Travel noob: How can I make sure my wife and I can sit together on cross country flight?
April 16, 2007 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Booked US Air flight on for my wife and I, is there a way to ensure we sit together?

I'm sort of a traveling noob. I have flown around 4 times in my life and always via Southwest (seating is unassigned). However, I booked a flight from Portland to Charlotte on travelocity last night w/ US Airways. At the time it showed me a neat graphic of "available" seating and let me choose which seats I wanted (I chose two seats together). However, I checked the site today and it says:

"Please note: Your original seat requests could not be accomodated. Also, note that seat requests are not guaranteed and may be changed by the airline."

(I'm sure this was probably in the fine print of some box I checked while I was filling information, I'm not trying to dispute that.)

My wife is a very nervous flier and it is going to be a real problem not sitting with me (and it is going to stress her out just thinking about the prospect of it).

Is there a way I can ensure we sit together? Would this be something I can do if I called Travelocity or US Airways? How do they generate the "real" seating arrangement anyway? If we get there super early to checkin for our flight would we have a better chance?
posted by wolfkult to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've called the airline in the past for just this issue, and they fixed it without fuss. (My airline was Northwest.) I'd give that a shot first. Asking for different seats (or, in my case - as yours - trying to get a seat next to my boyfriend at the time) didn't seem like a big deal, and the ticket agents were super accommodating.. If that fails for some reason, I've also had luck getting to the airport a little early and choosing my seats from the self check-in station.

Good luck! I'm a nervous flier, as well, and the anticipation is the worst part, so I hope this gets resolved.
posted by Zosia Blue at 4:24 PM on April 16, 2007

Here's an option: when you check in online, see if you can get two exit row seats next to each other. The online check in lets you select your seats. They seem to be open for check-in on most flights I've been on. Who knows, maybe other seats will be open too.

You can check in 24 hours prior to departure. Do it as early as possible for the best seats.

PS Make sure you fufill exit row requirements if you choose to sit there.
posted by ALongDecember at 4:27 PM on April 16, 2007

Use the web-check in as early as possible for best results. Checking in early and selecting a window and aisle seat in the same row near the back is a good technique if you're hoping to have the row of three seats to yourself, but with oversold flights, it's not guaranteed. Still, if someone ends up in that middle seat, they will be happy, nay, thrilled, to change seats to the window or the aisle so you two can sit together.

But generally speaking, with tickets that are purchased together on the same purchase number, their software will attempt to seat you together, if for no other reason than it means they can put one of you in the dreaded middle seat.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:32 PM on April 16, 2007

You should be prohibited from selecting exit row unless you have elite frequent flier status. However, you should be able to confirm seats online with your confirmation number or by calling the airline.
posted by Lame_username at 4:32 PM on April 16, 2007

Call the airline, as people have said, but if that doesn't work, sometimes fellow travelers are very nice about switching. If you can both grab window or aisle seats originally, people are more willing to trade with you than if you're asking them to move to a center seat.
posted by GaelFC at 4:52 PM on April 16, 2007

If your assigned seats are not together, just ask the person sitting next to you if they will switch with your wife. Also have her ask the person sitting next to her. If that doesn't work, press the flight attendant call button and explain your request. They will find you two seats together.

And remember: flying is way, way safer than driving.
posted by Dec One at 5:26 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I just took care of this for a US Airways trip to Athens in June, that I booked through Expedia.

Call US Airways and ask to place your seat assignments. I did the same, and now have seat assignments for all four legs of our flight, to and from.
posted by donguanella at 5:29 PM on April 16, 2007

Whenever my family flies together, we normally ask to be seated together during checkin (the airlines we use have no online checkin). I've also managed to change my pre-assigned seat during airport checkin.
posted by divabat at 6:24 PM on April 16, 2007

I think GaelFC has it -- just ask someone to switch on board. Unless you're next to David Sedaris it should work out.
posted by danb at 7:04 PM on April 16, 2007

sometimes fellow travelers are very nice about switching.

I just wanted to stress this. I am a solo traveller and have often given up my seat so that people can sit together. If your wife really would be uncomfortable if you sat apart and you tried all the other suggestions, don't feel shy about asking the flight staff if they can help you get two seats together. Unless you catch someone on a really bad day they will often try to accomodate you somehow. You and your wife can also ask the people sitting directly next to either of you to see if they would mind switching.
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 PM on April 16, 2007

We fly all the time. Just buy your tickets together and check in early and you'll have no problem.

/ cute...
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:23 PM on April 16, 2007

If you aren't able to get seats together at checkin, though, choose at least one non-middle seat (if available) over two middles close to one another. Trading an aisle or window seat will be absolutely no problem, but there's a significant portion of the flying public that will not trade an aisle or window seat for a middle, no matter how pressing the situation.
posted by backupjesus at 6:27 AM on April 17, 2007

Did the message specifically say that your seats wouldn't be together? If you purchase two tickets at the same time your seats will be together (unless perhaps there were already not two seats together in the whole plane when you booked? but that's not likely). Even if somehow you're not together, the gate agent will be able to find some co-operative people flying alone who will be willing to shift around.
posted by winston at 8:13 AM on April 17, 2007

Watch your flight online for openings!

Recently, I needed to get a flight but really hated the only available seat (next to the lav in the back) and I just persistently watched the seats on my flight. After 4 days of logging in once in the morning and once in the evening, a nice aisle seat in the exit row (more leg room) opened up. I was surprised by how much seats moved around and opened up. And most people travel in groups, so if a couple or family moves their flight, you'll be sitting pretty (pun intended).

If you still can't get two seats together, you should explain the situation as politiely as possible to the ticket agent at the airport. They're used to these kind of things and can usually help you out.

Also, most people are cool about switching seats if you explain the situation.

Good luck!
posted by jkl345 at 2:51 PM on April 17, 2007

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