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Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:17 am

Can someone please explain when a flight and its seating allocation is moved to "airport control" why the reservations agents can not access the system also. Is this for pure control purposes? You would think both the gate agents and reservation agents could work in harmony.
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:22 am

I had this problem when flying ATA in December. Aparently the airport takes control of a flight a certain amount of time before the flight. I was not given any explanation other than I could not check in online or change my seats.
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:29 am

For whatever reason, theres always a small percentage of passengers who did not, or could not obtain pre-assigned seats. Those that do, are often inconsiderate when assigning seats for themselves, taking aisle and window in 3-seaters, leaving an entire aircraft full of middle seats. If all seats were available to the public, the airport would have absolutely no way to resolve seating families together, and accommodate special needs.
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:43 pm

I think I can answer that with some authority...  Smile

The short answer is:

PAX ALREADY at the airport, even at the gate (boarding passes only issued at the gate only) have higher priority.

The longer answer is:

They figure if you are not already at the airport, your chances of getting on that flight is not good and they figure holding that seat for you is not a good business decision. This allows the airline to board as many people (already present) as possible, and give out seats to standbys under one central point of control.

If you watch the last 30 minutes of boarding or so, the gate agent is extremely busy. He doesn't have time to "coordinate" with a remote reservation agent.

RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:17 pm

And at one point the gate will take complete control and not even the ticket counter can change seats, check in etc.
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:16 pm

If someone asks for an exit row on the basis of being 210cm, and then is only 170cm...

At the airport, they can check if the claim is true.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:00 am

Just a side note, ATA's Web Check-in will allow your to take some airport control seats.

The purpose is to facilitate seating at the airport on the day of departure for families, special needs customers, and full-fare customers who could not secure an advanced seat assignment for whatever reason. If you don't like your PRS seat, just ask to have it changed and chances are good that the agent will give you what you request. That's precisely the reason we keep a cache of seats to dole out at the airport. It's not a matter of reservations and the ATO not working on the same system (we do), rather it's a soft block in the computer for the above mentioned customer service reasons.

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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:51 am

Side note - if TZ is on Sabre (and I think they are), it's a Sabre function.

Alaska Airlines actually has this same problem. We permit people to check-in via the internet up to 30 hours prior to the flight's scheduled departure time, and print their own boarding passes. It's great for customers, but hard on people who haven't selected seats within that time frame.

Once ANYONE on your flight is checked-in (via the web, the e-ticket machines at the airport, etc), the flight goes into check-in mode and seating modifications are handed solely to the ATO personnel for that flight's origin point. Res agents would be inhibited from making seat changes at that point.

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
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RE: Seats Under "Airport Control"

Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:08 am

Hi Folks... all your answers are logical but not exactly correct. The reason for "airport control of the seats" was an easy solution to a pesky probelm. Seats go unfer airport control usually 24 hours before flight departure time.

The Real Reason: Rez agents were still assigning seats while the airport was printing boarding passes and making their own seating adjustments. While an airport agent would work hard to rearrange a family to have a few seats together, rez agents would snatch up the seats unknowingly. Keep in mind that 24 hours before the flight someone might already be at an upline airport checking in (say your flight is SFO-BOS. Well there might be a guy checking in for your flight in HKG for his HKG-SFO-BOS trip)

Now-a-days many airlines have improved features in their computer systems that could prevent confusion from happening (some airlines let an airport agent show a seat as being "held" but not assigned- this is so they can work on the rez without having that seat snatched up by another airport agent). But rez will never get control back because the airlines are trying to cut rez responsibilities as much as possible to save $$$ on labor. Look for this to be an increasing option on the internet.

The problems with exit row requirements, inconsiderate seaters, etc. are helped by this airport control procedure but are not the original reason for it.

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