Moving paid seat selection to an updated booking after airline changes flight


Junior Member
Sep 14, 2011
My parents (in late 70s) are travelling to the UK soon from CBR, and they chose to pay for seat selection on the international legs. The trip is in economy, and they have no flyer status with Emirates or Qantas.

Last week Emirates advised a change to the booking, as the Qantas flight on the MEL-CBR leg was no longer operating. The replacement flight was more than 4 hours later in the day.

They called the airline yesterday to see if they could be shifted to one of the 2 earlier Qantas flights, but there were no codeshare seats available. They did however offer to look at shifting them to the other flight out of Gatwick, as the connections there were more reasonable amounts of time. Mum and Dad accepted this and the leg to Australia in June is now to SYD, not MEL.

They were able to shift their seat selection in "Manage my booking" for the Gatwick to Dubai leg, but the website wanted a new payment for choosing seats on Dubai to Sydney flight.

They called this morning and were rudely told (they have described the call as trumatic) there was no refund or swap available, as they had asked to change the booking. Which is partly true, I guess, but only after Emirates made a change to it, and the airline was happy to waive flight change fees as they had altered the itinerary. The terms and conditions for seat selection suggest to me they can get a refund after the flight but do any of you have any suggestions for calling and having the fee they have already paid shifted over to the replacement flight?
How extensive was the original change by Emirates?

"[If the change is] Not Acceptable to You" appears to be the sole criteria. (See section 9)

The seating terms indirectly indicate they should have been moved to comparable seating with the change:
"If you voluntarily changed your flight and the seat type you purchased on the original flight (provided it was Preferred, Twin or Extra Legroom) is not available on the new flight, you will be eligible for a refund of the seat selection charge paid for the original flight. You will not be refunded the additional charge paid (if any) for the seat on your new flight.")

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That's my reading of that clause too. I'll see if I can convince them to call again, and hopefully get a more polite and helpful agent. They are a bit shaken after the treatment they were given this morning. The agent yesterday was very good (they were visiting us yesterday and mum put me on to do the talking once she established the call).

The same seats are available to select on the new flight, so that clause should be easy to put in place...

The change was a 4 hour delay to original final flight. You don't really get an opportunity to accept it - they just end an email that it has changed.
Maybe this kills it: "We will not be able to refund you if you’ve made changes to your sector." Seems like they get to keep the money for not providing a service.