Asked to move from paid-for seat

Old Oct 27, 16, 6:49 am
  #1  
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Asked to move from paid-for seat

Last week my sister flew from London Gatwick to Tampa, in Club World. I booked and paid for her flight and, because she has no BAEC status, I also paid (£88, I think it was) to select a good seat for her - forward facing, aisle, and no-one had to clamber over her to get out of their seat.

Shortly after boarding, another passenger asked her if she would mind swapping seats so that she (the other passenger) could sit next to her friend. She said they had been unable to get two seats together at check-in. My sister politely declined, saying that she had paid for her seat, liked her seat and was now quite comfortably settled in.

The other passenger wasn't happy, and returned with the CSM, insisting that he make my sister move. The CSM, who was clearly in a rather difficult position, tried to persuade my sister to move and put her under some pressure to do so. Fearing that she was the centre of attention and was probably starting to look petty, she did swap seats with the other passenger.

It didn't affect her enjoyment of the flight at all - it was her first time in CW and she enjoyed every moment and every aspect of it - but I am unhappy that she was put under pressure to move from a seat that had been selected and paid for months ago to accommodate two passengers who had chosen not to pay to obtain seats together.

I have applied for a refund of the seat selection fee, which I expect (am determined) to receive. But I am undecided whether to raise this with Customer Relations. I am not seeking compensation of any sort but would like to express my displeasure. What is the opinion of forum members? Is it worth doing this, or should I just treat this as another nail in the coffin of my relationship with BA and move on?

Perhaps one of the very helpful BA cabin crew on this forum could tell me how they would have handled this situation. Does your training specifically cover such a scenario? I'd be interested in knowing.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 6:51 am
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I would have said to the seat wanter, 'sure you can have it for the 88 pounds/$150 I paid to reserve it'.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 6:55 am
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Push your complaint.

Both the other passenger and the crew were utterly in the wrong to put any pressure on your sister to change her seat.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 6:57 am
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very awkward for everyone involved - a problem BA create in part by trying to "segment" seat selection between status (which is important in CW, to be fair: not all CW seats are equal!) and payment...(which is a bit silly in a business class product)


I have had similar - got effectively "asked" to move out of 64K (a very coveted private upper deck 747 CW seat, which I had specifically pre-reserved as a Gold) to allow two other passengers to sit together (no status, no payment) - so in effect one of them got the best CW seat on the plane and I got booted off to sit by the loo....THANKS


very awkward - was effectively "asked" to switch in the lounge, but it seems really petty to say no in that situation


you should at the very least push for a refund of the £88...I don't expect anything else from it though
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Old Oct 27, 16, 6:57 am
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I was put under pressure to move from 64A to allow a couple to sit together, I asked the Crew if there were 2 seats together downstairs... The Answer being yes made the crew member & couple disappear!
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:00 am
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Write to then giving 21 days to refund and then straight to MCOL. BA will try to fob you off with all sorts of nonsense otherwise.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:01 am
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My own take is that it is OK if the CSM has a very gentle, very discreet word with your sister on her own, without the other passenger being present, but "no means no" and your sister should not feel pressurised. Indeed the CSM should angle it so that a "no" answer is easiest to give. Certainly get the money back, but if you want to pursue the Customer Relations angle you will need to name the CSM and explain clearly why it wasn't acceptable. Since you mentioned the CSM looked to be caught in the middle, this may be overkill, but the CSM really should have detached herself from the other passenger. I can see why you may be fuming about this, given you paid so much for the seat, there again your sister did enjoy the experience so you may want, for her sake, to be transactional.

Personally, in your sister's place, I think I would have said to the passenger "yeah, no problem, give me £88 and the seat is yours!"
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:01 am
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it was a super full flight and I think that was literally the only option available...bit bizarre but there we go


to be fair, the lounge agent did call down to see whether I could get moved to F instead (also full...though irritatingly with my Silver card colleagues who got bumped ahead of me)


one of those incidents which basically made me think chasing Gold was pointless - see my other thread about just having booked Swiss/Austrian for my next J-class EU-transatlantic instead...
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Personally, in your sister's place, I think I would have said to the passenger "yeah, no problem, give me £88 and the seat is yours!"
Given that the passenger would also have lost the opportunity to choose a seat at check-in and would have had to make do with whatever was left, I would argue that a premium should be paid over and above the £88 the passenger originally paid.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:05 am
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I get asked this frequently - it really infuriates me. Just because I don't have to pay cash to reserve my seat seems to be an excuse to ask me to move.

All seats are definitely not equal
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:06 am
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As soon as a customer reminded me that they have paid for the seat reservation I would have apologised and moved away.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:08 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by SoggyDollar View Post
I get asked this frequently - it really infuriates me. Just because I don't have to pay cash to reserve my seat seems to be an excuse to ask me to move.

All seats are definitely not equal
I think that is slightly unfair one day you might need two seats together.
I don't see any problem with being politely and discreetly asked and of course you have a right to refuse.
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:09 am
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If you were sat next to the friend, who was sat next to the other passenger and could they not have been asked to move instead of you?
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
I think that is slightly unfair one day you might need two seats together.
I don't see any problem with being politely and discreetly asked and of course you have a right to refuse.
CIHY - I am sure you would do it tactfully and discreetly, but sadly that is not my experience!
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Old Oct 27, 16, 7:14 am
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"I think that is slightly unfair one day you might need two seats together."


Sorry, I don't think this is at all unfair. I am organized and make sure I either have status, pay for seating, or check in online early to secure seats together - if other passengers are less organized they should live with the consequences, not me.


I wouldn't take this line for parents travelling with children (but, guess what, BA automatically allocates those seats together), but the idea that it's "OK" to kick one of your frequent flyers out of their preferred seat because some couple who couldn't get their lives organized can't sit apart for an overnight flight is ridiculous - not my problem! BA need to toughen up on this, it's seriously annoying.
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