Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
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.
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
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
Picking Seats in Advance on Lufthansa
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 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
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
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.