Improved seat number pre-allocation facility

Old Dec 1, 04, 1:31 pm
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Improved seat number pre-allocation facility

A few words of caution. The information outlined in the BA policy memo below has been rewritten. New guidance and rules came into effect in December 2006. For info and debate on the current policy, fast forward to post 90.

On 29 November 2004, British Airways launched the first phase of the improved seat number pre-allocation facility. These changes mean that all your customers now see the full range of seat numbers available for pre-allocation on their chosen flights. Premier and Gold Executive Club members also have direct, exclusive access to the most desirable seats on the aircraft according to precise system recognition of their tier status, once you have entered their membership number into the PNR.

As the full range of available seating will now be offered for pre-allocation on applicable flights, the facility to request specific seat numbers from Trade Support or our Seating Control Unit will no longer be available except for certain passenger types only. Except for those circumstances below, the key message is “if you can’t see the seat you’re looking for, it isn’t available and you are unable to request it”.

The customer types who will need seats requesting for them are:

> Special needs passengers i.e. wheelchair, blind, deaf, medical/MEDA – except when this passenger type is travelling in FIRST as all seats in this cabin are deemed suitable.
> Families with infants requesting a bassinet position
> Families with children under 12-years old who cannot be accommodated together via the seat map
> TCP’s - for Premier and Gold Executive Club members with non-Executive Club member travel partners when they are travelling on separate PNR’s

The customer types who BA Seating Control Unit could possibly help are:

> Premier Executive Club members and their oneworld™ equivalent members, whom you cannot seat as requested. For these passengers, Seating Control will endeavour to seat the passenger as per their request or they will offer the best alternative.
> Gold Executive Club members and their oneworld™ equivalent member, whom you cannot seat as requested. For these passengers, Seating Control will endeavour to seat the passenger as per their request or they will offer the best alternative.

Last edited by Prospero; Dec 8, 06 at 2:36 pm
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:04 pm
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Interesting.

It does seem that they still have seats like 62AK/64AK blocked off on the 747, and row 15 blocked off on the 777.

I have a flight next week, and I was able to snag a window on the upper deck now, whereas I wasn't before. Earlier in the week there was only one middle seat showing available to me on the flight under MMB (so I left it as no seat requested), now I can see 6 or 7 available seats.

So I do think something changed ... but they still have the highly desirable seats in Club blocked off from pre-allocation. You just get around the issue of where they only allow some % of seats to be pre-allocated in a cabin.

I've also got an upcoming F booking on a 777, and row 1 is still blocked off (not that I want it, was just curious). So I suspect it is also still blocked off from pre-allocation on the 747.

Also, on some upcoming Club Europe flights, I can't get into row 1 ... probably the same issue of them still being blocked off from pre-allocation.

In other words, it looks like this is not a complete solution for avoiding the rush to OLCI 24 hours before the flight. But it is minor progress to get you a good backup seat if you're on a busy route where pre-allocation is limited.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:35 pm
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This sounds great... At last!
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by skippythelizard
Interesting.

It does seem that they still have seats like 62AK/64AK blocked off on the 747, and row 15 blocked off on the 777.

I have a flight next week, and I was able to snag a window on the upper deck now, whereas I wasn't before. Earlier in the week there was only one middle seat showing available to me on the flight under MMB (so I left it as no seat requested), now I can see 6 or 7 available seats.

So I do think something changed ... but they still have the highly desirable seats in Club blocked off from pre-allocation. You just get around the issue of where they only allow some % of seats to be pre-allocated in a cabin.

I've also got an upcoming F booking on a 777, and row 1 is still blocked off (not that I want it, was just curious). So I suspect it is also still blocked off from pre-allocation on the 747.

Also, on some upcoming Club Europe flights, I can't get into row 1 ... probably the same issue of them still being blocked off from pre-allocation.

In other words, it looks like this is not a complete solution for avoiding the rush to OLCI 24 hours before the flight. But it is minor progress to get you a good backup seat if you're on a busy route where pre-allocation is limited.
I can't say I have noticed a difference, I have just made a redemption booking and Row 1 is showing as unavailable along with strangely the middle seats in 4 and 5. I also changed an upcoming flight from QF to BA (since I found out that the BA codeshares on QF do not count for OnBusiness Points) and went from row 1 to row 3 (albeit this change was quite late in the day).

I used to have a good hit rate at requesting Row 1, but have not been lucky for a while. It seems that it is much easier to get the most desirable seats on other OW carriers as a BA Gold, which I find somewhat bizarre, I have a 100% hit on getting the seat I want allocated in advance from QF.

Does this mean they are just releasing more of the cabin than previously, whilst still holding back the "best" seats?
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:54 pm
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Complete cr*p !!!!

For my trip to Lis next week rows 2&3 (front rows) are unavailable A-F and 4-6 are unavaiable in A-B. These simply cannot all be taken and as I am Gold I should have accees to everything.

No change at all ...
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles
Does this mean they are just releasing more of the cabin than previously, whilst still holding back the "best" seats?
That is what it looks like to me.

I've only noticed a difference on one flight in one of my upcoming bookings.

But most of my flights in upcoming bookings are not very full, lots of open seats.

The one where I noticed a difference is one where I could not get a confirmed seat earlier in the week. Now MMB shows me a number of choices, but they are all from the "usual suspects" ... none of the good seats are available, they are all still blocked off.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:58 pm
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No change in seat availability on any of the 4 segments of my current booking in MMB... damn shame as I am stuck in last row downstairs on a 70J
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Old Dec 1, 04, 3:04 pm
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This is not good news. As QF Silver and now Gold, the seating department has been very good to me over the years. This is definitely a retrograde step for us non-top tier elites. It's disappointing to be thrown back into the pot with "the masses", if you'll pardon the turn of phrase.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 3:07 pm
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utter rubbish!
I have two WT+ journeys over the next couple of months. I can's see any change. The front row is unavailable and I don't believe it's already been given. Even if the middle is being kept for a family, the 2 on each side should be available.

Last edited by economyman; Dec 1, 04 at 3:19 pm
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Old Dec 1, 04, 3:21 pm
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All it seems they have done is "simplify" seating control to only look at requests for gold and prems.

Why don't they just say that?
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Old Dec 1, 04, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by economyman
utter rubbish!
I have two WT+ journeys over the next couple of months. I can's see any change. The front row is unavailable and I don't believe it's already been given. Even if the middle is being kept for a family, the 2 on each side should be available.
I have been monitoring MMB for seat availability changes for 2 rtn flights (one in WT+ and one in F) and I too have seen now change in availability.

Economyman, Both my WT+ segments have the entire front row blocked out too.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave_C
All it seems they have done is "simplify" seating control to only look at requests for gold and prems.

Why don't they just say that?
Being Gold doesn't seem to make much difference from what I have just seen, on my existing bookings. Good seats still by "request" and requests never seem to get anywhere for me anymore, despite 1900 tier points and 5 months to go until renewal
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Old Dec 1, 04, 4:59 pm
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What about the "best" seats in Traveler and Traveler Plus (since we have already discussed First and Club)?

Will seats such as 29A and 29K in the 38J 747 configurations be blocked to Golds/Prems? I do travel in Traveler, and have always been able to snag 29K, which is the economy equivalent of 62A/K (no seat in front on you, easy aisle access, leg room, window seat). I see Golds proudly sporting their tags in Y, so I imagine they will want the best seats possible.

How about the single seats in Traveler Plus on the 70J configurations at the front of the cabin (I think 28B/J)?

I don't think much will change though... seating requests/allocations seem so ad-hoc at BA and subject to the whim of whatever minion one happens to be speaking to. Before I flew regularly and so was just a Blue, I never seemed to have much trouble getting 62A and keeping it. About two months ago, I was told that rows 62+ are held back only for fare-paying pax (I was on redemption). I've lost count of how many times I have been pre-allocated a seat only to find I was moved to a horrible spot at check-in. Seems the better policy would be to only give pre-allocation to Golds/Prems and pax with special needs.

Last edited by SchmeckFlyer; Dec 1, 04 at 5:05 pm
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Old Dec 1, 04, 5:00 pm
  #14  
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Perhaps it will take some time to 'reload' the seatmaps for every single flight currently in the system? (we're talking around a million after all!)

FWIW one CE flight in my booking shows every single seat allocatable apart from row 1 but I can't say if this is different to a couple of days ago as its the return segment I'm not intending to use... perhaps its coming through bit by bit?
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Old Dec 1, 04, 5:01 pm
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Hmm, since this is a statement from the BA trade website, is it possible we're mixing a possible change in seating policy with a change in use of BA Rapport? Sounds to me this is more about BA saying 'don't bother queuing a request for seat allocation - nothing will happen unless Prem or Gold'.
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