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nervous Nelly airline question

Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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nervous Nelly airline question

Perhaps I have been tainted by domestic flights, but I am worried about seating for our first Asia trip. Over the last few years, my husband and I have been routinely split up on flights, and lost "confirmed" seating requests when flying in th US. We are Bangkok newbies, and are flying there for the first time this August. I am nervous about which airline to choose, in that I want to make sure, as best that I can, that we sit together/have an aisle. We are looking at EVA/Singapore/Cathay. Is there any way to ensure these requests are honored? Is it better to call the airline then to book online? Or go through an agent? Is one airline better? I apologize for this extremely nit-picky question - trying to make sure the flight is as pleasant as possible for our first time. Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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I wish there was a solid answer to this, but there really isn't. I've had good and bad expereinces with seats on both US carriers and on Asian carriers. Your best bet is likely to be a frequent flier with the airline you choose, as they are more likely to accommodate you, but even that doesn't always work. Some airlines won't assign seats (except to their own frequent fliers) until you get to the airport. And all airlines state that you can request particular seats but those seats are not guaranteed.

Nontheless, in all of my flying back and forth between the US and Asia, only once did my companion and I get split up in our seating.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Hi LAchica,

Unfortunately, these things happen. I don't think any airline today can guarantee seat assignments - especially the way they overbook. Having said that, though, there is no reason why you and your hubby should not be able to sit together. Even if the seat assignments get messed up, or "changed" you can always count on the kindness of the flight attendants and other passengers to ensure that you and your spouse are together.

As for airlines, I highly recommend Singapore Air. If you are flying coach, they have a wonderful executive economy product on their LAX-SIN (and EWR-SIN) nonstop. There is alot of information about it on their website. If you are flying business class, they are even better.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Many people have tips, trying to get Emergency exit seats etc, but a certain way is to use Eva and their premium Coach/Economy, that has a layout on the long sector on 747 of 2x4x2, that is 2 seats less acroos so seats are wider and also you get more legroom, that is at a premium over normal coach but if you go to a good agent that specializes in Asia and handles Eva then you should be fine, I don't know if Eva allows you to book seat numbers but as long as you get there early you should be fine, so you should get a window and aisle together or at the worst 2 seats together in the center but even so with extra wide seats and more legroom you should enjoy. Seacrh here because many have used this premium Coach service from the USA, I have used it in Asia regionaly and it really is worth the little extra. Even though you have the same food and service as normal Coach in reality you 'do' get better service.
It is a class positioned 'between' coach and business and certainly suits those who are not on a tight budget but can't or don't want to pay for Business Class, it's a bargain!
If you can say where you are flying from ( eg LAX ) others can actualy give you contacts of agents who they have used to book.
You might also like to do another post with a title that would attract some clear answers, perhaps head the message:

"Who has used Eva prem to Asia and where to get deals ex-US"

That will bring you a wealth of information.

Singapore Airlines also has the LAX-SIN and NYC-SIN non stops with a premium Coach/Economy service and so does Thai on the JFK-BKK route.

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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Actually, Thai has non-stop flights to BKK from LAX (4x per week in summer), using the same aircraft as on the JFK-BKK run. Premium economy is offered, and the regualr economy is considerably more comfortable than regular economy on any US carrier or on CX.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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lachica, I have topped 2 posts, one about LAX-BKK and the other about Eva, starts to give you ideas but if you can tell us all where you are flying from makes a big difference e.g east Coast or West and if you need to connect from hometown where that's at.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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Thanks for the info so far. It is very helpful. We are in Providence, so will be flying out of Newark or JFK, I imagine.

Any further advice most appreciated...
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Ahhhh, you had us confused about your location. Your screen-name implies LA.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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LAchica-we've flown Northwest, United and Air Canada from Boston and never been split up at all. If you get to the airport ridiculously early, you can always get an exit row, if you're flying economy. They only release these on the day of the flight.

When are you thinking of going? If interested, there is a May Get Together in Hartford and an October GTG in Boston.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:00 PM
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This is one of the few things US carriers are far superior to Asian ones - giving out seat assignments and honoring them, even on deep discount fares.

If you're nervous about this, then fly a US airline. UA and NW both fly to BKK.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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If you are flying to Bangkok from the east coast you should definitely fly thai air. The economy section is one of the best around in terms of leg room and the premium economy is similar to domestic business class. Most important the flight saves you about 7 hours of flying time. The staff is excellent. One thing I would do is avoid any of the US carriers -- they are far inferior in terms of service and cleanliness. Things that matter in a long flight. Also the thai flight has great times -- you get in late afternoon which is far preferable to arriving at 1AM as many flights do. Also coming home you leave around midnight which gives you an extra day in Bangkok and means you can get on the plane, have a drink and a bite to eat and sleep for 8 hours. You arrive at 6:30 in the morning which means immigration is empty. It was a terrific flight.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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We just flew r/t to bkk from lax on Cathay. One of the things I like about Cathay is if you book your tickets on their website, they let you choose your seats before paying for the tickets, so you can make sure you get the seats you want.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Kristins, I'm glad you got the seats you booked on the website, but all carriers give the caveat that they cannot guarantee the seats selected...
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 08:17 AM
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Kathie-That's true, but at least it's better than the carriers which make you wait until you get to the airport to assign seats. Other than that, you're right, there are no guarantees.
For us, it was important we try and get one of the rows with two seats in the back (instead of three) and I would have booked a flight at a different time to get them if needed. So, in that way, I liked being able to see which seats were already taken when I booked my tickets.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Gpanda had a good point about getting to the airport early to make sure of your seats, but remember that some airlines, particularly NWA and I think UAL, have started charging for exit row and some aisle seating. I complained to NW about that and I'd encourage others to do so, too!

If you're using one of these carriers, you can look at the seating charts online and see what's available and what is "for sale."

Good luck!
K.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Y'all are great. Thanks for all your responses to what is a pretty silly question. We decided to go with Cathay Pacific. Picking the seats made me feel better, even if I know they aren't completely certain. It's a bit of comfort.

And sorry to confuse folks with the screen name - we just moved from LA to the East Coast. It would have been easier to travel from CA!
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 09:31 PM
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This is going to sound a bit strange but...

At the time we booked our flights in EVA's premium economy, the english site wasn't working on choosing seats. In fact, we had sort of a complicated itinerary that their site was being fussy about. So we just called them to purchase. We then made note of how we got to the seat selection step on the english site, switched over to the Chinese site and followed the same steps and got the seats. I do think they fixed the English site functionality since then. Otherwise, no problem at all with the concept, at least, that Eva will let you pre-choose your seat in PE. Of course no airline guarantees that they won't change your seat assignment though.

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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 06:33 AM
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LAchica, I guess you've already made your decision, but the flight from Newark nonstop to Singapore on Singapore Airlines is probably the best deal in terms of comfort. You pay more for the privilege, but you get something that's better than the typical economy-class fare and superior service. The disadvantage is that you don't fly nonstop to Bangkok, though with Cathay you don't either (and, of course, the cost). I like Cathay and flew that airline when I went to Asia in 2003, but the seats are narrow and leg room not so great; service is still good, though. If you can get on Cathay's nonstop, that's better than the flight that stops in Vancouver. I think you're making too much of the seating issue since it's unlikely that two people reserving and traveling together would be seated apart, but I certainly understand your concern. There's no way to guarantee that, though if you are willing to use a travel agent, you're more likely to get the kind of seating you want. There are several agents in New York that specialize in Asia.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 07:33 AM
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I also can't imagine why you wouldn't take a nonstop flight. If you are going to Singapore fly Singapore and if you are flying to thailand fly thai airs. The cathay flight takes much longer. Now if you want to spend a few days in Hong Kong it's great but otherwise it's a much longer and, in economy, much less comfortable flight.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:53 AM
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but all carriers give the caveat that they cannot guarantee the seats selected...

No kidding. We have had seats for a flight to LHR on BA tonight for over 2 months. Seats were still there last night. Today, we have no seats. Boy that makes me mad, but what are you going to do? Get to the airport early and hope for the best I guess. We had really good seat too!
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