Saver fares and switching seats

Old Aug 25, 19, 4:30 pm
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Saver fares and switching seats

Small rant- the last few flights I’ve taken have been preceded by requests from gate agents for me (single traveler) to trade seats for “families with children” who need to sit together. At first I assumed it was last minute ticketing that kept them from sitting as they wanted, but after overhearing the last family, I suspect that they’ve taken advantage of the new saver fares to not preassign their seats. I just gave up 6D for 22B and am not happy about it, but the alternative was sitting beside a young mother with an infant and a toddler and feeling guilty the whole flight.

Whats your response to seat trade requests? Ive also traded for families to sit together in the past only to have the parent sit in my premium seat and the child remain with another family member elsewhere. Usually I’m mild mannered but I think I need to set boundaries....
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Old Aug 25, 19, 4:40 pm
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I appreciate your kindness in trying to help out families or couples, but I would draw the line at moving from First or Premium to the back of the bus. Either you paid for Premium or you were upgraded to Premium, it sounds like the other "family" was not if one got stuck in the back of the bus. What I would have said is, "I am sure the two people who are sitting next to your family member would love to move from row 22 to row 6 and you can move back, that way your family would be together." When I get upgraded, I am usually easygoing about changing seats within the same cabin I am assigned, however there are times on long haul flights that I will pay for first class cause I want a certain seat and be damned if I am going to move for folks upgraded at the last minute..
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Old Aug 25, 19, 5:18 pm
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My answer to this is to send the mother and child back to 22B and send the guy next to her in 22C up front with you. The guy in 22C will gladly go forward I bet.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 5:54 pm
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
I appreciate your kindness in trying to help out families or couples, but I would draw the line at moving from First or Premium to the back of the bus. Either you paid for Premium or you were upgraded to Premium, it sounds like the other "family" was not if one got stuck in the back of the bus. What I would have said is, "I am sure the two people who are sitting next to your family member would love to move from row 22 to row 6 and you can move back, that way your family would be together." When I get upgraded, I am usually easygoing about changing seats within the same cabin I am assigned, however there are times on long haul flights that I will pay for first class cause I want a certain seat and be damned if I am going to move for folks upgraded at the last minute..
+1
I can usually tell if families are sitting apart through no fault of their own (IRROPS, funeral, etc.) or if machinations are in play, which for me does make a difference in my willingness to move. Regardless, I won’t move out of F/PE or to a middle seat just to make a GA/FA’s job easier; I avoid bulkheads in part for this reason. Feel guilty? NEVER!! I flew cross-country many times as the only adult with my three little ones (always pre-assigned seats together). Parenting one toddler and an infant for a few hours by oneself? No pity points from me….
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Old Aug 25, 19, 10:07 pm
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If you're on a saver fare you get no sympathy from me.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 11:16 pm
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AS needs to insure that small children are seated next to a responsible adult or provide UMC service.
They can achieve this by waiving seat selection fees for an adult/child pair on standard fares. Airlines should not be allowed to extort fees from parents by threatening an unsafe condition for their children if they don't pony up. And by adding the UMC fee to Saver fares if a minor child is traveling on the ticket, refundable if the child ends up seated next to his parent (as if AS would ever let that happen under these guidelines). The additional charge would clearly warn the customer that with this Saver fare their child may be seated alone, but will be attended to by the Cabin Crew as a UMC. Under standard operating conditions, other passengers should not be annoyed by being asked to make up for Alaska's neglecting the simple solution here. But as long as passengers snipe at one another, instead of the carrier purposely creating the condition for increased profitability at their expense, there's little incentive for them to do so.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 3:07 am
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
They can achieve this by waiving seat selection fees for an adult/child pair on standard fares. Airlines should not be allowed to extort fees from parents by threatening an unsafe condition for their children if they don't pony up.
Proponents of basic tickets say it is a discount for those who are flexible in their seating options. Parents with children are inflexible so it isn't extortion.

Why not limit basic tickets to passengers over a certain age instead?
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Old Aug 26, 19, 3:47 am
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
AS needs to insure that small children are seated next to a responsible adult or provide UMC service.
They can achieve this by waiving seat selection fees for an adult/child pair on standard fares. Airlines should not be allowed to extort fees from parents by threatening an unsafe condition for their children if they don't pony up. And by adding the UMC fee to Saver fares if a minor child is traveling on the ticket, refundable if the child ends up seated next to his parent (as if AS would ever let that happen under these guidelines). The additional charge would clearly warn the customer that with this Saver fare their child may be seated alone, but will be attended to by the Cabin Crew as a UMC. Under standard operating conditions, other passengers should not be annoyed by being asked to make up for Alaska's neglecting the simple solution here. But as long as passengers snipe at one another, instead of the carrier purposely creating the condition for increased profitability at their expense, there's little incentive for them to do so.
Per the OP, all children in this thread were under adult control. And nothing prevented the woman in 6 from handing the infant back to her companion. And before Saver seats (which 22B is not), all parents had to “pony up" or find another mode of transportation. And sharing one’s opinion in a forum is one reason why we’re all here. I note no pettiness, only dialogue from those who do not wish to be inconvenienced by families who prefer not to plan accordingly. “Actions have consequences” applies to parents, too.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by bon mot View Post
Per the OP, all children in this thread were under adult control. And nothing prevented the woman in 6 from handing the infant back to her companion. And before Saver seats (which 22B is not), all parents had to “pony up" or find another mode of transportation. And sharing one’s opinion in a forum is one reason why we’re all here. I note no pettiness, only dialogue from those who do not wish to be inconvenienced by families who prefer not to plan accordingly. “Actions have consequences” applies to parents, too.
Because of safety concerns, you can't subject children to danger as a way of increasing ancillary profitability. You can scream "cheapskate parents" all you want, but if some kid is molested on an AS flight because Alaska's systems are insufficient and the flight crew refused to invoke their absolute power to alter seat assignments, the carrier going to suffer far more public anger than the parents. In an emergency, as a fellow passenger, do you want Dad going upstream and flinging people back into their seats so he can get to his 6 year old daughter 15 rows behind him?
Frankly, any airline that allows such a condition, no less encourages it by their business model, deserves every last bit of what they'll receive.
I was careful to refer to adult/child pairs. If a Mom, Dad, and one minor child are traveling, one adult and the child should be seated together without fee. Dad wants to sit with Mom and baby? Pay the fee, select the seat. I two adults and two children are flying, each child should be seated next to a parent without fee, but the if the family wants to sit all together, one adult must pay the seat selection fee to choose a seat adjacent to the other adult.
Saver fares as I said should be off limits to minor children unless they pay the UMC fee.
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Last edited by rickg523; Aug 26, 19 at 1:35 pm
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Old Aug 26, 19, 11:53 am
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I'm in the middle on this one.

I find it rational that a parent and child should be able to buy airline tickets and be able to sit together. It's ridiculous that the airlines would charge junk fees for them to get this basic service. Throughout my flying years of 30+ years, airlines have generally managed to do this reasonably well, often by holding a few seats for gate assignment or whatever.

That said, I don't think GA's or FA's should be going to people in Premium and asking them to move back to row 22 to accommodate this. I would not feel guilty about holding my ground on seat 6D to a reasonable extent. (Clearly this isn't something I'd be willing to get arrested over or anything like that.) It's poor form on Alaska's part that they allowed it to get to this point.

There was talk about the FAA passing a regulation that compels airlines to seat small children with their parents. (Or at least one parent, presumably extortion-free.) If airlines fail to do this on their own, I think that's a reasonable safety regulation. It can be done without affecting all of our precious upgrades and whatnot.

FWIW, I have no toddlers. I have teenagers and do not expect this kind of regulation for kids their age. We usually sit together because because I don't take big family trips on airlines where I have no status, but if we did due to IROPS or whatever, we'd just make do, swap seats if we can give other pax an equal/better seat, or just sit apart.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 11:59 am
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The answer to OP's question is that there is nothing wrong with AS or another passenger asking. If you are comfortable with the change, accept it. If you are, do not.

AS should block individuals from booking basic tickets for people traveling children under a given age and provide an express warning that older children (12+??) may be seated alone if the passenger insists on booking in Basic.

I have zero sympathy for people who try to beat the system.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I have zero sympathy for people who try to beat the system.
Agreed...except it's the airlines who are trying to beat the system. If they cannot behave ethically on their own, then they must be legislated to at least act responsibly.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Agreed...except it's the airlines who are trying to beat the system. If they cannot behave ethically on their own, then they must be legislated to at least act responsibly.
If you book your flight on AS website, it warns you if you buy Saver fare you may not be able to sit together.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
In an emergency, as a fellow passenger, do you want Dad going upstream and flinging people back into there seats so he can get to his 6 year old daughter 15 rows behind him?...
But at what age do you think this stops becoming an issue? 12? 14? 16? Older? Do you not think that Dad is going to bulldoze his way upstream, “flinging people back into there (sp) seats” for his 12 year old? Or his 14 year old? Or his 16 year old daughter? Where does it end?

No parent is going to leave a burning plane if one of their children is in that plane regardless of whether the child is 6 or 20. So your rationale is ridiculous. In your world, to prevent what you are using as the reason for seating parents and children together, ALL parents should be seated next to their kids, not just younger ones. So if your reasoning is truly this, then any parent travelling with any child should get free seating.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 1:13 pm
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Just say no, without guilt or remorse.

When planning travel, families should budget airfare just like lodging, meals and activities. This means selecting fares that allow everyone in the party to sit together. Airfares are at all time lows (adjusted for inflation), airline credit cards bring additional savings (free checked bags, companion passes). If the incremental cost to reserve seats in advance exceeds the budget, then consider another location, shorter trip, or leave the kids home with family - my wife and I tended to favor the latter when our kids were young.

What's next: families demanding free upgrades to minivans or premium SUVs when renting sub-compact cars? 2 bedroom suites when booking a standard room with one double bed?

I had a situation where a couple with a "lap child" (kid was definitely over 2 years old) somehow talked there way at the gate in to first class on a flight KOA-SAN a few years back, mother attempted to bully me in to moving to row 1 - bulkhead - not going to happen ("you were a kid once"). Prior to departure, I spoke with the ground supervisor, voiced my concern, mother refused the offered of an empty row (3 adjacent seats) in Y+. Kid was disruptive during the entire flight, miserable experience for the parents - I enjoyed 3 movies on the tablet, wearing noise reduction headphones. Wrote about the experience to Alaska Listens, received a voucher worth approximately half of my first class ticket.
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