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The first thing I do after booking an award including a partner airline is to obtain the partner airline-specific confirmation number so that I can confirm the reservation was ticketed properly and pick seats. In some cases United will display the partner airlines confirmation number immediately such as Lufthansa but most other airlines are never displayed and require a phone call.
Award flights involving one of the studs of the Star Alliance, Thai Airways do not display a confirmation number online. When you do receive the number, Thai’s website will allow you to view the reservation online and even order a meal in First Class but it will not let you select a seat.
I have been itching to try out First Class on one of the new Thai A380’s so I booked an award home using United miles the fun way, via Europe. Currently, Thai operates A380s to Narita, Hong Kong, Paris and Frankfurt. At first I booked a ticket from Bangkok to Narita on the A380 but on further thought decided a short or medium haul flight was cheating because I wanted to experience the true long haul. When space opened up on the flight to Paris last week I jumped on that and then this week a more convenient flight opened up to Frankfurt so I grabbed that one.
The upside of my indecision was that I had three opportunities to confirm a simple trick of picking seats on Thai Airways.
Thai Airways has an incredibly responsive team responding to their email alias below.
In three attempts to request seats on three different days via email, I had a response within 8, 12 and 20 minutes acknowledging my requested change. I logged on immediately to see the change was executed properly.
The bottom line
If you want to avoid talking to people like me, use Thai Airways incredibly responsive reservations team out of LA the next time you are looking to assign your seats on an international award reservation.