Air Canada Seating Policy

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Jan 31, 2018
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#1
We booked a tour of Ireland this summer with another couple. We used a travel agency that included our flights. We are booked on United on the outbound and Air Canada on the return trip. All four of us are retired and we'd like to sit near each other. Well we were able to get seat assignments for the outbound and the return from Dublin to Toronto however we can't get seating assignments on the Toronto to Minneapolis leg (our destination). I spoke with Air Canada and they informed me that we could only get seat assignments one day before travel or at the airport. They said it is because we are on a United ticket that they can't assign seating. My wife is an anxious flyer and she really needs to sit near me and I'm afraid that if we wait we'll be in different locations on the plane. I understand that Air Canada requires payment for seating and we're willing to pay to ensure our seats but they still say we have to wait. Our travel is in August. I've emailed Air Canada's customer service, VP Customer Relations, Director of Customer Relations and even their CEO and haven't heard back. This seems like an unusual policy and frankly ridiculous. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#2
@Bob Cristofono Frankly the policy isn't ridiculous its the most common one outside the US. Since you've emailed the CEO, it isn't going to change. Looks like you really have two choices at this point. One, understand that the same rule is going to apply to everyone on the flight so the odds are that you'll sit together or, two, pay for the UA itinerary back from Dublin (change fee and fare difference) where you'll be able to get the seats assigned now.

You might also want to talk to your travel agent to see if they can get UA to assign you seats.
 
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#3
If you and your wife are ticketed with the same locator number (PNR) you will most likely be seated together. Personally, I would take the chance and if worse came to worst I'd offer the better of our seats to the passenger next to one of us and make a switch. You'll be able to find your seats when you check in on-line 24 hours before your flight.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
You should be able to get seat assignments now by paying for them. Otherwise it’s free if you book them 24 hours before.

We are very spoiled in the US with free economy seat assignments in advance. Most foreign airlines charge for them as do some code share flights.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
If you and your wife are ticketed with the same locator number (PNR) you will most likely be seated together. Personally, I would take the chance and if worse came to worst I'd offer the better of our seats to the passenger next to one of us and make a switch. You'll be able to find your seats when you check in on-line 24 hours before your flight.
Not necessarily if only single seats are left 24 hours before.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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#6
Thanks for the responses. I did not realize that most airlines, outside of the U.S., have this type of policy. As I mentioned we are willing to pay for seat assignments, we did so through Air Canada for the Dublin to Toronto segment which is why their reluctance to allow us to pay for seating on the last leg was confusing to me. We'll take our chances and my wife can always hold someone else's hand on the Toronto to Minneapolis segment.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
Those code share flights are problems sometimes with particular airlines. Even if you don't get assigned seats next to each other when you go online, ask at the airport if they can switch your seats. They hold back some seats from being assigned so you still may end up together.

One other thing to try is to ask the travel agency for Air Canadas PNR number for their ticket and try going online to Air Canada and see if it will allow you to pay. Sometimes I've snuck people through an gotten seats that way.