Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Random seat changes to UA itineraries after having an assigned seat [Consolidated]

Old Jan 4, 2015, 2:37 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: sexykitten7
Archive thread - Random seat changes to UA itineraries after they are booked & purchased [ARCHIVE]

Potential causes {draft list -- needs work}
  • Aircraft equipment changes (appears can be an issue even if the new aircraft is the same type)
  • Computer "glitch" -- common explanation, real source unknown
  • Weight & Balance issues
  • Federal Air Marshal {FAM}
  • Seats needed for passenger with medical / disability / .... issues {particularly a bulkhead issue}
  • Pet in cabin {no bulkhead}
  • Accommodating an high elite or VIP {somewhat unlikely, not standard company policy, and more likely to occur in a premium cabin}
  • Accommodating a family group {not very likely and not standard company policy}
Print Wikipost

Random seat changes to UA itineraries after having an assigned seat [Consolidated]

Old Apr 10, 2022, 8:03 am
  #211  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: CO hublette
Programs: UA AU MM,HH Diamond,Hyatt Globalist , Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,281
I just had my seat changed and I know why. SFO - OGG, I was in 3E, scanned my boarding pass (that showed 3E) when 1Ks were pre boarding and it beeped with a new seat assignment. Gate agent said “oh, you have a new seat 4A”. After a couple of delayed flights to get to this point I was tired and said, no, I have an aisle. (I do have a strong preference). GA said that there was a couple that wanted to sit together so they moved me, but she looked at the screen and told me to take 4B. I saw her move 4B out, put me there and then put the other person into 4A.

Now, I’m in 4B when the new 4A comes up with her boarding pass that shows 4B, checked with FA to make sure she still had a seat, etc. and settled int 4A. Clearly shown on her boarding pass was “global services”. FAs took her meal order first, then mine then bounced around to hit the couple other 1Ks and then went front to back. 3E certainly didn’t appear to be a 1K based on when his order was taken.

So the GA moved a 1K and a GS on her own.
SPN Lifer and DCFlyer0306 like this.
trm2 is offline  
Old Apr 14, 2022, 6:46 pm
  #212  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Programs: UA Plat
Posts: 31
Last week my partner and I were on a redeye LAX-EWR, on a Polarized 787. I'd booked my ticket in cash, hers on miles, in 5F/5D respectively. At *boarding* she's given a new boarding pass with 9A. Happened to a bunch of folks on the flight, and the person who got her seat (who was unwilling to switch) was an upgrade. Not sure what happened, but I've written into 1KVoice asking for an explanation.
spamboymeister is offline  
Old Apr 14, 2022, 8:02 pm
  #213  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 11,443
Originally Posted by spamboymeister
Last week my partner and I were on a redeye LAX-EWR, on a Polarized 787. I'd booked my ticket in cash, hers on miles, in 5F/5D respectively. At *boarding* she's given a new boarding pass with 9A. Happened to a bunch of folks on the flight, and the person who got her seat (who was unwilling to switch) was an upgrade. Not sure what happened, but I've written into 1KVoice asking for an explanation.
For that circumstance, very weird person.
fumje is offline  
Old Apr 14, 2022, 8:23 pm
  #214  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,161
Originally Posted by spamboymeister
Last week my partner and I were on a redeye LAX-EWR, on a Polarized 787. I'd booked my ticket in cash, hers on miles, in 5F/5D respectively. At *boarding* she's given a new boarding pass with 9A. Happened to a bunch of folks on the flight, and the person who got her seat (who was unwilling to switch) was an upgrade. Not sure what happened, but I've written into 1KVoice asking for an explanation.
I can’t wait to see who’s in my seat 1A LAX-EWR on Sunday night that Reservations said was a system reassignment to 2A when the aircraft “changed” to one of the very same type (and I received no email about it.) 1K desk totally unhelpful as well. Received worthless note back from Global Services (I’m 1K).
AirbusFan2B is offline  
Old Apr 14, 2022, 9:35 pm
  #215  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.99MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,756
Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
I can’t wait to see who’s in my seat 1A LAX-EWR on Sunday night that Reservations said was a system reassignment to 2A when the aircraft “changed” to one of the very same type ...
Without checking the entire history, it is not unusual for there to be a short lived change in between in these case to create the reshuffle.
Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
(and I received no email about it.) ...
Pretty standard not to, best not to have expectations
Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
1K desk totally unhelpful as well. Received worthless note back from Global Services (I’m 1K).
How did the GS folks get involved?
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2022, 1:32 am
  #216  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,161
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Without checking the entire history, it is not unusual for there to be a short lived change in between in these case to create the reshuffle.
Pretty standard not to, best not to have expectations
How did the GS folks get involved?
Beats me! I checked with the gate agent, and she phoned someone who was “unable” to see that my seat was ever changed. Well, it was changed from 1A to 2A whereupon I changed it to another odd numbered window row. After boarding, it became clear that all 4 seats in row 1 are occupied by a family of four. The gate manager was in to have a very friendly chit chat with one of the adults during boarding as they were getting settled. It is very obvious to me that this is a senior UA employee plus family or a well-known GS pax who desired for their family to have the 4 best seats on the plane despite the fact that one or more of them was already occupied. This inside job was conducted 9 days prior to departure on a 787. It is inconceivable to me that those 4 seats would just happen to be open on LAX-EWR.

So is UA personnel truly unable to see seat change history, or just part of the whole ruse?
AirbusFan2B is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2022, 9:48 am
  #217  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.99MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,756
Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
... It is very obvious to me that this is a senior UA employee plus family ...
It would have been a very senior exec with advance positive apace privileges for their family -- otherwise employee travel is not handled until day of travel


Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
...or a well-known GS pax who desired for their family to have the 4 best seats on the plane despite the fact that one or more of them was already occupied. ...
If there was a aircraft change, in the reshuffle the GS group would probably be prioritized

While a simple aircraft shuffle is still likely the reason, either of the above is remotely conceivable but they are very much against UA policy. If you feel strongly about this, write the office of the CEO, Kirby, to express your displeasure. While you may never get a straight answer, if something improper was done, there may be consequences

Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
...So is UA personnel truly unable to see seat change history, or just part of the whole ruse?
They should but reportedly it takes a deep dive in the PNR history and not easily done. The CEO's staff will be able to see the history and log files.
Boraxo likes this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2022, 11:14 am
  #218  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: CLE, DCA, and 30k feet
Programs: Honors LT Diamond; United 1K; Hertz PC
Posts: 4,153
Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
The gate manager was in to have a very friendly chit chat with one of the adults during boarding as they were getting settled. It is very obvious to me that this is a senior UA employee plus family or a well-known GS pax who desired for their family to have the 4 best seats on the plane despite the fact that one or more of them was already occupied. This inside job was conducted 9 days prior to departure on a 787. It is inconceivable to me that those 4 seats would just happen to be open on LAX-EWR.
Be careful about what is "obvious" -- I'm somewhat frequently mistaken as a UA employee by UA/UAEX employees, but I'm not and never have been. I also have many conversations with UA employee friends -- occasionally a supervisor has boarded to see me off or deliver news of some kind (e.g. downline protection, birthday greetings) with a bit of conversation added in. None of those have ever pulled a seating/upgrade shenanigan (nor have I asked them to) but if you saw me in F talking to a supervisor/manager/director you might be making the same incorrect assumptions about how I wound up in my seat.

As has been noted it's pretty often the case where UA will do a quick change of aircraft type, and even if it ultimately goes back to the original type that A -> B -> A and that will frequently cause seats to be shuffled. I haven't analyzed it myself but it would make sense that status is one of the factors in determining the order in which seats are reassigned. If you look at the details on FlightStats.com closer to/on the flight date, that can reveal tail and/or equipment type changes that would help answer this question for you, unfortunately since flight is now past without a subscription those details are locked away. (Not all changes particularly far in advance of departure are always captured so at T-9D there may be nothing to see)

For example I've personally had flights do 737-800 -> 737-700 -> 737-800 over the course of about 15-20 minutes that have shuffled my seats (cause discovered by looking at the flight history, not the PNR history...see below).

Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
So is UA personnel truly unable to see seat change history, or just part of the whole ruse?
In my experiences, if the seat shuffle is caused by an automated process (e.g. aircraft change) the history is not as clear and requires doing some dot-connecting/inferring; if the seat assignment is manually changed there's more detail in the PNR history about who/when/where. Neither is particularly obvious, both require digging, and I wouldn't expect the average agent (especially a new-hire agent/an agent that hasn't spent years playing with SHARES) to find and interpret this -- it's not a common request, it's not functionality incorporated into Aero, and I can't imagine many agents are trained for.

And regardless, remember particular seat assignments are never guaranteed and always subject to reassignment; particularly bulkhead seats which may be required for any number of special services.
SPN Lifer likes this.
lincolnjkc is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2022, 12:12 pm
  #219  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Programs: UA MM
Posts: 4,103
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
It would have been a very senior exec with advance positive apace privileges for their family -- otherwise employee travel is not handled until day of travel


If there was a aircraft change, in the reshuffle the GS group would probably be prioritized

While a simple aircraft shuffle is still likely the reason, either of the above is remotely conceivable but they are very much against UA policy. If you feel strongly about this, write the office of the CEO, Kirby, to express your displeasure. While you may never get a straight answer, if something improper was done, there may be consequences

They should but reportedly it takes a deep dive in the PNR history and not easily done. The CEO's staff will be able to see the history and log files.
Is that also true of revenue employee travel?
JimInOhio is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2022, 12:24 pm
  #220  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.99MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,756
Originally Posted by JimInOhio
Is that also true of revenue employee travel?
It is against company policy to move customers (except in some very narrow cases: FAM, medical / disability ,...) A employee on a paid fare pulling strings would face consequences.

Bottom line the aircraft change re-reshuffle is still the most probable situation but let the CEO office research the issue.
lincolnjkc likes this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2022, 11:45 am
  #221  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 6
My Seat Is Stolen?

My spouse and I booked a trip to Alaska way early to grab good deals and good seat - 7 months ago. We are leaving today. Our first leg is DEN to ORD. We selected 3A and 3B. I monitor my flights everyday. However, two days ago, my seat 3B is occupied by someone else and I was moved to 5E for no reason. I called and there was no schedule change, no aircraft change, and the supervisor told me I can only talk to gate agent for a solution and nothing he could do. This is so frustrating and stressful. Now I can’t sit with my spouse and I need to spend time talking to gate agents and the person in my original seat. It sucks.

I have flown with United 22 years and never ran into unwilling seat change like this except for aircraft and schedule change. I know seat assignment isn’t guaranteed and will be changed due to aircraft change, schedule change, and unexpected circumstances. I wonder who changed my seat and took my selected seat. Is it possible GS agent did it under a GSs request or some employee did it behind the scene? This is so frustrating that we planned this trip so early and could not sit together. Any idea who stole my seat - GS or employee or something else happened? Thanks.
yeh8389 is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2022, 11:47 am
  #222  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles / Basel
Programs: UA 1K MM, AA EXP, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 26,911
Very frustrating indeed. Hopefully you will not have a problem switching on the plane or even better, the gate agent would help.

I'm curious if it is a GS assigned to 3B. Might be interesting to ask him directly how he secured the seat.
MatthewLAX is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2022, 11:55 am
  #223  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: ORD
Posts: 82
I think sometimes the United computer system does screwy things like this. I had a flight last summer with my wife and daughter and selected 3 seats together. Then a couple days before the flight I get a message that my seat was changed and when I looked someone else was sitting with my wife and child. Luckily in this instance there were other open seats and whoever they put in my seat switched fairly quickly to another and I was able to re-secure my original seat. That leads me to believe that person didn't request to sit there and some automated process made the change.
SPN Lifer and ContinentalFan like this.
ORDtoMEM is online now  
Old Jun 3, 2022, 12:05 pm
  #224  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BNA
Programs: HH Gold. (Former) UA PP, DL PM, PC Plat
Posts: 8,178
Originally Posted by ORDtoMEM
I think sometimes the United computer system does screwy things like this.
Looks like the tail number changed four times since the original aircraft was assigned to the flight. I'd bet that one of those swaps triggered an automated sweep even though the fleet code didn't change.
jsloan, SPN Lifer and findark like this.
LarryJ is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2022, 12:18 pm
  #225  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.99MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,756
Originally Posted by LarryJ
Looks like the tail number changed four times since the original aircraft was assigned to the flight. I'd bet that one of those swaps triggered an automated sweep even though the fleet code didn't change.
Yep , this is particularly where the aircraft type has multiple seat configurations like 739s and others
WineCountryUA is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.