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Not able to select Airline seats when booked through Expedia

Jan 21, 2020
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My wife and I booked a round trip flight for our 50th celebration from Australia to the US through Expedia on 16 Jan 2020. According to the web information, it consisted of two airlines Qantas (QA) and American Airlines (AA), managed by Qantas. After we have been issued with the confirmation codes, I inquired how we could make our seating selection and was told by Expedia via email that we could contact AA to make the seating arrangement. I proceeded to contact AA and their customer service told us that we should instead call QA to make the seating arrangement. It turned out not to be the case.

Despite having the flight confirmation codes, we were only able to make our seating arrangement for QA flights and not for the AA leg (both ways). So, we are faced with an 18 hour plus flight where we could be seated separately and not able to make our seat selection even though we had booked our flight 7 months in advance.
After a few days of back and forth with Expedia, AA and QA, we learned the following:
  • QA told us that we could only select our seats a month before departure and only provided the reason that it was due to their system restriction.
  • AA told us that they did not have any time bound restriction on their seat selection.
  • Expedia told us after their internal inquiry that there was nothing they could do, because they were bound by their policies of their vendors. This was after they told us we could call AA to make arrangement.
We do not know what kind of arrangement Expedia had with the Airlines and we are certainly not receiving any commission like Expedia is from the Airlines. Why then are we penalised for not being able to select our seats even though we book at this early stage? Why did we have to be bounced around to find out information that should have been told to us during the booking stage? Why could we only select seats for one leg of the flight but not for both?

Please help us to obtain a fair outcome for our predicament. All we want to do is to be able to make our seating arrangements for the leg between AUS and the US.

Thanks
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Unlike US airlines most foreign airlines do not provide free seats. Especially on a code share. If you don’t want to pay extra for seat selections- you have to wait until 30 days before.

Did you ask if you could pay for an advanced seat assignment? What fare type did you book? Was it a basic economy seat?
 
Nov 22, 2019
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On the quantas website it says that for sale fare, you need to pay to choose your seat, and you can do it right after booking. There is no mention of time restriction. The saver, flex, and above are free.
Do you have the quantas confirmation number and can you do choose the seats on their website? I don't know for them, but for AA I always contact them in private message on twitter (for seat, change, etc...) they are much nicer, flexible, and fast to reply.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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What are your flights? Is the problem the US to australia flight? Which company operates the flights and what company has the ticket (what are the first 3 numbers of ticket?)

Expedia has no arrangement — they are not a real travel agent they are an online booking service. A real travel agent would have explained these issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VoR61
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
Unlike US airlines most foreign airlines do not provide free seats. Especially on a code share. If you don’t want to pay extra for seat selections- you have to wait until 30 days before.

Did you ask if you could pay for an advanced seat assignment? What fare type did you book? Was it a basic economy seat?
It is economy. We have confirmation codes for both airlines, but were only able to select our seats for Qantas. i.e. We didn't have to pay extra to select QA standard economy seats. Unless we need additional leg room or different sections of the plane, then we understand the need for additional payment.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
On the quantas website it says that for sale fare, you need to pay to choose your seat, and you can do it right after booking. There is no mention of time restriction. The saver, flex, and above are free.
Do you have the quantas confirmation number and can you do choose the seats on their website? I don't know for them, but for AA I always contact them in private message on twitter (for seat, change, etc...) they are much nicer, flexible, and fast to reply.
Thanks. We did contact their customer service through the landline, but was told that we had to go through Qantas. Maybe we should try their social media site.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
What are your flights? Is the problem the US to australia flight? Which company operates the flights and what company has the ticket (what are the first 3 numbers of ticket?)

Expedia has no arrangement — they are not a real travel agent they are an online booking service. A real travel agent would have explained these issues.
We wish we know what's going on behind the scene. And it does not help when they are not revealing the real reasons for the issues we are facing. What are the first 3 numbers of ticket? Are you referring to the first 3 number of the 13 digits itinerary confirmation issued by Expedia, or the record locator?
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
My wife and I booked a round trip flight for our 50th celebration from Australia to the US through Expedia on 16 Jan 2020. According to the web information, it consisted of two airlines Qantas (QA) and American Airlines (AA), managed by Qantas. After we have been issued with the confirmation codes, I inquired how we could make our seating selection and was told by Expedia via email that we could contact AA to make the seating arrangement. I proceeded to contact AA and their customer service told us that we should instead call QA to make the seating arrangement. It turned out not to be the case.

Despite having the flight confirmation codes, we were only able to make our seating arrangement for QA flights and not for the AA leg (both ways). So, we are faced with an 18 hour plus flight where we could be seated separately and not able to make our seat selection even though we had booked our flight 7 months in advance.
After a few days of back and forth with Expedia, AA and QA, we learned the following:
  • QA told us that we could only select our seats a month before departure and only provided the reason that it was due to their system restriction.
  • AA told us that they did not have any time bound restriction on their seat selection.
  • Expedia told us after their internal inquiry that there was nothing they could do, because they were bound by their policies of their vendors. This was after they told us we could call AA to make arrangement.
We do not know what kind of arrangement Expedia had with the Airlines and we are certainly not receiving any commission like Expedia is from the Airlines. Why then are we penalised for not being able to select our seats even though we book at this early stage? Why did we have to be bounced around to find out information that should have been told to us during the booking stage? Why could we only select seats for one leg of the flight but not for both?

Please help us to obtain a fair outcome for our predicament. All we want to do is to be able to make our seating arrangements for the leg between AUS and the US.

Thanks

Sorry, we should also add that -

QA told us that we could only select our "AA" seats a month before departure and only provided the reason that it was due to their system restriction. This is because AA is managed under Qantas, whatever that means.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
331
646
93
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It sounds like you booked the flights through Quantas but can't pick the seats for the AA operated flights. From what I've seen code share flights often don't let you select seats far in advance and it sounds like the AA flights are code share.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
It sounds like you booked the flights through Quantas but can't pick the seats for the AA operated flights. From what I've seen code share flights often don't let you select seats far in advance and it sounds like the AA flights are code share.
We booked the flight through Expedia, but we believe that the AA leg is managed through Qantas. We have checked with AA and they do not have any restriction on their seat release date. For some reason Qantas wouldn't allow us to select AA seats even though we could do it for Qantas flight.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
We wish we know what's going on behind the scene. And it does not help when they are not revealing the real reasons for the issues we are facing. What are the first 3 numbers of ticket? Are you referring to the first 3 number of the 13 digits itinerary confirmation issued by Expedia, or the record locator?
It is most likely because it is a code share flight. Contact Expedia and ask if you can get the AA confirmation number (it will be separate from the Quantas confirmation number). You can then try to get a seat assignment using that if they can give you that. Code share flights are tricky because sometimes the two airlines bookings do not talk to each other.

In the future - book directly with the airlines. It is much easier than having to go through a third party. But I can tell you that we often cannot get seat assignments for part of a flight that is a code share.
 
May 30, 2019
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429
63
It is most likely because it is a code share flight. Contact Expedia and ask if you can get the AA confirmation number (it will be separate from the Quantas confirmation number). You can then try to get a seat assignment using that if they can give you that. Code share flights are tricky because sometimes the two airlines bookings do not talk to each other.

In the future - book directly with the airlines. It is much easier than having to go through a third party. But I can tell you that we often cannot get seat assignments for part of a flight that is a code share.
I might suggest, if that doesn't work, contact QA to ask for the AA confirmation number -- or call AA with the flight # & date to see if they are able willing to look up the information and assign a seat.
 
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Reactions: VoR61

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,026
9,697
113
San Francisco
Airlines want to make your life as difficult as possible so you never book through an online service again. You'll just have to keep trying. Even if you do obtain seat assignments, they may not be there when you check in. Plan on arriving at the airport as early as possible ... you want time to see if you can get seats together from the tix agents. In person requests are often handled very well by an airline.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Patina
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
Airlines want to make your life as difficult as possible so you never book through an online service again. You'll just have to keep trying. Even if you do obtain seat assignments, they may not be there when you check in. Plan on arriving at the airport as early as possible ... you want time to see if you can get seats together from the tix agents. In person requests are often handled very well by an airline.
Yup. We would have no problem if they had made that clear to us in the first place, so that we were able to make an informed decision. Doesn't seem to be very transparent process.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
It is most likely because it is a code share flight. Contact Expedia and ask if you can get the AA confirmation number (it will be separate from the Quantas confirmation number). You can then try to get a seat assignment using that if they can give you that. Code share flights are tricky because sometimes the two airlines bookings do not talk to each other.

In the future - book directly with the airlines. It is much easier than having to go through a third party. But I can tell you that we often cannot get seat assignments for part of a flight that is a code share.
We have confirmation codes for both flights. Maybe I shall give it another go by calling AA again.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
49
Unlike US airlines most foreign airlines do not provide free seats. Especially on a code share. If you don’t want to pay extra for seat selections- you have to wait until 30 days before.

Did you ask if you could pay for an advanced seat assignment? What fare type did you book? Was it a basic economy seat?
So we have called AA and they could not do the booking from their end, even if we want to pay for it. It has to be done through Qantas. We are wondering if we should write in to Qantas or Expedia.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
So we have called AA and they could not do the booking from their end, even if we want to pay for it. It has to be done through Qantas. We are wondering if we should write in to Qantas or Expedia.
Both. It might have to do with the ticket class Expedia sold you but it’s more likely a Quantas issue that it cannot “talk” to the AA system. This frequently happens on code share flights and there isn’t much you can do about it. But it could be the fare code.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VoR61
May 1, 2018
328
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Yup. We would have no problem if they had made that clear to us in the first place, so that we were able to make an informed decision. Doesn't seem to be very transparent process.
Booking travel is definitely a classic caveat emptor situation. It falls upon the person making the booking to find out all the information on their own before making a purchasing decision. Unfortunately, no travel provided goes out of their way to spoon feed information so consumers can make an informed choice. The best thing to do when booking a complicated itinerary is to use a competent travel agent that knows the ins and outs of the booking process.
 
Jan 21, 2020
10
0
1
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Booking travel is definitely a classic caveat emptor situation. It falls upon the person making the booking to find out all the information on their own before making a purchasing decision. Unfortunately, no travel provided goes out of their way to spoon feed information so consumers can make an informed choice. The best thing to do when booking a complicated itinerary is to use a competent travel agent that knows the ins and outs of the booking process.
Yup. And hopefully, EA can take up such cases to push for more transparency and accountability from online booking sites, which will not only give consumers a fairer go, but it will also be music to the ears of travel agents who desire a more level playing field in an age of technological disruption. Gone are the days where banks and large institutions can hide "consumer-friendly" terms and conditions in fine prints and hope that they are not discovered.