Airline changing your seats without asking

Old Mar 21st, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Airline changing your seats without asking

Has anyone have had their seats changed without asking you first? I had that problem lately on a flight from Chicago to Vegas. We checked in 24 hrs in advance on line, everything was OK, Checked our bags with an agent and recieved our boarding pass, everything OK same seats as reserved. Ready to board the plane, agent says your seats have been moved. I pd. extra for the extra legroom for the 2 seats when I made reservations 2 months ago. I had seats 7ab. She says you have been moved to 18ef. I say no way can I sit in a middle seat with no leg room. I am 6'4" and 290 lbs. She said take it or leave it and go on the next flight in 4 hrs. After saying again I can not sit there that I get claustricfobic then I was ignored, then please move out of the way. Nice way to start a trip. So after trying to think of what my wife and I can do without ruining our trip I told the agent for the 3rd time I cannot sit in those seat. Then she prints out 2 tickets in 12ab and says here take these. Ok that will work but no extra legroom but will work, just get us there at that point. So we go to board and people are already in these seats with tickets. Now its in the hands of the attendant, the ticket agent just gave us some filled seat tickets to get us out of the way. The good part of this story was that the flight attendant was super on moving a few people around to get us seated to where I was satisfied. How embarassing was to be standing in the isle with 200 people saying WTF!
It was not my problem to begin with. My complaint is how they can take our seats away without asking us first since we did everything properly to check in. I am going to fight this with the airlines if they ever respond for some type of refund. Anyone have any ideas?Or if this has ever happen to you? Your ticket with your seat assignments is supposed to be your contract to fly on that plane.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 10:22 AM
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First, seat assignments are never guaranteed and yes, can be changed. They are not contracted.

That said, it rarely happens on a whim. There is almost always a reason. For example, did your type of aircraft change to another with a different seat arrangement? (Although sometimes even with the same seat map the computer will move people around.)

Were your original seats some of those which are marked as being assignable to people with disabilities? Typically those are bulkhead seats but not necessarily. They are typically near the front of the aircraft. You don't necessarily know this information but could call.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 10:47 AM
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I would still complain, especially as you had paid extra.

Yes, it has happened to me, but not upon boarding. I called and cried until I got someone to restore my "good" seats. I think I would puke if it happened upon boarding. Dag, they suck.

May I ask that you please use paragraph breaks when writing in the future? It's really hard to read without them.

Especially use paragraph breaks if you are going to put your complaint in problem to the airline. You at least deserve your extra money back, but ask for some FF points too. Or a coupon. Or something.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 06:11 PM
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In your polite letter (better than a phone call) it would be wise to mention that you had checked in as requested, in advance. This should have given you some priority. Try to search for an on-line complaints officer, more probably called customer relations or some other mild job description. Can't help with that since you did not mention the airline.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 05:54 AM
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The same thing happened to me on the second leg of a flight. I had also done an online check-in. The equipment had not been changed, and I was not in a special row. However, I was moved from an aisle seat on the side into the middle section. I, too am claustrophobic and will not fly that airline again.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 08:04 AM
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As happened to me re: seat change from business to econ..Equipment change HAHAHA..The plane was in the night before so I could have gone on a different day if I had been informed. complained to agent, Delta cust. service and general comments..Got $200 voucher and a credit for difference in price on my credit card.. If you don't ask you don't get!!!
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 11:38 PM
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Hi! New on this post because last wek I had a seat change on Lufttansa...To No Fly Zone, are you sure the seat is not guaranteed ?
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 02:16 AM
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Yes, it is correct that seat reservations are not guaranteed. Seat reservations are not a right and an airline does not have to ask anyone if they need to change your assignment. Having checked in online doesn't make it less likely that you would have your seat changed.

As the OP paid extra for the seat reservations, they should get a refund of the seat fee if they didn't get like for like.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 02:43 AM
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The fine print says the airline can do anything they want.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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Milkwookie, it would be totally chaotic if an airline could not change seats in operational situations where they have to substitute an aircraft with a different seating configuration, accommodate a "special needs" passenger, seat an FAM, or even to offload a few passengers on exceptionally hot days. Sometimes they will do so before boarding to accommodate a family with children rather than let it be worked out once aboard, but there is a lot of discussion about that practice. Every airline has a "contract of carriage" on their website where you can read the rule.

One can sometimes get compensation from the airline for a non-trivial seat move but YMMV.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 10:28 AM
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Milkwookee: >>are you sure the seat is not guaranteed ?<<

Of course seats are not guaranteed. Even w/o a change of equipment. You can request any seat that is available to you . . . and they can put you in any seat they want.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 11:27 AM
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Thank You for all the replies.
My biggest complaint was they did not ask me first, sure these were blukhead seats. They said it was a medical problem. How do they know that I did not have a medical problem, thats why I reserved those 2 seats.If I had a problem, I would of been SOL.
Sure AA has the rights to those seats, but I still had the boarding pass to say they were mine. The correct way to go about it was for the airlines to approach me first. But everything is not always about the customer these days.
Their offer was 5000 miles per seat for a refund. Is that acceptable or not?
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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<Your ticket with your seat assignments is supposed to be your contract to fly on that plane.>

Nope, it is not (well you get to fly on that plane but you will sit wherever they put you).
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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<<How do they know that I did not have a medical problem, thats why I reserved those 2 seats.If I had a problem, I would of been SOL.>>

Because you did not tell them so. If you need a seat to accommodate a medical need you must call and have that noted in your record so you won't get moved as you did.

As to acceptability of the 5k miles - that is in addition to refund of the premium you paid, right? If so, it's more than they have to offer so graciously accept. If they are offering it instead of a refund - hell, no.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 03:40 PM
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>Because you did not tell them so. If you need a seat to accommodate a medical need you must call and have that noted in your record so you won't get moved as you did.

Quite correct. However, height and weight are not legally considered sufficient to _require_ priority seating such as a bulkhead. The only conditions which can legally require a non-exit row bulkhead seat are passengers with a fused leg or with a service animal (the latter at the passengers option).
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 03:56 PM
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<i> The only conditions which can legally require a non-exit row bulkhead seat are passengers with a fused leg or with a service animal (the latter at the passengers option).</i>

Or someone traveling with a cello, as I found out when bumped from the bulkhead recently (well, not sure about "legally" but I was told that was the only place to accommodate that passenger so I had to sit elsewhere).
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Seats are not guaranteed. However, if you have paid extra then they should have provided what you have paid for. If it meant more leg room then they shouldn't provide you with something different.
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 03:26 PM
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>>if you have paid extra then they should have provided what you have paid for.<< . . . or refund the difference.

>>If it meant more leg room then they shouldn't provide you with something different.<< . . . or refund the difference.

Nothing is guaranteed.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 04:23 PM
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When airlines have to replace for whatever reason one type of aircraft by another, they can hardly call all 1,000+ passengers that will be traveling on that aircraft that day in advance and negotiate their re-seating.
However, if you paid for extra legroom or exit row seats, and these are not available, you will get a refund for those extra costs.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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Which plane has a capacity of 1,000+? ;-)
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