Oh, reservations agents….

I called Lufthansa this evening to select seats for an upcoming itinerary for friends, and since it was a 747 I wanted to select seats 83A and 83C, which are the exit row seats. I checked the seatmap on ExpertFlyer, and they weren’t blocking the seats like they sometimes do for their elite Senator and HON members. Anyway, after giving them the record locator and flight numbers, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Yes, I’d like to select seats 83A and 83C
Agent: Sorry, those can only be assigned at the airport due to IATA regulations.
Me: Oh, really, is that new?
Agent: Yes, we have to actually see you to determine whether you’re eligible to sit in an exit row. Those are the IATA regulations.
Me: So if I were a Senator or HON I couldn’t select these seats either?
Agent: Are you a Senator or a HON? I might be able to do it then.
Me: I’m not, but why do IATA regulations not apply to Senators and HONs?

At this point she was getting a bit uncomfortable, since I obviously wasn’t taking crap from her. It gets better, of course.

Agent: Well we know our Senators and HONs personally, so we can put them there since we know they’re eligible.
Me: Oh, really? A colleague of mine is a Senator without once having flown Lufthansa. He simply credits all his flying to Miles & More. And you somehow know him personally? Last I checked he didn’t list his injuries in his Miles & More profile….
Agent: Sorry, there is nothing I can do, but you can select these seats at check-in. We just need to see you in person.
Me: And you don’t think Senators and HONs would pre-select these seats?
Agent: Well, sometimes we don’t have any of them on these flights.
Me: Um, ok.

At that point I was getting pissed and gave up. I’m guessing I could have had a bit more fun. Anyway, I called back and the next agent was able to assign those seats in about five seconds.

Filed Under: Lufthansa
  1. I agree. Blatant lying. Poor average consumers don’t have a chance. IATA rules? Please. LOL.

    I would have asked for her supervisor, and then shamed him/her into giving me those seats. A suggestion for next time. 🙂

  2. I got that treatment AT THE AIRPORT. Seats were available, but agent went to Service Director who denied me access…

  3. You shouldn’t have let her off the hook so easily! Especially when she asked if you were a Senator or HON, but then said the airline knew most personally… LIE!

    Regardless, I have found a ton of info lately from Business Traveler on LinkedIn. It has been great thus far and I wanted to pass it along. It has made my past view business trips a heck of a lot easier. Here’s the link: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2072193&trk=anet_ug_grppro

  4. the rules for LH FC are indeed very tricky. the official rule is no one can reserve them ahead and i got that answer also being SEN. i also called back and got an agent who reserved the seats for me. but simply because he provided the service. he actually said that he is doing it because it is a stupid rule and with FC passengers one shouldn’t be holier than the pope. and if you appear at check in unfit for an exit row the agent can still kick you out of the seat (which in my and his opinion would be the option).

    the problem is sometimes LH system will actually sweap clean all reservations into exit rows and put you in other seats as happened to me as well. because the rule really does exist.

  5. Come on lucky, what’s wrong with blocking certain seats for certain frequent flyers, the agent just made up the iata stuff so you don’t feel bad about not being important enough.

  6. @ Lennart — Interesting. For what it’s worth, I’ve flown LH F on the 747 quite a few times, and never have I been denied the exit row at the time of booking, so this was a first for me. Also, on ExpertFlyer these seats don’t show as being blocked, unlike some other seats that are.

    @ Sam — There is absolutely nothing wrong with blocking certain seats for frequently flyers. Heck, I appreciate it. The only two issues are 1) that the seats weren’t actually blocked and b) that it’s not appropriate to lie to a customer and blame a different organization that takes no part in this.

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