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-   -   United Airlines seating issue: flying with a baby (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-children/1231652-united-airlines-seating-issue-flying-baby.html)

sysunyu Jun 29, 11 6:06 pm

United Airlines seating issue: flying with a baby
 
My wife and I will be traveling with our 9-months baby with United Airlines (Montreal-Washington-Beijing). However, when we purchased the tickets online, there are only back seats available (last 3 back rows in B777) to choose. I called United Customer Care Centre, they said that they can do nothing for the seating except that we pay extra 149$ per person to get Economy Plus class seats.

I wonder if the airport check-in agent or flight attendant could find 2 front seats for us on the day of departure. I have heard that basically, airlines agents will put passengers with baby in front seats. We really worried that we will fly with our baby in the back of aircraft for 14 hours.

qoodoo Jun 29, 11 8:05 pm

If you get really lucky maybe...never heard of people with babies get front seats. Those seats are reserved for elites and paying pax.

PTravel Jun 29, 11 8:10 pm

Front seats on UA are called Economy Plus. They have extra leg room and require either that you pay extra to sit there, or you get free access because you have status on the airline. Virtually all UA flights run full -- it is very, very unlikely that you would be given seats in the Economy Plus section.

jstevenson0617 Jun 29, 11 9:49 pm

Aside from maybe feeling the turbulence a little more, what is the issue with sitting towards the back of the plane? Seems that it shouldn't matter whether you're traveling with an infant or not.

Eclipsepearl Jun 30, 11 5:52 am

The front of United's cabin is Economy Plus, as the other poster explained. Were you hoping for a bulkhead seat for a bassinet? United says they're suitable only for babies up to 6 months so your son is probably too big. Also, United prioritizes the bulkhead seats for their ff's, not families with small children.

I've flown long haul on United many times in the back of the plane and honestly, it wasn't a problem at all. In fact, it was convenient being close to the lavs back there.

I have a daughter who only has to look at a car to start throwing up (like when I was little). We're just a very, very motionsick prone family. Only once did a child throw up (and that was kind of borderline "spit-up" frankly). I've had kids throw up on the way to the airport only to be fine on the flight itself (though it's not really an ideal way to start a journey).

Having said this, here's what you can try. Call within a week of flying and see if they can change it. If not, call 48 hours prior. If not, request yet again at check-in. You might get lucky. Once at the airport, when they saw that my husband was in business (on a separate reservation), they moved us to the very first row that wasn't E+, all four of us, just so that we would be physically closer. I didn't even request this!

I would not count on anyone switching on the flight itself. Passengers always say no to Flight Attendants anyway (experience speaking).

Yes, the back is bumpier but in the economy section, it's really not enough of a difference to worry about. Try to get forward and if not, relax. The slight extra movement might even help put your son to sleep!

erik123 Jul 1, 11 8:47 pm

UA is not the best for families with infants. I would pay the $149 to get economy+ - it will be well worth the investment with a lap infant. In the grand scheme of things it is not that much for a much more comfortable flight.

vicarious_MR'er Jul 1, 11 10:12 pm

Yeah, I think you should pay up for the economy plus seats. I think that is your only chance of moving up some rows, but it's still quite possible you will not get use of a bassinet. At least you'll have a little more space overall, though

6rugrats Jul 2, 11 11:50 am


Originally Posted by sysunyu (Post 16647956)
I wonder if the airport check-in agent or flight attendant could find 2 front seats for us on the day of departure. I have heard that basically, airlines agents will put passengers with baby in front seats. We really worried that we will fly with our baby in the back of aircraft for 14 hours.

Not on UA. These seats, as already posted, are reserved for UA's and now CO's elite flyers. IMO, your child will be too big for a bassinet anyway, and very doubtful you could still get the bulkhead seats necessary to use one. I've actually never seen a bassinet in use on UA on all my international travel with them.

If you want to sit closer to the front, you'll have to pay for it. Suggest you purchase Economy Plus yearly option, which will cost you $425. This is good for two people and you can use this for your outbound and return flight. It's cheaper than paying for each leg, and it's good for one year.

I also am not sure that sitting in the back is a bad thing with an infant.

sysunyu Jul 2, 11 1:15 pm


Thank you for all your reply and suggestions.

I already paid $298 US to get 2 Economy + seats. I think it is wise to do so. I will post my feedback after my trip.

Encore une fois, merci de vos réponses.
(Once again, thank you for your responses.)

erik123 Jul 2, 11 3:34 pm


Originally Posted by sysunyu (Post 16661899)

Thank you for all your reply and suggestions.

I already paid $298 US to get 2 Economy + seats. I think it is wise to do so. I will post my feedback after my trip.

Encore une fois, merci de vos réponses.
(Once again, thank you for your responses.)

Use seatguru.com to check for the best seats.

sysunyu Jul 3, 11 8:22 am


Originally Posted by erik123 (Post 16662372)
Use seatguru.com to check for the best seats.




Thank you. I will check.

slomrtwo Jul 3, 11 2:12 pm

And make sure the check-in at each gate early. When we had a VIE-FRA flight delay that shrank our FRA layover and we weren't at the gate 45 minutes ahead. United then gave away our Economy Plus bulkhead bassinet seats and assigned us to the back row of Economy for FRA-SFO.

fredandgingermad Jul 3, 11 9:20 pm

They gave away seats that you'd paid for?

slomrtwo Jul 3, 11 11:26 pm


Originally Posted by fredandgingermad (Post 16667327)
They gave away seats that you'd paid for?

United stated that it is their policy to release seats of any passenger not at the gate more that 45 minutes before departure. As a UA 1P we were compensated later. Being that we had reserved the seats 10 months before, they knew exactly how late our inbound flight was, had staff directing us to our FRA-SFO flight, I don't see why they chose to release our seats even though the flight was not overbooked.

PTravel Jul 3, 11 11:42 pm


Originally Posted by slomrtwo (Post 16667654)
United stated that it is their policy to release seats of any passenger not at the gate more that 45 minutes before departure. As a UA 1P we were compensated later. Being that we had reserved the seats 10 months before, they knew exactly how late our inbound flight was, had staff directing us to our FRA-SFO flight, I don't see why they chose to release our seats even though the flight was not overbooked.

That may have been what the GA told you, but it's not UA policy. I think you were lied to by a GA who was betting your flight would be later than it was. If that should ever happen again, as for a customer service supervisor, or the station manager -- what they did was wrong.


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