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United/Lufthansa code share--can't reserve seats until departure??????

United/Lufthansa code share--can't reserve seats until departure??????

Dec 12th, 2014, 06:29 AM
  #1  
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United/Lufthansa code share--can't reserve seats until departure??????

I've booked an open jaw itinerary on United--from the US into Mumbai and out of Bangalore back to the US. These are United flights to India, but on the return trip these are Lufthansa flights into the US. We have seats for all of the United legs, but I can't find a way to get seat reservations on the Lufthansa legs.

On the return we have flights on Lufthansa from Bangalore to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt to Chicago. Since these are each 9.5 hour flights, I'd like to upgrade to Economy Plus seats. I called Lufthansa, and they told me that there are Economy Plus seating sections on the Bangalore to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Chicago legs. But, since I bought tickets through United, they told me I can't get any seat assignments until check-in in Bangalore unless I work with United. United told me that they don't have access to Lufthansa's seating, so they can't do anything for me either. I find it hard to believe that in today's world there is not more coordination and transparency between airlines who offer code shares.

Is this truly the case that there is no way to get seat assignments before we show up at the airport? At this point I'd be happy with even just getting a regular seat assignment without an upgrade so I could try for window or aisle seats in regular economy because I am guessing that if we wait until check-in for seat assignments we'll be stuck in regular economy with middle seats in the four person middle aisle seats. And, I am dreading two long flights like that, especially since the first flight departs at 03:45. Thanks.
julies is offline  
Dec 12th, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #2  
 
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I know nothing about the upgrade problem.
But with LH you cannot choose your seats in eco until check-in (23hrs before departure time, sometimes 1-2hrs earlier). When online check-in is possible for departures from Bangalore (check LH's website), you just need to get the Lufthansa app and check in those 23 hrs in advance. You will then also get your boarding pass sent to your mobile phone.
If it's any consolation, so far I never got stuck with a middle seat when I checked in a day in advance.
What you can do right now, though, is to get a confirmed seating preference (window/aisle) for an extra fee (via LH website). But as you cannot select a specific seat, I don't find these extra costs good value for money.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2014, 09:07 AM
  #3  
 
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Lufthansa began charging for advance seat reservations for lower discounted economy fares earlier this year. And apparently, it can only charge for the seat reservations if the ticket is issued by Lufthansa (ticket number beginning with 220). If United (ticket number beginning with 016) or another partner ticketed the reservation, there's no way for Lufthansa to process the fee, and you have to wait until online check-in opens to reserve seats.

http://www.lufthansa.com/online/port...en&cid=1000390

There's been a lot of discussion about this on Flyertalk; here is one thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...ket-stock.html
ms_go is online now  
Dec 12th, 2014, 06:39 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the info and updates. I've flown code shares before (on other airlines) and have never run into this.

So, if we do the online check-in on United as soon as it is available, we'll be able to get seats? I'm now confused because United told me that they don't have access to Lufthansa's seating software, so I am guessing that I might not even be able to do that online check-in on the return trip.

When I called Lufthansa, they did give me a Lufthansa confirmation number. Is that what I could use to do an online check in with them?

I'll admit I became even more confused after reading through that long FlyerTalk thread. And, when I have a few extra minutes to play around, I think I just might try logging on using my Lufthansa confirmation code so I can see if I can get anywhere.

If I had known about this situation with not being able to get a seat assignment ahead of time on a super long haul flight like this, I would not have purchased these tickets. Is seems unfair to me that the airline can spring this on one after the fact.

Thanks.
julies is offline  
Dec 13th, 2014, 05:49 AM
  #5  
 
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So, if we do the online check-in on United as soon as it is available, we'll be able to get seats? I'm now confused because United told me that they don't have access to Lufthansa's seating software, so I am guessing that I might not even be able to do that online check-in on the return trip.

When you check in online for the return flights on Lufthansa, check in with Lufthansa using its record locator, not with United.

I've flown code shares before (on other airlines) and have never run into this.

This was not an issue with LH and other partners until Lufthansa began charging for seat reservations for tickets issued beginning April 28 of this year. Not everything in that FT thread is relevant to your situation, but it does include some who were similarly surprised after buying tickets. We usually have one or two trips a year that involve Lufthansa flights, and I wouldn't have known about this if I hadn't seen that FT thread. I'm not sure if this is a system issue or an intentional decision that limits the ability to pay for seat assignments to Lufthansa ticket stock--I'm guessing maybe the former, as the latter would seem to diminish the revenue potential. If your trip is far enough out, maybe this will get fixed in the meantime??

Definitely give it a try on the Lufthansa site. I was able to use the LH site to reserve seats on LH flights for my last trip (also booked through UA), but I had a fare that qualified for complimentary seat reservations. Good luck!
ms_go is online now  
Dec 13th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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ms_go, did your UA-booked LH flight have a UA or LH flight number?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 13th, 2014, 08:47 AM
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Wait, maybe it doesn't matter: "Economy Class passengers can reserve seats in advance on all flights operated by Lufthansa ..." according to the LH link. It is the seat-change fee that requires an LH flight number.

The wiki at the top of the ft thread says that UA can't process payment for the advance-seat-res fee. Apparently, you can't pay that fee directly to LH because UA issued the ticket.

So, "work with United" would mean going to UA to change the ticket to a Lufthansa-V-or-higher fare class. Then go to LH to make the seat reservations free of charge. That would involve a change fee and a higher fare, I assume. You'd have to be sure that the new UA fare code corresponds to LH V or higher (Y B M U H X Q V) fare code. Sounds expensive.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 13th, 2014, 03:25 PM
  #8  
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We got super cheap tickets for this trip, so I will be sticking with what I have.

Thanks for the tip about checking in with my Lufthansa confirmation code on our return rather than the UA. I am still unhappy about this entire scenario because, even though we fly economy, we are pretty intentional about getting seats that are at least some of the better ones in economy (especially since we have two very looong flights to get home from India).
julies is offline  
Dec 14th, 2014, 04:01 AM
  #9  
 
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Same thing has happened to me on Delta-AirFrance flight I have for next summer. Delta cancelled my return flight from Venice and rebooked me on AF. I already had reserved a economy comfort seat at an additional $109. Air France apparently doesn't not have a comparable seating class and told me I could not reserve a seat until check-in. After about 1 hour on the phone with an AF agent I was able to reserve what they classify as Premium Seating on an exit row for an additional $68, although the seat assignment still has not shown up on my online itinerary.
brdcollie is offline  
Dec 14th, 2014, 12:53 PM
  #10  
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So, perhaps I should try another phone call and hope I get a sympathetic agent. Your persistence paid off. But, you had already booked that upgraded seat. I never even got an opportunity to do so.
julies is offline  
Jan 1st, 2015, 05:14 AM
  #11  
 
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brdcollie, if you are looking on the Delta site to see the new seat, it generally takes a long time to show up. Sometimes never. But you can (and should) double check it on the AF site.

Coordinating seats between airlines, even closely associated ones like these two, seems to be a huge issue these days.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Jan 1st, 2015, 12:29 PM
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Ms_Go is correct. I dealt with this on Lufthansa and then with Austrian Airlines. I booked through United but chose partner flights. I did not know at the time these airlines charge for a seat assignment. I was just concerned about not sitting with the person I was traveling with. I called all three airlines months before the flights and was told sorry no seat assignment. I also said I would pay for the seat assignment and again told sorry but no, you booked through United. It ended up not being a problem and I could check in 23 hrs beforehand to change the seats since they did not seat us together on all flights and it was all under the same reservation. United noted to seat us together which Lufthansa did but Austrian did not. Do your best to check in 23 hrs prior as I doubt they will change this for flyers anytime soon.
sassy27 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2015, 07:04 PM
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If you join the Lifthansa frequent flier program you can automatically check in and list your seating preferences, but I'm not sure that's going to help you here.

I do hate code shares.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 04:57 AM
  #14  
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I may look into joining the Lufthansa FF program, but since they don't do seat assignments until the last day it probably won't help me out at all. To top it all off, our flight departs at 03:45 which means the 23 hour window for seat selection opens at an ungodly hour of the morning.

I have definitely learned my lesson on code shares. Never again unless the price is so fantastic that I can't pass it up.
julies is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:12 AM
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Signing up for Lufthansa FF program did not help me. I tried everything. I searched the web and flyertalk looking for a way around it to no avail. It really wasn't that bad but then I don't know if most people on the flight were in the same situation as me or the flight wasn't full. I don't recall seeing a lot of empty seats so not sure. It was just hard not knowing and I did check in late for the one flight (too busy on my last day) and it was still OK.
sassy27 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 10:09 AM
  #16  
 
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I just dealt with this today, too. I will NEVER book a Lufthansa codeshare again. I am doing an exhausting trip to EU next week that I booked on United and have a codeshare from Frankfurt to Boston at the end of it and can't assign a seat. I called the Lufthansa line and they were not helpful at all. She said that I could upgrade to business if I wanted a seat. Makes zero sense. What exactly is the value to being a star gold member and flying Lufthansa?
irishdaud is offline  
Sep 29th, 2016, 06:43 PM
  #17  
 
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It's September 2016 and this is still the way it works. Our travel agent booked our flights and since I travel often domestically, I have the UA app and knew how to go in and change seats. I did not know our return flights were a Lufthansa code share.

Our agent was kind enough to call the airline on our behalf and was told "no seat assignments until 23 hours prior to departure". My mother is handicapped and our agent talked the airline into assigning her a seat, but they would not give me a seat assignment. I'm hopeful that it will work out based on the previous experiences shared. This will add some stress onto the end of our vacation. Very frustrating!
PGalore300 is offline  
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