How To Select Etihad Seats Online

One of the awesome things about this hobby is that I learn something new every day. And my lesson for today is how to assign Etihad seats online, courtesy of reader RH.

Etihad-777

I’ve always only booked Etihad award tickets using American AAdvantage miles, and I’ve been under the impression that you can’t select Etihad seats online when booking through a partner airline. So my strategy has always been to ask for the Etihad record locator when booking the ticket with American, and then phoning up Etihad for the seats.

That’s an easy enough process, since when you phone up Etihad the phone prompt asks if you’re in first or business class, and if you are, the hold times are virtually non-existent.

That being said, I still like to avoid getting on the phone whenever possible, so love the below trick.

How to select Etihad seats online

Step 1: Figure out your Etihad record locator

If booking through a partner airline I always request the Etihad record locator at the time I ticket my reservation. Alternatively you can call back and request it. It should be a six letter code.

Step 2: Log into your booking on etihad.com

On Etihad’s homepage you’ll see the “My trip” section on the right side. Enter your booking reference and last name, and click on the “View / print itinerary” button.

Etihad-Manage-Booking

From there you’ll be brought to a page on virtuallythere.com. On the right side of that page, push the “Manage my booking” button.

Etihad-Manage-Booking-1

Step 3: slightly modify the URL

Up until this point there’s not actually the option of changing seats. So after clicking on “Manage my booking” you’ll be brought back to a page on Etihad’s website.

Once you’re on that page, paste the below URL into your browser:

https://booking.etihad.com/SSW2010/EYEY/ancillaries.html?viewReloc=XXXXXX

Except you need to replace the “XXXXXX” in the URL with your six letter Etihad confirmation code.

So if your confirmation code were “ABCDEF” you would enter the following URL:

https://booking.etihad.com/SSW2010/EYEY/ancillaries.html?viewReloc=ABCDEF

From there you’ll be brought to a page where you can manage various aspects of your booking, including extras, seats, etc.

The first page will give you options for extra bags…

Etihad-1

While the second page will give you the option of selecting seats…

Etihad-2

Bottom line

This isn’t life changing since Etihad has one of the better call centers for selecting premium cabin seats. That being said, why pick up the phone when you can do the same thing online?

Hopefully they eventually introduce the functionality to reserve seats online for all bookings more easily.

Comments

  1. Sweet! Had already confirmed seats via phone with Etihad, but was nice to be able to login and confirm they are there. This is a great tip for future Etihad bookings with AA miles!
    Thanks!

  2. @ lucky – Thanks for the shoutout.

    BTW I’ve been waiting anxiously for the First Apartments trip report and for anything on the Qatar inaugural (though I did see the photos on instagram – total awesomeness)… The suspense is killing me!

  3. Remember that Etihad charges for most seat assignments in Economy Class, including their own elites. So this is only really useful for people flying in First and Business Class.

  4. @Sean, Actually, on our 772-LR flights, I was able to select all but 6 exit row seats in economy class . . . Thanks Lucky, great post!

  5. i picked up a couple tickets on the xmas day etihad deal, but couldn’t select seats online when i went through the system. when i called, they were very helpful and allowed me to select seats (in economy) without any additional fees.

  6. This is awesome. life saver; thank you, as we been trying to do this an easier way instead of calling them every time. Thanks a ton!

  7. @ RH — Qatar inaugural initial thoughts are up now, and Etihad report will be up once I finish the current report about my dad’s trip.

  8. Woohoo! I love your dad’s reaction videos by the way – truly one of the coolest things I’ve seen on any travel blog.

  9. Next month we’re flying Cathay Business Class, booked with Avios, SIN-BKK, and then BKK-HKG. Is there a way for us to select those seats in advance?

  10. Thank you so much.. i have been waiting for this long time! your help is really appreciated. The trick worked for my individual booking but didn’t work for my family booking, maybe because there are more than one on the same booking?

  11. @ Robert Hanson — Yes, just enter the confirmation number on the “Manage My Booking” section on cathaypacific.com and you’ll be given the option to select seats.

  12. @ Lucky — The message reads

    No ancillaries available
    There are no ancillaries available for the itinerary you’ve selected.

    although their names appear on the right side of the page

  13. This did not work for me at first. I kept getting an error message. However, after I called in and assigned seats and confirmed chauffeur, it worked! (Ironically.) This is an AA F award on EY.

    Speaking of which, they denied my chauffeur for my <24h stopover in AUH and said AA needed to issue it as a stopover before it would be eligible for chauffeur. Any way to fix?

  14. Lucky, thank you! For several days I’ve been calling Etihad’s 1-888 number for our seat assignments. I kept getting a recording to try again later. After following your instructions, I was able to select our 2 apartment seats! Thanks again!!

  15. @HansGolden – Yes there is a way to fix it. Do exactly as EY have informed you. Transits (i.e connections under 24hrs) are not entitled to the chauffeur service. Yes it sucks but that’s just the way it is.

  16. Thanks RH and Ben for relaying this – easy & quick! Changed assignment on EY455 based on best seating advice from Ben…

  17. This is awesome! I called the Etihad call center to reserve my seats and I wasn’t sure they had picked the right ones because the seat maps on SeatGuru don’t match what they had told me. But your hack showed me that they were right. First world problems! 🙂

  18. Apparently we can only select our seats 48 hours in advance of the flight, unless we pay $50 each to join Cathay’s FF program. 🙁

  19. These instructions are unnecessarily convoluted. You do not have to go to virtuallythere.com and then back!

    Go to etihad.com > Manage my booking > Choose “Modify booking” and NOT “View print” > you have arrived expeditiously at the Etihad page that displays your reservation. Now paste the secret URL and edit it as describe above.

  20. Thanks so much, I came to a dead end when trying to select seats in business class for our flight to the Maldives until I found your post, it seems you can only select them after check which you cannot do until 24 hrs before departure I just imagined a mad scramble and no seats together….Now I can relax in the knowledge that they are already selected.
    Thanks once again.

  21. Thank you for the info to select our preferred seats, Etihad website needs a proper developer to sort it.

    Our Tickets were booked through a third party(package golf break) and I tried to input the passport details for the rest of my party, it would not upload? Can you help with suggestions as how I can overcome this.

    I don’t think we will be able to check in online.

  22. thank you so very much for this post.
    I could now change my seats without waiting for the phone service.

  23. It worked last month and when i went to make changes i got an error.

    “Technical Error
    We encountered a technical issue and will not be able to proceed with this transaction. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest you call us on 02 599 0000 from within the UAE or +971 2 599 0000 from elsewhere for assistance.”

  24. Thanks for sharing all the information! Gotta say, I have not seen any better FF program than #AAdvantage

    I’ll soon be making my first ever trip report on Etihad First Class B787-9 from Washington (IAD) to Mumbai (BOM)!

  25. I get the same error as @Raja – I wonder if this has been fixed?

    OTOH, when I go to MMB on etihad,com, on the top it displays:

    Retrieve Payment Problem
    We cannot recognise some reservation and/or electronic ticket elements.

    even though it displays all the segments. It shows them all fine on virtuallythere, as well as on AA.com

    I suppose, I’ll just have to give them a call…

  26. This doesn’t seem to be working anymore (unless it’s a temporary issue). It worked for me in the past, but today when I went to look at the seat maps for upcoming flights, it gives me an “Unexpected error” page.

  27. I have a feeling this is temporary. When I am logged into my etihad guest account and try this it brings me to a different error page that it cannot find the reservation. When I’m not logged in it says page not found but in the error URL includes “&flowErrorMessageId=ancillariesMTOcannotRetrieveReservation”

  28. Definitely seems to be a technical issue on the site, I’m sure they’ll have it working again at some point. Though Ben also said that the phone agents are pretty easy to deal with 😉

  29. tried doing exactly as suggested but continuously got error messages “The page you have requested does not exist. Please check the URL and try again”
    the url i typed washttps://booking.etihad.com/SSW2010/EYEY/ancillaries.html?viewReloc=XXXXXX ( xxx of course replaced)

    please help!

  30. Yeah.. i am getting this:

    We encountered a technical issue and will not be able to proceed with this transaction. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest you call us on 02 599 0000 from within the UAE or +971 2 599 0000 from elsewhere for assistance.

  31. Still getting the “technical error” screen… anyone figured a work around?

    Thx.
    ZH

  32. The technical error still persists. It looks like Etihad might have fixed this backdoor feature for good.

  33. It’s now possible to add a seat to your existing booking on etihad website. Simply go to etihad airways website and select manage my booking and enter your details then click on additional services then select add baggage/seats and continue with the instructions mentioned at the above post

  34. It does allow me to click that through the manage reservation page now, however I still end up on the same technical error page

  35. Thank you very much, it was very useful. My first try encountered the same technical error problem, and I figured out that it was because I left a blank between “=” and my Etihad confirmation code. Check it out and good luck.

  36. Thanks. Just tried it and had no problem booking my seats for my Sept. flight.
    Unfortunately in Economy, but no extra charge for advance seat assignment.
    Put in a bid for first class, but they don’t let you know until check-in if your bid is successful.

  37. Logging in through Etihad site and view booking booking lands on ‘www.virtuallythere.com’ with the following message.
    “THIS RESERVATION DOESN’T HAVE EMAIL, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGER”

    Any suggestions?

  38. Not working for me either. Retrieves itinerary but give this error (noted by many in this thread).

    “Retrieve Payment Problem

    We cannot recognise some reservation and/or electronic ticket elements. If you have any queries about your reservation, please contact the office (e.g. Travel Agency, partner airline office) that made the reservation and/or issued the ticket.”

  39. Error message: ‘The page you requested, does not exist’
    Can you remind me whether we are entitle to the chauffeur service (no stopovers) with an AA award ticket?
    Thanks

  40. @ Ben
    Looks like this ‘backdoor’ secret has been blown out of the water.. it still does not work, since April

    Tried today and got the same message as someone did in April 2015
    “We encountered a technical issue and will not be able to proceed with this transaction. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest you call us on 02 599 0000 from within the UAE or +971 2 599 0000 from elsewhere for assistance.”

  41. You’d better double-check, Emanuel. It looks like you are successful, whether you do the straightforward change or employ the trick, but if you go back in later the seat assignments are not present.

  42. This trick just worked for me. Able to get Apartments 3K and 4K for me and the wife from MEL-AUH. Logged out then went back in and confirmed seats are saved.

  43. I get Ancillary Error every time I try to log in. Had to ring and select seats. Any other way of getting in ?

  44. Also getting ancillary error. I was able to pick a family member’s seat yesterday using this method though.

  45. I can’t even stay logged in on their site! Every time I start to search for a flight it tells me to log in. I log in, and as soon as I go to another page to search for a flight, it tells me to log in. Arrggghhh. No luck with Qantas either looking for Etihad flights.

  46. Hi Ben I am flying to India from jfk with my toddler in Feb.. I payed an extra $150 during buking for extra leg room seats. But once I got tickets on my mail. It says seats are not confirmed. Now how do I get d alpha numeric code u mentioned. I am travelling on economy.

  47. wont work for me, ticket is not on hold, it has been issued. After posting the link and replacing with my PNR, goes nowhere, returns error.

  48. Hi

    i have an question! I can manage seat as you described but i couldn’t manage seat which is operated by partner airlines? so how to manage that seat?
    Do you have any link or suggestion for that scenario?

    Thanks
    Pankil

  49. Also getting ancillary error. I was able to pick a family member’s seat yesterday using this method though.
    Is it because I purchased threw a travel agent or 3rd party?

  50. Got this error

    “Technical Error
    We encountered a technical issue and will not be able to proceed with this transaction. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest you call us on 02 599 0000 from within the UAE or +971 2 599 0000 from elsewhere for assistance”

    Going thru Manage My Booking go this message:
    “For flights purchased from travel agents and third party websites, please contact them for further assistance.”

    I booked using ANA miles.

  51. I can get into the virtuallythere website and see some information on my booking, but it does not have the “Manage my booking” button on the right side like this article shows. Used my Etihad PNR, but was originally an Alitalia codeshare reservation.

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