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Suggested Protocol to try and swap seats with another passenger?

Suggested Protocol to try and swap seats with another passenger?

Old Dec 15, 12, 9:27 pm
  #1  
SRG
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Suggested Protocol to try and swap seats with another passenger?

Flying back on tomorrow's flight from Singapore, I'm booked into 1A (last minute upgrade from Business due to FS9 availability opening up 72 hours before the flight). At that point 1K, 3K and rows 4 & 5 were free (only 4 people in First including me).

G/F flying back same day but with Qatar, stopping in Doha (booked months ago). Woke up this morning and had the bright idea of her flying back with me using miles (why didn't I think of this yesterday?). Booked her one way flight using avois all fine but 1K was gone (everything else available). So she's sitting in 3K. Since booking, row 4 is blocked now so only 4 seats in row 5 left, but it still shows FS5 on KVS - strange.

So at the moment we're working on the basis that I'll remain in 1A with her in 3K as its mostly a sleeper flight anyway, but she can join me in the buddy seat for the meals. However I was wondering if there is a protocol to politely ask Mr/Ms 1K whether they would be willing to swap to 3K to allow us to sit beside each other? Should we ask the lounge staff if they'd be willing to ask, or ask on board as we arrive on the plane? I'd hate to put Mr/Ms 1K on the spot directly as I feel its unfair on them (i.e. asking them when I'm sitting in 1A and they're already settled in 1K), but if there is a way to ask them quietly where its less awkward if they say no I would prefer that. If they prefer 1K thats not a problem, but they might not be bothered where they sit.
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Old Dec 15, 12, 9:36 pm
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In all honesty - 1K is quite a sacred seat so I would be surprised if whoever is in there will swap to 3K. I wouldn't - sorry.......

However - in my opinion - if you asked me on board - I would size you up and make a quick decision - yes or no. That may be wrong but it is what I would do.

I would ask the person on board but expect a 'NO' ! Anything else is a bonus

aks120
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Old Dec 15, 12, 10:40 pm
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Protocol?! Try asking them nicely.

FWIW there is no way I'd swop row 1 for 3 so expect a polite no back. On that route a high probability of op-ups so you might have a full cabin too.
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Old Dec 15, 12, 11:21 pm
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Originally Posted by SRG View Post
However I was wondering if there is a protocol to politely ask Mr/Ms 1K whether they would be willing to swap to 3K to allow us to sit beside each other? Should we ask the lounge staff if they'd be willing to ask, or ask on board as we arrive on the plane? I'd hate to put Mr/Ms 1K on the spot directly as I feel its unfair on them (i.e. asking them when I'm sitting in 1A and they're already settled in 1K), but if there is a way to ask them quietly where its less awkward if they say no I would prefer that. If they prefer 1K thats not a problem, but they might not be bothered where they sit.
Ask the person next to 3K if he or she would like your 1A.

If you would not be willing to make that sacrifice then dont ask anyone else the same?

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Old Dec 15, 12, 11:27 pm
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I would not ask a fellow passenger to swap with me for a seat that I consider it likely to be inferior, because when asked, some people are kind enough to say yes even though they are not very happy. I do not see any reason why anyone should feel obliged to put themselves out for my whim like that, especially when there is a row 5 completely empty.

(As an aside Some passengers consider 1K on 777 inferior to 3K, for instance (some don't like row 1 due to galley noise). I'm one of them in fact.)

DOH to LHR is hardly a long flight. Since you weren't on the same flight to start with, I'd just pick the best seat for each person and leave it at that.

If you really want to sit nearby, since Row 5 is empty, I would think it's far too rude to ask others to swap with you/your girlfriend for Row 1 or even Row 3. Why not put yourselves out first, instead of imposing on someone else just because you might not like Row 5? I suggest you assign yourselves Row 5.
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Old Dec 15, 12, 11:48 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I would not ask a fellow passenger to swap with me for a seat that I consider it likely to be inferior, because when asked, some people are kind enough to say yes even though they are not very happy. I do not see any reason why anyone should feel obliged to put themselves out for my whim like that, especially when there is a row 5 completely empty.
I agree - that was my worry. I don't like putting people in an awkward situation where they feel they have to say yes.

I don't want to make someone feel awkward so only wanted to ask whether there was a protocol where the passenger could be asked discretely by BA staff so if they say no (which I presume will be the case) there is no awkwardness. In other words, could this be done in the lounge, or does it need to wait until we are on board - or should I forget even asking and just settle down to sleep

I suspect row 5 will be full by the time I board tomorrow, although I understand why people suggest I should change our seats to 5E/F now. However as we will be sleeping most of the flight I'm not that bothered about sitting so close together - it was purely a nice to have if there was a way to get her into 1K without causing problems for Mr/Ms 1K. From my limited experience of BA First (6 flights) not everyone is as bothered in which seat they sit as us lot on Flyertalk

On a related note award availability has increased from FS5 to FS6, even though it still only shows row 5 (4 seats) available - I don't understand how that works.

Thanks for all replies btw - a long trip report will be coming over the next few weeks, visited Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand over the last 3 weeks
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Old Dec 16, 12, 12:05 am
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Originally Posted by SRG View Post
I don't want to make someone feel awkward so only wanted to ask whether there was a protocol where the passenger could be asked discretely by BA staff so if they say no (which I presume will be the case) there is no awkwardness. In other words, could this be done in the lounge, or does it need to wait until we are on board - or should I forget even asking and just settle down to sleep
A lot of people would say yes even if they don't want to even when BA staff members ask, because they would usually tell them that a couple is separated etc and they feel bad to say no. It is still an imposition regardless of who asks, really. I just do not think it is appropriate to ask when there is an alternative.

It is definitely not true that people are not very fussed about where they sit in F. As an F regular, it's very clear to me that most people have some kind of a preference.

If there is a special circumstance or there is no alternative solution, then I can understand asking, but to ask for a seat swap to avoid row 5 is not appropriate.

So, I would definitely forget asking and either move yourselves to Row 5, or be seated apart if you do not consider sitting together important enough to move together to Row 5. In fact, it is unlikely that BA staff members would ask someone to swap when there are seats together in Row 5, and if they did, that's not really good.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 12:26 am
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
A lot of people would say yes even if they don't want to even when BA staff members ask, because they would usually tell them that a couple is separated etc and they feel bad to say no. It is still an imposition regardless of who asks, really. I just do not think it is appropriate to ask when there is an alternative.

It is definitely not true that people are not very fussed about where they sit in F. As an F regular, it's very clear to me that most people have some kind of a preference.

If there is a special circumstance or there is no alternative solution, then I can understand asking, but to ask for a seat swap to avoid row 5 is not appropriate.

So, I would definitely forget asking and either move yourselves to Row 5, or be seated apart if you do not consider sitting together important enough to move together to Row 5. In fact, it is unlikely that BA staff members would ask someone to swap when there are seats together in Row 5, and if they did, that's not really good.
Fair enough, I can't really argue with that. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I'm probably just annoyed with myself for not doing this yesterday when I had the option (but hadn't even thought of the idea then).
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Old Dec 16, 12, 2:36 am
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The first thing I would do is ask at check-in if there are so seats together. If it's all sorted out there then it's a BA decision and nobody will complain.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 2:45 am
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I would ask the crew to ask for you, it is easier for the customer to refuse.
I personally wouldn't expect 1K to move to 3K but you will never know unless you ask.
I always make it clear to the customer that if they are not 100% happy they should refuse.
I would board early and ask the purser, hopefully they can speak to the customer in 1K before they enter the cabin.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 2:47 am
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Or, as has been said, ask the person in 3A if they will move to 1A and you take their seat. I guess the toss up is whether you want to sit next to your GF, or prefer a better seat?
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Old Dec 16, 12, 2:50 am
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If you must ask for any seat swap so you can sit with someone else, offer to sacrifice your best seat.

Also don't forget some people may have paid up to 80 for their chosen seat (although not in F).
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Old Dec 16, 12, 2:55 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
I would ask the crew to ask for you, it is easier for the customer to refuse.
Thanks for the replies everyone but we've decided we're not even going to ask.
On reflection its not fair on Mr/Ms 1K to be put in that position.

With regards to 3A though, its miles from 3K so I don't think the rest of the cabin would be happy about us shouting across the aisle 5E/F would be the answer, but being honest I find the light/noise from the galley too much there to sleep (I'm a very light sleeper). I personally would prefer to stick with my original 64K before UUA than 5E or 5F - YMMV of course.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 3:12 am
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
A lot of people would say yes even if they don't want to even when BA staff members ask, because they would usually tell them that a couple is separated etc and they feel bad to say no. It is still an imposition regardless of who asks, really.
Last time I was asked by a BA staff member (in the Flounge at BOS), I politely declined, explained that I preferred my original seat as no one had to jump over my feet to access the aisle (CW). No problem was the answer, they found some other solution and even introduced me to the lady who would be now sitting next to me.

However, on boarding, I was stopped at the door by the CSD and asked if I would "mind sitting in F today to help us out with a seating problem" I responded I would be delighted to help ...
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Old Dec 16, 12, 3:13 am
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Originally Posted by SRG View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone but we've decided we're not even going to ask.
On reflection its not fair on Mr/Ms 1K to be put in that position.
Still, ask at check-in, 1K might be a no-show or a cancellation/re-scheduling.
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