Stuck in the Middle

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Apr 11, 2021
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Not sure where to post this as it concerns both an airline and a travel agency so I'm covering my bases and posting in both. Sorry if this is incorrect.

As Stealers Wheel said it best "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..." I'm trying to figure out what to do next and could use any help/advice you can give. I had booked a travel package through Cheapcaribbean last year and after it blew up due to Covid I was given a travel credit for a future vacation for my wife and I. So far so good. I went to rebook it for this year (June-28-July3) using the room credit and the flight credit (American Airlines). After paying the difference I thought I was set. The problem is that when I went to check our seat assignments my wife was not assigned a seat for two legs of the flight. I can't change it online since there is not a seat to change. She does have a ticket but was never assigned a seat when Cheapcaribbean made the reservations. I contacted American Airlines and was told that Cheapcaribbean had to fix it. They gave me two other options...American Airlines said I could pay $50 for them to assign her a seat or we could wait and get a seat assignment at the airport. Neither of those options are attractive but I guess paying the $50 is the better option of the two. When I call CheapCaribbean they of course deny any fault and say there is nothing they can do to fix it and that I should call American Airlines and around and around we go...stuck in the black hole of bad customer service.

It's not the money as $50 is not going to break me (though as a Virginia state employee working in a veteran care center married to a public school teacher we don't have loads of money) but it is infuriating how poorly I have been treated by both firms as a customer. Nobody could be bothered to care.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
 
Apr 11, 2021
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Cheapcaribbean likely booked a class of seating that does not allow pre-selection of seats. If seat selection is a priority for the short flights, then I suggest you pay the $50.
If that is correct then why do I have a seat?
 
Apr 11, 2021
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They might "assign" you a seat, but you will not be able to "pick your own" without an extra charge.
Nope...I can and have gone on the American site and can pick any seat without paying (of course I didn't choose a seat that was an extra charge). I just changed my seat from aisle to window. No problem.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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FOR OUR OTHER READERS These are the kinds of issues you face when you use an online booking service for your travel. Add "cheap" to the name and it gets worse. Airlines and hotels don't like working with travellers who book through these services, and many just flat out refuse to deal with the pax. Why should they? The airline or hotel has paid the booking service, and rightfully is reluctant to take care of the pax. Travel providers know from experience that these services wreak havoc with the pax, who then turn to the travel provider to fix things. It's a vicious circle for the consumer and the booking services generate revenue for doing the minimum. The booking service has no incentive to do anything for you, and they often don't' they know they're dealing with inexperienced travellers. Theirs is a numbers game and hardly any customer ever comes back again, so they don't care. They book what you tell them and take your money, and that's the end of the relationship. By all means pay AA the fee for a seat assignment if that's important to you ... and hope you can get two seats together.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Nope...I can and have gone on the American site and can pick any seat without paying (of course I didn't choose a seat that was an extra charge). I just changed my seat from aisle to window. No problem.
Did you try to assign her a seat as well? It is possible there are no free economy seat assignments left at this point. If you could move your seat, did you try assigning one for her?

Sometimes there are no free seats available when you book, only seats that cost extra. If that is the case, when you arrive at the airport they often have people upgrading seats that will open an economy seat or there are seats that the airlines don’t book in advance and hold in case the flight is overbooked, they have a handicapped person needing a seat or have to leave seats for an Air Marshal or staff that need to fly to another airport to staff a flight.

Check the seating chart again and tell us if you see any free economy seats available. If you do and can’t assign them you need to go through Cheap Caribbean and ask them to assign a seat. When you book through a tour operator you have to deal with them.
 
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Apr 11, 2021
8
4
3
59
FOR OUR OTHER READERS These are the kinds of issues you face when you use an online booking service for your travel. Add "cheap" to the name and it gets worse. Airlines and hotels don't like working with travellers who book through these services, and many just flat out refuse to deal with the pax. Why should they? The airline or hotel has paid the booking service, and rightfully is reluctant to take care of the pax. Travel providers know from experience that these services wreak havoc with the pax, who then turn to the travel provider to fix things. It's a vicious circle for the consumer and the booking services generate revenue for doing the minimum. The booking service has no incentive to do anything for you, and they often don't' they know they're dealing with inexperienced travellers. Theirs is a numbers game and hardly any customer ever comes back again, so they don't care. They book what you tell them and take your money, and that's the end of the relationship. By all means pay AA the fee for a seat assignment if that's important to you ... and hope you can get two seats together.
Story of my life that I'm a cautionary tale.
 
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Apr 11, 2021
8
4
3
59
Did you try to assign her a seat as well? It is possible there are no free economy seat assignments left at this point. If you could move your seat, did you try assigning one for her?

Sometimes there are no free seats available when you book, only seats that cost extra. If that is the case, when you arrive at the airport they often have people upgrading seats that will open an economy seat or there are seats that the airlines don’t book in advance and hold in case the flight is overbooked, they have a handicapped person needing a seat or have to leave seats for an Air Marshal or staff that need to fly to another airport to staff a flight.

Check the seating chart again and tell us if you see any free economy seats available. If you do and can’t assign them you need to go through Cheap Caribbean and ask them to assign a seat. When you book through a tour operator you have to deal with them.
The problem is that I can only change seats and since Cheapcaribbean did not do what they needed to do there is no seat assigned to her so I can't change it. I'm attaching a pic of what that looks like. I count 14 available seats that are no charge to change into seats.

As far as going through Cheapcaribbean, I wish I could. They told me there is nothing they can/will do and that there is no one I can talk to about it. Go pound sand was the feeling I got.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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If it was me and I did not care if I sat with my wife or not . I would wait till I went to the airport. Good chance at check in they could get you seats together and if not it is just a flight not the whole vacation :)
In the days of Covid that would not be my first choice. With my luck (and this thread pretty much sums up my luck) I'll be seated next to the super spreader of the Brazil variant as he/she heads home.
 
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Apr 11, 2021
8
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The problem is that I can only change seats and since Cheapcaribbean did not do what they needed to do there is no seat assigned to her so I can't change it. I'm attaching a pic of what that looks like. I count 14 available seats that are no charge to change into seats.

As far as going through Cheapcaribbean, I wish I could. They told me there is nothing they can/will do and that there is no one I can talk to about it. Go pound sand was the feeling I got.
Here is the picFlight pic.jpg
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
727
1,518
93
Why do you think the check in agent would not try and get you 2 seats together. If you do think they wont then I guess pay the 50.00.
Then your wife and you could be seated next to a super spreader and share the misery.
Pre Covid I was flying with a friend , I booked direct for 339.99 and my friend found a discount rate through ( I think) JustFly for 299.99.
But he did not notice that my rate included 1 personal item a carry on and one check in luggage and I could pick my seats. His ticket did not include anything buy a personal and a carry on. So it turned out his discount was quite a bit more expensive Even though we booked a ticket on the same flights in the same class.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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Unfortunately, when you book with an OTA you have to deal with the OTA- the airline won’t deal with you.

Have you used our company contacts to go up the executive chain at CheapCaribbean or have you only dealt with customer service?
At this point only the customer service agent out of Columbia who said no one would be able to help me as he had "checked with the flight department" and there is nothing they can do. I will definitely start on the contact list though. Thanks for the idea. I have nothing to lose and only an increase in my blood pressure to gain.
 
Sep 27, 2018
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FOR OUR OTHER READERS These are the kinds of issues you face when you use an online booking service for your travel. Add "cheap" to the name and it gets worse. Airlines and hotels don't like working with travellers who book through these services, and many just flat out refuse to deal with the pax. Why should they? The airline or hotel has paid the booking service, and rightfully is reluctant to take care of the pax. Travel providers know from experience that these services wreak havoc with the pax, who then turn to the travel provider to fix things. It's a vicious circle for the consumer and the booking services generate revenue for doing the minimum. The booking service has no incentive to do anything for you, and they often don't' they know they're dealing with inexperienced travellers. Theirs is a numbers game and hardly any customer ever comes back again, so they don't care. They book what you tell them and take your money, and that's the end of the relationship. By all means pay AA the fee for a seat assignment if that's important to you ... and hope you can get two seats together.
Spot on. The question you need to ask yourself as a consumer in any type of transaction "Why is this cheaper?". Doesn't matter if you are buying a couch or a vacation, the question should always be answered. Decades ago, before the internet was widely available, a travel consolidator could find fares that you wouldn't know about, but those days are long gone. If you truly need help with travel, use a physical agent, Neil has a good primer on this site on how to choose one.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
1,022
2,165
113
St. Louis
Not sure where to post this as it concerns both an airline and a travel agency so I'm covering my bases and posting in both. Sorry if this is incorrect.

As Stealers Wheel said it best "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..." I'm trying to figure out what to do next and could use any help/advice you can give. I had booked a travel package through Cheapcaribbean last year and after it blew up due to Covid I was given a travel credit for a future vacation for my wife and I. So far so good. I went to rebook it for this year (June-28-July3) using the room credit and the flight credit (American Airlines). After paying the difference I thought I was set. The problem is that when I went to check our seat assignments my wife was not assigned a seat for two legs of the flight. I can't change it online since there is not a seat to change. She does have a ticket but was never assigned a seat when Cheapcaribbean made the reservations. I contacted American Airlines and was told that Cheapcaribbean had to fix it. They gave me two other options...American Airlines said I could pay $50 for them to assign her a seat or we could wait and get a seat assignment at the airport. Neither of those options are attractive but I guess paying the $50 is the better option of the two. When I call CheapCaribbean they of course deny any fault and say there is nothing they can do to fix it and that I should call American Airlines and around and around we go...stuck in the black hole of bad customer service.

It's not the money as $50 is not going to break me (though as a Virginia state employee working in a veteran care center married to a public school teacher we don't have loads of money) but it is infuriating how poorly I have been treated by both firms as a customer. Nobody could be bothered to care.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
The two tickets may be booked in two different fare classes.
They could be in the same fare class, but the airline may be limiting advance seat selection to a specific number in each class.

Unfortunately, unless the fare purchase specifically states that advance seating selection is guaranteed to be provided, or it is purchased separately, there is no requirement for the airline to provide it. In these cases, selection may be provided at check-in online, otherwise, it will be done at the airport check-in. I'm afraid the only way to guarantee advance specific seating assignment is to pay for it, keeping in mind the airline can still change it up to the time of boarding due to operational requirements.