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Pre-assigned Exit Row Seats???

Pre-assigned Exit Row Seats???

Old Aug 18, 99, 5:05 pm
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Pre-assigned Exit Row Seats???

Recently when making a reservation and having to fly coach because 1C was full, I was given a seat assignment (before airport arrival) that turned out to be an exit row seat. Then for a flight I will be making on Sunday when again 1C is full, I called to get a seat closer to the front than the 14th row I was holding. I called the elite reservation line and when I asked for a seat closer to the front, I was asked if I wouldn't rather keep the exit row seat.

Now I like this a lot because I am tall enough to appreciate the leg room and often prioritize that over being closer to the front. I would have tried for an exit row upon airport check-in. My question is this. I thought that exit row seats could not be assigned except at the airport when the agent can check you out to make sure you are neither too old, too young, nor too infirm. Am I wrong or is this just a bonus for elite flyers and do all airlines bend the corners a bit on this?

[This message has been edited by TravelWeary (edited 08-18-1999).]
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Old Aug 18, 99, 5:41 pm
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Good question. I'd like to know what the official policies are, since I'm rather tall, and the exit rows are definitely a plus in terms of leg room. CO has consistently told me that exit row seats cannot be assigned over the phone, since they have to (visually) verify you qualify to sit there. However, I was told by a res. agent on the phone that if you checkin at the airport and ask to have exit-row seating as a preference added to your fflier account, you could, and thus res. agents on the phone could access this in the future and assign seats in advance. What do most airlines do - hold exit seats for elites that don't get upgrades? I'm curious too about the exact policies on this.
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Old Aug 18, 99, 5:55 pm
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I can only speak for United's policy. Premier Executives and above can reserved exit row seats in advance. You must still physically qualify to sit there in accordance with FAA and United's policy re age, language, physical ability, etc.

All others can request at check-in.
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Old Aug 18, 99, 8:26 pm
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my experience is with AA and i'm almost always able to book the exit row in advance. it's a perk they give to aadvantage gold and above.

sometimes, though, when there's only a week or so till departure, an exit row is unavailable. in that case, if i'm not upgrading to business, i usually call back 72, 48 or 24 hours before the flight and an exit row seat often becomes available, as elite upgrades clear and they give back their preferred seats.

it used to be that they had my eligibility noted in my profile and all i had to do was ask for the seat, but now they've recently started asking me the "exit row qualification" questions each time i reserve. ("are you able, will you assist...")

advance booking of exit row seats - or as some reservations agents call them,"poor man's first class" - may just be one of the very best elite benefits.
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Old Aug 19, 99, 2:39 am
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the same, as Premex says for UA, goes for Senators on LH flights.

In general, my arguments on transatlantic flights to get that exit-row-seat at check-in time is: I think you don't mind giving an exit row-seat to me (us, if I travel with Gisela) it won't heart, will it, if we speak most of the languages our fellow passengers speak on that flight?

[This message has been edited by Rudi (edited 08-19-1999).]
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Old Aug 19, 99, 9:18 am
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The rules as I read it is that you can't get the exit row till after the airline has given it to you once and you are in their miles program. For example, earlier this year I was Scum(tm) in the Dividend Miles Program (ie non-elite) but often got the exit row seat preassigned..
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Old Aug 19, 99, 9:50 am
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Like UK Stages, I'm always pre-assigned exit rows on AA. (I'm AAdvantage Platinum). All I've ever been asked is "Are you exit-row qualified?" I guess they figure anyone who flies much knows what that means.

This can be a mixed blessing. On planes with two adjacent exit rows, the front one may have limited recline.

OTOH, in AA's Airbuses there's enough space in front of the exit row for a rear-facing flight attendant jump seat! Looks like they took a whole row out there.
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Old Aug 19, 99, 10:00 am
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My experience has been that exit row seats are BOTH preassigned to upper level Frequent Flyers AND available at the gate, because those same FFS to whom they were originally assigned are most often subsequently upgraded.

We are almost always offered exit row seats when we book with UAL, but then frequently are upgraded sometime before the flight.
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Old Aug 19, 99, 10:11 am
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Excellent point Punki! Also, on the other hand, some people have claimed not to like these particular exit seats. 'Cause people tend to congregate here where there's more space?
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Old Aug 19, 99, 10:57 am
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Thanks everyone for your knowledgeable responses. A travel agent makes my flight arrangements and I'm not convinced that they look out for me that well, so this must be in my profile and I have to give credit to the airline. This only started happening recently when I reached the top elite level, so as you've noted it is probably no coincidence.

Obviously, I was misinformed recently when told (by an airline) that they could not assign these seats over the phone. As in many things apparently, "rank has its privileges." As always--good if it works for you, bad if it works against you!
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Old Aug 19, 99, 3:29 pm
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NWA preassigns exit row seats to Gold & Platinum elite members, but you have to ask.
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