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Practice for seating families together when only paired seats are in Choice

Practice for seating families together when only paired seats are in Choice

 
Old Jul 25, 13, 10:46 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SEA
Programs: UA Plat, AS MVP, HH Gold, MR Gold
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Practice for seating families together when only paired seats are in Choice

This is a common question on the UA board, but I couldn't find a corresponding thread for US; if I missed it, please merge.

I'm putting together a trip for the family to go back east, and there are well-priced and scheduled US flight options, but with only scattered B and E (middle) seats outside the Choice section. Since I have young kids, I'd prefer to be able to sit together rather than have my four year-old between two strangers five rows back; the two strangers might prefer this as well. There are available rows in Choice, but including the price of Choice for the trip makes US more expensive than similar UA flights (where I get free E+ for the whole crew). What is the actual practice with being able to get put together in these Choice seats without paying, or in newly-opened seats in the back, either in advance or at the gate? Does this "work out" in your experience, or should I jump over to the more expensive UA flights?

At UA, the answer for a US *G would be to pay up for E+ ("It comes free with this credit card...") or pound sand. I would expect US to tell me the same, except that when I fly US alone I have managed to get a free exit row 100% of the time it's available with a very nice, "Could you please to see if you have an exit row for a *G?" at the gate, even on transcons, which hints that US may be more flexible about when they charge for Choice seats than UA is about E+.
PVDProf is offline  
Old Jul 25, 13, 6:06 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Unfortunately the exit row isn't an option due to the age of your child. It'll be up to the gate agent or FA to seek volunteers to change seats so that at least one parent is sitting with the child. Since middle seats further back are less likely to elicit volunteers, you might want to pay for 1 choice seat to use as currency to trade for the aisle/window seat beside your child (assuming that no other aisle/window seats are available).

Jim
BoeingBoy is offline  
Old Jul 25, 13, 10:51 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Virginia
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Practice for seating families together when only paired seats are in Choice

If you want to guarantee sitting together then you'll probably have to bite the bullet and buy the choice seats. The problem with asking other people to switch towards the front is that they paid for a choice seat and won't want to trade it for a worse seat. Boeing Boy makes a good point, buy one choice seat to guarantee one adult is with the 4 year old and the other adult can be in the middle in the same row across the aisle.
GalleyWench is offline  
Old Jul 26, 13, 8:27 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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You know, I just want to thank you for posting an intelligent question about this, instead of what most people would do... I really thought when I clicked on this thread, it was going to be a ..... session about "I cant believe US is going to charge me for my 4-year old to sit near me? How dare they? Its total BS. I'm never flying US again." kind of rant.

So thanks for being rational!

And yes, "Pound Sand" is probably the response
bkafrick is offline  
Old Jul 26, 13, 1:38 pm
  #5  
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Thanks for the advice. I was hoping--though not expecting--there might be a bunch of people who'd had the experience that they were easily relocated into seats together at the gate. Buying Choice to have something with which to bargain with other pax is a good idea; I'm no stranger to swapping aisle, exit row, bulkhead, F seats and drink chits for middles in coach to get the family together. However, by the time I get two choice seats on two legs (there are two kids), the price difference between UA and US is eliminated and UA gets us more room and a longshot at upgrading a couple seats (for Mrs. PVDProf, of course).

Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
So thanks for being rational!
That is a high compliment to pay an economist!
PVDProf is offline  
Old Jul 26, 13, 2:01 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Scottsdale, Az.
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My recommendation is just book the best configuration you can now to secure the good pricing. Then call CS in a week or two and ask some unrelated easy going routine question developing some rapport through the process. When done pull an "oh by the way, I do have one other question".... Mention that "some how" you and your family ended up fragmented and how its not the end of the world however you do have a 4 year old between 2 stranger. Nicely ask if there are any options where you all could be closer to each other. Don't push and also don't try any of this if you don't get "the right person" on the call. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Maz67 is offline  
Old Jul 30, 13, 11:55 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I had a similar situation occur recently.

Yesterday I was flying US 16 PHX-JFK A321

I checked in early, confirmed by seat that I chose when I booked, 30C and I boarded with my group, stowed my overhead, sat down and relaxed, waiting for the rest of boarding. I'm very much an aisle seat person, especially on long flights. I like to get up, stretch, use the bathroom, etc.

Finally, a woman with 2 kids in tow approaches my row and shows me that she now has 30C and I'd been moved to 28A, a window. She even handed me a new boarding pass.

I'm a pretty calm guy so I just called the FA over and explained what happened. She did an excellent job reassuring me we'd work it out and ultimately we did as there were 2 other families in the back who wanted to swap seats to sit together and I ended up with an aisle seat like I wanted.

a few things come to mind.

A. Does that happen often that you'd be reassigned like that? I've boarded before and had FA's and families nicely ask people if they'd switch, but to be TOLD to by another passenger, not even an employee. I was ready to put up a fight just out of the principle of it.

B. It was pretty arrogant of the gate agent to move my seat like that and then just hand this woman MY new boarding pass. I could have been a real jerk about it, or not understood English, or had some sort of medical issue. Now it was all left to the FA to sort out the mess.

Anyways, thoughts?
spinkid000 is offline  
Old Jul 31, 13, 4:34 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by spinkid000 View Post

A. Does that happen often that you'd be reassigned like that? I've boarded before and had FA's and families nicely ask people if they'd switch, but to be TOLD to by another passenger, not even an employee. I was ready to put up a fight just out of the principle of it.

B. It was pretty arrogant of the gate agent to move my seat like that and then just hand this woman MY new boarding pass. I could have been a real jerk about it, or not understood English, or had some sort of medical issue. Now it was all left to the FA to sort out the mess.

Anyways, thoughts?
Wow! Never have seen or heard of a Gate Agent reassign an already boarded passenger a different seat and have another passenger deliver a new boarding pass to break the news that he or she has been moved.

I would definitely send a complaint to USAirways about this Gate Agent's very rude and unacceptable actions.
ESPECIALROB is offline  

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