Questions About Award Travel and Seat Assignments

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by Captain Oveur, Aug 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
    Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,243
    Likes Received:
    14,058
    Status Points:
    12,520
    I used my last SkyPesos to fly a family member cross-country this week, starting Friday morning. The first segment is EWR-MSP. I was able to get her a seat assignment when I booked the ticket with the Pesos about five weeks ago (way in the back of the bus).

    However, periodically coming back to see if I can get her an aisle seat, the last several days have shown the pop-up:
    However, I can still see seat maps for the other segments (in fact, was able to change seats on a different segment).

    Is this an oversold situation I'm seeing? She DOES have this seat, right?

    Details:
    - Can still see seat number (the one I assigned her) in the itinerary section for this segment.
    - Economy, N class booking.
    - I, nor the passenger, have any Delta status whatsoever.
    - Flight from EWR to MSP is Friday morning.
     
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    My best guess--I only know DL as a top-tier elite in recent years--is that if the seat is in the itinerary, she has it but it would be wise to (1) print and carry a hard copy of that, as well as the ticket receipt, in addition to knowing the PNR and ticket number, (2) continue to monitor all seats, watching especially for minor aircraft, flight number, and schedule changes which tend to undo and scramble seats on DL for no obvious reason, (3) urge her to do OLCI early at T-24 to allow time to call if there's a problem, although I don't know whether you can do OLCI for an award ticket using someone else's miles. If it's international, OLCI might not work either.

    DL reserves a lot of window and aisle seats for elites and holds back a bunch more seats for airport control. At some point the elite seats, including those of people who have been upgraded, are released to the general population. I think this used to be at T-24 but now happens closer to flight time, so that she would have to ask at the airport if I'm correct on this change (to allow elites doing SDC to get better seats). Upgrades start at about 5 pm ATL time at T-6, so DM and PM sweep has been run, with the Gold window really at 5 pm on T-4 days (not three as published). There might be an elite with a late expensive fare purchase upgraded from a non-elite seat, so it would be beneficial to watch seat maps especially around 5:30 pm EDT today and see if you get lucky and can grab a better seat.

    I think the "you cannot select" means that all nonelite seats are already taken except for those held for airport control. The way to see whether it's overbooked is to try to purchase a ticket, especially at less than a full Y fare. (If you don't mind hold times, you could call DL and ask; I think airlines are required to answer the question but they don't have to tell you by how many seats they're overbooked.) However, I'm surprised that you can't see the seat map with her seat indicated. When I've been on flights with absolutely no seat that I can pick, I've always nevertheless been able to see the map.

    One more suggestion: Get a DL FF number for your guest and add it to her record even if she'll never earn any DL miles. If the flight becomes an IDB situation, having a number but no status is better than flying without even a FF number. She should nevertheless check in early and be sure she's not late at the gate. The flight will probably begin to board at T-40; a GA should arrive no later than T-60, probably earlier if the flight is full with many not having seat assignments (T-90?). DL is strict about closing the door at T-10 and probably gives seats away starting at T-15 if it looks like everyone is on board.
     
    Captain Oveur and DeltaExpert like this.
  3. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Which flight is she on? When I try a dummy booking, DL wants to sell me an H fare at 6:15, 8:15 and 11:26 am for $900 RT without an immediate upgrade on any nonstop for Friday, although there are three or more FC seats on every flight. They're also selling P fares (discounted FC, something-UP) for $1038 on every flight.

    The 6:15 RJ (with FC) has nonelite window, elite, and FC seats open.

    Mainline at 8:15 has no coach seat that I can select, but 4 of 12 FC seats are open.

    The 11:26 mainline flight (also an A319) has two nice elite aisle seats free in the row behind the exit row, IIRC 10C and 10D, plus a handful of coach elite window seats, including 9A exit row window. It also has more open FC seats, but no nonelite coach seats that can be selected now.

    Since DL is still selling H fares, I'm guessing that these flights are pretty full but not overbooked at this time. Delta.dumb doesn't even say that X or fewer (where X is usually 4 or less when this message appears) seats are available at this price.
     
    Captain Oveur and DeltaExpert like this.
  4. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    To be clear about the premise that seems to be implicit in the thread title: The fact that a passenger has an award ticket should not affect the seats available for him/her to select (unless a potential upgrade is involved). The seat maps that you're seeing are the same that you would see if your guest were traveling on a ticket purchased with money for a coach fare.
     
    Captain Oveur and DeltaExpert like this.
  5. Captain Oveur
    Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,243
    Likes Received:
    14,058
    Status Points:
    12,520
    MSPeconomist, THANK YOU for all your help. I'll see if I can get her to sign up for SkyMiles prior to departure. She will definitely have the locator and printout of the reservation with her.

    Thanks again!
     

Share This Page