Seat selection on award flight?

Old Jun 27, 2023, 7:27 pm
  #1  
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Seat selection on award flight?

Just booked business class seats LAX-BOG on Avianca, using United miles. Have both the United and Avianca confirmation numbers.

Going online to avianca.com, following "Manage My Booking" and entering last name + Avianca confirmation number, this pops up...


Oh, Oh, how cheerful...

Is this flight going to be how I think it will be? Any options?
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Old Jun 27, 2023, 8:43 pm
  #2  
zzm
 
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I've flown quite a few Avianca flights booked with UA miles. I've spent time talking to UA and Avianca, hours on the phone with AV's "support". No one knows how to assign a seat for a AV award ticket booked with Mileageplus. However, I've been able to choose a seat at check in every time, so 24 hours before departure.
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Old Jun 27, 2023, 9:53 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by zzm
I've flown quite a few Avianca flights booked with UA miles. I've spent time talking to UA and Avianca, hours on the phone with AV's "support". No one knows how to assign a seat for a AV award ticket booked with Mileageplus. However, I've been able to choose a seat at check in every time, so 24 hours before departure.
Can you tell me how exactly you managed to "choose a seat at check in"?

Online, on Avianca's website? (That's what I tried today, using "manage my booking" and the "oh oh" dialog is the result.) Maybe the "oh oh" dialog no longer appears at T-24?
By calling Avianca?
At an Avianca airport counter? (the nearest one looks to be in San Francisco, 800 miles from me).

My Avianca flight is the second leg of my itinerary. It begins with a domestic United flight from SEA to LAX (on United metal), then after a 2 hour connection in LAX, continues on to BOG on Avianca. Since my flights are booked as a single ticket, I assume I can't do online checkin at Avianca's website...no? "Check-in" for the Avianca leg (just to pick a seat) then check-in online at United, too? Maybe check-in online with United, then once I'm checked in, call Avianca to try and get them to put me in a non-random seat?

If you know of a way to accomplish this at T-24 (other than visiting an airport served by Avianca), I'd love to hear how that can be done!

mierda, no?
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Old Jun 27, 2023, 11:31 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by nwflyboy
Just booked business class seats LAX-BOG on Avianca, using United miles. Have both the United and Avianca confirmation numbers.

Going online to avianca.com, following "Manage My Booking" and entering last name + Avianca confirmation number, this pops up...


Oh, Oh, how cheerful...

Is this flight going to be how I think it will be? Any options?
there is no bussiness class on this flight ... you will need to pay for flat seat seat during check-in.
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Old Jun 28, 2023, 12:12 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Tomasz Pa
there is no bussiness class on this flight ... you will need to pay for flat seat seat during check-in.
Well, not according to Avianca's partner United airlines. They sell this as business class ("I class" which is their code for a Saver business class award).


That's what I just booked, on United's website, as an award. From SEA to BOG, with one connection in LAX. The first leg from SEA to LAX is in Economy (XN), the long leg from LAX to BOG is in business.

I'm not expecting champagne and caviar (based on reviews I've read, I'm actually expecting mediocre or maybe bad food, and indifferent service - that's OK, I'll eat in LAX and once I get on board, my goal is just to sleep). But I am expecting to be sitting somewhere in row 1 - 7. I already paid United the fees (and miles) for this flight, and I'm not expecting to fork over any money as I head for the jetway.

United has clearly sold me this flight as Business class (I have all the receipts, they all say "business class"). Avianca may not sell it as such, but United does.
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Old Jun 28, 2023, 9:52 pm
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Originally Posted by nwflyboy
Well, not according to Avianca's partner United airlines. They sell this as business class ("I class" which is their code for a Saver business class award).


That's what I just booked, on United's website, as an award. From SEA to BOG, with one connection in LAX. The first leg from SEA to LAX is in Economy (XN), the long leg from LAX to BOG is in business.

I'm not expecting champagne and caviar (based on reviews I've read, I'm actually expecting mediocre or maybe bad food, and indifferent service - that's OK, I'll eat in LAX and once I get on board, my goal is just to sleep). But I am expecting to be sitting somewhere in row 1 - 7. I already paid United the fees (and miles) for this flight, and I'm not expecting to fork over any money as I head for the jetway.

United has clearly sold me this flight as Business class (I have all the receipts, they all say "business class"). Avianca may not sell it as such, but United does.

Keep us posted how this worked out.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 1:00 am
  #7  
 
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Same situation. Just booked business lie flat LAX-BOG using UA miles and get the same error when I try to select a seat. Interestingly on the return used AC miles and the reservation shows seats assigned to us but I can't access the record on AV website. 8 hour flight so would prefer to be near each other, but lwill live. bigger issue for me is meal selection as I'm vegetarian; any advice on that?
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 1:16 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by abaheti
Same situation. Just booked business lie flat LAX-BOG using UA miles and get the same error when I try to select a seat. Interestingly on the return used AC miles and the reservation shows seats assigned to us but I can't access the record on AV website. 8 hour flight so would prefer to be near each other, but lwill live. bigger issue for me is meal selection as I'm vegetarian; any advice on that?
no food on this fligjt , you can buy snacks.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 2:38 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by abaheti
Same situation. Just booked business lie flat LAX-BOG using UA miles and get the same error when I try to select a seat. Interestingly on the return used AC miles and the reservation shows seats assigned to us but I can't access the record on AV website. 8 hour flight so would prefer to be near each other, but l will live. bigger issue for me is meal selection as I'm vegetarian; any advice on that?
@abaheti - Interesting. So what magic does Air Canada have that United doesn't? No apparent seat has been assigned for me, at least none that United dot com can see/display (it offers me a link to choose a seat, but of course the link is a dead end saying, "ask the other guys.").

So, your Air Canada reservation shows assigned seats? What did it assign? How many in your traveling party, and were the seat assignments at all rational - ie a couple seated next to each other in the two center seats, or front/back window seats, near each other or scattered to the wind, etc?

My flight is in February. When's yours?

Originally Posted by Tomasz Pa
no food on this flight , you can buy snacks.
I've seen online "reviews" of this flight -- in business class; the reviewer said that some food was indeed served (packaged sandwich), but it was pretty nasty (they also complained about lack of service from the cabin crew...but said the seat itself was fine). Beats me, my expectations have been lowered. I'm planning to grab a quick bite to eat during the connection in LAX if I can, and bring it aboard. If you have special dietary needs (or just want to be sure that there's some edible food for you), you may want to consider doing the same.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 11:10 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Tomasz Pa
no food on this fligjt , you can buy snacks.
Interesting. The reservation and website say lunch. And we are in business class. Based on reviews, I fully expect it to suck so will eat in the airport before my night flight to LAX-BOG, and buy food for the return (anything worth buying in BOG?)... As vegetarian, I typically bring emergency food even on carriers with better food reputations (e.g., my business class veg meal LAX-CDG on AF was not worth serving).
https://www.avianca.com/otr/en/experience/
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 11:15 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by nwflyboy
@abaheti - Interesting. So what magic does Air Canada have that United doesn't? No apparent seat has been assigned for me, at least none that United dot com can see/display (it offers me a link to choose a seat, but of course the link is a dead end saying, "ask the other guys.").

So, your Air Canada reservation shows assigned seats? What did it assign? How many in your traveling party, and were the seat assignments at all rational - ie a couple seated next to each other in the two center seats, or front/back window seats, near each other or scattered to the wind, etc?
Yes, 4D/4E, which seem like pretty reasonable business class options (center, side by side). Of course, I can't verify that the seats assignments are real because I can't get the website to work. I don't know why UA and AC would have a difference. If forced to speculate, my AC booking seems that AC and AV use the same locator whereas UA and AV are different. Maybe that helps AV's system process seats? I really have no clue. It is just odd to have two contrasting examples, both booked same day within hours.

On a separate note, it looks like the service was updated in June: https://aviationsourcenews.com/airline/avianca-business-class-from-los-angeles/

and this which reads like a paid review but seems to match the info: https://www.theblondeabroad.com/avianca-787-business-class-flight-from-la-to-bogota/

Last edited by abaheti; Jun 30, 2023 at 12:19 pm
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 12:44 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by abaheti
Yes, 4D/4E, which seem like pretty reasonable business class options (center, side by side). Of course, I can't verify that the seats assignments are real because I can't get the website to work. I don't know why UA and AC would have a difference. If forced to speculate, my AC booking seems that AC and AV use the same locator whereas UA and AV are different. Maybe that helps AV's system process seats? I really have no clue. It is just odd to have two contrasting examples, both booked same day within hours.
Agree, it's strange (and annoying) and does not really make sense. Oh well. At least you appear to have (some) assigned seats that appear rational.

Originally Posted by abaheti
and this which reads like a paid review but seems to match the info
OMG, that "blog" - shill, shill, shill ("travel influencer" pushing anything and everything including herself). Everything so glossy and magical... Aside from the huge credibility questions, the post you linked to is very outdated - it appears to be from 2018 or 2019 (the post itself is undated but it's posted between other old posts from pre-2019). Personally, I found that site to be extremely deceptive, and downright dishonest in some place, I'd take anything posted there with a giant hunk of rock salt. Don't get me started...

Originally Posted by abaheti
On a separate note, it looks like the service was updated in June: https://aviationsourcenews.com/airli...m-los-angeles/
This article seems current (dated early June 2023) and although thin on details meaningful to me (and probably to you), it does mostly align with what I've seen elsewhere. It appears to simply regurgitate points from an Avianca press release, so what it describes may be more of an aspiration right now than reality. I guess we'll (both) see.

More grist: I poked around and found more references, links and "reviews" about Avianca's BOG-LAX business class service. Here's an official Avianca page worth noting: Upgrade to Business Class. You'll see the claimed benefits of flying Avianca Business class, including the layflat seat (on a 787) and (unspecified) "different food options" in business class. (So, despite some posts below claiming "there is no business class" it seems Avianca is selling that and calling it that (although they may only "sell" it as an upgrade, not directly as such?). And, things are changing (maybe they have been downplaying "business class" while waiting for 787 deliveries, which in fairness, have indeed been very delayed).

One thing worth noting is that it seems Avianca has a longstanding practice of wetleasing aircraft (including crews) from Wamos, a Spanish charter/wetlease company. I've seen lots of references to people being surprised at the last minute by an aircraft swap, expecting an Avianca 787 and getting a Wamos A330 (here are a couple older FT threads on it: The Wamos Experience and Avianca operated by Wamos?)

According to the "Simple Flying" blog (which seems a lot more credible and less fluffy to me than the "blonde blog" you linked to above), Avianca has been waiting on 787 deliveries (lots of airlines are), and has had Wamos fill in for it's not-yet-delivered 787 on the LAX-BOG route. They say that Wamos would be running their flights between Bogota and San Salvador and between Bogota and LAX from June 20 to October 20 (see: Avianca Will Operate Long-Haul Routes With Leased Wamos Air Airbus A330s, dated April 2023). It looks like Avianca sent out a press release around June 1, and Simple Flying pushed out an update here: Avianca To Deploy Its Boeing 787s With Business Class Seats On Bogota - Los Angeles Route. In that post, they make the claim that (according to yet another source - FlightRadar24), the switch-over in the LAX-BOG route from Wamos' to Avianca's own 787 should begin July 1 - today:

"According to Flightradar24.com, it is apparent that Wamos will fulfill the carrier's schedule for June, and from July 1st, the carrier's own 787 will return to the skies." I guess we will see in a few hours if that's the case.

Of course, even if the Avianca-branded 787 takes over that route today, there's a chance that Wamos may get swapped back in at some point (the plan to change to Avianca's 787 today may have been a hope rather than an accomplishment). They wisely suggest: "The wet-lease agreement kicked off on April 20th and, as previously reported by Simple Flying, was expected to continue until October 28th. So those looking to score a ticket on AV should check the airline's website and schedule to check if they will be on AV metal."

My LAX-BOG flight isn't until February 2024, so I'm hoping any initial issues will have been resolved by then. If my flight was scheduled very soon, I'd be more concerned about an unexpected aircraft swap.

@abaheti - When is your LAX-BOG flight scheduled?
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 1:28 pm
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guys i took LAX - BOG 8x times in 2023. Avianca does not sell bussiness class tickets on this flight and same applies to all routes except to europe.

Same applies to food - only snacks and only paid ones.

Still i like this route as this is the only flat seat flight you can take to Bogota now in a super low price.
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 2:37 pm
  #14  
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@Tomasz Pa - It would appear that some things may be changing, no? When was your most recent Avianca flight between BOG and LAX? I do not doubt what you are saying is true or what your experience has been. But, well...

The following is from avianca.com (look here: Avianca Airlines Offers Business Class on flights to Bogot, or if you prefer the Spanish language page, look here: Avianca ofrece Clase ejecutiva en vuelos a Los ngeles)

Here's the first part of the announcement...



It goes on to list the benefits (food, drinks, etc., standard business class benefits).

I do note the asterisk (*) above following the phrase "Boeing 787"...that asterisk says "*Flights on this route are operated on Wamos aircraft and have a capacity of 34 executive cabin seats."

This announcement is dated 31 May. There was clearly a press release from Avianca that went out around June 1, which was picked up by the blogs linked in previous posts. In those press releases, Avianca first said that the LAX-BOG flights would be operated by Wamos from June 20 to October 20; it looks like a later press release indicated that starting July 1 (today, as I'm typing this) that flight would be on Avianca's own 787. It's not clear to me if the switch-over to Avianca's own 787 has actually happened yet (it may be that was what they had hope for, and it may or may not have actually happened; or it may be that Avianca now does not expect to take delivery of the 787 for this route until October....it's often true that plans run late). I do know that Boeing is very late in delivering a lot of 787s, so this may all still be wishful thinking, just "hopes" or "plans". We should find out soon enough if any change happened on July 1.

As to how Avianca is marketing things or actually selling things, I don't know. The process you describe (selling all tickets like a low-cost carrier, then offering the option at check-in to "upgrade" to sit in the flat seats, but NOT actually calling it "business class") may be what they've been doing, maybe that is changing, maybe it isn't. I just looked at buying a ticket on their website and they do not appear to offer to sell "business class" tickets (yet?), but maybe they are not qucik about updating their website (IT delays would not shock me, they definitely do have some IT issues).

But they clearly are making announcements about something they are now calling "business class", and - more importantly, at least for me and others who are booking award flights through their partner's mileage program - other airlines (eg their partner United Airlines) are selling this as business class, and issuing tickets as such. I have one of those.

When someone holding a business class ticket on Avianca that was issued by their partner airline shows up at the boarding gate, I can not imagine that Avianca staff are going to wag their fingers and say "no, no, no, lo siento, senior, tu nos debes $400 por el asiento..."

I will be very curious to hear from those who are flying this route July 1 or later. I'm guessing we should know more soon enough. (Personally, my flight is not until February, so I will be watching to see what, if anything, changes).
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 5:37 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by nwflyboy
@abaheti - When is your LAX-BOG flight scheduled?
Wow, great research. I am wondering if I should try to find another option for flights, but i don't see many options for business class from LAX using points -- don't want to fly to Miami and do two stops en route to Lima (my actual destination). My flight is November. Can you let us know if you see the 787 actually flying? I misunderstood that they had already switched over but looks like I misread the city pair in Matthew's review (https://liveandletsfly.com/avianca-787-business-class/)

Hmmm, this shows a320 for today. Sigh. What are the seats like on that plane?
https://www.flightstats.com/v2/flight-details/AV/84?year=2023&month=7&date=1&flightId=1197460720

Last edited by abaheti; Jul 1, 2023 at 5:46 pm
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