Gate 1 Travel Purchased Me an Airline Ticket with Very Limited Seating

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Jul 12, 2018
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#1
I'm planning on travelling with a friend and put a deposit on a vacation and purchased airfare through Gate 1 Travel on Korean Air for a trip in March 2019, ultimately going to Vietnam and Cambodia, with a stop off in Seoul, Korea. They charged me the same economy airfare that I would have paid on Delta (as a code share) site. I asked at time of purchase if there would be any problem selecting seats, they said no. When I got the reservation I discovered that on every leg of the trip I was limited to the last 5 rows of the plane (near 7 toilets going to Seoul). Korean Air said "it was the class of service purchased" and could not help me because Gate 1 purchased the ticket. Gate 1 Travel refused to help me at all. They acknowledged the limited seating choices, but said there was nothing they could do and "I was welcome to purchase another ticket" if I wanted better seats. With the same economy fare purchased through Delta I could sit anywhere in the economy section. All I really want is for Gate 1 to fix this with Korean Air or give me a refund so I can purchase a ticket where I have a choice for better seats. My friend has used Gate 1 several times, but I'm truly appalled at the misrepresentation of the ticket and the lack of customer service. Any advice or help would be appreciated.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
On many international airlines, they charge extra for seat assignments. Those are probably the only ones you can get that there were no charges for.

Did you ask Gate 1 if you could pay to upgrade your seats?

Gate 1 is a highly discounted tour operator and this is often what you get when booking through discounters.

If you are willing to pay for better seats, see if Gate 1 will allow you to.
 
Jul 12, 2018
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#3
I did ask Gate 1 about upgrades and they said they couldn't assist me and Korean Air said the same thing. The tour itself may be discounted but the airfare was not. I could purchase a ticket on Delta for the exact same price with the ability to choose any economy seat. It appears, that Gate 1 took the money for a full fare economy ticket and purchased a lesser class of service. If it is not resolved, I've learned a painful lesson -- not to buy airfare from third parties.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
14,624
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#4
Unless you booked a basic economy seat which has a ton of restrictions- you received a full fare economy seat. Just cause it’s in the back of the plane doesn’t mean it’s not full fare. Do you see other seats available?

Did you ask if you could cancel the air ticket and book on your own?

Did you ask Korean Air if you could pay to upgrade your seat? There is no way I would do that flight in anything less than business class.

We do have company contacts for Gate 1. Why not take it to the Executives and ask why you can’t pay to upgrade your seats. I see no reading why they won’t allow this.


https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/gate-1-travel/

Read the information on the main company contacts page about HOW to write and escalate. ( Start at Customer Service and move up Weekly)

Hopefully you’ll get an executive who can help. Some of the problem might be that the airlines don’t allow code share flights to pre-book seats but if that’s the case they should explain it
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
What is the fare class that you were sold? On some low fare classes Korean does not allow any advance seat assignments (T and N) no matter who sold the ticket. What was the fare code Delta was offering?

Also airlines often block off the better seats for status or higher fares — do you have any status with the skyteam or whatever they are called?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jul 12, 2018
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#6
Unless you booked a basic economy seat which has a ton of restrictions- you received a full fare economy seat. Just cause it’s in the back of the plane doesn’t mean it’s not full fare. Do you see other seats available?

Did you ask if you could cancel the air ticket and book on your own?

Did you ask Korean Air if you could pay to upgrade your seat? There is no way I would do that flight in anything less than business class.

We do have company contacts for Gate 1. Why not take it to the Executives and ask why you can’t pay to upgrade your seats. I see no reading why they won’t allow this.


https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/gate-1-travel/

Read the information on the main company contacts page about HOW to write and escalate. ( Start at Customer Service and move up Weekly)

Hopefully you’ll get an executive who can help. Some of the problem might be that the airlines don’t allow code share flights to pre-book seats but if that’s the case they should explain it
Thank you for your response. The cost was the same as full fare economy on both Korean Air and Delta Airlines. I purchased it from Gate 1 with a little added so that transfers would be included. Literally every other seat on the plane is X'd out when I go to pick a seat and designated as not available. But in checking the seat on Delta, I saw that there are, in fact, many seats available. The friend that I'm travelling with also bought her ticket from Gate 1 and does not have the same situation. Yes, I asked them if I could cancel and buy my own ticket (I'd be super happy with this), but Gate 1 told me it was nonrefundable. Korean Air told me that for my class of service upgrades were not permitted. I would really love business class, but it's not possible for me. I very much appreciate the link to Gate 1 and will read it closely.
 
Jul 12, 2018
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#7
What is the fare class that you were sold? On some low fare classes Korean does not allow any advance seat assignments (T and N) no matter who sold the ticket. What was the fare code Delta was offering?

Also airlines often block off the better seats for status or higher fares — do you have any status with the skyteam or whatever they are called?
My class of service is Economy Q. Delta was offering Economy X. I do have an American Express through Delta, but I do not have any other status. Yes, I really wish they had told me that there were limitations on seat selection. I very clearly asked them if there would be a problem selecting seats. thank you for your reply.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
Economy q is a non upgradable class for international travel.

Non-upgradeable transoceanic, UPGRADEABLE domestic. If using miles it's 12,500 SkyMiles each way. *Only Medallions receive domestic

Your friend probably didn’t pay the same amount you did. That’s why you see the rest of the seats blacked out- they are a different fare class.

I did a mock booking on Gate 1. None of this should be a surprise. They have a lot of information and warnings when you book a trip.

You also get to choose the type of fare you want-Economy, premium economy or business.

I don’t know what airport you are flying from but I tried to create a booking from JFK to see what my choices are.

When you booked the air, did you request gate 1 air or published? There is a disclaimer that comes up of you choose Gate 1 airfare OR published but Gate 1 is more even more restrictive:


Flights displayed below represent the lowest airfare we could find for your requested itinerary. These flights may not be the most convenient available. To view additional options, please click here or select "See Additional Flight Options."

This also appears:

Gate 1 Travel Instant Purchase Airfares include all fuel surcharges and taxes, and require full payment at the time of booking.

Tickets will be issued immediately and, once issued, are fully non-refundable.

Once issued, there can be no fluctuation in price due to an increase in government taxes or in airline fuel surcharges.

Any change in itinerary or name(s) will require full cancellation and rebooking of a new ticket.

We highly recommend that you select and pay the Travel Protection Plan at the time of booking.

I also found a red warning when I did a mock booking that said “free advance seats are limited”.


If you opt to pay for your air at booking in full, it locks in the air price for you. If you don’t opt to pay in full, then the price of air can change by the time you do pay in full.

Did you click on all the disclaimers that appeared when you were booking? Now that I actually tried to book a trip with them, I understand why they aren’t allowing you to change.


I am pretty sure you booked that type of fare, that would be the only reason they will not allow you to upgrade.
 
Jul 12, 2018
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#9
Economy q is a non upgradable class for international travel.

Non-upgradeable transoceanic, UPGRADEABLE domestic. If using miles it's 12,500 SkyMiles each way. *Only Medallions receive domestic

Your friend probably didn’t pay the same amount you did. That’s why you see the rest of the seats blacked out- they are a different fare class.

I did a mock booking on Gate 1. None of this should be a surprise. They have a lot of information and warnings when you book a trip.

You also get to choose the type of fare you want-Economy, premium economy or business.

I don’t know what airport you are flying from but I tried to create a booking from JFK to see what my choices are.

When you booked the air, did you request gate 1 air or published? There is a disclaimer that comes up of you choose Gate 1 airfare OR published but Gate 1 is more even more restrictive:


Flights displayed below represent the lowest airfare we could find for your requested itinerary. These flights may not be the most convenient available. To view additional options, please click here or select "See Additional Flight Options."

This also appears:

Gate 1 Travel Instant Purchase Airfares include all fuel surcharges and taxes, and require full payment at the time of booking.

Tickets will be issued immediately and, once issued, are fully non-refundable.

Once issued, there can be no fluctuation in price due to an increase in government taxes or in airline fuel surcharges.

Any change in itinerary or name(s) will require full cancellation and rebooking of a new ticket.

We highly recommend that you select and pay the Travel Protection Plan at the time of booking.

I also found a red warning when I did a mock booking that said “free advance seats are limited”.


If you opt to pay for your air at booking in full, it locks in the air price for you. If you don’t opt to pay in full, then the price of air can change by the time you do pay in full.

Did you click on all the disclaimers that appeared when you were booking? Now that I actually tried to book a trip with them, I understand why they aren’t allowing you to change.


I am pretty sure you booked that type of fare, that would be the only reason they will not allow you to upgrade.
I did it all over the phone and clearly did not read any of the above.
 
Jul 12, 2018
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#10
I only purchased the land portion of the tour through Gate 1. China Southern was the airline they offered and it did not have the times or routes I wanted and, quite frankly, I assumed that the seats would be lousy if I purchased the entire land and air package for the trip through them. I thought the Korean Air ticket was a completely separate purchase (and it was billed separately) . I did not know, but do now, that even if they purchase a completely separate ticket their policies apply. It was not a discount ticket in any way. I shouldn't have needed to upgrade to get a decent economy ticket because it was the same price as buying it through Delta (they included transfers and added $$ for that). I appreciate your research and thank you. I rarely use tour companies and do not know much about how they operate.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,624
13,726
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
According to their website- it doesn’t mean you aren’t paying full price for your ticket.

When they emailed you the confirmation for your air- what disclaimers/disclosures did it come with? You could have canceled within 24 hours of booking with no penalties
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,297
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San Francisco
#12
Joanne, I am so sorry to read of your awful experience. I've taken a few organized tours and heard from other people how awful their flights were. I was horrified at how these tour companies purchase the rock bottom tix for their customers. Unless you are pro-active when booking, they'll just plunk you down anywhere, with multiple connections and/or awful flights. And you have no opportunity to cancel the air because they don't give you the details within the cancellation period of 24 hours.

If you are willing to pay extra for some decent seats, you may be able to convince Gate 1 to help you. Sometimes appealing to the executives if customer service won't help works. Using our Company Contacts, write a concise, polite letter to the first executive asking for some assistance. If no reply after two weeks, or you don't like the answer, work your way up the corporate ladder, waiting a week between each submission. Do your research on Delta/Korean to determine what's available and what the charges would be. Be businesslike and appreciative, you want someone reading your letter to want to help you. This truly is an awful situation, but you do have time to contact the executives. Best of luck, and please let us know the outcome.
 
Likes: Nancy