Trick to picking Airberlin seats online

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Alliances and shared booking systems create some very strange scenarios in terms of which airline’s website can see another airlines flights. This is one of the stranger I’ve found.

I recently booked flights from Hawaii to Berlin using AA miles.  I chose Airberlin because Berlin is our first destination and they have a newly launched nonstop flight from LAX.  Airberlin is a discount carrier so there aren’t a whole lot of frills but their longhaul A330 product has been upgraded recently to look like a solid transatlantic ride.    

I made my booking online at and received an AA confirmation number (Step 1).   As you may know, the confirmation number provided online is AA’s confirmation number and not the one you would use if any of the flights are on a Oneworld Alliance Member such as Airberlin, Qantas or British Airways.  For that you need the Amadeus record locater.

To obtain the Amadeus record locater, you need to call into AA and the agent should be able to provide that quickly.  Write this down (Step 2).

In most cases like flying on Qantas and British Airways using AA miles, you can take your Amadeus record locater you were provided over the phone to the carriers own website to manage your reservation including choosing seats (The usual Step 3).

I followed steps one and two but unfortunately the usual step 3 does not work on the Airberlin website so you have to try somewhere else.  I first tried the British Airways and Qantas website to look up this Airberlin flight and while I could see the reservation, I could not change seats or do much to the reservation for that matter.

For whatever reason, I went a bit further down the Oneworld Alliance chain and found that Royal Jordanian and Finnair’s website would actually let me select seats for this AirBerlin flight.  Strange.

I selected my preferred seats and logged back into to see they were properly reflected on the AA record and we were good to go.

The bottom line

I’ll mark this one up as strange that these two smaller Oneworld Alliance websites allow seat selections on Airberlin flights while no changes were allowed on AA, British Airways, Qantas, or even Airberlin’s own website. 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. Strange. I am having trouble my seat assignments on an airberlin booking, so I just tried both RJ and Finnair, and neither worked… Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow

  2. Worked for me on RJ! Thank you! Party of 8 going to Berlin in June….glad we have seats together. Lifesaver!

  3. Worked on RJ website. Called AA, asked for Amadeus, plugged that in and last name, found reservation on RJ and edited the seats.

  4. The AA operator I just spoke with seemed clueless about an Amadeus number, but she gave me my airberlin record locator number. That worked on the airberlin site to select my seats, unfortunately I had to pay for each one. Ridiculous. But an overnight flight dictates getting some sleep, and a 45 minute connection on the way home dictate a seat at the front of the plane so I had no choice. Seems sleazy to me.

  5. Thanks for the trick but I signed up for FinnAir and could not select seats for AB after entering the record locator and retrieving the reservation online. Same with RJ. I am able to see the reservations but not select seats. This is for economy next June. Will try AB itself when I have my login hanly later today. But if you know if this trick is dead, pl let me know. Thx.

  6. -when you called AA for the amadeus conf#, why couldnt you jsut ask for t he airbelin conf# ??

    -does *A or skyteam have an analog to amadeus plz?


  7. obtained AB booking ref from AA
    went to finnair & RJ.. both found the reservation but neither one actually offers option to pick seats. strange.

    -how can i pick my AB seats please?

  8. Hey guys,

    If you’re flying in business on AB, seat selection is FREE. Just call in and the agent will help you select your seats.

  9. I was able to find my booking on RJ but did not have the option to pick seats. I know with AirBerlin you can’t pick your seats if it was their “Just Fly Fare”. I bought the tickets through Kayak so I’m not sure what category they were, but probably the “Just Fly Fare”. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to ask if anyone near us would mind moving so we could sit next to each other.

  10. Thank you very much. That saved a lot of my searching. I actually did my seat selections in Air Berlin site with the PNR number they provided but I could not modify seat selection neither was I able to see the selected seats in Air berlin site. Strangely I found those in Finnair site. Mine was a codeshare flight with Etihad and I had dropped an email to air berlin service center asking for the AB PNR corresponding to the Etihad Booking reference.

  11. This was a very helpful tip. I was able to get the number from the AA agent (though he wasn’t familiar with the term “Amadeus”) and got my seat assignments through Qatar Airways. Thank you!

  12. It actually worked for me. I was not able to select seats on Airberlin and then I tried Finnair and Royal Jordanian. It only worked with Royal Jordanian. I was able to get the seat I wanted (not the xl seat) since I’m not Platinum on AA. I think you are able to pick a seat only if you are gold or higher in advance. I’m gold. Anyways, I’m happy it worked and I saved myself money picking seats in advance if I had done it thru Airberlin.

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