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How does United assign J seats in an equipment downgrade?

How does United assign J seats in an equipment downgrade?

Old Sep 11, 2023, 7:24 pm
  #1  
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How does United assign J seats in an equipment downgrade?

Had the delight of a 772 Polaris swapped for a 777HD today on SFO-EWR. Lost an odd row window seat and was put in a backwards facing inner aisle.

How does United assign new seats when the plane goes from 50J to 28J? There were 11 GS and 45 1K passengers on that flight and I imagine a lot had been up front. There were also a couple of pilots in the F cabin too. Lots of unhappy looking people.
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by djmp
Had the delight of a 772 Polaris swapped for a 777HD today on SFO-EWR. Lost an odd row window seat and was put in a backwards facing inner aisle.

How does United assign new seats when the plane goes from 50J to 28J? There were 11 GS and 45 1K passengers on that flight and I imagine a lot had been up front. There were also a couple of pilots in the F cabin too. Lots of unhappy looking people.
Most GS/1K are not upfront. Front cabin usually filled with people that don’t fly much but have enough money to sit there on TODs and whatnot - and incentive as in waived bag fee, earlier boarding etc. A lot of us have been trying to figure out the answer to your question for over ten years but alas

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 11, 2023 at 8:46 pm Reason: Discuss the issue, not the poster(s)
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 7:52 pm
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SHARES seat scrambler does its inscrutable thing. GS should get taken care of for sure.
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 7:59 pm
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B
Most GS/1K are not upfront. Front cabin usually filled with people that don’t fly much but have enough money to sit there on TODs and whatnot - and incentive as in waived bag fee, earlier boarding etc. A lot of us have been trying to figure out the answer to your question for over ten years but alas.
I always imagine a bingo parlor with the cage and a bunch of tiles with numbers on them....
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 11, 2023 at 8:47 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 8:09 pm
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UA needs to come to the realization that they offer two completely business class experiences and factor that it. Me personally, the HD is so bad that I'll take a connecting flight in domestic F seats to avoid these.

Going back to the original question, as far as we know, in an equipment swap it's a complete lottery regarding where you'll land. There is little attempt, if any to keep you in similar style seat. The only exception to this is if the same seat number and letter exists on both aircraft, you have a good chance of being in the same seat number and letter on the new plane. If you were in 3D on the original aircraft, you have a good chance of landing in 3D on the new aircraft.

My only personal experience with this had a positive outcome. Back in July 2002, Mrs and I flew to AU. There were still 4 787-9s left in the old configuration. We booked our seats, 1L3L in the Polaris configuration, but when an old model aircraft was assigned, we both remained in 1L3L, so I moved us to be together in 1KL. There was an aircraft swap about 4 hours before departure and we miraculously got put back in our original seats, 1L3L. I feel that was pure luck.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 11, 2023 at 8:48 pm Reason: Removed quote of deleted content
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408
While that is true, UA needs to come to the realization that they offer two completely business class experiences and factor that it. Me personally, the HD is so bad that I'll take a connecting flight in domestic F seats to avoid these.

Going back to the original question, as far as we know, in an equipment swap it's a complete lottery regarding where you'll land. There is little attempt, if any to keep you in similar style seat. The only exception to this is if the same seat number and letter exists on both aircraft, you have a good chance of being in the same seat number and letter on the new plane. If you were in 3D on the original aircraft, you have a good chance of landing in 3D on the new aircraft.
Very similar to the ~10 times its happened to me. UA may have ~$40,000 of revenue sitting up there and could at least hand-change seat assignments and take accountability for the situation, including notifications.
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by djmp
There were 11 GS and 45 1K passengers on that flight and I imagine a lot had been up front.
​​​​​​
how do you know the number of GS and 1K pax for the flight?

This route is notorious for difficult upgrade. Did everyone clear? If not, then it may not be an accurate assumption most were up front.
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408
While that is true, UA needs to come to the realization that they offer two completely business class experiences and factor that it. Me personally, the HD is so bad that I'll take a connecting flight in domestic F seats to avoid these.

Going back to the original question, as far as we know, in an equipment swap it's a complete lottery regarding where you'll land. There is little attempt, if any to keep you in similar style seat. The only exception to this is if the same seat number and letter exists on both aircraft, you have a good chance of being in the same seat number and letter on the new plane. If you were in 3D on the original aircraft, you have a good chance of landing in 3D on the new aircraft.

My only personal experience with this had a positive outcome. Back in July 2002, Mrs and I flew to AU. There were still 4 787-9s left in the old configuration. We booked our seats, 1L3L in the Polaris configuration, but when an old model aircraft was assigned, we both remained in 1L3L, so I moved us to be together in 1KL. There was an aircraft swap about 4 hours before departure and we miraculously got put back in our original seats, 1L3L. I feel that was pure luck.
Why would you take any recliner over any lie flat seat? (aside from the NZ J seat)
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Old Sep 11, 2023, 9:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer
Why would you take any recliner over any lie flat seat? (aside from the NZ J seat)
I've been in NZ J seat several times - still better than recliners. Sorry - there's sometimes a psychological revulsion against one thing might create an irrational desire for something lesser.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by Repooc17
​​​​​​
how do you know the number of GS and 1K pax for the flight?

This route is notorious for difficult upgrade. Did everyone clear? If not, then it may not be an accurate assumption most were up front.
The gate agent announced the numbers during boarding: "We'd now like to invite our 11 Global Service members to board ", and then "Our 45 1K members are welcome to board at this time". App showed no upgrades clearing, but that's pretty normal for this route on a Monday morning. A lot of people in the preboard scrum were in the F cabin, it filled up very quickly and bag space ran out.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 7:18 am
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Can't speak to this particular flight, but in general UA is very good about managing this type of situation. If the swap happens with any notice, Reservations will proactively call people and offer ETC for rerouting if the equipment change is causing J to be over by that much. They will usually also solicit volunteers at the gate, too.

As mentioned, the actual keeping of a seat assignment is basically a lottery.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by djmp
The gate agent announced the numbers during boarding: "We'd now like to invite our 11 Global Service members to board ", and then "Our 45 1K members are welcome to board at this time". App showed no upgrades clearing, but that's pretty normal for this route on a Monday morning. A lot of people in the preboard scrum were in the F cabin, it filled up very quickly and bag space ran out.
Ok, but those 56 pax can't be all in J with the plane update to HD, and I am not sure if you know where they were seated before the change. Also, preboarders other than GS and 1K can also be in J.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 9:05 am
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GS don't make GS by flying SFO-EWR in Y.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee
GS don't make GS by flying SFO-EWR in Y.
actually they could. Plenty of companies have travel rules that specify coach for domestic (or under 7 hours or whatever) and business for international. And no comp upgrades for sfo-ewr. Gs is likely to use 20 upgrade points to get to business, but you never know.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Boghopper
actually they could. Plenty of companies have travel rules that specify coach for domestic (or under 7 hours or whatever) and business for international. And no comp upgrades for sfo-ewr. Gs is likely to use 20 upgrade points to get to business, but you never know.
if one flew that route every week of the year in Y they would not make GS, unless they bought the most expensive fully refundable ticket every time. No business would do that as policy and no sane individual would do it on their own dime.
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