Subject: Re: airline seating for families

Not all seats are pre-assigned; at least 30% of the economy seats are assigned at the counter on day of departure. Airline counter personnel most certainly don't want families split up, but you're correct in that buyers of the most discounted tickets don't always get first choice because some discounted prices preclude advance assignments. Does your paid fare permit advance seat assignments? I'd certainly call Cathay 3 times to get the answer to that question (you may get 3 different answers!). Find out when you can get your seats assigned & be diligent in calling to get that done. Ask about the seat configuration, because seat assignment software operates on a daffy linear process & you may end up with middle/aisle/aisle /middle seats when you would prefer window/middle & window/middle in the next row back.

As for frequent flyer plans, Cathay's Oneworld partners include American Airlines & Alaska Airlines; neither of these plans require membership fees. Miles earned on Cathay could be redeemed on Cathay, Qantas, American or Alaska. You'll be flying lots of miles so it makes sense to get into some kind of plan. British Airways no longer participates in a reciprocal plan with Cathay for residents of the Asia/Pacific region.

Whether joining the Marco Polo Club is worth it, I'm not sure. Members-only lounges offer some amenities, but I don't know that your seat assignment concerns would be addressed with membership.