When a user reserves a seat, does this mean any particular seat, or just any? From what I remember, last time I booked a ticket I got only a 'receipt' which would guarantee me a place, but the actual seat was not stated until I got the actual ticket on the airport on the day of departure.
This is also followed by a question: does the customer have a possibility of hand-picking the seats to reserve?
This is of great consequence to the architecture: delaying the association between seats and users gives you a possibility of changing the aircraft or reseating people when packing travelers on different segments. However, this would make more difficult assuring that the first user's get the best places, or, in case of booking more then one on the same journey, that they will be adjacent in the final layout, if only it was possible at the moment of booking.
Again, I would like real-world opinions on the matter.
I think seat reservation should be hold till one get a ticket and boarding pass. This is because, most of the airlines, reserves 2-5 %more seats, in order to accommodate the cancellation or amendment to itineraries.
So when I say reservation, I will allow reservation till equipments seating capacity + (2-5)% of total seats are reserved. Beyond that point, I will stop reserving seat for the segment.
Keeping this mind, I will not allocate the seats to the passenger.