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 AA.com 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 AA.com 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.