisle or window if I can get one. I have gotten good seats on airlines where I didn't have status (esp when I am being rescued from irrops), but I've also had six hours in the seat in front of the exit row with no leg room and no recline because I didn't grab the better seat that I saw earlier.
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