2. Re: Best bet to select economy seats together on Lufthansa
Lufthansa now charge for advance seat selection unless you've bought the expensive fare buckets. There may be problem with pre-paying only being available to passengers who have booked directly with LH. On the link below it says "Please also note that paid-for seat reservations can only be purchased in conjunction with a Lufthansa airline ticket." If your ticket is on the UA code share then you don't have a Lufthansa ticket, you have a United ticket.
But, in order to test that, call United and/or Expedia and ask for your "Lufthansa PNR", or "record locator". That is what you'll need in order to access your reservation on www.lufthansa.com , and you can then see if you can pre-select seats for payment. If so, then pay and select. If not, then everyone was right all along.
And because of the payment requirement for advance seat selection, I'd say that the chances of you getting seats together at OLCI are good, as long as you check in at T-24. The only people getting free selection are those who bought the expensive fares, and very top elite frequent fliers (M&M Hon Circle and Senators). Other Star Golds have to pay. So I suspect many will baulk at payment and try to select seats right at T-24.Edited: 2:54 pm, October 14, 2014
That's not quite true. I have an upcoming LH flight next month, booked through UA, Q fare, and I can change my seats on lufthansa.com just fine using the LH record locator.
From what I understand, issues occur when the fare class you're booked into won't allow you free-of-charge ASR. I've had trouble last year with S fare tickets not letting me do ASR. Then again, their IT systems seem to have gotten an overhaul, because I also had issues getting a seat with a J fare last year, and that included not being able to get one during OLCI or even at the gate.
Assuming that you've tried ASR and failed on LH.com, you can try the LH website again at T-23. Failing that, your next step would be to call them. Make sure that when you log into LH's site, you use the LH record locator, not the UA one. You can find it by logging into UA.com, viewing your itinerary and clicking on the "show additional confirmation numbers" link at the top.