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We have a flight booked from USA to Munich on Lufthansa booked through 3rd party website. If we do not pre order and pay for seats, will the 3 of us be seated together? The 3 tickets were purchased at the same time.

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There are no guarantees. It will all depend on how full the flight is and how many other passengers pre-reserve seats.

If you want to be sure to sit together, I recommend you pay the seat reservation fee.

If you refuse to pay the fee, your best hope will be to check in as soon as allowed by your airline (I believe Lufthansa lets you check in 24 hours before your initial flight). The longer you wait, the less likely you are to sit together.

Also, your odds are better if the tickets were booked together under a single reservation. It'll be more challenging if they were booked simultaneously but separately.

  • Again, with Lufthansa specifically, and depending on the route - and the rules can change frequently - somewhat bizarrely the "pay to ensure" thing applies from some days before takeoff, until (when I last used them) some specific short time like "3 hours before official check in time". After that point (ie, after "3 hours before official check in time"), you can indeed (like in the old days) get online, get in first, and choose a seat. – Fattie Feb 24 '18 at 19:37
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    Again, in practice, it's incredibly unlikely they will literally seat kiddies away from parents, when it comes down to it. At some point, some check-in agent, gate agent, or flight crew, will simply use common sense and move people around. The first time a 6 yr old female sits next to a 60 year old male watching pornography - there will be a big lawsuit, and that will be the end of this cute fee-collecting era. The airlines are 100% aware of this, and are just skimming these fees until the issue becomes hot and they have to stop this insanity, and go back to the ordinary system. – Fattie Feb 24 '18 at 19:42
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When you are checking in, they are typically accomodating - as much as they can.

  • If there are no more three seats together available, bad luck. Best strategy is to be early.
  • If you check in online, and you are early enough, you should be able to get three - again, unless many others have paid for seats, and only middle seats are remaining.
  • If your ‘family’ contains a kid under 16, I recommend to call now, and tell them that; chances are that they will assign you seats now and sit you together.
  • You can always try to call and ask for it anyway, even without a kid. Being nice and courteous typically gets you a long way.
  • Finally, you can always ask people on the plane to switch around, that normally works fine - unless you have only middle seats to offer; nobody will voluntarily move from a aisle or window to a middle seat. So if you can’t get seats together, chose three separate aisle seats; those will pretty surely be tradeable for a complete row together.
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I mostly do not reserve seat when booking flight with an airline having paid seat choice. When I arrive in the airport, I go to check-in counter and ask the personel for seating me where I want (not an exact point but I say the back most seats) and they mostly accept. But even if you do not do that and check-in by yourself, they mostly put the people together whose tickets bought at the same time.

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