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Airport control on ticket several days before flight

Airport control on ticket several days before flight

Old Sep 25, 20, 3:04 am
  #1  
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Airport control on ticket several days before flight

Hi all,

I'm due to fly IST-LHR with my wife on Sunday (27th Sept). I tried to make seat reservations online but got an error indicating the ticket was under airport control. I've gone through several rounds with the call centre and they are unable to make any changes, saying because the ticket is under airport control I will only be able to check-in at the airport (not online) once the flight opens and will be able to select a seat then. Given the flight is almost sold out and only 4 seats are showing as available (and only 2 together) it seems very unlikely I'll be seated with my wife. We're more keen than normal to be seated together due to the covid-19 situation. I fly quite frequently (mainly on airlines other than BA) - I've been unable to check-in online before but this is the first time I can recall being unable to select a seat (on an airline that normally allows this) before a flight. Is this normal with BA?

From what I've been told by BA call centre it seems unlikely anything more can be done, but if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

For future reference, what factors can result in a ticket going under "airport control" well in advance of the flight? The call centre told me for "security reasons" a small % of tickets are given this status - is this true? Risk factors I can think of for this flight are this is a one-way booking. The flight was bought online through a 3rd party agent, paid by card and is billed in HKD. I'd like to avoid this situation in the future so any tips on what can trigger this state would be useful!

Thanks in advance for any experience / advice.

John
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:26 am
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There are hardly any allocated seats, the seat map looks like this. Further details here Theoretical Seating master thread: Blocked seats and status
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:34 am
  #3  
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I think the main thing is to check it is ticketed, so you can see that on the app and see whether there is a ticket number showing under the flight.

Other than that I am afraid you will just have to OLCI when that opens up, or even just do it at the airport.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:41 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by mikeyfly View Post

There are hardly any allocated seats, the seat map looks like this. Further details here Theoretical Seating master thread: Blocked seats and status
Thanks for checking. We're flying in business. Almost no blocked seats there. Only 2 J fare tickets remaining for the flight.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:46 am
  #5  
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Someone else had this problem recently on IST-LHR, and from what I can see it was a combination of late reshuffling of seating, curtain roulette and perhaps a GDS issue to IST airport's system. However there was a brief window, somewhere between 28 and 25 hours to departure, where the seating was opened up. Moreover, so long as you two are on the same reservation Theoretical Seating will - to something like a 99% probability - put the two of you together, indeed this same logic may constrain seat moves on a busier service. So since you are in CE the chances of getting a 3 seat bliock is high. So just check you are ticketed in the BA App and then check again at T-28 or so, then again at OLCI, I very much doubt you will have an issue.

The advice you got about security checks is valid by the way, and using HKG point of sale on a single flight from IST would ring every alarm bell I can think of, if you are not a regular BA customer!
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:50 am
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Originally Posted by itfcfan View Post
Thanks for checking. We're flying in business. Almost no blocked seats there. Only 2 J fare tickets remaining for the flight.
Apologies, I hadn't realised it was CE. Currently all four in row 13 available, although AC showing blocked - there's also another 9 unallocated seats
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
I think the main thing is to check it is ticketed, so you can see that on the app and see whether there is a ticket number showing under the flight.

Other than that I am afraid you will just have to OLCI when that opens up, or even just do it at the airport.
Thanks for checking - the reservation is ticketed (we have e-ticket numbers showing). I'm confident OLCI won't work as we were previously due to fly (same reservation) last week and hit the "airport control" issue when trying to OLCI so we weren't able to. We changed our plans at the last minute so we're now due to fly this weekend instead.

Any insight into airport control and if there are factors which make it more likely would be appreciated. Has anyone here run into this problem? Or has a good understanding of how the systems work?
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:59 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Someone else had this problem recently on IST-LHR, and from what I can see it was a combination of late reshuffling of seating, curtain roulette and perhaps a GDS issue to IST airport's system. However there was a brief window, somewhere between 28 and 25 hours to departure, where the seating was opened up. Moreover, so long as you two are on the same reservation Theoretical Seating will - to something like a 99% probability - put the two of you together, indeed this same logic may constrain seat moves on a busier service. So since you are in CE the chances of getting a 3 seat bliock is high. So just check you are ticketed in the BA App and then check again at T-28 or so, then again at OLCI, I very much doubt you will have an issue.

The advice you got about security checks is valid by the way, and using HKG point of sale on a single flight from IST would ring every alarm bell I can think of, if you are not a regular BA customer!
Interesting! Useful data point from a previous person to have this problem. I'll try at T-28 and see what happens.

Also interesting re: security checks. I used to live in China so trip.com is one of my go-to agents - on this occasion they still had availability in a fare-class other agents weren't showing.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Someone else had this problem recently on IST-LHR, and from what I can see it was a combination of late reshuffling of seating, curtain roulette and perhaps a GDS issue to IST airport's system. However there was a brief window, somewhere between 28 and 25 hours to departure, where the seating was opened up.
Is this the situation you were referring to re: someone with a problem changing seats on IST-LHR?
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32695805-post259.html

If so, our situation is a bit different... We don't have any seats assigned at all. However, we *can* see the seat map and I can get as far as choosing seats and attempting to pay for them before I get an error. If I attempt to pay with Avios I get an explicit "Advance seat selection is not available, airport check-in is active" error (screenshots attached below). If I attempt to pay by card I get a more general error message.

Is your thinking at ~T-27 the reservation will pass to a new system and the "airport control" flag will be removed? I hope that's a possiblity! Before we changed the date of our flight (and were due to fly last week), we got to after T-24 and tried to OLCI but failed due to the same "airport control" issue (or so we were told by call centre staff) so I'm concerned this possibility might not occur.

On the plus side, we *do* have e-ticket numbers assigned and they *are* different to the e-ticket numbers we were previously assigned by trip.com (before we changed the date of the flight). So hopefully the reservation is properly ticketed!


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Old Sep 25, 20, 12:40 pm
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Airport control usually kicks in at T-24, and while redundant as an IT concept, it lives on in airline operations. A flight can be under airport control before T-24 for a number of reasons, but the usual one is aircraft changes and having to manually shift people around, taking all the components into account (e.g. oxygen masks for children). There is also the splendour of BA's IT, which given it's ornate structure makes it surprising BA can ever get an aircraft off the ground. This means that just because its says "airport control" - which really means Flight Management Unit control - it may not actually apply in your circumstance. So the error says one thing, the cause is another.

I am not surprised you can't buy a seat if you have a non public fare from the China OTA, the computer may well not be able to compute the transaction. It may also be you have a requirement to present the original credit card at check-in, given the relatively dubious booking background. Theoretical Seating should put the two of you together, so it's frankly a waste of money paying for seating. If you had status you would have been ok since their seat selection isn't bolted on to the ticket. So buy all means check at T-27 or so, then just select the seats at OLCI. If OLCI doesn't work then so long as you are still ticketed in the BA App you don't need to worry, but it will be something to resolve at check-in, which opens about 2 hours before the flight in IST (it will say more precisely in Manage My Booking). The agents there can manipulate FLY to ensure you get seats together, but as I say TS would normally do the needful.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 8:57 am
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A follow-up now we're past T-24 - possibly useful for someone in a similar situation in the future...

Just after T-27 I checked my booking as advised by c-w-s. I saw that seat reservations were now free for me (I have no BA status) but only two seats were available, far from each other. I didn't find out it would have succeeded had I tried to reserve them as I didn't want to sit apart.

At T-24 I entered OLCI. My wife and I had been assigned seats on the same row (towards the front of the cabin), across the aisle from each other. This looked better than nothing, but when I checked the seat map I found the only other seat available to us was the window seat next to where my wife was assigned. I moved myself to this seat and completed OLCI successfully. We got seq 001 & 002 in the OLCI.

Thanks c-w-s (and everyone else who responded) for your help. It's always interesting to try to understand more about how the various systems glue together. It's still a mystery to me why OLCI wasn't possible for the flight last week before the booking was changed, but I'm happy! The fact it all worked out in the end was very welcome!
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