TIP: Want the best seat in the house?

Discussion in 'Travel Insider Tips' started by Benny, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. Benny

    Benny Junior Member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Hi All,

    Just a tip from an ex-employee for increasing your chances of getting a decent seat:

    1) For domestic flights - Turn up early! Check-in can re-allocate your seat easy enough

    2) For international flights - Seats are pre-allocated. Your travel manager should be able to grab you the best seat available.

    3) NEVER EVER state that your hurt or injured and required more space so can you have an exit row. The answer will definitely be NO and they have the right to refuse to board you on the aircraft.

    4) One of the rules for an exit row is that you must not be travel with a dependent. So leave the kids, pregnant wife and your 100 year old aunty at home.

    5) Certain titles will also help your chance of ending up in the exit row. If you're a police officer or fireman or the like, make sure that's clearly on your profile. Use "Detective David Jones" when booking your ticket. The airline wants to ensure that you're fit enough to pull a 20kg door out of the aircraft and throw it. Chances are a member of the services will be fit enough to do it, whereas the fat teen who works at Macca's probably can't.

    6) MOST IMPORTANT - Be POLITE and FRIENDLY. The amount of egotisical wankers who demand that they get the best seat and use the classic line "do you know who i am" will never get it. Chances are they'll get NSR (Not Suitable for Regrade) on their booking.

    I hope this helps!


  2. QF WP


    Jun 20, 2002
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    Benny, sage words that I'm sure everybody will heed.

    I agree with the "leave your prestige at home". I treat others as I would like to be treated. Whilst being Plat helps (particularly for my forward aisle request or asking for exit row seating at check-in), I may not always be there (in fact, I can almost guarantee that I won't make it next year for 2006 use).
  3. straitman


    Apr 27, 2003
    SE Oz (Sale)
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    Thanks Benny,

    Lindsay stole my words. Be friendly, be happy, be easy to get along with etc, etc and most of all make yourself look like the sort of person that should have an exit row.

    You hope you never need the exit row, BUT if you ever do you don't want someone sitting there who is going to have trouble with handling the exit. ie no kids, little old ladies, walking sticks, wheel chairs or other physical limitations for operating an exit door/window.
  4. thadocta

    thadocta Active Member

    I'm always rather bemused by the fact that I can get an exit row when checking in at the Qantas Pub three hours before hand. What condition do they expect us all to be in after three hours at a free bar? :D

  5. straitman


    Apr 27, 2003
    SE Oz (Sale)
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    You don't have to be upstanding. That's why they give you a seat :!:
  6. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    Unfortunately, the best seats are no longer available to us. On severalo occasions I have bene invited to take the third or forth best seat in house for takeoff or landing. Obviously they would not let me have the best seat (front left) or second best (front right) since those folks in the white shirts with gold thingies on their shoulders get to sit there. But on the larger busses (744, 767) there are a couple of seats directly behind that have a great forward view.

    It was always interesting when a passengers entered thinking the small forward cabin was a changing room :? .

    But, alas, that is now a dream from the past. Now I prefer to aim for a seat that has full recline for my long haul flights. And even though the audio entertainment through the headphones on those forward viewing seats is interesting, I now use my Shure E3 earphones to cancel out the extraneous sounds and conversations that surround me.
  7. sully

    sully Member

    Jul 31, 2003
    Wolloomooloo, NSW
    What about dress code? I imagine that if you are in your 5 year old trackie dacks, sloppy joe and have decided the the trip started yesterday so a shave wasn't essential, that the chances of any special treatment is low. I dress in the smart casual uniform and have this feeling that it makes a difference on some occasions.

    A little bit of non-patronising banter seems to go a long way as well. I recall the last time I flew BA that I mentioned the on-line check in facility that the CSO wasn't aware of. I explained it to her and she was quite thankful. Whether the upgrade from WT+ to business was related to that I can't be sure, but I know I never got to sit in the seat I had chosen because the recline was much better.
  8. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    In my experience with operational upgrades with Qantas, the computer has already processed the upgrade long before the traveller arrives for checking. I gusss if you were really sloppily dressed the checkin agent could over-ride the upgrade and put you back into the paid cabin, but unlikely. There are plenty of paying business and first class passengers who travel "comfortably".

    But I always travel in neat clothes. I feel better wearing something presentable. Not a suit (unless going straight to a meeting), but neat slacks (eg Dockers, not jeans) and non-iron button shirt with collar. But that has not helped to get operational upgrades on Qantas international flights :( .
  9. willyroo

    willyroo Junior Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Don't quite agree with you there.

    I've had a number of op-ups this year on oversold flights, some reason for this must be due to my normal practice of checking-in around 20 minutes before the flight closes.
  10. straitman


    Apr 27, 2003
    SE Oz (Sale)
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    Trading drinks at the QP for drinks on board :!:

    Good move when it works. :wink:
  11. Rick93

    Rick93 Established Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Does that mean... that by waiting until the 'last minute' to check in, rather than 'hours ahead', you have a 'greater chance' of being upgraded?

    Do the passengers who check in via the 'auto thingy' at the QC at the DOMs have NO CHANCE of being upgraded? If so, WHY USE THEM?

    Can somebody just go over it again... to totally clarify how to put yourself in the best possible position for an upgrade??? (DOM / INT.)

    For eg. should you check in at the last minute for DOM flights, but three hours ahead for INT.?

    Or, should you wait to the last minute for INT. flights, and check in as early as possible for DOM flights?

  12. dajop

    dajop Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2002
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    If you're looking for a comp. upgrade on QF, best chance is to book yourself into a flight with very little availability in Y class, and lots of seats available up the front in J. (or more likely the way it happens is you're already booked on such a flight before it starts filling up).

    In my experience of comp upgrades - never had one internationally - but domestically I've had them checking in early, checking in late, a couple of time checking in at the quick check machine, and even been called to the desk in the Qantas Club, to collect an upgraded boarding pass (after checking in 2 hrs earlier - and arriving from a connecting flight). All but one of my upgrades have been on weekend flights - these have lots of Y leisure pax, very few paying J customers.
  13. thadocta

    thadocta Active Member

    They can also happen for purely altruistic reasons.

    A colleague (Bronze, not even QC member) and I (Gold) were flying MEL-SYD on an evening flight. My colleague lost his wallet whilst visitting the gents. The wallet was found by a cleaner, sans around $300 cash.

    No suggestion the cleaner took the cash, in fact judging by his attitude and demeanour I would swear that he didn't.

    Shortly after the wallet was returned and the incident report complted, the lounge manager approached Stephen (my colleague) - I was at the bar - with two new boarding passes in J for the flight.

    At the time, Stephen was a flit-about flyer, Vermin on one flight, Qantas the next. A mixture of Star and oneworld airlines on international.

    Not any more though, even ithough it was only a small gesture on QF's part, he recognised it was something that they did not have to do. He is now a committed QF FF, and is almost to Gold.

  14. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    :roll: Mmmmm

    Trying a balanced view. Each airline has their own methodology. Depends on how automated the airline is, if international, whether the "ground handler" does their load, or the airline's own staff. Just toooo many variables to have a single solution for the upgrade (or off-loading!).

    For example, CX policy is to upgrade staff on duty (business) travel before passengers, esp Business to First. In this way, they know the staff will behave but also, in their infinite wisdom, will ensure that pax don't get accustomed to being upgraded! Go figure.

    For each occasion, you've got to prioritise:
    a) do you want your choice of seat;
    b) is it critical to be on the flight; or
    c) are you playing for an upgrade.

    a & b) Check-in online (CX/SQ), at an airport kiosk or at the queue, and do it as early as possible. You'll get your boarding pass and have the best opportunity to shuffle seats

    Another tip to help with b) and avoid the dastardly DOWNGRADE or OFFLOAD, make a record in your organiser of local airline managers' names - you can find them on the net - particularly internationally. If you're ever in this situation, drop a few names and see the reaction.
    Don't drop your own name/title/company - use "contacts" within the airline. And BE NICE about it, as hard as it may seem.

    c) If you know the flight is full, run a fine line to check in as late as possible, bout not a minute over as they can then "legally" offload you. They will check everyone in for their booked cabins until there are no more seats, banking on some no-show factor, and then upgrade. If it is obvious to the flight controller that they will have to upgrade, they will generally look in your bookings for:
    i) Frequent flyer status of THAT airline
    ii) Frequent flyer status of their alliance
    iii) Highest fare sub-class (the more you've paid for your ticket the better your chances.
    iv) A combination of i) and ii)

    hope this helps!
  15. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    BNE & SYD
    This year I have had only two free upgrades, both times on CX, which is 2 from 3 trips in total with CX. Not bad for a QF FF who has never joined the CX program! One upgrade was pre-planned by the computer as they would not let my travelling partner checkin with me - but I am not complaining!
  16. rooman

    rooman Newbie

    Nov 25, 2004
    Earth , our known Universe
    empathy with check-in staff works , relate to their pressures and be friendly, polite and congenial, be ready, have everything they need up front, don't offer unnecessary verbals and if you know the industry share it at the level you know, not would like to know.
    After all that, if they ask you what youd like for seating (if not already in your profile, know what you want and tell them straight up. Time is at a premium at check-in so use it wisely!
    If you get an exit row, always put your bags up for take off and landing, dont wait to be told, the FAs like your co-operation too!, they respect your knowledge of their proceedures and you just might get an extra sugar! :D
  17. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    I've managed to score two free international upgrades in 5 trips over the past year. Not entirely sure how, though am sure that Platinum/Emerald helped. Also, was able to get upgrades on the 3 times I've requested them. Whilst I've been pleased with this, I'm currently less than pleased with the changes to the program.

    In terms of being friendly etc to gain an upgrade, I think that the best reason to be friendly and pleasant with staff is that, at the end of the day, it's the decent thing to do to another person. (Looking back on this paragraph, it sounds somewhat naive, but whatever...)
  18. kbuckham

    kbuckham Newbie

    Nov 25, 2004
    I might throw my 2 cents in re exit rows. I have been very lucky over the years..being 6'4 helps I guess. But with regards to being fit,strong and all that I am not so sure now. Flying NRT-SYD last month I got to my exit row to find a couple in A and B...he was 84,she was around the same...I didn't see them get up once all flight....in an emergency we would have been gone.....it was there first trip OS in 5 years so I doubt they were way up the qantas chain...maybe check in staff at NRT are a bit less strict who knows.
  19. tatty

    tatty Junior Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    When travelling with my partner on long haul economy I always go for the unfashionable rear of the plane. At the back, the plane is narrower so there are just two seats by the windows instead of 3 - perfect for a bit of privacy and no worries about climbing over a sleeping stranger in the aisle seat. On the 777 the galley is at the back so you can easily pick up extra snacks and wine. Downside is that you are last off the plane, but that just means you can relax whilst everyone else stands up and shoves around trying to get off first.

    We just flew back on Qantas from Singapore after our wedding and honeymoon. The steward spotted our wedding pictures we were carrying and brought us a bottle of champagne half way through. Nice thought
  20. danielh

    danielh Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    I don't mind rear seats as if the flight is underbooked then there is a high chance you will have no-one next to you and you can have a double (or more) seat to sleep on.


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