can no longer choose seats on american airlines?

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by smidgy, Dec 2, 2018.

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  1. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

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    doing some early browsing on expedia/priceline etc for our late july/early august trip. when you select a flight it then tells you you can't choose seats ahead of time anymore. you can choose preference 48 hours ahead, but the airline chooses your seats. this is new since sept.
    I wonder if they have exceptions for disabilities. I didn't see anywhere online for that choice. I need to sit next to my husband as he needs help with mobility and he is almost blind.
     
  2. FCDub

    FCDub DIS Veteran

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    1. Don’t book flights on sites like Expedia and Priceline
    2. Call AA and tell them your needs and they should be able to accommodate you.
     
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  4. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

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    If you book a Basic Economy fare, you do not get to choose seats in advance. There are also other restrictions. You can move up to a Main Cabin ticket to be able to choose seats. I’m looking at a ticket PIT-LAX next August, the difference is about $60.

    https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/experience/seats/basic-economy.jsp

    https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/experience/seats/main-cabin.jsp
     
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  5. Alesia

    Alesia DIS Veteran

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    Never, ever book flights through a third party.
     
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  6. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    Good advice about avoiding online travel agencies (OTAs) when booking airline tickets. The reasoning behind that advice is that once purchase the OTA "owns" that reservation. If you have a question or need service, you must contact the OTA. You can't simply call the airline. And if you need the airline to do something, you call the OTA and they call the airline. In that scenario, you have to hope that the person you called is correctly explaining your situation to the airline. It's a layer of complexity that's not necessary considering you almost always get the same price by booking direct.

    Be sure to check out the links DebbieB provided. In general, if you must sit with someone, you should avoid purchasing Basic Economy fares.

    That said, given the description of your husband, you should never purchase a ticket with an OTA. You should contact/purchase tickets directly from the airline. For American, you can review their policies on their Special Assistance page of the website:

    https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/special-assistance.jsp

    I'd recommend contacting the Special Assistance department to make reservations (800-433-7300). They can explain the process and make your reservation.
     
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  7. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

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    Excellent advice. On the elliott dot org travel site flight problems are almost always related to third party booking sites.
     
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  8. JimMIA

    JimMIA There's more to life than mice...

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    The other problem with third-party sites is that they have limited inventory. I check sites like Expedia to get a sense of prices, but I always book on AA.com.

    Why? Because I get the same prices, but I have many, many more flight choices than the one low-ball flight the online travel site was featuring.
     
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  9. georgina

    georgina DIS Veteran

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    Well unfortunately Chase travel using Ultimate Reward points now goes through Expedia. We booked a ticket on American, and then I went online to the American site to choose our seats.
     
  10. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

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    the last couple years I have just gone straight ahead booking through AMerican airlines. I have found that they do very well with wheelchairs and porters in the airport. used to book united from time to time, but they started not allowing carryons... what's the point of magical express if I stil have to pick up some luggage at baggage claim if I want to swim, etc. before my baggage is delivered?
    but now it appears the american airlines site is not allowing me to choose seats. the last few trips I just book fro the american airlines site. I aboslutely have to be beside my husband on the flight.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  11. castle1

    castle1 DIS Veteran

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    We just came back home from MCO on American Airlines. We got to choose our seats when we booked our flights using AA website. It is the Basic Economy fare that doesn't allow you to pick your seat. Those fares are less expensive than the regular main cabin fares.
     
  12. SirDuff

    SirDuff DIS Veteran

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    I fly with UA all the time and always have a carry on. It sounds like (as people are trying to explain to you about AA), you booked economy basic, rather than normal economy. On both airlines (and Delta too), the economy basic (the airlines have different names for it), there are limitations - they differ slightly but often include no seat selection and no carry-ons.

    If you need to select your seats, you need to purchase a "normal" economy ticket - not a basic economy ticket.
     
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  13. AngiTN

    AngiTN DIS Veteran

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    It's not the airline it's the class of ticket you are choosing. Go back and read all the posts here that have explained this. Go back and read the class of ticket descriptions provided by the airlines.
    The airlines do indeed all provide a class of ticket that provides what you are requiring, both carry on bag allowances and seat selection. All of the legacy airlines do. They have not eliminated this feature. But you, the consumer, must read and know what you are buying.
     
  14. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    I was going to just "like" the two replies above mine, but...mine

    It is not the airlines. It is you. When you select the lowest fare category, you lose some features that used to be included, and still are when you pay the appropriate fare.
     
  15. zoo2tycoon

    zoo2tycoon DIS Veteran

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    As others mentioned...if you are choosing BASIC ECONOMY- you don't get to choose seats and your family (if traveling with family) will most likely be assigned middle seats scattered all over the plane. You need to read carefully the terms and conditions BEFORE you purchase the tickets. They are under no obligation if you purchase the cheapest ticket to make certain your family gets to sit together (once again that is if you are a family traveling together). If sitting in a certain seat or together as a family DO NOT PURCHASE BASIC ECONOMY! They will not make others who paid for the luxury of sitting together move for you! I am not stating you are asking that---just saying they won't make others move and it is not fair to ask others to move. If you have small children pay the higher fare and select your seats together--then keep checking in case the plane changes and your seats are moved (has been know to happen). Once again this is being said in general and not specific to you but to all considering BASIC ECONOMY and thinking the airlines will help because you have small children- small children don't entitle you to special treatment because you choose to be cheap and not select fare where you can pick seats! Nobody has to move for you!

    OP great advice to on not purchasing through a third party! Book regular economy (or class where you can choose seats) and if you need to cut expenses elsewhere do that! Also watch out for Allegiant and other low cost carriers who only have a couple days a week that they might fly in and out of MCO and your airport. Allegiant and Frontier have been known to cancel with no reason or notice leaving people stranded because they might only fly Tuesday and Saturday!

    A few months ago on another board a mom had selected BASIC ECONOMY and whined and complained that she didn't know she couldn't select seats and they would never separate her family (small children). There were those who said they could and would separate her family- she claimed she never saw the terms and conditions of BASIC ECONOMY but a mock booking shows you agree at least twice! Just turned out she didn't read them. I think her whining and complaining and temper tantrum got her seated together but....she knew what she bought and deserves not the entitlement she was expecting.

    Seeing you have a disabled husband before purchasing call and ask what they do ---I'm sure you'll have to purchase the higher fare but I just saw that part in your Original post. Sorry about the kids rant if it doesn't pertain to you! See what the airlines do for disabilities!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
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  16. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

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    thanks for all your replies everyone! I never fly southwest because you can't choose seats ahead of time (and they don't fly out of ohare anyway) but have always been of the opinion that it is unfair to expect others who paid for early bird checkin to move so you can sit with your family. AA didn't used to have the basic option. I guess they added this option and raised the price of normal economy. (just like they raised the price of seats further in the front. coach used to be all the same price)
    last trip I tried to call AA directly and got a 3rd party ticket seller who quoted me a ridiculous price, maybe I didn't have the correct number? guess I'll have to pony up and pay the new middle price for a coach seat (not preferred, not basic).
    I was also disappointed, both last trip and looking like this upcoming trip that there are no midafternoon flights returning from MCO to ORD. only morning or 5 pm. sigh. we always used to flyhome about 2 or 3 so we wouldn't be "homeless" (without a room) for a couple hours. I see untied has some about the time I like but I don't think you can book AA one way and United the other as a round trip unless you use a 3rd party broker. is that true?
     
  17. zoo2tycoon

    zoo2tycoon DIS Veteran

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    With Southwest and your husband’s disability you should be able to preboard prior to everyone else. That way you shouldn’t have to worry about Early Bird Check In or asking others to move. Think only restriction on disability boarding is no emergency exit row. Southwest is really good and might be worth looking into and verifying their preboard policy- it seems you and your husband should be able to.
     
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  18. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    But SW is actually a terrific airline to fly with when you have needs like this.

    Legacy airlines change “equipment” (specific planes) all the time. When that happens, the seats you’ve carefully reserved go out the window. If you don’t notice and call quickly you don’t get first choice.

    With SW, especially since he has disabilities, you go to the gate agent and get the pass to be among the first to board. You literally get to choose your seat as you get on the plane. So much easier.

    You wouldn’t be asking people with earlybird to move, since you would be on the plane first.

    Go to midway and take SW, imo.


    Just book each one way. Easy.
     
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  19. Kelandsam

    Kelandsam Earning My Ears

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    I just spent 7 days at CBR and flew AA. I flew first class and those with disabilities loaded first with their families , then active duty and us in group one. My dad had nice conversation with one with disabilities and they stated had to call the airline when booking to get seats together in economy. Have an amazing trip!
     
  20. drwadadli

    drwadadli T-I-double "guh"-errrr

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    We just flew back from WDW last month and we reserved our seats when we made our flight reservations in June. We are flying American to California next week and booked those seat reservations when we made those flights back in October.

    Maybe it is because you are trying to Expedia or Orbitz. We use the airline website directly as they are typically the same price.
     
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  21. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

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    Actually I was on the AA site. You ,. Can choose seats after all, but they cost more.I didn't realize thatsouthwest
    let's you board first, as AA does. Doesn't matter tho as Midway is too far for us. We live 45 miles nw of Chicago
     

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