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BBC Investigates Passenger Uproar Over Ryanair Seat Selection Policy

Passengers have accused the airline of needlessly splitting up groups of travelers with random seating assignments.

As the furor over Ryanair’s seat selection policy mounts online, the BBC has investigated passengers’ claims that the budget carrier is deliberately separating groups who have elected not to pay for assigned seats, the Telegraph reports.

Over the past week, the airline’s Twitter account has been bombarded with complaints from travelers who feel that they, along with their friends and family, are being punished by the carrier for not paying a voluntary seat selection charge. Many of the tweets appear to be dubious of the random seats assigned by the carrier, with multiple passengers querying why those traveling within their groups could not be allocated spaces nearer to each other, especially when space is obviously available.

“Checked in two people together on @Ryanair and they’ve ‘randomly’ allocated seats a planes length apart!,” tweeted passenger Anthony McGarrigle.

Following up on these complaints, the BBC‘s Watchdog program has explored passengers’ claims that the carrier could, theoretically, seat groups of passengers near each other, given a reasonable availability of space.

The broadcaster spoke to Dr. Jennifer Rodgers from the University of Oxford who conducted a trial whereby a group of four researchers booked onto as many flights were randomly assigned seats scattered throughout the aircraft. “Watchdog said that each time the group was able “to determine from the seating availability charts online that there was plenty of room on the plane for them to be allocated seats together,” the paper reported.

Despite the recent increase in complaints, Ryanair maintains that both its seat selection policy and the mathematical formula used to assign seats has not changed. It continues to reiterate to passengers that seat assignments are not guaranteed unless paid for.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Ben Lee July 15, 2017

No other airlines in the world as this unique programming except for the two that charges for seat allocations.

Ben Lee July 15, 2017

Air asia does exactly the same thing. You cannot tell me that any seating algorithm would automaically split block bookings apart. That would be the dumbest programming ever.

Yachtman July 3, 2017

The thing is that its beyond random, it is very clearly an algorithm that purposely assigns seats in wildly varying locations. It used to assign them in blocks and you'd have a fairly good chance of sitting next to or near your companions, so paid seat selection was only necessary if you wanted a specific seat. It's very much a if you don't want to pay we will purposely mess you around. But thats Ryanair for you.

makrom July 3, 2017

FR clearly states that if you don't want a randomly assigned seat, you have to pay for it. There really isn't any hidden catch here. Yet people who chose not to pay complain about the randomness of their assigned seats... What's next? People complaining that they can't win the FR lottery when they don't buy tickets for it?

Calchas July 3, 2017

What's the problem? It's Ryanair.