Can't Book My Seats!


Jun 16, 2011
I'm not sure whether to post this on the United forum, or the Air Canada, but here goes...I booked 4 tickets on from Newark to Vancouver. Evidently, the flight out to Vancouver is with Air Canada, even though I booked it through United. The flights home are on United (leg 1 Vancouver to Chicago, leg 2 Chicago to Newark).

As soon as I booked my flights, I went to choose my seats. No problem for the return via United, but United wouldn't let me choose seats going to Vancouver because they were on Air Canada, and the website said I had to book through Air Canada. Fine. I went to Air Canada, and they wouldn't let me choose seats because I booked on United! I have 2 different confirmation numbers, but it doesn't seem to matter. I called Air Canada, and the guy told me he could see my reservation, see empty seats, but couldn't get any for me because the computer was trying to get 4 seats in a row, and there were none left. I said to get us 2 and 2, but he said the computer wouldn't let him do that.

I have been booking flights online for the past 10 years and have never encountered something so ridiculous. I only have a "reservation", but no seats. He said I'd have to wait until the morning of the flight and wait until I check in at the airport. I hate the idea that we have a 6 hour flight and may be spread out all over the plane because neither airline will let us choose seats. Or, worse yet, I'm very nervous that if the flight is oversold, we'll be bumped. Why do they allow you to BUY from another airline, but not GET SEATS!

Has anyone else ever had anything similar happen, and did you have a good outcome?
You are probably better off posting this question on FlyerTalk. The road warriors who post there know how to successfully deal with such issues.
I would add though that I have seen this at AA as well with the codesharing--which is what you've stumbled upon. For future reference, whenever booking your own flights on a major airline's website, always check to see if there is a note somewhere on the listing that says "this flight operated by Air Canada/US Airways/etc." On AA's website, it might say "operated by Alaska Airlines or JetBlue or another Oneworld partner." It has a United or AA flight number on it, but it's not really a United or AA flight.

I had a passenger the other day that when he checked in at the airport, the self-service kiosk would let him check in for his Fresno to DFW flight and pick seat assignments for him and his wife. It issued him a "verification card" for his connecting flight, but not seat assignments. Turned out it was a codeshare with another airline in the OneWorld alliance.