I paid full price but can't select a seat until 23 hours before check in?

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Aug 18, 2018
3
0
1
58
#1
My husband and I booked flights on the United web site from Dulles Airport/Washington, DC to Turin, Italy traveling Sept 20 to October 2nd. My husband used his United Mileage Plus points to pay for his ticket. I booked the exact same flights through the United web site and paid with my VISA. The first, and longest leg of the flight, is operated by Lufthansa. After making the reservations my husband was able to change seats and pay for extra leg room on the Lufthansa web site using his Lufthansa confirmation number. My reservation would not allow me to select seats until 23 hours before check in. I called United and Lufthansa and learned that my reservation is a "code share" which does not allow seat selection until 23 hours before check in and that my husband's reservation was a "pure Lufthansa" reservation which does allow seat selection. The only difference between my husband's reservation and mine is that he used miles from his United Plus credit card and I paid for my ticket with a VISA. There was no way of knowing that this would be the case until well after I paid for my ticket. I just want to have the same opportunity to select my seat, and pay extra for more leg room, so that my husband and I can sit together on this very long, red-eye flight. I think it is very unfair that I paid for my ticket with money but I have less options than someone who paid with points.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,373
13,044
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
This is correct. When you book a code share with Lufthansa, you cannot get seat assignments early. Had you booked directly without you Lufthabsa, you can opt for a fare that includes a seat assignment. This is true of most international airlines when booked as a code share. But even if you booked directly with Lufthansa- you have to pay for a seat assignment unless you wait until a few days before flying.

https://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/seat-reservation-economy-class


Most European airlines charge for seat assignments as well, it’s not like it is here.

Did you ask if you could pay for a seat assignment?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,856
6,779
113
San Francisco
#6
I'm so sorry this is happening, Emily. I would definitely go after Lufthansa directly (get their confirmation # from UA) and ask to purchase a seat assignment. I can understand why airlines charge for seat assignments, but to just deprive a paying passenger is looney. If Customer Service won't help, use our Company Contacts to be polite, patient and persistent. Just keep asking and hope to reach someone who has a brain and is willing to help. Normally I wouldn't care if I were sitting next to my husband or not, but a red-eye is a different story. Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,373
13,044
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
The still may not allow it. They really want you booking directly. It’s almost like it’s punishment for booking a codeshare.

We learning a long time ago if we find a ticket for a client on an international flight that’s a codeshare to go directly to the airline operating the flight so we can get them seats.
 
Aug 18, 2018
3
0
1
58
#8
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. My complaint is with United because there was no information about my flight being a "code share" and the seat selection restriction when I made my reservation. I didn't know what a "code share" was until I made multiple calls to United and Lufthansa and someone finally explained it to me. My husband made the exact same reservation using points from his United Mileage Plus credit card and his flight was not a "code share", he could choose seats after he received his Lufthansa confirmation number. It's unfair and misleading that United doesn't tell you that if you're not a rewards member you can't choose seats until 23 hours before check in.
 
Mar 17, 2015
532
743
93
38
#10
The website may have changed since you made a reservation, but if you are looking at the flights and click on seats, it directly states that seat assignments for this flight will be available at check in. I do agree that it is ridiculous for the airlines to do this, but these are the policies in place right now and we as consumers have told them it is ok.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
867
787
93
#11
I booked a round trip for my wife on United, the trip originates in the USA. My wife does not have any status with United or Lufthansa. All the flights have United flight numbers but the outbound are operated by Lufthansa and the return are United. I was able to select seats on all of the flights (including the first one, the longest, operated by Lufthansa) except the one from Germany to the destination. The trip is some time from now.

Can you create a United frequent flier account and add the frequent flyer number to your reservation and see if doing that allows you to then select seats on more segments?
 
Jul 31, 2018
8
1
3
54
#12
Don't know if this helps or not, I also always book on UAL whether paying or with miles, and then simply call the international carrier. This has happened 3 times in the past 5 years, most recently an upcoming trip in December. I have called (Lufthansa as well as Swiss), and they have assigned my seat directly on the phone without charge.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 30, 2017
378
406
63
Maui Hawaii
#13
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. My complaint is with United because there was no information about my flight being a "code share" and the seat selection restriction when I made my reservation. I didn't know what a "code share" was until I made multiple calls to United and Lufthansa and someone finally explained it to me. My husband made the exact same reservation using points from his United Mileage Plus credit card and his flight was not a "code share", he could choose seats after he received his Lufthansa confirmation number. It's unfair and misleading that United doesn't tell you that if you're not a rewards member you can't choose seats until 23 hours before check in.
If you book on the United website you will find the carrier listed for each domestic or overseas flight. If it is United it will be marked as such. Lufthansa will be noted as LH. These flights are code shares unless United is indicated as the carrier. I am flying DEN-FRA in October, booked on the United website, but on LH planes. This was apparent as I booked the flights.
DEN-FRA Oct 1:
(lowest)
Sort your results by Business (lowest) fare price

Flight search results
  • Flight option 1
    Departing
    Mon, Oct 1
    5:25 pm Denver, CO, US (DEN)
    Arriving
    Tue, Oct 2
    11:00 am Frankfurt, DE (FRA)
    Number of stops
    Nonstop
    9h 35mOperated By Lufthansa

    Economy
    Not available
 
Likes: Sam

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,373
13,044
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
If you book on the United website you will find the carrier listed for each domestic or overseas flight. If it is United it will be marked as such. Lufthansa will be noted as LH. These flights are code shares unless United is indicated as the carrier. I am flying DEN-FRA in October, booked on the United website, but on LH planes. This was apparent as I booked the flights.
DEN-FRA Oct 1:
(lowest)
Sort your results by Business (lowest) fare price

Flight search results
  • Flight option 1
    Departing
    Mon, Oct 1
    5:25 pm Denver, CO, US (DEN)
    Arriving
    Tue, Oct 2
    11:00 am Frankfurt, DE (FRA)
    Number of stops
    Nonstop
    9h 35m
  • Operated By Lufthansa

    Economy
    Not available
Exactly- this must be displayed when booking and its a code share. Please check your confirmation.

When you book your own tickets, you are acting as your own travel agent and these are the things you need them know.
 
Jun 30, 2017
378
406
63
Maui Hawaii
#15
My husband and I booked flights on the United web site from Dulles Airport/Washington, DC to Turin, Italy traveling Sept 20 to October 2nd. My husband used his United Mileage Plus points to pay for his ticket. I booked the exact same flights through the United web site and paid with my VISA. The first, and longest leg of the flight, is operated by Lufthansa. After making the reservations my husband was able to change seats and pay for extra leg room on the Lufthansa web site using his Lufthansa confirmation number. My reservation would not allow me to select seats until 23 hours before check in. I called United and Lufthansa and learned that my reservation is a "code share" which does not allow seat selection until 23 hours before check in and that my husband's reservation was a "pure Lufthansa" reservation which does allow seat selection. The only difference between my husband's reservation and mine is that he used miles from his United Plus credit card and I paid for my ticket with a VISA. There was no way of knowing that this would be the case until well after I paid for my ticket. I just want to have the same opportunity to select my seat, and pay extra for more leg room, so that my husband and I can sit together on this very long, red-eye flight. I think it is very unfair that I paid for my ticket with money but I have less options than someone who paid with points.
When you look at your United reservation it will show a United AND Lufthansa confirmation number (this is from my upcoming Oct '18 flight DEN-FRA booked on the
United website).:

Confirmation number: P****X

Lufthansa Confirmation number: L*****I

If you set up an account on Lufthansa, you can then use the Lufthansa confirmation number to retrieve your flights and make seat reservations. I just did this for my October flights.
 
Aug 18, 2018
3
0
1
58
#17
Problem resolved. Thank you all for your suggestions and encouragement. Today I was finally able to pay extra for the privilege of seat selection. Unfortunately it not only cost $408 but also some pride. I had spoken to three different United agents and three different Lufthansa agents over the past week trying to get someone to let me pay more so I could select a seat. Today my husband made the phone call and his request was granted. We are now seated together on our flight to Italy and I'm relieved. But I can't help being miffed that United said "OK" when a man asked, once, but not when I ( a woman) asked three times. I will try very hard to believe that this was just luck on my husband's part and not some kind of weird gender bias on the part of United.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,373
13,044
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
I don’t blame you.

In the future- keep this in mind when booking international airlines, even as a code share. Most do not offer free seat assignments. This is why we try to book all the way through on US airlines when possible.
 
Sep 19, 2015
2,456
3,737
113
48
#19
Problem resolved. Thank you all for your suggestions and encouragement. Today I was finally able to pay extra for the privilege of seat selection. Unfortunately it not only cost $408 but also some pride. I had spoken to three different United agents and three different Lufthansa agents over the past week trying to get someone to let me pay more so I could select a seat. Today my husband made the phone call and his request was granted. We are now seated together on our flight to Italy and I'm relieved. But I can't help being miffed that United said "OK" when a man asked, once, but not when I ( a woman) asked three times. I will try very hard to believe that this was just luck on my husband's part and not some kind of weird gender bias on the part of United.
Problem resolved. Thank you all for your suggestions and encouragement. Today I was finally able to pay extra for the privilege of seat selection. Unfortunately it not only cost $408 but also some pride. I had spoken to three different United agents and three different Lufthansa agents over the past week trying to get someone to let me pay more so I could select a seat. Today my husband made the phone call and his request was granted. We are now seated together on our flight to Italy and I'm relieved. But I can't help being miffed that United said "OK" when a man asked, once, but not when I ( a woman) asked three times. I will try very hard to believe that this was just luck on my husband's part and not some kind of weird gender bias on the part of United.
Does he have status with the airline -- sometimes it is not bias, but better service to someone that has status?

When I get someone that seems disinterested or not trying I just hang up and call again.
 
Likes: Neil Maley