Seat Assignments on AA Codeshares

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Jason, Dec 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    I recently returned from a trip to Singapore and had a frustrating experience getting seats assigned on an AA Codeshare on Japan Airlines on the Tokyo to Singapore leg. I was wondering if anyone else had similar experiences and whether there was anything we could have done differently.

    I was traveling with my wife, who had Gold Status at the time (this trip put both of us to Platinum, me on a Challenge and her the old fashioned way).

    We purchased a discounted coach ticket, "N" fare. Travelling AA metal from DFW to Tokyo and then Japan on a AA Codeshare from Tokyo to Singapore the next morning. Similar routing on the way back with Japan Codeshare SIN to HND and AA from NRT to DFW.

    I called AA and Japan at the time of booking and was told they wouldn't be able to assign seats until 72 hours out, and that I should call back then.

    At 72 hours out, I called Japan Airlines and was told that I actually wasn't able to get seat assignments until 24 hours out.

    At 24 hours out, I called them and was told that I actually wouldn't be able to get a seat assignment over the phone and would have to receive it when I checked in for my 1st flight out of DFW.

    When I checked in at the airport I was told that AA was unable to give me a seat assignment, and I'd need to check in with Japan.

    I called Japan Airlines from the Admiral's Club and they told me that American Airlines should be able to give me a seat if I was at the airport. I asked the agent in the lounge if she could help and she tried with a supervisor, but said it wasn't open to them. I then called American, who told me the best bet was to ask an agent in the Admiral's Club. When I told her I already had, they said I'd just need to talk to Japan Airlines when I landed in Tokyo.

    I went to the counter in Tokyo and was told they couldn't give me a seat assignment there, but that I could do it on-line and pointed me to a wifi access point in Starbucks.

    Of course it said I wasn't able to check in on-line, and when I brought my ipad back to them and showed them, they said I'd just need to come back the next morning before my flight to get a seat. When I pressed it further, they finally said they'd block us two seats for the flight. We were then able to check in the next morning with the seats they had blocked for us.

    Is this typical of flying on a codeshare? I wouldn't mind nearly as much if I was flying alone, but it was quite exhausting. Flying back wasn't an issue, since we just had the seats assigned at check in at the Singapore airport, and already had our AA seats for the other leg.
     
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  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Different partners have different rules about advance seat selection. Some require you to pay a fee, some wave the fee based on elite status, some allow anyone to pick seats if you have the PNR or call the airline, etc.

    On JL, certain fare classes in economy are restricted from seat assignment prior to check-in. N fares fall into this category, so no seat assignment prior to checking in for the flight.
     
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  3. KVS Tool

    KVS Tool Z Representative

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    Yes, and your post is a perfect example why codeshares should be avoided (which is possible in most cases).
     
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  4. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I think, as with most things related to airlines and travel, it's a bad idea to speak so definitively about a topic that has many ups and downs. This is just a single example were things went wonky. There are plenty of others where codesharing and seat assignments work much better. For example, I've never struggled to get my desired seat on a codeshare after years of flying on various carriers. :)

    Plus at the end of the day isn't this really a fare class/carrier issue? If he bought the ticket directly from JL he'd still face the same restriction based on JL's rules. It's not really about the codeshare at all.

    YMMV.
     
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  5. KVS Tool

    KVS Tool Z Representative

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    Virtually all of the "ups" of the codeshares are in the airlines' favour (such as the ability to 'pretend' that they fly to a wider range of destinations when, in fact, they don't).

    The OP's example is actually very typical.

    The OP could have, subject to the Fare/Routing Rules, booked the actual JL flight, as a part of the same AA booking.

    The JL agents would then have been able to easily see his JL Booking Class (which they could not on a codeshare), without waiting until 72 hours to departure (which is when the codeshare data gets transferred over) and advise that advance seat assignments are not possible, eliminating the multiple run-arounds that the OP had received:

     
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  6. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I think that's pretty obvious, but I'm not sure how that changes anything I've said. There are ups and downs, and not everyone walks away with a sour taste. Particularly if one walks in knowing those ups and downs.

    Edited: I see what you're saying now, I mis-read what you posted. Ooops. Seems we agree on the fare code but you've got the behind the scenes info from your job, which is quite frankly pretty fascinating.

    Which raises the question though: wasn't OP under the 72 hours cited for most of these hijinks?

    There's also the issue of EQM/RDM differences between the JL and AA coded flights when credited to AAdvantage, as OP notes his travel companion earned PLT from this trip. The NRT-BKK leg is short though, so the impact might not have effected the overall status. I certainly would take some seating issues over losing 50% of my EQM and RDM.

    As I mentioned above, I don't think it's so straight forward, there's a lot to weigh when looking at codeshares.
     
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  7. KVS Tool

    KVS Tool Z Representative

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    No, the OP would have simply been told a straight-forward 'no' on his first phone call to JL, thus avoiding the hassle of the 2nd call to JL at 72 hours, 3rd call to JL at 24 hours, talking to AA check-in agent in DFW, 4th call to JL from the DFW Admiral's Club, visit to the JL counter in NRT, etc.
     
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  8. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I think you missed my edit. ;)
     
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  9. phraktur

    phraktur Silver Member

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    It's not just with JL, but with BA also. I am currently on a trip to Switzerland. All flights were booked through aa.com, but are flown by BA. The outbound flights are AA codeshare numbers, but the return flights are BA numbers. BA (for a price - which is standard for them) was able to provide me seat assignments for the return flights, but not for the outbound flights. AA wasn't able to provide me seat assignments either, because they weren't AA planes. They told me I had to wait until the flight opened 24 hours before flight time to get a seat. Fine I can handle that, but then AA somehow screwed up the reservation so I wasn't able to check-in online. I had to wait until I got to the airport to get a seat assignment. And because karma hates me, I got to have a lovely 7 hour transatlantic flight in a middle seat. My 6'4" frame was so happy about that. I won't go into the 5'6" window passenger who dominated not only the armrest, but some of my space as well.

    Lesson learned - don't book international codeshare flights through AA unless I know I am getting a seat assignment.

    Thanks for allowing me to tell my story and add my two cents. Safe travels everyone!!
     
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  10. zpaul

    zpaul Gold Member

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    For me the problem seems to be codeshare flights booked via AA.

    When I book LAN with AA-operated codeshare flights via lan.com, LAN gives me two PNRs on my reservation immediately; one for LAN (Amadeus) and one for AA (Sabre)(I might have that backwards, but you get the idea), so I am able to access my flights on aa.com and choose my seats.

    I booked my OWMD flights on aa.com, which include a codeshare on LAN LAX-SCL (had I known about systemwide DEQMs at the time, this would not have happened!). Nothing about a LAN PNR on my reservation, and when I call AA, they can't even give me the code for LAN's system. LAN can see my reservation but can't change any part of it; AA can't see preferred seats that are blocked by LAN, so I'm in 35J for now. Supposedly, once I hit Platinum next Wednesday I will have access, but only at the airport. Luckilly LAN still blocks the emergency exits for assignment at the airport, so we'll be arriving ridiculously early at LAX.

    From what I understand, codeshares are a great money-maker for the airline that books the ticket but doesn't operate the flight. You'd think they'd make them more attractive, and have better alignment in place, especially between alliance partners.
     
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  11. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Doesn't seem they have much incentive though. They advertise you can get to more destinations while getting EQM and RDM and it's worked pretty well for them so far, eh? ;)

    I don't mind seat issues, it's when carriers cannot print boarding passes for your segments on partner flights that annoy me. I'd still prefer to keep the codeshares than drop them though.

    Plus I'm not certain the average traveler actually cares who operates the flight as long as they get there. Out of everyone I know, I can only pin down about 5 people who even know they can pre-select seats on their flights, collect miles, etc. That's might just be my silly social circles though. :)
     
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  12. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    In this case, since the OP was on a challenge, the "up" of the codeshare is that he earned 100% points for every mile flown. Had he flown JL, he would have earned 70%.

    The name "Oneworld" reflects an aspirational goal, which is not yet achieved, of it not making any difference which airline in the alliance you choose, your experience is the same. The airlines involved do seem to be moving in that direction, but much more slowly than we would like. Obviously, there is a considerable ways to go.
     
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  13. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Yes, I was on a challenge, but only earned half points since it was a discounted fare. I didn't know a flight booked on JAL would have counted at all. I thought the lady that explained the Platinum challenge said only AA metal and code shares counted, but you vey well may know more than she did!

    I agree that I'm thankful for code shares, since it allowed me to fly to Singapore getting credit on American, but definitely wish it was easier.
     
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  14. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I believe the AAgent was correct, it needs to be AA metal or AA coded. Here's the unofficial guide on AA's challenges: LINK.

    Also, I think gemac may have misspoke earlier regarding EQP earning, you only earn 50% EQP on deep discount Y class: LINK.

    And yes, codeshares are definitely a mixed bag! :)
     
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  15. Skye1
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    Skye1 Silver Member

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    Varies by carrier, and can be dependent on elite status.
    Have done the exact same routing as the OP (AA to Tokyo, JL codeshare beyond) with similar difficulty, and can sympathize with the OP's frustration.
    Have done a similar routing, AA to Tokyo, CX codeshare to Hong Kong, and simply grabbed the CX reference number and went to the CX website's manage-my-booking section to chose a seat.
    Similar ease on BA as well (the agent can give you BA's reference number, and off you go to "manage my booking" at BA's site).
     
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  16. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    My bad. I thought OP had said they were on an H fare, not an N fare. I must have confused this with another thread. On a native JL N fare, they would receive points equal to 25% of miles flown. In an AA codeshare on the same flight, 50% of miles flown.
     
  17. phraktur

    phraktur Silver Member

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    I must have done something wrong. I got my reference number from BA. When I went to "Manage My Booking", the flights were listed by the AA codeshare number, and I wasn't allowed to select seats for these flights. But under the same booking, I could select seats for my BA numbered flights. Oh well, live and learn. Thanks.
     

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