How Far in Advance Can You Pick Your Seats on a Lufthansa Award Ticket?

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Million Mile Secrets reader Kelsey commented:

I’ve found Saver coach award seats for the flights I wanted (Los Angeles to Sofia, Bulgaria; Sofia, Bulgaria to Frankfurt, Germany; Frankfurt to Dallas flying in October and November), yet when I go to book the ticket, it won’t allow me to select my seat.  And it says it will be assigned at the airport (I’m booking through the United Airlines website, using United Airlines miles on Lufthansa flights).

Do you know if there’s any way I can select my seats before going to the airport or by calling United Airlines? My spouse and I don’t want to be stuck in the middle seat not sitting with each other on the long haul flights.  Also, can Saver award seats be denied boarding because they’re not Standard awards?  One of our flights is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I don’t want to get stuck not seeing my family because of the award level.

How Far In Advance Can You Pick Your Seats On A Lufthansa Award Ticket

How Early Kelsey Can Pick Her Seats When She Books an Award Ticket Using United Airlines Miles on Lufthansa Depends on Her Ticket Fare Code

Kelsey wants to know if she can select her seats when she uses United Airlines miles to book an award ticket on Lufthansa.  And because she’s traveling over Thanksgiving, she also wants to know if she could be denied boarding if the flight is oversold.

Kelsey can select her seats in advance IF she booked a certain fare code (which I’ll explain in the post).  She could be denied boarding if her flight is oversold, but there are ways to avoid that which I’ll also explain in this post.

Booking Lufthansa Flights Using United Airlines Miles

United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance so Kelsey can use her United Airlines miles to book flights on other Star Alliance partner airlines like Lufthansa.

How Far In Advance Can You Pick Your Seats On A Lufthansa Award Ticket

Kelsey Can Use Her United Airlines Miles to Book Award Tickets on Lufthansa

Kelsey can book Lufthansa flights on the United Airlines website using United Airlines miles, but she can only book Saver award seats.  She can not book Standard award seats using United Airlines miles on Lufthansa.

And she can NOT select her seats.  This is because while the United Airlines website shows available award seats, they can’t show which seats on the flight are available.  Usually only the operating carrier (the airline on which you’re actually flying) has access to which seats are available on their flights.

Because Kelsey is flying on Lufthansa, she has to call Lufthansa at 800-645-3880 to get assigned seats.  If she booked award seats on Swiss, she would have call Swiss.

Benefits of Assigning Your Seats in Advance

Kelsey will have more choices if she can pick her seats in advance.

Picking her seats early lets her decide if she wants:

  • An exit row seat
  • A window or aisle seat
  • To be closer (or farther) from the bathrooms
How Far In Advance Can You Pick Your Seats On A Lufthansa Award Ticket

Kelsey Has a Better Chance of Getting an Exit Row Seat If She Can Pick Her Seats Early

Picking Seats in Advance on Lufthansa

On some airlines Kelsey could pick her seats online if she knows the confirmation number on the operating carrier.

However, according to this thread on Flyertalk, Kelsey can only pick her Lufthansa seats in advance IF she booked a:

  • First or Business Class ticket
  • Y, B, M, U, H, X, Q, V fare ticket

Because Kelsey booked a saver coach award ticket which is usually an “X” fare code, she can choose her Lufthansa seats in advance by calling Lufthansa at 800-645-3880.

Kelsey should have her Lufthansa confirmation code or eTicket number to give to the agent on the phone!

Where to Find Your Lufthansa Confirmation Number

Kelsey’s Lufthansa confirmation code will be listed on her reservation on the United website.

Where to Find Your eTicket Number

Kelsey can find her eTicket number next to her name on her United Airlines receipt.

How Far In Advance Can You Pick Your Seats On A Lufthansa Award Ticket

Kelsey Can Use Her eTicket Number to Get Assigned Seats on Lufthansa

How to Assign Seats on the Lufthansa Website

Kelsey can also choose her seats on the Lufthansa website.

Getting Bumped on an Award Ticket

If Kelsey’s flight is oversold, Lufthansa will ask for volunteers.

If there aren’t enough volunteers, they will deny boarding to passengers based on:

  • Time you checked in
  • Potential disruption to travel plans
How Far In Advance Can You Pick Your Seats On A Lufthansa Award Ticket

If the Flight Is Oversold, Kelsey Could Get Bumped From Her Lufthansa Award Flight

Kelsey can avoid getting bumped by:

  • Getting assigned seats as soon as possible
  • Checking-in at 24 hours prior to boarding
  • Waiting at the gate before boarding begins

Bottom Line

Kelsey can use her United Airlines miles to book a Lufthansa Saver coach award ticket.

Only some Lufthansa fare codes allow seats to be selected in advance.  Because Kelsey booked a coach award ticket she can choose her seats in advance.  But she has to call Lufthansa at 800-645-3880.

She can also pick her seats on the Lufthansa website if she knows her Lufthansa confirmation number.  Her Lufthansa confirmation number is listed on her United Airlines reservation.  Kelsey can find her eTicket number on her United Airlines receipt.

If her flight is oversold, Kelsey can get bumped on both an award ticket and a paid ticket.  So Kelsey should get assigned seats early, check-in 24 hours prior to boarding, and be at the gate before boarding starts.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 16,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 responses to “How Far in Advance Can You Pick Your Seats on a Lufthansa Award Ticket?

  1. I used to be able to go online and choose my seats and even change them. However, this year that option wasn’t available online, or I didn’t see it. I had to call to get seats.

  2. I even bought United Airlines tickets from Budapest to California and they used Lufthansa to fly us to Frankfurt and then to Denver. We couldn’t reserve seats and I did call both United and Lufthansa and they said I have to wait a day before my flight to reserve my seats because I am using a code share ticket. So I don’t think Kelsey is going to get lucky when she calls Lufthansa unless they have changed the rules.

  3. Yep. I booked Lufthansa Flights using United Miles and called to get seat assignments. Lufthansa agent was very nice and put me in the seats I picked. I was able to get seat assignments even though my trip isn’t scheduled until May of next year. (All tickets (3) showed a code of “X” or “XN”)

  4. Thanks for the detailed advice. Worked perfectly for us!!!

  5. I booked through United on a Lufthansa-operated flight (PHL-FRA) and went to the Lufthansa website for seat assignments, they ask for $35 per seat ($100/each for exit row seats). I am a Star Alliance Gold member. Lufthansa started another way to generate additional revenue it seems, it is pretty sneaky. I am coming back via Air Canada, their policies are more customer friendly (no seat assignment charges).