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United FF Award- Partner Airline Seat Selection

United FF Award- Partner Airline Seat Selection

Jun 11th, 2012, 07:16 AM
  #1  
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United FF Award- Partner Airline Seat Selection

I'm planning on booking a United FF award to Bangkok for early next year. One has to book that far in advance at times to get seats. In looking at my options most of them include a partner airline. I can select my seats on United online but it does not allow me to select my seats on the partner airline. In most cases its Thai but in some cases its Asianna or All Nippon. How can I select my seats on these partner airlines? I want to be able to confirm my seating at the time of booking (and not 24 hours before flight time as I have seen before in some cases). Is it even possible to get seats at the time of booking and be confirmed for those seats. I don't want to risk getting lousy seats on that portion of our journey.
BillT is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 07:59 AM
  #2  
 
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I'm not sure there is a way to book your seats on those partner airlines. I'm doing a FF ticket next month on UA/THAI comination, but I'm in first class, so my seat selection is no big deal. If I were flying in economy, I'd also be concerned about my seat!

Good luck, and let us know if you are successful at getting your seats (and HOW you go about it). I know I have to take my chances when booking UA/LH flights to Europe, but the LH portion is only about an hour or less flight, so no problem if I'm in a middle (ugh) seat.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 08:31 AM
  #3  
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I'll let you know- I have an email into Thai Airways asking the question- I am not optimistic about the answer I'm likely to get. The Thai flight segment is not a short flight so I really do not like to leave it to chance.
BillT is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 08:54 AM
  #4  
 
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Used CO miles on NH a few years ago, and had no problem getting seat assignments on ANA's website after getting the NH's PNR from CO. Don't see why that would be different today.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:10 AM
  #5  
 
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I called Qatar Airways on Monday get their PNR for my MileagePlus award that includes QR flights. Given the UA ticket number 016... the agent found the reservations and gave me seat assignments for my flights in January. With the QR PNR, I was then able to go to their website to see the seat maps and change the seats.

This thread was a good reminder that I should call about the TG portions of the trip.

Originally, NH was the carrier on the first leg of the trip which includes TG and QR, but I changed to UA. The NH PNR was, and still is, the only partner PNR that UA could give me.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:35 AM
  #6  
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Ok I'm a newbee here what is PNR, NH, TG, QR
BillT is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #7  
 
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I just had pleasant phone call with a rep at Thai. The bottom line was that I got seat assignments for the international legs of my trips but not for the domestic legs. I also got the PNRs. Here is how it went:

I told the agent that I have two United tix on Thai and that I would like the Thai PNRs (i.e. the Thai reservation codes / confirmation codes).

She asked for the flight info and did not want the ticket numbers. I gave her the flight number, date, and my last name. She then asked for my phone number and e-mail address which I was happy she asked for. Then she gave me seat assignment in first class for NRT-BKK, but no seat assignment for BKK-HKT.

Same thing for the second ticket: no seat assignment for HKT-BKK but did get a biz seat for BKK-DEL.

I had decided to ask for just the PNR and not for seat assignments because of my experience with calling QR. For the QR flights, the seatguru seatmap didn't match what was offered on one flight and some seats were blocked.

In addition to consulting seatguru I had gone to qatarairways dot com and went through the online ticketing process to the point where I could select seats (before paying) in order to see the seat map.

For the Thai flights, I figured I would skip all of that, call for the PNRs, and just go to their webpage and see for myself. Turns out that it would have been a waste of time to look up the aircraft info for the domestic flights because they don't assign them.

But it was quick and painless to get seat assignments from the agent for the international flights, so I did. The agent also informed me how I could go online and look at my reservation. I will do that now and compare the assigned seats with seatguru and see if I want to change the assigned seats and to see if I can get seats for the domestic legs.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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PNR = passenger name record, aka the six character confirmation code aka the reservation "number". looks like: ABC1D2 or Z9YXW8
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 10:33 AM
  #9  
 
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The online experience: not only was I not able to select seats for the domestic flights, I was also not able to change the seat assignments for the international flights.

But, I was able to select meals. For NRT-BKK there were three Western, fifteen Thai, and three Japanese meals to choose from. I chose roast duck in red curry with Thai jasmine rice.

When I go to a restaraunt, I order something that I don't cook at home, so for this free meal I figured I would order something that I wouldn't order in a restaurant. I did this once on a JAL first class flight, ordering the Japanese dinner when I had no experience with Japanese food. This was on my third trip to Japan. I don't like to waste food and money, so had never tried any Japanese food, especially sushi or sashimi. Figured that if I didnt like the free meal that I would still get fed in first class, but I loved it and became a sushi fanatic.

On the BKK-DEL flight there were, again, three Western meal choices along with a similar number of Thai options and three Indian meals. I chose Stir-fried Prawn With Garlic Chili And Basil (Prawn Hot Basil), but maybe will change to an Indian meal, which I don't get very often.

Oh, am I looking forward to this. Hope I can make it. LAX-NRT-BKK-HKT-BKK-DEL-DOH-IAH-SNA for 170,000 miles and $119. In first class LAX-NRT-BKK and then all biz class after that. HKT-BKK-DEL is on a separate ticket.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Actually 170K miles + $157. It is 130K miles and $119 for the first ticket plus 40K miles and $38 for HKT-BKK-DEL.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 11:19 AM
  #11  
 
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mrwunrfl - now this is interesting! Sounds like you scored big, for a very god price, both dollar-wise and ff-miles-wise! More details please on how you did it? I.e., how did you settle on your routing, how far in advance did you begin searching, how far in advance did you purchase, did you use UA website or telephone, etc, etc?
julia1 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 12:54 PM
  #12  
 
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Once u get your ticket from UA, call them and ask them what u need to get your seat assignments fromthe partner airlines. they will give u the equivalent PNR for each airline u r booked on. U then call the individual airlines and get your seat assignments. takes a little bit of time, but very easy to do. We flew on UA miles this past winter and had several partner airlines to deal with. the assigned seats on the partner airlines will not show up whe u view your ticket on the UA website. there were no problems.
yestravel is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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BTW, we flew on Thai air to BKK from Rome and it was a fabulous flight...it was in first, but biz class looked pretty good too. Flew back biz class on Al Nippon and wasn't nearly as impressed.
yestravel is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 02:15 PM
  #14  
 
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It evolved. I used the website extensively, was very flexible on dates AND destinations, only knowing that I wanted to go someplace warm over Christmas and New Years's, or maybe to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, or South Africa and Victoria Falls, or Bali again, or .... I searched for months but only because I was very undecided. Definitely was not one of those who searches 330 days out for particular destnations.

I booked the tickets in May for travel in Dec-Jan. You asked how I settled on the routing and will now get the full explanation.

First, the rules: United allows one stopover and two open jaws on an award trip. In addition, you are also permitted enroute stops of up to 24 hours.

It started as LAX-BKK on/after Dec 22 and returning on Jan 2-5, maybe from Delhi. Nothing available on 22nd or 23rd, but the 21st was available on UA in F, but it arrives BKK late at night, but ok, I moved my planned departure up one day.

Then I looked at return options and saw avaialbility on Qatar Airways and on Ethiopian. I considered Ethiopia, but the availablity on QR would allow for a couple of nights stopover in Doha, Qatar. I checked it out and decided a stop there for a day or two might be fun.

Having done one-way searches, finding the LAX-BKK and DEL-SNA availability I put it all together in one search and it was available. AND I could book it online.

Then saw that if I left another day earlier I could take ANA connecting to Thai and arriving BKK in the afternoon. Unlike, the first itin, it would not ticket online. I called and explained that and the agent waived the phone fee and booked the ticket: LAX-HND on NH connecting to NRT-BKK on TG in F and then return on QR with the stopover in Doha.

But then I discovered that the LAX-HND flight was actually business class, plus the airport change. No sense in paying for F if the transpac was not in F. So, I changed the departure to another day earlier to get United F to NRT and connecting to the same TG flight in F. This would require an overnight stay at a NRT hotel, but I love Japan so this was a bonus to me even though it just means an 18-hour stop and a stay at the inexpensive Narita Hilton.

Then I realized that arriving in BKK in the afternoon would allow me to connect to Phuket.

There generally is lots of availability for intra-Asia flights. It is the trans-ocean flights that are more limited. All the intra-Asia flights, from Tokyo to Phuket to Delhi to Qatar were available for any date I wanted.

United allows one reticketing on an award with no fee. Changing from HND to NRT or adding HKT both would require that. I called and made both changes at the same time. The agent was surprised that there was no $25 fee for the 2nd change. So I got a twofer by making both changes at the same time, I guess because it was one reticketing. I got a refund of 28 cents on the taxes and airport fees.

Date changes incur no fee. When discussed my stopover in Qatar with my brother he mentioned Dubai - a place I really wanted to visit. So I moved the Doha-U.S. flight to a couple of days later to allow for a five night stop in Doha. Then I moved the DEL-DOH flight a day later to give more time to India and bought a QR return ticket for DOH-DXB to make it a 4-night stay in Dubai during which there will be horse racing, I believe, at Meydan (the main reason why I want to go to Dubai at all). At $225 the DOH-DXB return ticket, 125 minutes of flying, cost more in cash than the rtw tickets.

Then I booked Phuket to Delhi on a separate one-way ticket, stopping overnight in Bangkok so that I could get a morning flight to Delhi (and Bangkok is interesting). After seeing how interesting India would be I later moved that up one day earlier and removed the overnight in BKK to spend more time in India, even though it means arriving in Delhi late at night.

So, it evolved from a 12-day to a 20-day trip, expanding on both ends. Am using Hyatt points, Sheraton points, Sheraton points + cash, plus $100 for the NRT Hilton, plus $200 to spend New Year's Eve at a Sheraton near the Taj Mahal in Agra. 1 night Tokyo, 4 nts Phuket, 9 nts at four locations in Inda, 4 nights in Dubai, all in Hilton, Sheraton, Hyatt, for about $1200 in cash. But that is another story [ok the interesting part of that is that the Sheraton property in Udaipur would cost $153/night but I could buy the points required for a free night for only $70, so I did that].

I love Sheraton's SPG program and my SPG Amex. Can't say that I love MileagePlus anymore, but I do love the United (Continental) award search both for options provided and flight availability which includes non-Star Alliance partners.

If you are interested in flying Qatar Airways I think you have to book it soon. Their codeshare agreement ends on June 15.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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If you are interested in flying Qatar Airways on a United award, tI think you have to book it soon. The codeshare agreement between QR and United ends on/about June 15.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #16  
 
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mrwunrfl - thanks so much for the detailed explanation of how you did it! Wonderful, indeed! All the changes/additions/options... makes my head spin just thinking about it...

Sounds like a great trip - enjoy! Looking forward to an eventual trip report...
julia1 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2012, 01:52 PM
  #17  
 
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That long post was mostly about tactics and probably didn't really answer your question. To answer the strategy question:

I kept my options open and was flexible about time of year, destinations, dates, carriers.

I didn't plan the trip and then look for availability. I looked for availability and then planned the trip based on the availability of different options.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 13th, 2012, 02:45 PM
  #18  
 
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and that is definitely the best approach for booking FF tixs.
yestravel is offline  
Jun 14th, 2012, 08:33 AM
  #19  
 
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Bill - from my experience this is easy. For October - November, I have international (ff award) flights on Thai and Lufthansa as part of my United itinerary. The 6 digit code that is your United reservation number is different from the those of the partner airlines. I obtained the codes by calling the partner airlines - all they need is your last name, date of flight and flight number. Once you have the codes you can either choose your seats by phone or on line. Your seat assignments may or may not show on the United site once you have done this but they will definitely show on the partner airlines sites.
Craig is offline  
Jun 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM
  #20  
 
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Just went thru this with USAirways FF ticket - thru United and then thru Lufthansa. Even after I got the PNR and spoke with a representative from each airline, the seats were screwed up - but at least I had the PNR so that I could check the seat assignment on-line and then call again. The seat assignments never showed up on the USAir site until 24 hours prior to flight but were on the Lufthansa site.
gail is offline  

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