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No longer assign seats with travel partners on separate bookings

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samas

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I called up the Velocity Platinum desk this afternoon to try assign seats for me and my colleague on separate bookings in Row 3. My colleague is only Velocity Red.

The call centre agent refused to allocate my colleague the seat next to me in Row 3 as these seats are now exclusively reserved for platinums in the first few rows. I asked if this was a new policy as I had previously called up and had others allocated a seat next to me on separate tickets near the pointy end of the plane and was advised it has always been the case but others bend the rules. I was surprised to hear this as the platinum desk had always been very accommodating and was never a problem before with zero resistance in the past.

I queried about why if they are so adamant about this why is it when I travel solo I often end up next to members with no status in flights that have plenty of spare seats further back and was told that was under separate airport management how they allocate seats. I asked why the same policies do not apply to both the velocity team and airport control and was told the call centre was simply now following their rules and encouraged to lodge an official complaint through the website...

Interested to see what other members encounter with potential seat allocation enhancements...
 

notzac

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What terrible customer service .. definitely lodge a complaint. :(
 

mannej

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I am going to play devil's advocate here - how many complaints have we seen on here where Platinum members have queried why lower status members are in row 3?

You have an agent here who is trying to protect that, yet it is labelled poor customer service.

I honestly feel for anyone who works in customer service for an airline. Rules are only there for when it suits some it seems.
 

markis10

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What terrible customer service .. definitely lodge a complaint. :(
How is refusing to let someone get a benefit they are not entitled to bad service??? If they were on the same booking it might be a different story.
 

samas

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I am going to play devil's advocate here - how many complaints have we seen on here where Platinum members have queried why lower status members are in row 3?
I have no problem if someone is sitting in Row 3 with no status next to someone that does who they know but I fly PER-ADL a lot solo on the E190s with the 2x2 seating layout and usually somoneone with low status ends up next to me.. Yes I take a peek at boarding passes. I admit I am guilty of having a whinge when a solo non-status traveller ends up next to me..


What terrible customer service .. definitely lodge a complaint. :(
I'm not lodging a complaint for today's phone experience but I will be closely observing my next few flights and will provide feedback if the difference between what happens at the airport and on the phone continues..
 
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mannej

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I have no problem if someone is sitting in Row 3 with no status next to someone that does who they know but I fly PER-ADL a lot solo on the E190s with the 2x2 seating layout and usually somoneone with low status ends up next to me.. Yes I take a peek at boarding passes. I admit I am guilty of having a whinge when a solo non-status traveller ends up next to me..
Pot, Kettle, Black?
 

notzac

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How is refusing to let someone get a benefit they are not entitled to bad service??? If they were on the same booking it might be a different story.
IMHO, if you're travelling with someone who doesn't have status and they're on a separate booking, you should be able to request that their booking be connected with yours. Lots of good and legitimate reasons for this happening - what about folk who work for companies where they have to book and expense their own flights separately? What about people who have enough points for one seat and not the other?

While it might be policy, it's a policy that could use changing to allow for this. So yes, I'll stick with my assessment of it being bad service. :)
 

markis10

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IMHO, if you're travelling with someone who doesn't have status and they're on a separate booking, you should be able to request that their booking be connected with yours. Lots of good and legitimate reasons for this happening - what about folk who work for companies where they have to book and expense their own flights separately? What about people who have enough points for one seat and not the other?

While it might be policy, it's a policy that could use changing to allow for this. So yes, I'll stick with my assessment of it being bad service. :)
They are happy to organise for people to sit together, just not in the plat area when one is not entitled, struggling to see the service issue here full stop.
 

notzac

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They are happy to organise for people to sit together, just not in the plat area when one is not entitled, struggling to see the service issue here full stop.
If one person is Platinum, then the people they are travelling with should be able to sit with them. Looking at what you've mentioned in reverse, why should the Platinum member be forced to sit down the back to sit with non-status folk they're travelling with?

This is one of the reasons Amadeus has a function called Total Complete Party and Sabre has a similar one called To Connect Party :)
 

bullerdude

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If one person is Platinum, then the people they are travelling with should be able to sit with them. Looking at what you've mentioned in reverse, why should the Platinum member be forced to sit down the back to sit with non-status folk they're travelling with?

This is one of the reasons Amadeus has a function called Total Complete Party and Sabre has a similar one called To Connect Party :)
Given VA can't make the basics work.... what chance do they have with these extra features :-/

They chance their stance on this all the time, I have experienced both versions with calling the plat contact centre. Generally the plat centre has been OK but the airport always ends up overruling Plat Only rule the Row 3... thats the part that needs to be fixed.

If they can fly with empty Row 1+2 if no business passengers then i don;t see what they can fly with an empty Row 3 if no Plat or Gold passengers.
 

markis10

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If one person is Platinum, then the people they are travelling with should be able to sit with them. Looking at what you've mentioned in reverse, why should the Platinum member be forced to sit down the back to sit with non-status folk they're travelling with?

This is one of the reasons Amadeus has a function called Total Complete Party and Sabre has a similar one called To Connect Party :)
I disagree, a Platinum travelling with a non status member is potentially taking away a benefit meant for others owing to their actions. I have no issue with them trying at the airport to gram an empty seat, but days or months out??? Pure selfishness in my books, nothing to do with service at all, unless you think service is only for those for whom it's all about me??
 
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notzac

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I disagree, a Platinum travelling with a non status member is potentially taking away a benefit meant by others owing to their actions. I have no issue with them trying at the airport to gram an empty seat, but days or months out??? Pure selfishness in my books, nothing to do with service at all, unless you think service is only for those for whom it's all about me??
...and yet this would be absolutely fine if they were on the one PNR?
 

blackcat20

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I disagree, a Platinum travelling with a non status member is potentially taking away a benefit meant by others owing to their actions. I have no issue with them trying at the airport to gram an empty seat, but days or months out??? Pure selfishness in my books, nothing to do with service at all, unless you think service is only for those for whom it's all about me??
So if you were traveling with a non-status family member, you'd sit at the front and expect them to sit down the back?
 

anat0l

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So if you were traveling with a non-status family member, you'd sit at the front and expect them to sit down the back?
My sister and I were on separate bookings. I could select row 3 (as a Gold, funny enough); my sister could not (she was Red). No ability to 'link' the bookings. So I sat with her... next to her in the best seat she could get as a Red.

So be it. The airline doesn't "force" me to sit with her, let alone in the "Red section" if you will; since when does one's elite benefits overrule their moral judgement? Well, to be honest, there's been enough serious suggestions from people here saying just to sit separately: "It's just a one hour flight - you can spend an hour apart".

Next we're going to have Platinums complaining that if they are seated in 3C, no pairs of people can sit in 3A and 3B as they'll lose their shadow "benefit".

That said, putting aside the facetiousness and what not, there is certainly a large conflict on AFF about who is "allowed" to sit in row 3 (let alone rows 4-6), i.e. Platinums only hard rule or with exceptions noted as this thread started shows. Certainly we have had our share of people who have "peeked" at their neighbour in row 3 to find they are not a Platinum, with no consideration at all whether they are a colleague, partner or other fellow traveller of the passenger sitting next to them.
 

blackcat20

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My sister and I were on separate bookings. I could select row 3 (as a Gold, funny enough); my sister could not (she was Red). No ability to 'link' the bookings. So I sat with her... next to her in the best seat she could get as a Red.

So be it. The airline doesn't "force" me to sit with her, let alone in the "Red section" if you will; since when does one's elite benefits overrule their moral judgement? Well, to be honest, there's been enough serious suggestions from people here saying just to sit separately: "It's just a one hour flight - you can spend an hour apart".

Next we're going to have Platinums complaining that if they are seated in 3C, no pairs of people can sit in 3A and 3B as they'll lose their shadow "benefit".

That said, putting aside the facetiousness and what not, there is certainly a large conflict on AFF about who is "allowed" to sit in row 3 (let alone rows 4-6), i.e. Platinums only hard rule or with exceptions noted as this thread started shows. Certainly we have had our share of people who have "peeked" at their neighbour in row 3 to find they are not a Platinum, with no consideration at all whether they are a colleague, partner or other fellow traveller of the passenger sitting next to them.
Of course you don't have to sit together. But usually within a traveling party, the lower status person gets to use the benefits of the higher status person (no morals involved). Seating is no different.
 

anat0l

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Of course you don't have to sit together. But usually within a traveling party, the lower status person gets to use the benefits of the higher status person (no morals involved). Seating is no different.
You nailed it with that word. It's not guaranteed unless written in the rules. The same goes for priority check-in and priority boarding, amongst other benefits.

It is just that we don't tend to think of it as being anything but "usual" because in many cases it gets glossed over / tolerated, whether or not people agree with it or not. So people can be livid but the basis in which they would be in cases like this aren't exactly concrete.
 
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markis10

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So if you were traveling with a non-status family member, you'd sit at the front and expect them to sit down the back?
With both airlines I have moved to sit next to a colleague, I am not from the generation of entitlement to use a political term of late.
 

notzac

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The bookings can't be linked together, we know Virgin's IT is a bit lacking but that is quite lacking.
The stupid thing is .. Sabre can do it. I suspect VA don't use the function or (perhaps more likely) don't know how to use the function.
 

eastwest101

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The stupid thing is .. Sabre can do it. I suspect VA don't use the function or (perhaps more likely) don't know how to use the function.
OT but:

Sabre roll-out for Dummies (by the Virgin Aus IT Dept)


  1. Roll out Sabre across the business
  2. Start on urgent patches where Sabre won’t integrate with web sites
  3. Dismiss/allow the roll out team to disperse
  4. Re-assemble new IT team to figure out what Sabre can do
  5. Divert any problematic issues to the phone call centre
  6. Start to fix problems within old architecture
  7. Tell phone call centre to expect increased workload
  8. Train staff
  9. Insert new feature that is incompatible/breaks existing features
  10. Return to step 5, rinse and repeat.
 
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