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Assigned seats taken, traveling with 2 small kids, nightmare brewing, HELP!

Assigned seats taken, traveling with 2 small kids, nightmare brewing, HELP!

Old Aug 5, 17, 4:01 pm
  #1  
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Assigned seats taken, traveling with 2 small kids, nightmare brewing, HELP!

Flying from Kona direct to SFO on Aug. 11. Traveling with 2 adults, a 2 year old and a 7 mo. baby. All 4 have their own seats and we had booked a row of 3 and one seat elsewhere, with the idea of Mom sitting with the kids. Just checked our flight to see our seats have been taken and there are only 3 loose middle seats on the plane.

Agent on phone says they will "probably work it out" at check in. I feel like we are doomed to be bumped with 2 little kids and nowhere to go. Also, I expect they are going to steal our infant's seat and try to make him a lap baby, which will be very hard with a 2 year old as well (which is why we paid $600 for a seat!)

Is there any way to navigate this or find a solution without going to the airport and praying?
Nuggety is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 4:04 pm
  #2  
 
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Additional seats will open up at check in. United always blocks off seats. Check-in online and select new seats exactly 24.0 hours before your flight.
GoSh4rks is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 4:15 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by Nuggety View Post
I feel like we are doomed to be bumped with 2 little kids and nowhere to go.
It's almost inconceivable that your family will be bumped from the flight. I'd say there's a less than 1-in-10,000 chance. UA wouldn't risk the PR nightmare, and they've gone out of their way to reduce IDB situations since April.

Originally Posted by Nuggety View Post
Also, I expect they are going to steal our infant's seat and try to make him a lap baby, which will be very hard with a 2 year old as well (which is why we paid $600 for a seat!)
That doesn't happen unless the parent neglects to check the infant in and scan all BPs at boarding. UA doesn't look for infants with paid tickets to steal back seats from. You simply need to ensure that boarding passes for all members of your family are scanned when you board the plane.

As for sitting together, fear not: if for some reason you can't select seats at check-in 24 hours before take-off as recommended above, mention your predicament to the GA. If you get lucky and get a good one, it might be solved before you even board. If you have to sort it out on the plane, you'll have no problem finding passengers willing to trade as long as you offer equal seats and ask very, very nicely.
RandomBaritone is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 4:16 pm
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No reason to panic. Gate agent will work it out.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 4:31 pm
  #5  
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If you're on UA643, not sure what's going on. There are plenty of economy seats for sale, but the seat map is completely blanked out. I tend to agree with the earlier comments that (a) you're not gong to get bumped, and (b) they will find you seats at the gate.

In the meantime, I would keep watching the seat map online, because it may open back up.
Kacee is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 4:53 pm
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Contact United on social media. Explain the situation. Ask for assigned seats together. Follow up if they don't get back to you. Stay ahead of the situation.

Your traveling party is not self loading cargo. Don't let United treat you as such.


SL
SunLover is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 6:00 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Nuggety View Post
Flying from Kona direct to SFO on Aug. 11. Traveling with 2 adults, a 2 year old and a 7 mo. baby. All 4 have their own seats and we had booked a row of 3 and one seat elsewhere, with the idea of Mom sitting with the kids. Just checked our flight to see our seats have been taken and there are only 3 loose middle seats on the plane.

Agent on phone says they will "probably work it out" at check in. I feel like we are doomed to be bumped with 2 little kids and nowhere to go. Also, I expect they are going to steal our infant's seat and try to make him a lap baby, which will be very hard with a 2 year old as well (which is why we paid $600 for a seat!)

Is there any way to navigate this or find a solution without going to the airport and praying?
IME, the FAs do a pretty good job working-out seat swaps to keep young children with their parents. I also believe that most flyers are considerate and will help you out if possible.

Good Luck.
zombietooth is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 6:07 pm
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Think proactive rather than reactive. What could you do to ensure you get your assigned seats?
pharmawalk is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 6:29 pm
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Airlines can't seat toddlers away from parents. You might get the 3-1 configuration, or a 2-2, but each kid will be seated next to a parent. The gate agent will shift other flyers around, and will likely have new boarding passes already printed for you.

If the baby flies in a car seat, make sure it has the FAA sticker. They've been checking that more frequently lately.
zoned_post_meridiem is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 7:30 pm
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Be there extra early to talk with the GA's as soon as they arrive. Be in line slightly before they arrive if you need to. You should be ok. Even if they don't settle it, you can mention the situation to other passengers nicely and you may be surprised how many people will be willing to give up their seats to assist. Many of us are parents and will understand. Plus, everyone on there would rather see the parent sitting next to their young child than being the stranger sitting next to him/her expected to supervise.
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Old Aug 5, 17, 7:51 pm
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You may need to be proactive to keep your baby's seat. Our experience was that airline staff assume infants are lap babies. Our baby was not going to be assigned a seat without some argument and checking that we did indeed pay for him to have a seat. We were advised to avoid that kind of confusion next time by entering his age as over 2 years old when buying the ticket.
Tizzette is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
You may need to be proactive to keep your baby's seat. Our experience was that airline staff assume infants are lap babies. Our baby was not going to be assigned a seat without some argument and checking that we did indeed pay for him to have a seat. We were advised to avoid that kind of confusion next time by entering his age as over 2 years old when buying the ticket.

Terrible advice! No need to incorrectly input child's age. Just check the infant in, I'd he/she has a ticket, he'll be assigned a seat. Scan all boarding passes, and all the seats will show as occupied. Basicly, check everyone in, scan every boarding pass, no problems. Entering false DoB only does a single thing, and that is to provide false data to the weight and balance systems. Incorrect Wright data is no solution. Well, 2 things. It also provides false data to the "secure flight" requirement about the identity of the traveler. Neither of these things are acceptable

Last edited by fastair; Aug 5, 17 at 9:07 pm
fastair is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 9:20 pm
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LIH airport is a real zoo. Last time we flew out of LIH, all security lines were very long. This is one airport I would definitely want to arrive very early.
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Old Aug 5, 17, 9:23 pm
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Cool

Originally Posted by CIT85 View Post
LIH airport is a real zoo. Last time we flew out of LIH, all security lines were very long. This is one airport I would definitely want to arrive very early.
They're flying to KOA.
Doc Savage is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Terrible advice! No need to incorrectly input child's age. Just check the infant in, I'd he/she has a ticket, he'll be assigned a seat. Scan all boarding passes, and all the seats will show as occupied. Basicly, check everyone in, scan every boarding pass, no problems. Entering false DoB only does a single thing, and that is to provide false data to the weight and balance systems. Incorrect Wright data is no solution. Well, 2 things. It also provides false data to the "secure flight" requirement about the identity of the traveler. Neither of these things are acceptable
If all had gone smoothly just as you describe, I would not be reporting that for us it did not. It was airline staff who advised to avoid the problem in the future by clicking the box for over 2 years old when buying the baby's ticket. That way there's no assumption just because it is an infant under 2, it is a lap baby. Later in the purchasing process where you fill in passenger's names and particulars, you do enter the baby's correct date of birth.
Tizzette is offline  

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