Change in elite seating policy

 
Old Jul 8, 05, 7:49 pm
  #1  
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Change in elite seating policy

Am flying with family from IAD-CGK and had to change the reservation dates. Due to different travel on the inbound part of this ticket, we are on separate reservations, but when we flew to IAD, there were no problems in having my wife and daughter assigned to "elite seats" in WBC. I had also obtained these seats for them on the outbound leg, but when I changed the travel dates and needed to get new seat assignments, the customer service rep told me that there had been a change of policy in "the last couple weeks" and that they were no longer allowed to move up non-elites to elite seats when they were not on the same reservation as an elite member (even if they were travelling together, as is the case here).

After some back and forth, he agreed to talk to the "seating department" (?) and eventually came back with the good news that because the original reservation had been made prior to the policy change, we could all sit together as desired (row 1, all the way from IAD to HKG).

As you would expect, he said that there had been many irate calls from elites who had been unable to obtain "elite seating" -- apparently the majority of these seats are occupied by non-elites. Still, it seems like a silly change, as he explained that if elites and non-elites are travelling on the same reservation, they can all still get elite seats, just as before.
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Old Jul 8, 05, 8:47 pm
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Sounds like it is real. My friend (nw gold) is travelling with her mother to the states. She called before to put her mother together with her in elite seating area. The agent told her the same thing. But they did make an exception for her because it is her mother's first trip to US and her mother could not speak English.
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Old Jul 8, 05, 9:10 pm
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NW has become the seating Nazis lately. I couldn't get a work colleague on a separate record seated next to me. We both bought tix at the same time, on separate records, and our ticket numbers were consecutive, issued by the same agency.

I understand someone like UA protecting its Elite seating, as there's more legroom. But I really can't understand NW doing this.

AA let me seat a companion in Exit Row the other day for one leg -- separate records, separate itins, but we were on the same segment for that one leg.
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Old Jul 8, 05, 10:14 pm
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Angry

This stinks

Nobody realized this until now (thanks to OP) ---- 4 months after the new policy took effect.

I checked WP policy

http://www.nwa.com/freqfly/elite/benguide05.pdf

On page 10 it does say that you must be on same record to get companion select seating.

Does UA offer companion select seating to 1P or 2P members?
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Old Jul 8, 05, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by BOS-NWA
Does UA offer companion select seating to 1P or 2P members?
Most definitely. Which is quite generous considering UA 1Ps and 2Ps get EconomyPlus, which has extra legroom. In many cases, there is as much legroom in UA E+ as there is in NW F!

Plus UA blocks the middles next to its elites so that nobody sits next to them (unless the plane is full, of course). So with more legroom, more width, entertainment and Channel 9, it's not bad at all. ^

Last edited by channa; Jul 8, 05 at 10:28 pm
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Old Jul 8, 05, 10:35 pm
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It gets worse. I was traveling with a non-elite companion last weekend AUS-DTW and back on the same reservation and was able to get her elite seating. When I called a week ahead to get the reservation split so I could be eligible for the upgrade, she promptly lost her premium seat. On one flight, she lost her seat assignment entirely as no non-premium seats were available. I then called the gold elite line to ask to have her reseated with me and then learned about the new policy. And of course, the reservations could not be rejoined.

I felt like I had fallen into a trap. Yes, I was trying to work the system but I hated the surprise side effect. In the end, luck was with us as I was automatically upgraded on all legs and was able to get the gold elite companion upgrade for her.
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Old Jul 8, 05, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by channa
Most definitely. Which is quite generous considering UA 1Ps and 2Ps get EconomyPlus, which has extra legroom. In many cases, there is as much legroom in UA E+ as there is in NW F!
I searched M+ web site and could not find information about companion select seating for 1Ps and 2Ps.

How many companions can a UA elite bring to E+ seats together? Must it be on the same booking record?
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Old Jul 9, 05, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by channa
Most definitely. Which is quite generous considering UA 1Ps and 2Ps get EconomyPlus, which has extra legroom. In many cases, there is as much legroom in UA E+ as there is in NW F!

Plus UA blocks the middles next to its elites so that nobody sits next to them (unless the plane is full, of course). So with more legroom, more width, entertainment and Channel 9, it's not bad at all. ^
UA has a similar policy to NW('s new policy) in that if it's on the same reservation, it's no problem. If on separate reservations, it can be done but is very tricky... you have to get the right agent, and then watch the record like a hawk as any schedule change will bump the companion out of E+. But, as mentioned, the seat blocking solves most of this as the seat next to you is bound to be empty by the time your companion checks in, so that seat can be made available usually without a problem. [Also, this all applies to one companion only.]
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Old Jul 9, 05, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by BOS-NWA
Nobody realized this until now (thanks to OP) ---- 4 months after the new policy took effect.
I booked my flights as 2 people (For plat upgrade) and a separate one for my other family member. I've had no problems this year getting seating for the last member of the party in the elite section. Last time was about a month ago.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 7:50 am
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We had 6 travelers in early June on 4 separate reservations and were able to get all of them in premium seats.

They just keep chipping away at our benefits.

I would imagine they get alot of phone calls to move people into the premium seats and they figure if they quit the practice it will cut down on the phone.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by HeadInTheClouds
UA has a similar policy to NW('s new policy) in that if it's on the same reservation, it's no problem. If on separate reservations, it can be done but is very tricky...
UA will do 1 companion, even if on a separate record. It's a bit different from NW's policy now, as NW will no longer do it for someone on a separate record.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 8:53 am
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This really is a bad thing as we all seoerate records to get UG's. I hope this isn't true. I wil be booking some family travel ths wekend so we'll see how it goes.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 9:07 am
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That's interesting as I just booked a R/T for my wife and I, in seperate records, from MSP-JFK for 2 weeks out. It's a CRJ from MSP but a DC-9 back and I used miles to UG my wife on the return and will keep my fingers crossed that my EUA will clear for mine! At any rate the agent, when I called in after the NWA.COM booking, moved my wife up to row 1 on the CRJ with no problem. Maybe they don't have elite seating on the CRJ, I really didn't look.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 10:10 am
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I've run into this as well---I normally don't split since we have four, and one upgrade doesn't help if it leaves the other parent with two kids, but did split b/c booked award tix out of separate accts to clear out spouse's slow-growth WP miles. I wasn't that surprised, which may say more about NW's service than the change in the first place...

The one exception is a minor companion, who will be seated with you.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 11:45 am
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Another example of inconsistently applied policies. I don't fly much with my family, but I was able to successfully get premium seating for my wife and daughter in April '05 even though my ticket was on a separate record. The Gold Elite agent did need to make a special call to "Seating Control?" in order to make it happen. It took some time, but the agent was very nice and there was no argument. It may have had something to do with the fact that our flights were re-booked to a different time and aircraft type. The flights that NW originally selected did not fit our itinerary and they changed them at no charge to more suitable flights. These were even award seats.
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