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I bought an international ticket from the US to Asia on Priceline, via Vietnam Airlines, and I have a confirmation code from them. China Airlines is the carrier operating the flight and the one with the logo on the plane's tail, &c.

I'm trying to reserve a window or aisle seat on the plane. I have read that you can do so by calling the airline directly (search for "Time is the most important factor").

I called Vietnam Airlines to ask if I could reserve a seat, but they said I won't be able to do so until 24 hours before the flight (it seems unlikely any seats will be available). I called China Airlines, and they said they don't get the passenger information from Vietnam Airlines until 24 hours before the flight. It seems unlikely any window/aisle seats will be available 24 hours before take off.

Are there any options I'm missing for trying to select a seat, besides wait until just before the flight date?

  • Does your flight have a Vietnam or Chinese flight number? Have you tried looking up your reservation on CheckMyTrip? It sometimes gives you more information than the ticket seller oor the airlines do. – fkraiem Jan 6 '16 at 5:02
  • I just tried checkmytrip but no dice... apparently Vietnam Airlines isn't supported. – Kevin Burke Jan 6 '16 at 5:24
  • According to flyertalk.com/forum/…, there are some booking classes on China Airlines in which you cannot select a seat in advance. If you got a cheap flight, there is the possibility that your Vietnam Airlines booking class maps into one of those. In that case, you will definitely have to wait until 24 hours before the flight. – DCTLib Jan 6 '16 at 9:00
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The claim by China Air that they don't have any passenger names sounds like a rather non-standard agreement. Normally a space is booked in the passenger's name on the operating carrier (CI), when you make the booking with the marketing carrier (VN).

I would ask Priceline (as they are the agents) for the PNR for your booking(s). There should ultimately be two PNRs (one for Vietnam and one for China) though you may need to ask Vietnam for the CI PNR directly. China Air maybe able to locate your booking armed with their PNR as a reference.

But there is also the possibility that the discounted airfare you purchased does not allow advance seat selection. And if this is the case, you best keep your fingers crossed that you will get lucky come the 24 hour mark.

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