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]

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

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jun 22, 22, 1:31 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: sexykitten7
Wiki Link
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

Old Jul 30, 19, 9:34 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Programs: UA 1K, 1MM, Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,566
I had a situation recently where I am sure a GS stole my seat assignment.

I arrived IAH from the UIO redeye on a R/T paid F ticket, to find I was kicked out of my my perfect 1A seat (on the single aisle side of an RJ) and moved to 1D. I was already checked in and had a BP.
I was gonna let it go since it's only an hour to DFW, but I mentioned it to the UA Club agent. He said it must have been for "special needs". OK, fine.
But THEN I saw the person now in 1A was on the upgrade list. When I pointed it out to him, he suggested I ask the gate agent to look into it, because "something is very odd about this".

The gate agent looked it up and became perplexed, saying this shouldn't happen. She insisted on calling over a a "Team Leader", who looked up both reservations and was also perplexed. She told me he was a GS on an domestic economy ticket, CPU upgraded, and she can't understand how this could have happened.
Then she laughed and said "well, we will just change you back to your original seat!".
I sat down and watched as she called him up to the gate. (obvious who he was because I saw his partial name on the UG list). I couldn't hear from where I was sitting, but he was yelling and waving his arms around (much to my glee).
When they preboarded GS, he RAN onto the plane first. I got on next with the 1Ks and he was sitting in my seat!
I laughed and said "nice try" and pointed my thumb outwards (as in "move your arse!"). The FA came over and he showed his old 1A BP. When I suggested she call the gate agent he got up and moved (huffing, puffing and swearing the entire time).

The Team Leader and the UA Club agent both asked me to please write into 1K Voice about it, but I never got around to it. It was 3 weeks ago -- I wonder if I still should?

I'm sure some FTs will tell me I'm being ridiculous to make such a drama over an hour flight. But I can't help but wonder about next time, when some DYKWIA kicks me out of my desired seat on a 15 hour flight.
So yeah, it happens!
chavala is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 9:45 am
  #62  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,014
Originally Posted by gre View Post
My first thought was the granny was the wife of a GS member and she wanted to sit with her grandson.
Presumably granny couldn't have been GS? Your first thought was that she was married to a GS?

Originally Posted by chavala View Post
I'm sure some FTs will tell me I'm being ridiculous to make such a drama over an hour flight. But I can't help but wonder about next time, when some DYKWIA kicks me out of my desired seat on a 15 hour flight.
It sounds like both of you were being ridiculous.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 9:45 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K; Marriott Platinum; Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,354
Originally Posted by chavala View Post
I had a situation recently where I am sure a GS stole my seat assignment.....

I laughed and said "nice try" and pointed my thumb outwards (as in "move your arse!"). The FA came over and he showed his old 1A BP. When I suggested she call the gate agent he got up and moved (huffing, puffing and swearing the entire time).

The Team Leader and the UA Club agent both asked me to please write into 1K Voice about it, but I never got around to it. It was 3 weeks ago -- I wonder if I still should?

I'm sure some FTs will tell me I'm being ridiculous to make such a drama over an hour flight. But I can't help but wonder about next time, when some DYKWIA kicks me out of my desired seat on a 15 hour flight.
So yeah, it happens!
We must never give in to such aggression!

Fight them at the UC;
Fight them at the gate;
Fight them in the aisle;
Fight them at the seat;
Never surrender, and if they do usurp our rightfully assigned seats, then retreat to our empire of the mind (FT) and avenge the aggression through 1K Voice!
eqeqeqx likes this.
transportprof is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 9:49 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Programs: UA 1K, 1MM, Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,566
Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
We must never give in to such aggression!

Fight them at the UC;
Fight them at the gate;
Fight them in the aisle;
Fight them at the seat;
Never surrender, and if they do usurp our rightfully assigned seats, then retreat to our empire of the mind (FT) and avenge the aggression through 1K Voice!
OMG. Seriously?
Let's all no longer complain on FT. I'm sure you NEVER do.
chavala is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 9:54 am
  #65  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K; Marriott Platinum; Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,354
Originally Posted by chavala View Post
OMG. Seriously?
Let's all no longer complain on FT. I'm sure you NEVER do.
If it were serious, I would not have included the
chavala likes this.
transportprof is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 12:15 pm
  #66  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Programs: BA Bronze, United 1K, HH Gold, SPG Platinum, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 3,476
Originally Posted by LIH View Post
I think this type of thing "shouldn't" happen but occasionally does. I actually chatted with the couple in my instance of getting bumped from Global First (I didn't really care as it was a short 4 hour flight). They had a relatively large golden retriever and he said a GS agent got them in GF instead of in the 8-across business cabin due to that. GS desk actually ended up reaching out to me with compensation for the "downgrade" where they said they had to "accommodate someone with disabilities".
It's good that the GS desk reached out to you. I thought that in your earlier post you were quite philosophical about the swap and wished that I could get your good attitude. My reaction to all the seat swaps I had this year is to reduce my travel. First time in years that I don't have any flights booked for the next 6 months......
StuckinITH is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 12:20 pm
  #67  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,014
Originally Posted by StuckinITH View Post
My reaction to all the seat swaps I had this year is to reduce my travel.
To each his own. There are so many other reasons that things can go wrong during travel, losing my seat assignment barely cracks my top 10.
LIH likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 1:59 pm
  #68  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 39,159
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
To each his own. There are so many other reasons that things can go wrong during travel, losing my seat assignment barely cracks my top 10.
For me it's highly dependent on aircraft configuration and who I'm traveling with.

One time I boarded an aircraft last, knew I was in row 7, and took the only open seat. It wasn't until the guy across the aisle was addressed as Mr. Kennedy and mentioned "we had swapped" that I realized I wasn't in my assigned seat. This was on AC in a 1-1-1 config, so it really didn't matter.

One time on UA (almost certainly documented in this thread), a HNL-SFO red-eye, paid F, two of us in 1AB in a 2-4-2 config, shifted out at some point. No sympathy from anyone. Upgrades (checkmarks) filled the seats. We ended up in B and E or something like that in different rows. Wrote in, got the typical "seat assignments are not guaranteed", and went back to my pattern of not favoring any specific airline for domestic US travel because they all suck.

I understand we can be moved and all, but moving a pair of people in paid F to non-adjacent seats, and letting upgrades take our original assignment, is ridiculous.
chavala and IndyHoosier like this.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jul 30, 19, 2:08 pm
  #69  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: San Francisco
Programs: UA 1K, UA 1MM, Hilton Lifetime Gold, Marriott Gold, Hertz Gold, CLEAR, AS MVP Gold
Posts: 3,025
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
To each his own. There are so many other reasons that things can go wrong during travel, losing my seat assignment barely cracks my top 10.
I guess I fall in the other group, I am VERY particular about my seat assignments and don't take random changes lightly. I book my flights generally well in advance and make my seat selection immediately. I have even changed flights when the seat I want isn't available. I won't get into a fist fight over a seat change but I have been known to push back.
iluv2fly, chavala and IndyHoosier like this.
nomad420 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 12:28 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: Mileage Plus
Posts: 1
Exclamation United Airlines Gave My Seat Away with No valid explanation

Hi! I'm a new FlyerTalk poster, hoping for a bit of advice and support on how to avoid getting bumped from my reserved seats on United.

A little background: I have been fortunate to be a MileagePlus Gold member for the past few years. The status allows flyers to select Economy Plus seats at the time of booking without paying an extra fee.

On my recent 4 hr flight from MSP to SFO, I had reserved a 2nd row Aisle seat (8C) in Economy Plus (EP) at booking, and checked-in online (the day before flying) without any changes to seat location. On the day of departure, I was re-assigned a different seat, 6-7 rows back without any explanation, to a Non-Reclining exit row seat (albeit still technically Economy Plus, 1 row from the end of EP). It's definitely a far cry from the seat I had originally selected. The gate agent at first assumed the “reason” for my reassignment was because I had booked from a 3rd party site, which was not the case (unless United.com directly is a 3rd party site)! I was further informed that the seat I selected at the time of booking is just a request, and does not have to be honored, even though the seat numbers were clearly printed on my receipt and itinerary, on the same page with my confirmation numbers. We all know airline seats, similar to that of concert or sports events, have different price tags, and location matters! As frequent flyers, we are willing to pay for comfort, including earning the status to ensure a more pleasant experience. Maintaining Gold status equates to spending up to $9,000 a year, plus flying 75,000 miles to re-qualify each year.

My husband was on the same flight (his was actually a cheaper airfare, although we booked on the same day, and same fare class), and he was not re-assigned. At check-in time, the two seats next to his were still empty, plus a few others closer to the front. We were originally just a row apart since we both prefer aisle seats. If United had let me know of the seat change at the time of check-in, I could easily have moved nearer my husband, no problem! However, this unsolicited seat change has happened to me at least FOUR times in the past few years, regardless if we have the same or different confirmation numbers. We both have Gold status, so why am I always the lucky one being moved and not him?? My ticket actually cost more than my husband's, even though we booked only minutes apart.

Having boarded as the first passenger in Group 1, I soon found a middle aged man had occupied my original seat at 8C. (As has been the case every time I've been moved.) I have no problem giving up my seat if it’s to a person in need or uniformed personnel. However I find it odd how United picks who gets moved to a less desirable seat, as this has happened repeatedly to me, a female. With that said, 1) Do you think United has a gender preference? 2) Does UA allow frequent flyers with a higher status to get any preferential seats on board, even though it’s been reserved by another passenger? *** Most importantly, I’d like to find out how common this is. 3) Has anyone had a similar experience being moved unwillingly? I would love to prevent this from recurring on future trips for myself, and for anyone else in the FlyerTalk community. I plan to file a formal complaint with United after I hear from fellow flyers how common this issue is. Appreciate all your input in advance!
4wardtrotter is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 12:40 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: HND
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K
Posts: 1,225
I'd say FAM, though they're usually up front in F, though not always.

I'm sorry to hear you've had bad luck four times but I can assure you that United does not have policy of picking this based on gender
ajGoes likes this.
tylerdurden4543 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 12:46 am
  #72  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Canada, USA, Europe
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 31,454
Welcome to FT. United does not have a policy of gender bias in seat assignments so that angle will get you nowhere. These swaps are annoying but do happen occasionally, and for many reasons. It’s important to remember that it was never your seat in the first place. I suspect your complaint might generate soothing words but little more.
ajGoes likes this.
LondonElite is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 12:48 am
  #73  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 59,490
Welcome to FT!, 4wardtrotter

The loss of a seat assignment is understandingly distressing but the agent is correct, UA nor other airlines guarantee assignments as those can change for various reasons.

One reason is Federal Air Marshall -- the FAMs are assigned to flights at the last minute and will tell the airlines what seat they want. Which many times are a second-row aisle seat. Note -- the airlines are forbidden by federal regulation from telling you this occurred. Middle age man could very much be a FAM.

Another possibility is a person accompanying a passenger needing assistance.

There are other potential cause, such as an aircraft change, even to the same aircraft type, UA's IT is known to shuffle some seats -- why is not understood but it happens.

UA does not, as a policy, bump passengers for elites.

Not aware of any systematic discrimination by UA based on gender.

As for how common this is, it is far from unknown and there is a long thread about this -- will move your post to that thread, Suggest readinf the new thred's wiki for more details on situations in which this happens.

WineCountryUA
UA coModerator
ajGoes and 4wardtrotter like this.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 2, 19 at 10:12 am Reason: as a policy
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 1:04 am
  #74  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 15,490
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
There are other potential cause, such as an aircraft change, even to the same aircraft type, UA's IT is known to shuffle some seats -- why is not understood but it happens.
I was switched from exit row window to exit row middle due to an "Aircraft Swap" earlier this year, although the aircraft I flew on was the same Make and Model as before. Wrote to MileagePlus to request an explanation, got none but received a $100 voucher for my inconvenience.
kale73 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 7:10 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: PWM
Programs: UA Silver, AA Gold
Posts: 1,173
Originally Posted by 4wardtrotter View Post
Hi! I'm a new FlyerTalk poster, hoping for a bit of advice and support on how to avoid getting bumped from my reserved seats on United
United did not give away your seat, they gave away your seat assignment. If they gave away your seat, you would not have made it to SFO!

Economy plus is typically denoted E+ here.

UA Gold is 50k miles + 6k spend (or 60 PQS + waiver)

Babysit your reservations. I'll check my seat assignments every 2-3 weeks after booking and more frequently close in. I always always double check at check in. Rookie mistake. Yes it's unfair but life is unfair.
sexykitten7 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread