Priority Seats at Check-in

 
Old Apr 25, 04, 2:05 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
Posts: 165
Question Priority Seats at Check-in

I do not have NW elite status or status with any of their partners. I have a trip coming up and because of late purchase have some less than ideal seats assigned to me. Looking at the seat map, all seat in coach that are not priority seats are full. It's been this way for weeks, and NW has still be selling coach seats, so I'm pretty sure that there are quite a few coach passengers without assigned seats. The first round of upgrades went through, and the priority seats emptied out quite a bit and now there are many empty priority seats.

Because these empty priority seats are likely not the have elites sitting in them, I would like to secure them for myself. I'm flying a connecting itinerary and the flight I'm worried about is the second of the two.

After searching FlyerTalk and researching the rules my understanding is the following, although I do have some conflicting information:

1. I can check in for both flights on-line 36 hours before departure of the first flight.
2. I can change my seats for both flights to priority seats online 2 hours before departure of the first flight.

So the best I can do is wait until two hours before first flight departure and checkin then? Will Northwest have already assigned these seats to the non-elites who have no seat assignment by that time?

Thanks for any help,
Rocketman
Rocketman is offline  
Old Apr 25, 04, 10:36 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: norwalk, ct
Posts: 79
The same thing happened to me. I booked some travel on NW and both of the flights looked completely full when looking at the seat map. When I checked in online though there were quite a few open seats and the online check in let me pick any seat on the plane. My connection in MEM to IAH was showing full on the seat map too but the plane was near half empty when I got on. Who knows why all the seats are blocked off? I would check in early online. If that doesnt work show up early at the airport and talk with the GA they are usually happy to help
aja30677 is offline  
Old Apr 25, 04, 10:46 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 8,202
Anyone can choose the Priority seats once the 36-hour online check-in mark hits.

So you can check-in at the 36 hr mark and choose any open seat in coach.

-RM
RobOnLI is offline  
Old Apr 25, 04, 10:54 pm
  #4  
Moderator: Hawaii-based airlines & Hawai'i forums
Hyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi [+MKK4 EBBER R577 EDSEL R577 ELKEY EXERT]
Posts: 15,594
Hasn't it been awhile since a non-elite could select premium seats 30-36 hours thru online check-in: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...m+seats+online ?

It's hit or miss... Whenever checking in my SO for her flights, I've had problems selecting seats for her in the premium section until 2 hours before her flight.

aloha
slippahs is offline  
Old Apr 25, 04, 11:08 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: BSB
Programs: DL mm, HHonors diamond
Posts: 4,834
At 36 hours to schedule departure all seats open up on NWA.COM checkin

A lot of pax improve their seat assignment at appr. 36 hours prior to scheduled departure time.

I have also heard elite line agents advise that that is when to look for a better seat for a non-elite in the elite section (unavailable to non-elites until e-checkin opens up at 36 hours to flight)

Good Luck!

Rc
Radiocycle is offline  
Old Apr 25, 04, 11:55 pm
  #6  
Moderator: Hawaii-based airlines & Hawai'i forums
Hyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi [+MKK4 EBBER R577 EDSEL R577 ELKEY EXERT]
Posts: 15,594
RC: According to VegasAgent in the link above, premium seat are available to non-elites 2 hours prior to departure. Was there a change made in the system to allow premium seats available to non-elites at the start of online check-in?

aloha
slippahs is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 1:37 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: BSB
Programs: DL mm, HHonors diamond
Posts: 4,834
Premium seats availability

I have never tested when premium seats actually become available. I will try and check this out on Wednesday evening (for a Friday AM flight) with my wife's WP account for a friday morning flight and see if her account can book any seat (prefered seats/reg. seats, etc) and post my findings to this thread.

I was stating what I had "heard" but since I hadn't tested it I could have bad info. We will see.

RC
Radiocycle is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 3:46 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: In transition... some days, even I don't know
Programs: NW, *wood
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by Radiocycle
I have never tested when premium seats actually become available.
Within the past few months I conducted such a test. Well, actually my goal was exit row seating, although I think that's a distinction without a difference for these purposes.

I tried checking in online at 36 hours out and at other significant times (e.g., 24 hours out and 12:00 midnight on the day of the flight). I even drove out to the airport and tried using the self-service kiosk four hours before the flight. The test confirmed that non-elites can't snag an exit row seat until two hours before their first flight.
IND-to-SEA is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 6:28 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
Posts: 165
Another Question

Thanks for all the input.

If I check-in online at 36 hours and it does not give me the option to change to the priority seats will I still be able to try again at the 2 hour mark? Meaning if I get my boarding passes at 36 hours will I still be able to change seats at 2 hours?

Any guesses as to when the people without assigned seats will start getting assigned into the priority seats as they are the only seats left? Will they be able to self assign even though I can't just because they have no current assignment?

Rocketman
Rocketman is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 6:51 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: In transition... some days, even I don't know
Programs: NW, *wood
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by Rocketman
If I check-in online at 36 hours and it does not give me the option to change to the priority seats will I still be able to try again at the 2 hour mark? Meaning if I get my boarding passes at 36 hours will I still be able to change seats at 2 hours?
Yes, but only through a human agent at the airport.
IND-to-SEA is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 7:12 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
Posts: 165
If I try to check-in at 36 hours but it won't let me change my seats can I abort without printing the boarding passes?

Rocketman
Rocketman is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 8:28 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SPG Plat, HH Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,015
Originally Posted by Rocketman
If I try to check-in at 36 hours but it won't let me change my seats can I abort without printing the boarding passes?
You can always elect not to print boarding passes - whether you change your seats or not. In fact, if you have luggage it's sometimes better not to get boarding passes.

Here's why: At some airports passengers with boarding passes wait in the regular line, separate from the (shorter) kiosk line. When you use a kiosk with luggage your bag tags come out behind the counter and your name is immediately called. This kiosk check-in procedure can vault you ahead of other people waiting in the regular line with their boarding pass already in hand.
Family flyer is offline  
Old Apr 26, 04, 8:49 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: In transition... some days, even I don't know
Programs: NW, *wood
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by Rocketman
If I try to check-in at 36 hours but it won't let me change my seats can I abort without printing the boarding passes?
Yes, you can abort the entire online check-in process.
IND-to-SEA is offline  
Old Apr 27, 04, 6:42 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
Posts: 165
An Update

I went to check-in at the 36 hour mark. It was kind of weird because it would not accept my WorldPerks number as my identifier (choose one of WorldPerks number, credit card, confirmation number) but took the confirmation number ok.

Logged in and found the seat selector. I brought up the map for the first flight. I hovered over the priority seat I wanted, but no indication of selectablity was shown. Feeling brave, I clicked anyway. It gave it to me!

Moving on to the connecting flight, which was still 39 hours from departure, I was allowed to select the priority seat too.

The website then said that the procedure for checking luggage is either curbside or kiosk check-in. No waiting in the agent line should be required.

These were my experiences, as always, your mileage my vary. For those who have not had it work for them, feel free to ask me any question about how I did it. I did not try for exit row seats, just the seats that were blocked off for elite passengers at my time of purchase. Also, this is an award ticket booked online in case that matters.

Thanks for all your help,
Rocketman
Rocketman is offline  
Old Apr 27, 04, 8:57 am
  #15  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: DFW,TX USA
Programs: Lifetime Platinum Marriott
Posts: 1,421
Online does not Prevent Kiosk Luggage Check

Originally Posted by Family flyer
In fact, if you have luggage it's sometimes better not to get boarding passes.

Here's why: At some airports passengers with boarding passes wait in the regular line, separate from the (shorter) kiosk line. When you use a kiosk with luggage your bag tags come out behind the counter and your name is immediately called. This kiosk check-in procedure can vault you ahead of other people waiting in the regular line with their boarding pass already in hand.
You can still use the kiosk even if you have an online boarding pass.
Just walk up to the kiosk at the luggage area and do the normal process.
It will ask you how many bags and works the same, just no boarding pass print.
rthib is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread