Confirmed seats on United Partner foreign airlines?

As a United FF I have been attempting to book a summer flight from California to Prague. Most of the United flights from the west coast seem to use foreign airline partners. Those flights will not allow me to confirm specific seats on the foreign airline, even when the segments starts in the U.S. The message says I'll be notified of assigned seats on the day I check in. I don't want to get stuck in a middle or poor seat. Is there any way of getting confirmed-assigned seats on the foreign airline segments through United? Thanks
Dale

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6828 posts

If the partner airline happens to be Lufthansa then you can select your seat after you've purchased your tickets. When you pull up your reservation on the United web site you'll see an option that will display the partner airline's confirmation code. You can use that code at the Lufthansa site to select your seats immediately after your United ticket purchase. I've done it twice, no problem; was even able to select bulkhead seats no extra charge.

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1000 posts

Yes, as Michael indicated, all you need is the Record Locator for the other airlines (6 character code) which you can then use to either get a seat on the other airline website or call up the other airline and have them assign a seat. Note - Sometimes you may need to call United for the other airline's record locator. I encountered this for a trip this summer on UA miles that has flights on Ethiopian, Singapore, UA, South African and Lufthansa. While the Ethiopian and SAA record locators showed up on United, the Singapore Air one wasn't available. I had to call to get it.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
910 posts

I don't have enough points on United to know, but on Delta it is often better to call the frequent-flyer desk right at the start. The staff recently found me a much better points deal than the rather creaky website showed.

Posted by Alexandra
West Coast, California, USA
292 posts

I'm traveling Lufthansa to Germany, using my FF miles through United. I called Lufthansa directly several weeks back and got my seat assignments, no problem. I then confirmed them this week.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

It depends on the airline. For most airlines, if you have the number that THEY use to track your ticket (which is often a different number than United uses), then you can access their system directly via their website. Call United back, and ask for the PNR or confirmation number for the other airline(s) - the United agent should be able to provide that (if they can't, hang up and call back and ask another agent). There are a few airlines that simply don't do this, but not many. I've flown more than a few United partners (Star Alliance members) and have always been able to pick a seat using the method described above. KLM (Delta partner) is the one where you just can't seem to do it (at least I couldn't last time I tried) - but if you booked through United, you're not on Delta. You are wise to get this settled now. My goal is no surprises at the airport before I step onto a 10-hour flight.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

Also as a United FF, we are often on United partners for flights within Europe. It's mostly Lufthansa out of Frankfurt. My wife and daughter currently have a flight booked to Italy out of LAX where you will most likely fly from. They will go to Wash DC and then to Frankfurt to change to a local flight to Venice. On the flight schedule, we have the seat assignments for the United flights. When I last spoke with United, they gave me the confirmation number for the Lufthansa reservations. I called them and viola, I had the seat assignments. Shouldn't be a problem. Not sure where you are going in Europe but there is a great Lufthansa overnight flight from LAX to Frankfurt. I used to be able to book this partner flight but not for this trip. It still runs but United wouldn't let us have it.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

I have had similar with United partners Aer Lingus and Air Canada. The biggest problem is that neither of them will allow to view your reservation or select seats online. You have to call them and hope you aren't on hold for an hour or more. This can be a real nuisance because you really do need to check occasionally to be sure they haven't made a schedule change and not notified you.

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
532 posts

Ditto for Air Berlin, an American partner flying from Chicago to Frankfurt then onto Rome. We downloaded the seat diagram for the different planes and then were able to phone them in the US and get the seats we wanted on both legs.

Posted by Denise
San Antonio, TX
110 posts

AHAH!   When the travel agent told me she did not have access to the partner's reservations and I would have to make seat reservations at the airport, it didn't make sense to me that reservations could not be done in advance.  Then at the airport, that agent told she did not have access to the partner's reservation system for the return trip, it didn't make sense either.  The whole planning thing is what a reservation is for,  is what I was thinking.  Then you fine people sat that there IS a way to reserve my seat in advance.   I love this forum.  There is such a great collection of knowledge and experience.

Posted by Denise
San Antonio, TX
110 posts

AHAH!   When the travel agent told me she did not have access to the partner's reservations and I would have to make seat reservations at the airport, it didn't make sense to me that reservations could not be done in advance.  Then at the airport, that agent told she did not have access to the partner's reservation system for the return trip, it didn't make sense either.  The whole planning thing is what a reservation is for,  is what I was thinking.  Then you fine people sat that there IS a way to reserve my seat in advance.   I love this forum.  There is such a great collection of knowledge and experience.

Posted by aronsonr
1 posts

I have been following the conversation and wanted to add a new piece of information. Like many of you, I am a United FF. I am platinum premier on United, which confers me the status of gold on Star Alliance airlines. I purchased a ticket on United from DC to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt to Cairo. The Frankfurt-Cairo segment is on Lufthansa. Despite my status, I have not been able to select a seat on the Lufthansa segment. I tried online and by phone. This is a brand new policy change for Lufthansa. They decided last month to start "charging" for seats. After 3 conversations with different representatives, I am still not sure what that means. But what I now know is that I have to wait to be at the airport in Frankfurt before I can obtain a seat, which means I will end up with a seat that they have not been able to "charge for". I find this very disappointing and will be careful not to choose Lufthansa as a partner airline in future bookings.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

I've had the same recent experience as Aronsonr with United/Lufthansa. In years past, I have always been able to get advanced seat assignments from Lufthansa. United wouldn't do it but they gave me the Lufthansa reservation information and I would drop by SFO (I like airports) and get the seat reservations. This past year, all of this has changed. Lufthansa would not provide a seat assignment. I was simply told that the seats were guaranteed and they would be assigned upon arrival in Frankfurt. So my wife and daughter had no knowledge about their seats from Frankfurt to Venice until they showed up. Fortunately, everything was fine and they did get two seats together. But, we're not happy with this new process.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

This is very timely for me as I have booked tickets using my United FF miles. I will be flying United to Europe and already have my seats. I was able to upgrade to Economy Plus for little money. That's great! We are flying Lufthansa from Frankfurt to SFO and I was not able to select seats for that flight. I was wondering what the procedure was. Sadly now I see that we will be stuck in whatever seats they weren't able to sell to the people who book through them. Now I'm really dreading that flight!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6828 posts

While it's possible that Lufthansa has changed it's policies since my reply back in March...I was specifically referring to transatlantic Lufthansa flights. I have never been able to select seats for domestic-European/short haul flights with Lufthansa or any of the other national-flag airline in Europe, so that's nothing new.

I've only ever traveled Lufthansa from the US to Europe with United/Continental miles, and I've always been able to select seats. I don't have any experience going in the other direction. But give it a shot it may very well work.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

Thanks for clarifying Michael. My flight is transatlantic so I will see if I can get seat assignments soon.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
911 posts

Andrea, we're flying from Frankfurt to Denver next fall, on Lufthansa, using United FF miles. I got the Lufthansa record locator from United, then called Lufthansa and got seat assignments. Before I called, I opened up Seat Guru so I could see the location of the various seats they offered.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

Thanks Charlene. I'm assuming you had to call United for that information?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6828 posts

You can get the Lufthansa code from United's site. Pull up your flight reservation using your United code. Near the top of the screen there will be an option which says something like "view other airline booking codes", click that and it will display Lufthansa's code. Then head over to the Lufthansa site and use that code to pull up your flight and select your seat.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

Thank you so much for explaining how to reserve the seats on Lufthansa. It was easy.

Posted by dstefano13
2 posts

I am a United FF and just booked an Air Canada codeshare flight from Rome to Toronto. I am running into a similar problem but Air Canada's web site says they do not allow advance seat assignment on codeshares. Does anyone know a way around this? A middle seat on a transatlantic flight? I just don't think I can deal with that especially given the exhorbitant cost of the ticket. Am I better off trying to work through United or Air Canada? Any experience you can share would be much appreciated.

Posted by dstefano13
2 posts

I have a UA code for the UA portions of the flight and an AC code for the Air Canada portion. Air Canada is not allowing me to book a seat.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2258 posts

Have you picked up the phone? That was the situation with Swiss Int'l, (booked thru United), but when I called the Swiss agent, they were happy to assign the seat that I could see on the seat map online, but was unable to reserve.
I sure hope Dale isn't getting email notification on this year old thread.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
910 posts

Several months ago I bought Lufthansa trans-Atlantic tickets that connect to Italy in June. I was able to select seats across the ocean but not for the internal flights. Last week I picked those economy seats too, at $15 each. Seats with extra legroom carry a higher fee.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

I'm flying Vienna to Chicago on United's partner, Austrian Airlines. After a 30 minute wait on United's Automated Attendent, I got the 6 digit reservation code for Austrian Airlines. I certainly was glad to see myself on the passenger manifest.

But United/Austrian Airlines travelers cannot make a seat assignment until 36 hours prior to the flight.