GCH free seat selection on other bookings

Old Jun 7, 17, 1:04 pm
  #1  
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GCH free seat selection on other bookings

For the first time in a long while I rang up the gold line to make use of the free seat selection for a colleague travelling on the same flight / cabin next week. The benefit is described on the BA site as:

free seat selection from the time of booking for your whole party on British Airways flights – even friends and family on other bookings, as long as they’re in the same travel class and on the same flight* plus exclusive access to 1A and 1K when travelling in First for the Gold Member only

I'd already chosen my seat on the 789 - 31F and wanted to book 30H or K for my colleague (I personally don't like the narrow front row seats despite the extra legroom). I was therefore quite surprised when the agent told me they would put the request in to the "seating department", that all they would guarantee was seats together (not specifically chosen seats), and that it would all happen sometime up to 24hrs before departure, and that my chosen seat could therefore change. At that point I gave up. I queried why she couldn't chose the specific seats and she blamed the "new system", which I guess means FLY. Did I just get the wrong agent and should I waste my time calling again? Or is it just fake "benefit" to pad out the list that really is a waste of time?
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:14 pm
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The agent on the phone could never select the seats on the phone either pre or post FLY.

Linking bookings (called TCP - To Complete Party) is available to any status, it is not a gold specific benefit. All TCP'ing two bookings does though is add a note on one referencing the other. This can be done by the BA agent on the phone.

However, what is a gold/owe benefit and not available for other tiers is free seat selection for the non-gold/silver booking passenger. If you are a GCH/owe and there is someone travelling on the same flight and in the same cabin on a separate booking, you can request free seat selection for the other person so that you can sit together. This second step, after doing the TCP, is usually sent off to the infamous back office to process and takes a few days to do.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:23 pm
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Thanks for the explanation. The problem is though it's not seat selection if you don't get to actually select them. There is no mention in any of the literature of the caveat that it's only to allow you to sit together. It just says free selection.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Jonrross View Post
Thanks for the explanation. The problem is though it's not seat selection if you don't get to actually select them. There is no mention in any of the literature of the caveat that it's only to allow you to sit together. It just says free selection.
You check the seats that you want to seat the passengers in are free and tell the agent what you want. That is what will be selected. However the whole obvious point of the benefit is for you to sit together with someone else in a separate booking.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:30 pm
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I've never not had the seats requested confirmed within a couple of days maximum when using this benefit, the operational reasons caveat remains of course.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
You check the seats that you want to seat the passengers in are free and tell the agent what you want. That is what will be selected. However the whole obvious point of the benefit is for you to sit together with someone else in a separate booking.
Thanks for the clarification, that is what I did, checked the seatmap and told her the specific seat we wanted. She just wouldn't commit to actually giving us those seats. Perhaps it was just the way she conveyed it to me and someone else wouldn't have sounded so negative. The seats we wanted are actually pretty much next to each other due to the staggered layout of the rows. I guess just looking at the numbers row 30 and 31 sets off the "computer says no" attitude.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:42 pm
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The call handler won't ever gaurentee seat selection, as noted for operational reasons you maybe moved and I think we should give them a little slack at the moment given the turmoil about their future they are probably going through at the moment.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 2:07 pm
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This is a great benefit in theory that ends up being poorly executed based on the couple of times I've used it:
- the last time I called to do this I was told flat out it wasn't possible, I had to request the agent check with a supervisor
- was told it would take up to 24h, 48 hours later it hadn't been done
- when I chased, I was told the request had come back from the seating department, but with no seats allocated (i.e. case closed so it would never have been done!), and no notification received
- now left hoping the seats are allocated before OLCI opens when the risk of them being taken shoots up.

So overall this doesn't seem to be a perk that makes your life easy as it might, and it doesn't simply negate the seat selection fees since paying up front offers much higher certainty. In other instances I can see myself recommending the seat selection fees are paid to avoid the hassle.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by woglet86 View Post
This is a great benefit in theory that ends up being poorly executed based on the couple of times I've used it:
- the last time I called to do this I was told flat out it wasn't possible, I had to request the agent check with a supervisor
- was told it would take up to 24h, 48 hours later it hadn't been done
Tried to do exactly the same and was blatantly lied to by the staff answering the phone that this benefit does not extend to OWE and she even had the audacity to say that "I've double checked and confirmed it with my supervisor and this was never an OWE benefit" Ended up with me reading out paragraph or two from the BA website.

Being told that in order to "fit us together" I could be reassigned from my exit row seat. Not good for a tight European flight back in the cheap seats
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Old Jun 8, 17, 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by navylad View Post
...I think we should give them a little slack at the moment given the turmoil about their future they are probably going through at the moment.
I may appear somewhat blunt, but what does the average punter care about decisions BA have made that they probably have no idea about - all they want to achieve is what is a published benefit on BA.com
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Old Jun 8, 17, 3:45 am
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Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
I may appear somewhat blunt, but what does the average punter care about decisions BA have made that they probably have no idea about - all they want to achieve is what is a published benefit on BA.com
Who said anything about the average punter; I was talking about our community on here where it is clear what is happening. The published benefit is being offered, the published benefit doesn't gaurentee the seats as I am sure you are aware. The OP was able to select seats and this was sent to the back office. The call centre operator was doing their job in what must be difficult times allbeit there appear to of had some communication breakdown between the operator and the OP in this instance.

Yes it would be better if the seats could be confirmed by the call centre there and then. Yes it would be great if the Gold TCP then allowed the other joined party to select their seats.
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Old Jun 8, 17, 3:55 am
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Originally Posted by woglet86 View Post
So overall this doesn't seem to be a perk that makes your life easy as it might, and it doesn't simply negate the seat selection fees since paying up front offers much higher certainty. In other instances I can see myself recommending the seat selection fees are paid to avoid the hassle.
From my experience, and I use it a lot, it is a great perk and a real money-saver. That said, the procedure is indeed bothersome.

Originally Posted by 12cheungtk1 View Post
Tried to do exactly the same and was blatantly lied to by the staff answering the phone that this benefit does not extend to OWE and she even had the audacity to say that "I've double checked and confirmed it with my supervisor and this was never an OWE benefit.
As far as I know this is correct.
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Old Jun 8, 17, 5:02 am
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Always worked well for me in the past, it doesn't take too long for back-office to sort it out.
The only issue would be if it were within a week of the flight, when the seats start to be snapped up by Bronzes and last minute bookings.
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Old May 29, 18, 6:22 am
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I am meant to be travelling with friends who are Blue to SFO in December. If I try and do a TCP now and its get confirmed what happens if I have to cancel. Will the seats remain or will they get turfed out? Thanks
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Old May 29, 18, 6:28 am
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If they're in gold-only seats, like the exit row, they will likely get moved. If they are in ordinary seats next to each other, I expect this will not be discovered.

There is not, as far as I can tell, some sort of seat-disorganiser to pessimise seating for people who haven't paid. This isn't Ryanair you're flying. There is only a check, every so often, that people sitting in exit rows or row 1 have either paid, or are Gold(-equivalent), or associated with Gold(-equivalent) person and they get moved to a random other seat if they're not.

If you cancel close to departure, this probably won't be discovered in time and they'll probably keep their seats even if they lack the Gold(-equivalent) association.
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