2

I recently noticed that check in counters started to automatically give me window seats. In the past, I often asked for a window seat or was asked about my preferences. Thus, my question is whether the agent at the check in sees some information about my travel history or preferences. What would be even more interesting is whether the information displayed to the agent includes whether one is a "good customer" or not.

I do use a mileage program and I wonder whether this makes any difference as the airline could also match my travel history/preferences via the passport number.

  • 2
    Most airlines store an aisle/window preference in the profile for people with accounts in their frequent flyer program. You can sometimes even set it yourself somewhere deep in the account settings on their website (this is true for United anyway). That's usually just used by a computer to assign you a seat. Is this what you're talking about? – Zach Lipton Sep 11 '17 at 5:03
  • @ZachLipton yes, for example. In this case, it seems this information is only available to the computer, but not the agent. I am more generally wondering however, what the agent knows about the customer. Are they for example more accommodating to special requests/oversized baggage in case the customer has recently taken a lot of flights with the airline? – HRSE Sep 11 '17 at 5:14
  • @HRSE I'm sure they can see the rank the customer has in their frequent flyer program, and know the perks associated with each rank. I seriously doubt they have access to much more than that and what information is presented in the ticket (name, probably age, group composition). – jwenting Sep 11 '17 at 10:59
5

Most airline check-in counter staff will only see information about the traveller on that flight, and their frequent flyer details. As their main priority is to check-in travellers as quickly as possible, they'll usually just have the details relevant to your flight.

They may be able to look at your travel history via your frequent flyer membership with more time, but most check-in systems won't look at your history by passport number/etc. For that, you'd probably want to go over to the airline customer service/information counters first.

Most airlines only give special consideration for special requests if given advance notice, and those customer service agents would most likely look up your previous history and traveller details from your frequent flyer and past-traveller records.

Regarding seating, most airlines now pre-assign a seat (even if you don't know that) when you complete your booking, so that they can distribute the seating evenly. Pre-flight seat requests are generally not guaranteed, even if you pay for them, so it may have just been a pre-assignment that got you your window seat.

The only exception to this that I know of is if a customer has previously been blacklisted due to something serious (e.g. being denied boarding)

  • Most airlines don't assign seats at booking, even transparently, but will do so when checkin is made (unless the passenger booked a seat at purchase, or subsequently). This leaves seats available for passengers to buy. Passengers who do not select seats will be assigned a seat from what remains when they check in for their flight. (Some airlines, like Southwest in the US and, I believe, RyanAir in Europe, don't assign seats at all - you choose one when you board.) – Jim MacKenzie Oct 17 '17 at 13:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.