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Airline seat frustration

DBReedDBReed Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Can anyone explain to me how airline seat upgrades work? My girlfriend and I have been banging our heads against the wall for the past week dealing with SAS and United to try to get better seats for our trip next Monday.

The problem seems to be that it's a United flight serviced by SAS, so if I call SAS they tell me to talk to United and United tells me to talk to SAS. I was finally told today by an SAS rep that I couldn't buy an upgrade even if I wanted to. I have to buy vouchers through United, and then use those at the gate to upgrade my seat.

Having been told that, I asked if I could at least make sure that my girlfriend and I don't have the middle seats in the middle aisle again like we had on the trip over, but they can't even do that. They told me I don't have a booking number with SAS since it went through United (argh!) and I'll be assigned a seat when I get to the gate.

This situation seems like I'm telling the airlines to please take more of my money, and they're saying no thanks. Does anyone have any advice, people to contact, etc?

DBReed on


  • Susan DelgadoSusan Delgado Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    If you booked your flight online, a lot of times you can go to the site and choose your seat assignments. It will show you a map of the aircraft and the seats that are still open and the ones that are already sold and you can change where you want to sit there... Now, you can't always *upgrade* from the site. However, when you check in at the airport you can ask the ticket counter agent that you would like to upgrade to business class or first class and if they have seats available to upgrade to, they'll bump you there.

    Also, have you tried calling the ticket counter at the airport you're departing from? Usually if you can talk to an agent at the airport that's actually working there they can do much more than the generic reservations line folks. You'll want to talk to someone at the United counter since that's who you would check in with anyways. Forget for the moment about SAS... They're operating under the umbrella of United, so just go through them.

    I don't know what type of aircraft you're going on, but if for some reason it's an RJ (regional jet), they don't typically have a business or first class to upgrade to. Your best bet there is to request the exit row seats when you check in for more leg room.

    Good luck and have a safe trip!

    Susan Delgado on
    Go then, there are other worlds than these.
  • mugginnsmugginns Jawsome Fresh CoastRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Yeah, NWA makes it pretty easy. Just log in to their site, tell them your conf number, choose a new seat (albeit it used to be free to change, now it costs $).

    Doesn't SAS (not sure what airline this is) have a site like this? Or united?

    mugginns on
  • RocketScienceRocketScience Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I'm assuming you're flying from the US to Norway.

    If you don't manage to make any progress with the airlines before the day of the flight, try to get to the airport early and request a seat near the emergency exits. These seats generally aren't assigned beforehand and have extra legroom. You've got a much better chance of getting them than you are of getting an upgrade to business class, unless you're an ultra frequent flyer.

    RocketScience on
  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My google-fu found some help for you!

    Check in 22 hrs before your flight online and pick your seat then.

    You might be able to book your seat earlier, I feel like you should be able to, but at least there is this.

    Dman on
  • DBReedDBReed Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    SAS does have a site like this, but the problem is that I don't have a booking number that I would need to check my itinerary or check in online. All I have is a United number, which doesn't do me any good since I can't change seats for the SAS flight on the United website.

    I'm not trying for business class, because I know I can't afford to upgrade to that. I was hoping to shoot for Economy Extra, or at least an economy seat on the side of the plane. I just don't want to be in the middle again.

    This could be a language barrier problem as well, since I've been talking to the SAS hotline over here and I get the feeling they don't quite understand what I'm asking. I'll be giving the US line a call soon.

    DBReed on
  • ChalkbotChalkbot Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    A good strategy (as suggested by Susan) is to show up a little early for your flight and ask to sit in the exit row. It doesn't cost anything other than your verbal agreement to help people off the plane in a crash. They don't typically fill those seats unless someone who is physically capable of opening the exit door requests to sit there.

    WAY better than the regular seats.

    Chalkbot on
  • DBReedDBReed Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Just got off the phone with US line, and I finally got things cleared up. I can't upgrade over the phone since it's a United booking on an SAS flight, but I can request one at the gate and they'll see if they have any available. I'll also ask about the emergency exit seats.

    DBReed on
  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Just a heads up:

    Emergency seats have the benefit of extra leg room, but they usually do not recline.

    wallabeeX on
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