Etihad business class - as a couple, booked 2 seats together for flight from Athens to Sydney on Etihad website in Oct 2014.

32 replies

Bern

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 24 Feb 2015

Total posts 4

Etihad business class - as a couple, booked 2 seats together for flight from Athens to Sydney on Etihad website in Oct 2014. Recent update email has changed our seating - at opposite sides of the plane! Request to move us back together now has us sitting one behind the other - but still separated. Told this is all they can do and we will have to wait until 40 hrs before departure in May to request a change in seating. Don't fancy travelling for 23 hrs in an isolated booth - esp. as we will be celebrating 30 years married! Other than shouting across at each other and a rendezvous up in the lounge...does anyone have any helpful suggestions/ tips on how to persuade Etihad to correct our seating so we can sit together?

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

OMG what a monumental cock up!

Does something like this even happens? Clearly it does...Gosh I am at a loss for words.

Are the seats you've requested occupied or are they just being difficult/silly?

PeterLoh

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 May 2012

Total posts 356

If all seats have been pre-selected, then there is nothing they can do. What do the seat maps look like for your flights? Shifts in seating can occur due to a change in the operating aircraft. The same thing happened to a recent Qantas flight I was on, with the seating switching between the old A330 config to the new config, and back again (disrupting seat selections in the process).

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

I feel for you, unfortunately seating is never guaranteed on any airline and even at the last minute you can get a nasty surprise. At least you know in advance about this one.

What I will say is not to stress too much, as seating changes are common before departure and chances are you will eventually end up back together (due to no shows, upgrades, missed connections, change of seat preferences, etc). Even if you were to cancel and book another flight, the same thing could happen, so best just to roll with it and hope for the best, politely making request for preferred seat assignment at each touchstone (and if online check-in is available, make use of that from the moment it becomes available).

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

gippsflyer,

Are you suggesting it is normal for an airline, when changing equipment to seat two pax, with pre-existing bookings, booked on the same PNR at opposite sides of the aircraft?

Surely they would protect those booked as a priority before allocating single pax and new bookings? Particularly in a premium cabin.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

Normal? No, and I don't think it can be inferred that was suggested. 

If you have first hand knowledge of airline systems, you'll know that they are essentially blind to relationships between passengers (statuses are a different story usually). Such information is almost always confined to the notes for the benefit of humans. Most airline systems will automatically reallocate under certain conditions, it requires a human to intervene manually to add the judgement computers can't emulate.

Then you have airline policy which often requires certain people to authorise over-rides (Middle Eastern airlines can be quite hierarchical with such things) - without knowing exactly who has been spoken to and how, they may simply have dealt with a lack of authority up to now - hence the recommendation to just keep asking politely through the various touchstones through to boarding. You will likely find such a person at check-in (OLCI can resolve the issue to sometimes, so if OLCI doesn't solve it still present to check-in service desk). Ultimately though there is never a guarantee over seating allocation for anyone, and thanks to overselling, even a seat - so such possibilities can be unavoidable. Again, all you can do is keep asking politely (because someone is more likely to help you then) and hope the airline gods smile down on you.

Bern

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 24 Feb 2015

Total posts 4

Thanks for the support Babushka! We found it unbelievable that that even a computer would reallocate our seating on opposite sides of the plane!

But Peter...you're right - the plane was switched and the seating plan changed... and now I know why thanks to gippsflyer.  

I will persist with very polite enquiry to Etihad for now. If no joy, we'll try again at pre-departure online check in and progress enquiry to airport check in if necessary...and "hope the airline gods smile down on us".

Lesson taken from this...don't book a flight if romance is the key objective? A cruise for the 40th perhaps?!

Again...many thanks to you all for the helpful feedback!

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

I know it's not much of a sop Bern, but experiences such as yours are the exception and not norm. I hope you gain the outcome you seek.

444desiro

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Aug 2012

Total posts 42

I Second gippsflyer's comment, Bern and I hope you get a good outcome. Maybe with a bit of luck, you'll be invited to bid for a First Class upgrade from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, it'll be accepted, and you'll both be having a good chuckle about this from the new apartments on the a380 :)

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Bern,

Hope everything works out! 

Marxx63

Qantas Platinum

Member since 04 Dec 2012

Total posts 23

This is such a great forum! It feels like a behind the scenes watch with the airlines. I hope it will be sorted out Bern as I can imagine that you had looked forward to take in all that business class luxury with the two of you.

Come to think of it, I do hope that I will not be separated from my six year old twin boys when flying to Amsterdam with Emirates next month!

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

If you get a chance Marc, check out NatGeo's EK Dubai airport documentary series (I think you can find it on YouTube). They dealt with issues like these a couple of times throughout the series, along with a range of other airline events, that pull the curtains back somewhat. Even EK, with all the money and resources they have, still deal with these snafus. If you are breaking journey in Dubai, do definitely make use of OLCI on opening for DXB departure.

Marxx63

Qantas Platinum

Member since 04 Dec 2012

Total posts 23

Many thanks gippsflyer. I have found those videos which should be pretty interesting. 

Etihad Airways

Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 24 Feb 2015

Total posts 19

Hi Bern,

Sorry to hear that your seats have been changed, we would like to look into this for you. Please can you email us at [email protected] with your 6 letter booking reference or ticket number starting with 607, along with your contact number and original seat preference?

Once we have your details, we will look into this with our team.

Thank you,

Etihad Airways

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

Nice one Etihad, hopefully this offer gives you a result Bern.

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