Flights using Silverseas Air: Seat Assignments? Upgrades?

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#1
Boston
4,801 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Flying from here to Santiago and back in February, using cruiseline air (I can't come close to their prices). Was hoping to find out about seat assignments (DL down, UA back) and possible upgrades to Economy Plus for the flights.

Just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Delta (with a GREAT phone agent, if you can believe that!) and found out that although we are listed on the flights, they have yet to be "ticketed", at which time we'll have seat assignments and can talk about upgrades. Called Silverseas and they usually ticket 45-50 days prior to cruise, or I can pay $150/person and they can ticket now as we are within 120 days (max time they take for ticketing) and then contact the airlines about upgrades.

I know I can do the Business Class upgrade for $2K or so each, but I don't need Business Class, just Economy Plus which is on all the flights we are booked on. The problem is that until Delta knows the fare class booked they can't calculate the upgrade cost. It could be $150-$200 a leg (we'd consider that), it could also be $1000 or more a leg (no chance for us!).

Anyone found a way to get a better handle on what upgrades like this might cost? Thanks!
#2
CA, USA
13,891 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by Nitemare
Flying from here to Santiago and back in February, using cruiseline air (I can't come close to their prices). Was hoping to find out about seat assignments (DL down, UA back) and possible upgrades to Economy Plus for the flights.

Just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Delta (with a GREAT phone agent, if you can believe that!) and found out that although we are listed on the flights, they have yet to be "ticketed", at which time we'll have seat assignments and can talk about upgrades. Called Silverseas and they usually ticket 45-50 days prior to cruise, or I can pay $150/person and they can ticket now as we are within 120 days (max time they take for ticketing) and then contact the airlines about upgrades.

I know I can do the Business Class upgrade for $2K or so each, but I don't need Business Class, just Economy Plus which is on all the flights we are booked on. The problem is that until Delta knows the fare class booked they can't calculate the upgrade cost. It could be $150-$200 a leg (we'd consider that), it could also be $1000 or more a leg (no chance for us!).

Anyone found a way to get a better handle on what upgrades like this might cost? Thanks!
Why not ask your TA?
#3
San Antonio, TX
8,792 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Interesting that Silversea air was less than you could book yourself. We asked Silversea for a quote for San Antonio to Rome then Dubai back to San Antonio and their best fare was $2,000/person than we could book ourselves and that was counting their supposedly special or reduced airfare offer. Thought it might be because San Antonio isn’t a major hub but Atlanta friends’ quote was only slightly less than ours and still more than they could book themselves. Could be we all wanted business class and didn’t price coach.
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#4
Bermuda
1,639 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I never use cruise air. You get what you pay for, usually.

I would rather pay more for tickets where I know what the fare rules are than to use the fare consolidator tickets (which is what cruise air tickets are) which have absolutely the most restrictive fare rules. If anything goes wrong (strikes, weather, volcanoes erupting, civil unrest etc.) you will be absolutely at the bottom of the heap and may not get another flight for days ... and days ... and days.

Whereas, because I pay out more money for my tickets, I know I will much further up the queue if I need reticketing for any reason.

Your money, your peace of mind, your choice.
#5
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Hi JJ,

not being a pedant, but not all SS fares are made using group bookings (consolidator is a different animal) or minimum bucket coded fares, and the issues you are trying to avoid also shouldn't hold true for flights governed by EU261 ie EU law.

We are fortunate within the EU in that significant care, support and compensation is payable if flights are cancelled, or overbooked or a passenger is denied boarding or even simply downgraded. Alternative flights on other airlines have to be offered for example. This has happened to me on an SS booking, and I simply booked immediate alternative flights (two) at full cost and was reimbursed and compensated fully and promptly by BA.
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Jeff

#6
Bermuda
1,639 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
"not being a pedant" Really?

OP is not in the EU.
I'm not in the EU.

I'm familiar with EU261 but how is it relevant to flights from Boston to Santiago?

Please forgive my presumption that the OP is in Boston, Mass but I doubt that Delta or UA fly from Boston, Lincs.


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#7
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
I'm sorry you object, but if you had simply replied to the specific issue - then fine.

I was simply responding to the wider generalisations you made which started with " I never use .... " and made a number of generalised comments about travel generally which are simply inaccurate when applied as widely as your post suggests.

Also SS is not an air-fares consolidator as you state. I just felt your post might innocently and unintentionally mislead because of those generalisations.
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Jeff

#8
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Nitemare,

You should go back to SS and question them not ticketing beyond 45 to 50 days without an extra charge. It isn't true.
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Jeff

#9
34 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
First time using SS air and very satisfied. Still 200+ days to go for cruise on Spirit flying US to Lisbon and return from London business class. Already have flight details and have made seat reservations directly with the 3 carriers involved. So far smooth as silk.
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#10
Boston
4,801 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Thanks, all.

Delta flies Boston/ATL/Santiago
United flies Santiago/IAH/Boston.

SS is charging me under $1K/person for the round trips. I couldn't duplicate that at double, which is why we are taking Cruise Air. First time in a dozen cruises that we've done that. We beat cruise air on an Amsterdam/Stockholm itinerary and also on a Rio/Buenos Aires itinerary in the past, but not this time!

My TA agreed that nothing could be done until the flight is ticketed. He doubts we can get the International legs to upgrade for under $1K/person for each leg, which we won't do, so he recommended we not go for the early ticketing since the upgrades aren't something we are likely to be following through on.
#11
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Hope it works out for you.

I have no idea why your TA doesn't appear to be fighting your corner more energetically with SS. SS routinely ticket flights upto a year out without making additional charges. The reason why they don't like to do this is because there is potential earning opportunities when they delay providing the airlines with confirmed names. From your point of view, the earlier it is ticketed the more you can check (regularly) the upgrade option prices until they are satisfactory to you, as those costs change dynamically in order for the airlines to maximise profit.

Have you asked SS to quote you for the upgrade as you seem happy with the base price ..... perhaps the upgrade might be just as good? Worth a call?
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Jeff

#12
Boston
4,801 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
SS told me I'd have to negotiate the upgrade with the airline. Is this not true?

They do have a full Business Class upgrade option, but it triples our flying price and that's not happening.
#13
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by Nitemare
SS told me I'd have to negotiate the upgrade with the airline. Is this not true?

They do have a full Business Class upgrade option, but it triples our flying price and that's not happening.
The implication in what they say to you is that they have an "allocation" of seats from the airlines. These enable them to price packages knowing what they will pay the airline in advance. They then release the names of passengers taking that option to the airline at the last moment. This enables them to maximise their flexibility in that whilst you are not yet known as a passenger to the airline, should you make a change to your ticket or cancel the trip, SS can pocket those charges whilst not having incurred any obligation yet to pay the airline. That is why they delay. Once the deadline date is reached all seats that SS haven't taken out of their allocation is released back into the airline pool to be sold normally at a higher price. It seems their allocations are only for Economy or Business so what they have said is true.

What they have said which is untrue, is that they will only release names (confirm) in any event before 120 days of departure, and then not 45 - 50 days without the fee of $150 per person. This is particularly true if you have paid in full or at least a substantial deposit. As I indicated, their reason for doing this is that this enables them to charge you a penalty if you change or cancel but they have yet not become liable for any airline charges because they haven't told them about you, and your "reservation" which at this stage is simply with SS and not the airline is unknown to the airline. This is clearly unfair to you as you want to engage with the airline and agree an upgrade at the best possible price - so the earlier you start the process the better for you.

A decent TA should understand this process and could have requested SS confirm your name to the airline so you can get started when you asked. If you do sort this out my suggestion is that you check your reservation number with "check my trip" to ensure you have the long full ticket number. With Delta, that number should start with three digits "006" followed by ten numbers. That is your now confirmed ticket number. The short 6 letter random code is simply a "file" locator. Most people think that indicates the ticket is confirmed. It doesn't - it merely records on the system the party group with their intended travel details often with several airlines until confirmed with the long number. Few people understand this, but the reservation can be cancelled without cost although a charge will always be requested if you do not understand and use the magic phrase " .... but it hasn't been ticketed yet .....".

To check the ticket codes for other airlines .... to check you are fully ticketed ....
http://www.iata.org/about/members/Pa....aspx?All=true

Once you are ticketed, what I would do if I were you is to call the airline and say .... "Can I ask you a cheeky question that will really help me? In your experience how far out from departure is the rough "sweet spot" to get the lowest upgrade for premium economy?" Most airlines charge this dynamically meaning it could change several times a day, but there will be a regular pattern that at a certain number of days out is your best chance at the best price.

Consolidators were mentioned earlier which might have confused some. Air ticket consolidators work largely in the "grey" market and are offered cheap tickets that are unsold and the airline modeling system says probably will remain unsold by airlines who do not wish to have that inventory pass through their own web site or through normal agents. This is to protect their price and revenue. Consolidators then offer them in various forms but these are specialist companies often seen on travel pages offering really cheap ticketsor very cheap holidays for dozens of destinations at very low prices. SS is not and have never been an airfares consolidator.

I've explained all this in some detail because clearly you have been given the "run around" and some of the comments in the thread have been innacurate and it often helps if you understand the process. I hope it helps ..... but ask any further questions you have.

Good luck.
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Jeff

#16
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by Hotel CA
Nicely explained Jeff-- many thanks for the real insight
Thanks.

Many under- estimate how useful it can be to understand how ticketing works. It has save me a lot over the years. For example airlines can routinely take some time between taking a reservation and ticketing particularly on travel some way off. If during that time you wish to make a change, airlines automatically make a charge or want a penalty on non-flexible tickets. If you understand ticketing and check to see if has been ticketed before calling, and find it hasn't sometimes a humorous and courteous conversation with a CS person can action the change or cancellation without insisting on the charge .....
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Jeff

#18
UK
6,928 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by mysty
No disrespect intended JollyJones.....but Jeff's advice was spot on for us and we are in Canada.
Thanks M,

That is because I was describing in detail the IATA e-ticketing process which is used by all of the 278 airlines operating from 117 different countries.

As she clearly knows better, perhaps she can list the airlines and countries it doesn't cover.
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Jeff

#19
413 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Originally posted by mysty
No disrespect intended JollyJones.....but Jeff's advice was spot on for us and we are in Canada.
Jeff's advice to me has also been spot on Mysty....and l know for a fact he is accurate and should ignore the snipes and personal attacks which are not welcome on this board and to a certain degree place Silversea in a bad light which is not the aim of these forums.
😊
#20
Jalisco Mex
305 Posts
Joined Dec 2016
Spot on for me also! I am flying two carriers booked through SS, and checked my documentation early and late.Oh yes, and I am flying from the US.