Agents giving intentionally bad seat assignments

Old Jun 27, 2005, 7:50 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by theways
99% of the time the agent has Sabre automatically assign a seat. Sabre assigns in the order of Rear Window, Rear Aisle, Forward Window, Forward Aisle, Rear Middle, Forward Middle. Windows and Aisles in the first 5 or 6 rows of a typical aircraft (319/733) - and exit rows are blocked until the day of departure. It is actually kind of a pain to manually pull up a seat map, determine which seats are the worst and then assign them. Res agents book hundreds of these reservations every day. And most of them have been working there for eons. Do you really think they care enough to intentionally go around assigning "bad seats." Those premium seats become available on day of departure and you probably assume that the "evil" Res agent was lying. Stop being so paranoid.
NO - the plane had many windows and aisles open including, blocked for day of departure, assignable ahead of time premium and standard seats.

If they didn't pull up a seat map, then explain why 4E was assigned over 27A, 26D, 30A, 31C, etc. You can pull up a very nice seat map on Orbitz which shows available seats including which one's are premium.

I'm not paranoid.
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 8:40 am
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One question about seat assignments.
I was on a full flight from CLT-ORD and tried to change my seat at the gate, but was told I couldn't have any of the available seats. My company has an agreement with US Air, but I was told that I couldn't have one of the two exit rows or row behind bulkhead because they were saving those seats for couples. Does US Air have some policy or did I get shafted. I got last row aisle.
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by eddienole
One question about seat assignments.
I was on a full flight from CLT-ORD and tried to change my seat at the gate, but was told I couldn't have any of the available seats. My company has an agreement with US Air, but I was told that I couldn't have one of the two exit rows or row behind bulkhead because they were saving those seats for couples. Does US Air have some policy or did I get shafted. I got last row aisle.
Not that I've ever heard of.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 8:12 am
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Please take this in the right spirit

Originally Posted by trvlr64
Oh please! I called the Chairman's Preferred desk personally for my relatives. I was told there were NO OTHER seats available to change them to. Amazingly the very next day at the USAirways Club I was able to get them all the emergency exit row.

Res agents might not always be able to get you a seat you wish for but they can change seats with a few simple key strokes. My EX used to train USAIRWAYS reservations agents. I know what they can and can't do.

The major difference as to why I got my relatives seats changed was because the ladies in the US Club all know me from my weekly visits. The person on the phone at the Chairman's desk only knows me by my US1 #.

I know how to work the system too.
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I want it understood I am not trying to argue here. I do not seek any conflict. Please believe me on that.

First, let me thank you for your continued loyalty to US. As a former agent who was furloughed twice and had my salary lowered twice, it was the traveler who guaranteed I had a salary when I worked. So, thank you; perhaps you can see I miss my job greatly. I loved it.

Having said that, please, let me tell you just a few things that might help illuminate; you don't have to agree but knowledge is what makes life understandable. Simplistic, I know. That's why the Hebrew proverb says "in all your getting, get understanding..."

The res agents do not have much authority in assigning seats. If you do not have a preferred DM number placed in the PNR, you are subject to whatever is left on the seat map. Please remember in addition, that there are seats blocked, and a res agent cannot change that. Why is 17ABCDEF usually blocked on a B737, for instance? Because on the date of departure when a family of 5 check in with scattered seats or unassigned seats or seats changed due to a last minute equipment change, the agent on the date of departure can use those seats to accomodate the family, most times traveling with small children. A request to a supervisor will just get you another brick wall if transferred UNLESS you have a proveable need to usurp the seating policy. Even a person with a disability may be denied a specific requested seat over the phone if not available, having to wait to default to a suitable seat on travel date.

With respect to your former friend's experience in res. I was a res agent many years ago but it was only when I got to the airport that I understood that with changes implemented regarding seat policy, again, in the old days you could choose seating freely......that is not the case today and has not been that way in almost 10years!!

Now, let me try to explain availability one minute and something different even a few hours later. It's very simple....things change. It only takes one cancellation by 3 preferred DM passengers either traveling together or individuals seated in the exit row to free up those seats. As a matter of fact, if it came down to scattered middle seats, it may be that the flight was near full which means preferred DM members made sure they requested exit rows so they would not get middle seats!! Hence, with just 2-3 cancellations the CP desk had the seats available the next day. IF you are a business man who has to change on a dime, you can understand this. IF you tend not to change so much and see the airline as out to make travel difficult, you will believe that flights are cancelled when they are not half full, agents come to work in a bad mood and take it out on passengers, agents enjoy lying to people so they are get back to their personal chats, etc. I think you see where I am going. Look, I was not a perfect agent. But, the requirements of the job did not give me the TIME to do what travelers believe we do or do not do. My attitude was better than my efficiency. What that means is that I did my best but could not always please everyone. I had to perform in the operations arena and make judgments based on prevailing circumstances at the time. Hopefully, those judgments and proceeding actions did not adversely affect my passengers.

Again, thank you. I hope I have introduced another side of what can appear to be something else thru observation.

No offense, no conflict sought here.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 8:23 am
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just one more thing

Originally Posted by sts603
NO - the plane had many windows and aisles open including, blocked for day of departure, assignable ahead of time premium and standard seats.

If they didn't pull up a seat map, then explain why 4E was assigned over 27A, 26D, 30A, 31C, etc. You can pull up a very nice seat map on Orbitz which shows available seats including which one's are premium.

I'm not paranoid.
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(I don't believe you are paranoid.)
This is a ps to my former post.

May I suggest that Other booking agents, ie, Orbitz, etc., are not the prevailing experts over the actual airline? Updating a seat map on each plane 24/7 is simply not a priority unless it is essential to operations and will not be perpetually updated because seat selection does not contribute directly to revenue for US or Orbitz, etc. Selling seats is the goal, not the seat preferences.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by trvlr64
Oh please! I called the Chairman's Preferred desk personally for my relatives. I was told there were NO OTHER seats available to change them to. Amazingly the very next day at the USAirways Club I was able to get them all the emergency exit row.

Res agents might not always be able to get you a seat you wish for but they can change seats with a few simple key strokes. My EX used to train USAIRWAYS reservations agents. I know what they can and can't do.

The major difference as to why I got my relatives seats changed was because the ladies in the US Club all know me from my weekly visits. The person on the phone at the Chairman's desk only knows me by my US1 #.

I know how to work the system too.
There is nothing 'amazing' about this situation. There is a difference between the seat maps available to Res agents, and those who work at airports. A percentage of seats available to pre-assign through Res are blocked, in order for the airports to have some flexibility on departure day to move people around and satisfy their needs if they have not been able to pre-assign seats, or their agent has not bothered to request them. This is highly logical, and prevents a lot of hassle both for checkin agents and passengers. Therefore Res agents cannot have access to the same seat maps as airport staff. This is done to minimise disruption on day of travel.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 7:32 pm
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What about a recent situation in which I wanted an aisle seat near the front of the plane and the Club agent told me, "nope, no seats except a few middles near the back" and gave me a middle seat in the next-to-last row; I then went straight to a kiosk to change my seat and got seat 7C on a 737; there were at least 6 aisle seats in the first half of the plane, according to the seat map on the kiosk.

????
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 9:10 pm
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Not long ago I missed a connection in CLT going to SEA and ended up doing a trip in vain back home. (I'd had seats in F assigned on my flights to SEA and back so was kind of disappointed, not to mention the inconvenience.) The special services agent seemed nice enough, and got me on a flight back to BOS where I'd just come from. I didn't even think to ask about my seat as I was in a hurry, but when I was going to board the plane, I realized she'd given me a seat in the very last row of a 737 that was at most 50% full. Probably nothing to it, but I was really surprised that she didn't care to give me something a bit better (I think I'm a pretty good customer). It turned out plenty of seats at the front were open so I moved up anyway.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 10:11 pm
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I wish I had the power to give those pain in the butt US1's middle seats in row 29.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 10:25 pm
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Yours is easy to explain

Originally Posted by mbmbbost
Not long ago I missed a connection in CLT going to SEA and ended up doing a trip in vain back home. (I'd had seats in F assigned on my flights to SEA and back so was kind of disappointed, not to mention the inconvenience.) The special services agent seemed nice enough, and got me on a flight back to BOS where I'd just come from. I didn't even think to ask about my seat as I was in a hurry, but when I was going to board the plane, I realized she'd given me a seat in the very last row of a 737 that was at most 50% full. Probably nothing to it, but I was really surprised that she didn't care to give me something a bit better (I think I'm a pretty good customer). It turned out plenty of seats at the front were open so I moved up anyway.
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I cannot tell you how many times I generically assigned a seat to a non-DM preferred passenger, glanced at the boarding pass only to see that the computer, yes, the computer on the day of departure, assigned a seat in the back automatically on a flight not full. Yes, this happened when I requested window or aisle. Because I take a moment to see what the passenger gets, I caught like 95 percent of them. And, then I would reference the seat map and change the seat to something more appropriate. Unless, the passenger said he would take whatever and seemed to be in a hurry.

The agent simply asked for a generic seat and the computer defaulted to the back. And, no one noticed in time to change it. As you said, there was nothing to it.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 10:51 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by sts603
In the past weak I have had two incidents of agents giving award tickets bad seat assignments:

1.) Held ticket for parents on PHL-SXM. Miles from DM but put in Mom's UA 2P # and it gave her exit row 757. Dad was window somewhere in the back. Had to leave town - she called to ticket and the agent refused to let her keep her exit row seats and struck her MP # saying it wasn't alloewd. Removed his seat assignments and stuck them in 3 middles and one aisle on one segement. Non-preferred seat map on Orbitz showed many windows and aisles - so why on earth would he assign seperate middles???? I called back and had her MP # re-added. He put me on hold and called the Seat People and got an exit row back for Dad too. In 9A and 9B.

2.) Re-ticketed DBC voucher today. He gave me 7C in both directions. Got the confirmation and saw that my US DM # had been dropped (I'm sure this was a mistake) and they were CRJ's. (7C is one in front of the exit row and htus nonreclineable) I had asked for exit row and he said he couldn't assign them - the lack of DM Preferred # shows why. Nevertheless, the seat map showed non-preferred windows/aisle that reclined in front of 7C. So why 7C???? Called back, had DM # readded and got seat assignments.

So anyone else run into instances of agents trying to give out bad seat assignments on award tickets?
Well not to be rude, but what exactly were you expecting, award-winning
5 star service of Malaysia Airlines? Come on, this is US Airways, remember? The airline has never had overly friendly or efficient gate agents, especially in Philadelphia.
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Old Mar 10, 2006, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by fly747first
Well not to be rude, but what exactly were you expecting, award-winning
5 star service of Malaysia Airlines? Come on, this is US Airways, remember? The airline has never had overly friendly or efficient gate agents, especially in Philadelphia.
Beg to differ
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Old Mar 11, 2006, 5:53 am
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Hmm, this topic brings up a memory.

I had an embarrassing moment when I booked myself to Charleston, SC instead of Charleston, WV. You'd think I'd know better but anyway, I discover the error only after landing in CLT. Thus ensued much panic and a $500 fee for same day ticket to Charleston, WV. The panic was because I didn't realize that when you make a ticket like that, the ticket goes into a 'queue' that the ticketing department processes. In a situation where you are rushing to a flight, the ticket may be in the system but not yet issued. They couldn't get a boarding pass for me.

First, the people at the club couldn't help me, and told me to call the Chairman's desk. The Chairmen's folk did, in fact, call ticketing - why wouldn't the club people?

But, secondly, on a half-full RJ I wound up sitting directly next to the lavatory. I never lost my temper, raised my voice, or insulted anyone. I most definately was intentionally given a bad seat assignment, why, I don't now.
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Old Mar 11, 2006, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by Heinrich
Hmm, this topic brings up a memory.

I had an embarrassing moment when I booked myself to Charleston, SC instead of Charleston, WV. You'd think I'd know better but anyway, I discover the error only after landing in CLT. Thus ensued much panic and a $500 fee for same day ticket to Charleston, WV. The panic was because I didn't realize that when you make a ticket like that, the ticket goes into a 'queue' that the ticketing department processes. In a situation where you are rushing to a flight, the ticket may be in the system but not yet issued. They couldn't get a boarding pass for me.

First, the people at the club couldn't help me, and told me to call the Chairman's desk. The Chairmen's folk did, in fact, call ticketing - why wouldn't the club people?

But, secondly, on a half-full RJ I wound up sitting directly next to the lavatory. I never lost my temper, raised my voice, or insulted anyone. I most definately was intentionally given a bad seat assignment, why, I don't now.

From the comments by the agent earlier in the thread, it looks like ticketing accepted the automatically generated seat assignment SABRE creates.

When it's done automatically, the computer will first try to give a seat as far back as possible (window or aisle), even if it is the day of departure, and the plane is half full.

Thus, your half full plane had the back row (next to the lav) open, and that is what the computer algorithm should assign.

So, no one was trying to screw you. They knew this was a time critical situation, and let the computer assign the seat. They could have manually gone in to look at a seat map, but given the time constraint I'm guessing they just wanted to get you a boarding pass that much faster and didn't even think about a seat preference.
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Old Mar 11, 2006, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by cerealmarketer
From the comments by the agent earlier in the thread, it looks like ticketing accepted the automatically generated seat assignment SABRE creates.

When it's done automatically, the computer will first try to give a seat as far back as possible (window or aisle), even if it is the day of departure, and the plane is half full.

Thus, your half full plane had the back row (next to the lav) open, and that is what the computer algorithm should assign.

So, no one was trying to screw you. They knew this was a time critical situation, and let the computer assign the seat. They could have manually gone in to look at a seat map, but given the time constraint I'm guessing they just wanted to get you a boarding pass that much faster and didn't even think about a seat preference.

Great, thank you. That makes me feel better.
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