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Vasu
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Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:03 am

I've always wondered this: if there's a last minute substitution to a different type of aircraft, what happens to seat reservations? I mean in the case of an aircraft going tech and the passengers waiting at the airport - Do they go through the process of reallocating everyone or do they just go for "sit where you like"?
 
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hOMSaR
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:18 am

I suppose it depends on the airline. I had a recent flight on AC where the A330 was subbed with a 767. They had me keep my seat assignment, since the seat number existed (though I got a refund on the extended legroom that I had paid for, since it didn't exist with that row). Folks whose seat numbers didn't exist got reseated.
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PHX787
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:42 am

Once the flight I was on from SEA to SLC got bumped up from a 737 to 757. They upgraded one person to first class (me) and I think they reseated everyone based off if they chose a window or aisle seat.

Once though I was waiting for a flight to MSP at PHX, and the flight from PHX to SLC got downgauged to an MD90 from whatever it was.....they had to bump a lot of people off that flight, and some boarded my flight to MSP.
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davidho1985
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:21 am

When a last minute substitution to a different type of aircraft occured, the 1st priority is to allocated all available seats to passangers whose assigned seats are no longer existed ASAP. I doubt any ground agent will concern about their preference (window; arise; extra leg room etc.) as last minute substitution usually equal to delayed departure.
 
initious
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:37 pm

I was booked on CX HKG-SIN back in Jan 2012 and the aircraft switched from an A343 to an A333 (B-HLU, OW livery). I pre-booked an emergency exit row on the A343 and was told to fill in a form to make refund for the 25 USD I paid, although it never came (till now!). I got to keep my seat and there was a ground staff checking each person's boarding pass to ensure that their seats actually exist. I guess a switch from an A343 to A333 is not that big seeing both are 2-4-2. It was once changed to 772 before getting switched again to A333 just at check-in.
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:49 pm

With Delta is done automatically for the most part. Upgrades and downgrades are tough but generally the system will reassign most to all the passeners in seats on the new a/c and those that aren't auto reassigned are put on the confirmed-awaiting seat assignment list and the agent assigns those passengers.
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THEFLLFLYER
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:55 pm

I was booked on DL on ATL-SLC this summer with 2 companions and a 757 was subbed for a 767. DL switched seats by putting us all in one row, even though we had all requested aisles. Middle seat on a 4 hour flight is no fun when you are 6'3"
 
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hawaiian717
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:54 pm

A few years back I was booked to fly CVG-BWI on a Delta Connection (Comair) CRJ-700. It was delayed inbound, and a CRJ-900 showed up at the gate instead. The -700 was a one-class airplane, while the -900 was a two-class plane. Several people I saw had new seat assignment slips print out as their boarding pass was scanned during boarding. Mine didn't change, which was good since my seat assignment, 3A, was a first class seat on the -900.
 
Flighty
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:25 pm

Originally, the only priority here was to get the pax where they are going. FC vs coach was a "nice to have" but not necessary. Seat count was *the* main factor to avoid displaced passengers.

Example, if your CR7 cancels, and a CR2 is all that is available, you need 16 volunteers and FC people get stuck in coach, too bad so sad. (Same for 777 vs. 767).

Now that window vs. aisle is a revenue source, they try to give you what you paid for. But that is only a small % of people onboard. The rest (non-fee payers) are seated by party in random places. Nobody wants to sit for hours arguing reassigned seats when the flight is already late and in some jeopardy.

Equipment subs beats cancellations every time. That is why skilled gate agents usually frame it as "luckily we were able to locate another aircraft to carry you (or most of you)." It is good news. Better than a cancel.

Subs are within the normal band of uncertainty in flying.
 
ORDTLV2414
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:07 pm

once flying from ORD-DCA, AA changed my plane from MD80 to B737 and i was just reseated quite randomly. was not happy.
 
jtamu97
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:09 pm

Yes a lot has to do with the configuration that is substituted. In the last couple of years on United, this has happened to me. Once when leaving MCO, our original 737 was changed to a 757 at check in the day before. Not a huge deal as it was still 3-3. Then at the he airport it was announced another plane change. This time to a 767-400. Since
it was a different configuration, it was practically impossible to keep the original seat assignments. We went from row 10 of economy plus to a middle row 33 on the 767. The gate agents did a wonderful job of reseating and refunding fees. Last year leaving IAH for HNL the 767-400 was changed to a 767-200 the night before. Since a lot of seats were lost, there were many unhappy people. We were lucky as we were in row 1 and 2 of Business First. Unfortunately if your row no longer existed you were reseated randomly or put on the next day departure.

[Edited 2013-09-22 15:12:40]
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Viscount724
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:27 pm

I was booked on an AC flight Vancouver-Toronto a couple of years ago. It was scheduled as a 763. I checked in on-line the day before and selected a seat something like 20F, an aisle seat in the center section which I always choose on 767s as it gives you the best chance of an empty seat next to you with the 2-3-2 configuration.

When I got to the airport the next day I paid no attention to the aircraft at the gate. They started boarding and when I walked onto the aircraft I discovered an A321 had been substituted for the 763. I still had my original seat but it was now a window seat which I normally avoid and would have asked for an aisle had I known about the substitution before boarding. It was OK as the flight wasn't full and the middle seat stayed empty.

[Edited 2013-09-22 15:29:56]
 
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drerx7
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:44 pm

The only notable swaps I have had were on Delta from ORD to ATL - 762 to 763. Our seats were maintained.
The most recent swap I had was on US last October from CLT to PHL where the 762 was swapped for a 320...it was a huge mess. It was pretty much get in where you fit in and not everyone made it on board. I ended up with a random aisle seat.
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aerorobnz
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:42 pm

Quoting Vasu (Thread starter):
what happens to seat reservations?

If a matching seat number exists within the same class the original seat assignment will transfer.
If an existing type of seat has been requested, they will try to accommodate. If one hasn't been then you will get placed wherever the puzzle pieces fit.
Family groups will transfer wherever they can be sat together. eg: if changing from 77W to 77E it goes from a bassinet with 4 seats to one with three.
Elites may be upgraded if the business cabin/premium economy increases. This gives more seating options for seating those still down the back.

Invariably it depends how the airline numbers seats. As long as an "A,K" seat is a window across the fleet there are fewer issues, but if you go from an AB DEF JK config to an ABC DEF or ABC DEFG HJK config then everyone with an F or a J assignment would end up with either a middle seat or a window instead of an aisle.
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UA777lover
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:50 pm

When shuttle by United still existed and I was flying SFO to LAX and there were tons of weather related delays, United put a 747 on to get people to LA. Was reseated upstairs in 15A when it was an exit row. Great seat for an hour flight!
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:29 am

I flew on EY on from BOM to YYZ few years back. For the BOM-AUH leg, I had selected the last row on the A340-300 that was scheduled for that leg. On boarding, I reached my seat (the exact seat # that I had blocked) and was puzzled to note that there were at least 5 - 6 more rows behind me.......took me some time to realise that they had substituted the regular 340-300 with a 340-600 that day   

Need to add that it was a night time flight, so couldn't see anything while boarding......
 
PGNCS
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RE: Last-minute Substitutions And Seating

Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:28 am

Quoting THEFLLFLYER (Reply 6):
I was booked on DL on ATL-SLC this summer with 2 companions and a 757 was subbed for a 767. DL switched seats by putting us all in one row, even though we had all requested aisles. Middle seat on a 4 hour flight is no fun when you are 6'3"

The middle seat is never fun for anyone. They tried to (and did) seat your party together so I'd say you did well. Your other option was to cancel; would that have been more fun?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
Nobody wants to sit for hours arguing reassigned seats when the flight is already late and in some jeopardy.

Sadly some would if the agents allowed it. I was an agent once and it is a nightmare. Seats are not guaranteed; agents try to do the best with the hand they're dealt and protect the schedule to the maximum degree possible.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
Equipment subs beats cancellations every time. That is why skilled gate agents usually frame it as "luckily we were able to locate another aircraft to carry you (or most of you)." It is good news. Better than a cancel.

Exactly correct, Flighty.   

Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
Subs are within the normal band of uncertainty in flying.

And seats are not guaranteed. As you say, there are WAY worse options than substitutions.  

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 9):
once flying from ORD-DCA, AA changed my plane from MD80 to B737 and i was just reseated quite randomly. was not happy.

You got to DCA and didn't cancel in ORD. Would that have made you happier?  
Quoting drerx7 (Reply 12):
The most recent swap I had was on US last October from CLT to PHL where the 762 was swapped for a 320...it was a huge mess. It was pretty much get in where you fit in and not everyone made it on board. I ended up with a random aisle seat.

It sounds like you did reasonably well then; just be glad you got on your original flight.

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