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.
Likes: Carrie Livingston