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Seat reservation tactics - Leaving middle seat empty

Seat reservation tactics - Leaving middle seat empty

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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:20 pm
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Seat reservation tactics - Leaving middle seat empty

We have a lot of flights this year as a family (3 of which are longhaul) and am trying to work out the best seats to reserve in advance in Economy. We are 2 adults, a child and an infant and although we can reserve the bulkhead seats with a basinette, I actually dont like them.
So, the idea was to book, for example, seats A, C and D (in any row), leaving B free (which would be between the child and adult with infant), thinking that its unlikely that anyone would be placed in B unless the flight is full. In which case, the unknown person in B would in most likelihood prefer to switch rather than being stuck between an adult with infant and a child.
I know BA could change our seats, but assuming they dont, do you think this is a good way to increase our chances of getting extra space, which would be used for the lap infant?
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:30 pm
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Personally I would not do this.

I'd also say this if it was two adults trying to get some extra space.

If you get a free seat then look at it as a bonus not something you should be trying to game the system to get.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:32 pm
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On recent BA flights in Y, I have seen very few empty seats at all.

In your position, I would probably try the same tactics and hope to be lucky, but I think it's fairly unlikely you'll be able to snag a free empty seat for baby.

Best of luck, and safe travels
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:34 pm
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Apologies if this is prohibitively expensive - but could you buy a childs seat for the infant - do BA have reduced rates for children? In this scenario you would be guaranteed extra space.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:43 pm
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Seat reservation tactics - Leaving middle seat empty

That is a sound tactic. Not guaranteed to work but does increase your chances. It even works better when implementing this at the back of the plane as many airlines system assign seats from front towards aft.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:46 pm
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Absolutely the right thing to do. But 2 things to remember however:

1. Your tactics are based on a load factor of 66% or less in SH economy, eg no one gets the middle seat, and 60% in LH economy, which if it was the case, would get the airline bust very quickly... You therefore need to pick the ACD triplets near the back of any cabin, as most middle seat pax will often at least want to be as far forward in the cabin as possible.

2. On SH economy (have only done J/F with kids on longhaul - spoilt brats) only certain rows have 4 oxygen masks and are released for pax with infants. That may reduce your choices and also, from experience, puts you at higher risk of the airline moving you.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Gold77 View Post
Absolutely the right thing to do. But 2 things to remember however:

1. Your tactics are based on a load factor of 66% or less in SH economy, eg no one gets the middle seat, and 60% in LH economy, which if it was the case, would get the airline bust very quickly... You therefore need to pick the ACD triplets near the back of any cabin, as most middle seat pax will often at least want to be as far forward in the cabin as possible.

2. On SH economy (have only done J/F with kids on longhaul - spoilt brats) only certain rows have 4 oxygen masks and are released for pax with infants. That may reduce your choices and also, from experience, puts you at higher risk of the airline moving you.
Maybe i'm over analising this but....
Does it make any difference that its between an Adult/infant and child? Presumably people doing OLCI wouldnt select a middle seat unless no other choice and at check in they would see that there is an Infant and child? Agreed, back of plane is best bet. Have flights to CPT, BKK and JFK booked so anything that can make it easier helps!

Last edited by englisha; Jan 18, 15 at 1:59 pm
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Popinjay View Post
do BA have reduced rates for children?
Not when we've been travelling
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Old Jan 18, 15, 1:57 pm
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I have no idea whether it's BA policy to watch out for this or whether individual agents proactively change seats but I was at T5 recently dropping off a bag the person in front of me returned to the desk to protest with the member of staff who had just served him. It would seem that he did much the same thing and the check-in agent moved the person in seat xD to xB. A rather heated debate ensued but I didn't hear the end of it.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 2:53 pm
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I recall at least one flight we made in J with 2 adults 1 child and 1 infant. BA at the outstation proactively helped up get 10DFG, blocking 10E.

That said in the OPs position I would book ABC in the bulkhead, otherwise you run the risk of the four of you ending up in ABC without the bulkhead. And sod's law is that it'll happen. Also the system might get a bit funny about you assigning the child in a non adjacent seat. Because there's a child in the booking Im sure it'll come to attention when the flight is "edited" about 5 days before departure...
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Old Jan 18, 15, 3:09 pm
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I think this is very risky.

Most long haul flights I take these days are very full and you are going to very popular destinations.

When people check in they don't see any information about who is next to them, so they wouldn't be able to avoid a seat next to a child.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 3:21 pm
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It's not a bad plan, but please don't be disappointed if it doesnt work out on the day.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 3:58 pm
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I detest those people who select A&C hoping that B remains empty then have the audacity to tell Mr or Mrs B which seat they can have when their plan backfires or even worse leave them in the middle making sure they feel unwelcome.....selfish sods.
Your idea at least leaves the anonymous person should they turn up with a better seat so that's fair enough.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Your idea at least leaves the anonymous person should they turn up with a better seat so that's fair enough.
Yeah of course. Not: instead of Mr A and Mrs C, the anonymous person should they turn up in B, will get Mr A, Mrs C and a baby... Think you need to revisit your concept of 'better seat'.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by englisha View Post
Maybe i'm over analising this but....
Does it make any difference that its between an Adult/infant and child? Presumably people doing OLCI wouldnt select a middle seat unless no other choice and at check in they would see that there is an Infant and child?
You are indeed overanalysing
Check in staff won't see / won't care there is a baby so the odds remain completely the same.
And as SwissTony mentioned, the infant in the booking will certainly generate some attention. I have done your suggestion on several flights (thankfully thre was no passenger named Hiddy on board!) and while it has been very successful when in a couple, has been much more mixed with infant and infant/child combos.
If you don't try you don't get... But the only real alternative is to buy a seat for the infant.
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