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Seat Swapping, Seat Poaching and Seating Etiquette: The Definitive Thread

Seat Swapping, Seat Poaching and Seating Etiquette: The Definitive Thread

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Old Oct 11, 17, 8:52 am   -   Wikipost
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The Definitive Guide to Seat Poaching

1. Don't do it.
2. Alternatively to #1: Asking politely (and not demanding) to swap for an equal or better seat is acceptable by most (but the final decision always lays with the original seat holder)...but, be warned, some FT'ers may breathe fire at you.
3. Keep in mind that Point 2 is not seat poaching.
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Old Mar 15, 16, 4:11 pm
  #766  
 
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I got sort of seat poached on an AF 747, CDG-BOS a few years ago. Back before my savvy traveler days, I waited until the airport to try to get a better seat in Y. Turned out there was one middle left on the upper deck, first row. I arrived at my seat to find that the aisle seat was open. A french couple had originally been seated in the aisle and window, but the husband took the middle so he could sit next to his wife.

Needless to say, I did not complain.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 4:00 pm
  #767  
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Originally Posted by papermakerSC View Post
Roughly a year ago, me and loved ones flew MUC-CLT with LH in P. Normally this flight isn't much crowded, but this was the first Sunday in the year and all this business families from South Germany needed to go back to work. So, flight full as full can be.

Anyway.

My wife and my son took the 14 A and C, I got 14 D. Boarding was nearly completed, when an older guy showed up. Wearing a tuxedo and holding a red rose. He passed the business class, came back a couple of minutes later, looked at me and said: "Stand up, this is my seat." I was confused, asked for his boarding pass to prove his statement and he showed me 40 something in the middle (E or F, whatever). But he insists, that I took his seat. Purser showed up pretty soon and started a discussion with him. During this dispute, the guy insulted me and used pretty rude words about respect of the olds and so on. After a minute the purser was done with this gentleman.

Needles to say, that the plane left Munich without this guy.

Wired world.
Not a seat swap story so much, more of a lunatic flyer story..but your tale reminded me.

Years ago I was on a Swiss flight, and there was an old man in a seat a few rows up. Two more pax board and try to take their seats next to him, and he absolutely flips out that he has to share the row at all. No, he did not buy all three seats (as explained by the FA)..he IDB'ed himself too. Very very odd.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 4:22 pm
  #768  
 
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Originally Posted by papermakerSC View Post
Needles to say, that the plane left Munich without this guy.
Where do the needles fit in the story?
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Old Mar 17, 16, 10:01 pm
  #769  
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Originally Posted by Howste View Post
Where do the needles fit in the story?
That's how they encouraged him off the flight.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 10:02 pm
  #770  
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Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
Not a seat swap story so much, more of a lunatic flyer story..but your tale reminded me.

Years ago I was on a Swiss flight, and there was an old man in a seat a few rows up. Two more pax board and try to take their seats next to him, and he absolutely flips out that he has to share the row at all. No, he did not buy all three seats (as explained by the FA)..he IDB'ed himself too. Very very odd.
What do you mean "he IDB'ed himself"? Got himself kicked off the flight? Not exactly "DB" since he'd already boarded.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 8:04 am
  #771  
 
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I understand that seats are going to need to be changed on board some times. There is just no way to 100% ensure that everyone will get to sit with all the people they're traveling with.

What Should happen: Couple A has Seats 15C and 48B. - They should as 48C/A if they would like 15C so they can sit together. And then accept if for some odd reason 48B wants to keep their seat.

What seems to happen too much: Couple B has 15C and 48B - They sit in 15C and 15A then get offended with 15A wants their seat and not a middle in the back and raise a big stink about how they HAVE to sit together and you're just going to have to deal with it.

A little common sense (which is so rare these days it should be reclassified as a super-power!) and civility and everyone is happy. No need to legislate or regulate so families can sit together.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 10:56 am
  #772  
 
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Originally Posted by kop84 View Post
I understand that seats are going to need to be changed on board some times. There is just no way to 100% ensure that everyone will get to sit with all the people they're traveling with.

What Should happen: Couple A has Seats 15C and 48B. - They should as 48C/A if they would like 15C so they can sit together. And then accept if for some odd reason 48B wants to keep their seat.

What seems to happen too much: Couple B has 15C and 48B - They sit in 15C and 15A then get offended with 15A wants their seat and not a middle in the back and raise a big stink about how they HAVE to sit together and you're just going to have to deal with it.

A little common sense (which is so rare these days it should be reclassified as a super-power!) and civility and everyone is happy. No need to legislate or regulate so families can sit together.
Fully agree. Unfortunately there's also gray area where there may be no "good" answer and the only answer one has is a matter of one's perspective and the parties directly involved. Example: Mom and 2-3 year old kid (who is now too old and big to be a lap infant, but too young to likely fend for themselves) have 20B and 30B (both standard middle seats for the purpose of this example). What should happen then? A 2 year old likely can't fend for themselves, especially on a long flight. But should a passenger be asked to take a middle seat to make up for it, especially on a long flight? And if mom and kid are separated, then who has responsibility for the kid in an emergency evacuation? The passenger who wouldn't swap and kept their aisle/window seat? The F/As? Does the mom have to figure out how in the midst of an evacuation how to get to her kid, possibly going against the flow of people trying to evacuate? (asking to see what other opinions are - not to accuse anyone or assume positions).
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Old Mar 18, 16, 10:56 am
  #773  
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Originally Posted by kop84 View Post
I understand that seats are going to need to be changed on board some times. There is just no way to 100% ensure that everyone will get to sit with all the people they're traveling with.

What Should happen: Couple A has Seats 15C and 48B. - They should as 48C/A if they would like 15C so they can sit together. And then accept if for some odd reason 48B wants to keep their seat.

What seems to happen too much: Couple B has 15C and 48B - They sit in 15C and 15A then get offended with 15A wants their seat and not a middle in the back and raise a big stink about how they HAVE to sit together and you're just going to have to deal with it.

A little common sense (which is so rare these days it should be reclassified as a super-power!) and civility and everyone is happy. No need to legislate or regulate so families can sit together.
ITYM "accept it if 48A and 48C want to keep their seats." That might happen if, for instance, 48A and 48C are traveling together, and hoped for an empty seat between them, so now they're offering 48B a switch to window or aisle. In that case, a 3-way switch might work: there are likely to be two people sitting together but not traveling together (e.g. 49 BC) who are willing to switch to 48C (middle to aisle) and 15C (aisle to aisle much farther forward).

I agree that trying to take two seats in 15 isn't reasonable, and it also isn't likely to work.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 11:46 am
  #774  
 
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
Fully agree. Unfortunately there's also gray area where there may be no "good" answer and the only answer one has is a matter of one's perspective and the parties directly involved. Example: Mom and 2-3 year old kid (who is now too old and big to be a lap infant, but too young to likely fend for themselves) have 20B and 30B (both standard middle seats for the purpose of this example). What should happen then? A 2 year old likely can't fend for themselves, especially on a long flight. But should a passenger be asked to take a middle seat to make up for it, especially on a long flight? And if mom and kid are separated, then who has responsibility for the kid in an emergency evacuation? The passenger who wouldn't swap and kept their aisle/window seat? The F/As? Does the mom have to figure out how in the midst of an evacuation how to get to her kid, possibly going against the flow of people trying to evacuate? (asking to see what other opinions are - not to accuse anyone or assume positions).
They should not fly separately. I am sure the FA would be able to find one person in an aisle or window who would take the middle to help out this unfortunate situation. I would.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 12:31 pm
  #775  
 
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
Fully agree. Unfortunately there's also gray area where there may be no "good" answer and the only answer one has is a matter of one's perspective and the parties directly involved. Example: Mom and 2-3 year old kid (who is now too old and big to be a lap infant, but too young to likely fend for themselves) have 20B and 30B (both standard middle seats for the purpose of this example). What should happen then? A 2 year old likely can't fend for themselves, especially on a long flight. But should a passenger be asked to take a middle seat to make up for it, especially on a long flight? And if mom and kid are separated, then who has responsibility for the kid in an emergency evacuation? The passenger who wouldn't swap and kept their aisle/window seat? The F/As? Does the mom have to figure out how in the midst of an evacuation how to get to her kid, possibly going against the flow of people trying to evacuate? (asking to see what other opinions are - not to accuse anyone or assume positions).
DL does lock some seats in the back to accommodate families with small children. However on certain routes it's never enough, Looking at you MCO, and some days/times/routes its probably never needed. The problem is there is no blanket fix, and even if there was some fix, that all goes to heck on IROP days. It's not like a bunch of airlines have it figured out and DL is lagging behind, it's an industry problem.

One would hope in that situation someone would be willing to go to a middle seat to not sit next to an unaccompanied small child. But families traveling in large groups are going to have to understand it may not be possible to have everyone in one group, and have to be willing to sit in 1 adult with 1 or multiple children. They are also going to need to accept the lack of sympathy for trading horrible seats for good ones when older children/teenagers are involved.

If we can all offer a little flexibility I think we can make flying a little less stressful.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 3:18 pm
  #776  
 
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Originally Posted by kop84 View Post
DL does lock some seats in the back to accommodate families with small children. However on certain routes it's never enough, Looking at you MCO, and some days/times/routes its probably never needed. The problem is there is no blanket fix, and even if there was some fix, that all goes to heck on IROP days. It's not like a bunch of airlines have it figured out and DL is lagging behind, it's an industry problem.

One would hope in that situation someone would be willing to go to a middle seat to not sit next to an unaccompanied small child. But families traveling in large groups are going to have to understand it may not be possible to have everyone in one group, and have to be willing to sit in 1 adult with 1 or multiple children. They are also going to need to accept the lack of sympathy for trading horrible seats for good ones when older children/teenagers are involved.

If we can all offer a little flexibility I think we can make flying a little less stressful.
There are many threads in all of the airlines where parents don't want to pay extra for seating but complain loudly that they are separated from their children, expectiog others to accomodate them. I have no interest in paying for someone's extra expenses for your children. This would be like me complaining because I have enough money to buy an Aston Martin but not enough to pay for maintenance. Surely others can help.

I've booked award seats in Club Europe on BA (no non-stop SkyTeam flights TXL-LHR) and even in their FC equivalent I had to pay extra to select seat assignments. I did so I didn't have to try to seat swap when I take the flight.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 6:06 pm
  #777  
 
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Originally Posted by kop84 View Post
DL does lock some seats in the back to accommodate families with small children. However on certain routes it's never enough, Looking at you MCO, and some days/times/routes its probably never needed. The problem is there is no blanket fix, and even if there was some fix, that all goes to heck on IROP days. It's not like a bunch of airlines have it figured out and DL is lagging behind, it's an industry problem.

One would hope in that situation someone would be willing to go to a middle seat to not sit next to an unaccompanied small child. But families traveling in large groups are going to have to understand it may not be possible to have everyone in one group, and have to be willing to sit in 1 adult with 1 or multiple children. They are also going to need to accept the lack of sympathy for trading horrible seats for good ones when older children/teenagers are involved.

If we can all offer a little flexibility I think we can make flying a little less stressful.
One solution is to charge for advance seat assignments, and have an algorithm that places groups in contiguous seating. This is basically what Easyjet does in Europe nowadays. If you don't pay you get a random seat assignment, every time I've flown in a group we were always in contiguous seats - and I've never ever seen people ask to swap seats there (actually I've also never seen that on other european airlines either, where seat selection tends to open up 24 hours before takeoff).
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Old Mar 18, 16, 6:22 pm
  #778  
 
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FAs ought to be empowered to reward a volunteer for giving up a window or aisle for a middle seat to accommodate a parent and young child. Maybe a voucher, or free drink and food. At least try to arrange it so the middle seat they have to take is less of a sacrifice. Maybe an upgrade to the next class if it isn't full.

IRROPS aside, airlines do have the ability to eliminate splitting up little kids from a parent by automatically preassigning them seats upon booking. Don't have to be good seats, don't have to preassign seats together for everybody. Just one adult with the young child or children in the back of the plane. Families wanting better treatment than that can always do seat selection like everyone else, even if that means paying for it.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 6:33 pm
  #779  
 
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Originally Posted by puddinhead View Post
There are many threads in all of the airlines where parents don't want to pay extra for seating but complain loudly that they are separated from their children, expectiog others to accomodate them. I have no interest in paying for someone's extra expenses for your children. This would be like me complaining because I have enough money to buy an Aston Martin but not enough to pay for maintenance. Surely others can help.

I've booked award seats in Club Europe on BA (no non-stop SkyTeam flights TXL-LHR) and even in their FC equivalent I had to pay extra to select seat assignments. I did so I didn't have to try to seat swap when I take the flight.
While it's common on FT and easy to blame someone's "lack of planning" or accuse them of being too cheap to pay for advance seat assignments, IROPs can and do happen, as do last minute booking situations which can't be foreseen (family emergencies, etc.). Not saying there aren't people who don't plan ahead and/or rely on the generosity of others (I wonder how many people buy DL E fares and then just plan to ask people to swap), but that always seems to be the immediate thought on FT, perhaps because it makes people feel less guilty about declining the swap, feeling they can believe the person asking is solely responsible for the situation they're in. Not saying it's right or wrong - just an observation I have from my time on FT.

Originally Posted by televisor View Post
One solution is to charge for advance seat assignments, and have an algorithm that places groups in contiguous seating. This is basically what Easyjet does in Europe nowadays. If you don't pay you get a random seat assignment, every time I've flown in a group we were always in contiguous seats - and I've never ever seen people ask to swap seats there (actually I've also never seen that on other european airlines either, where seat selection tends to open up 24 hours before takeoff).
I haven't flown EasyJet but that solution doesn't help when you get rebooked because your initial flight canceled and now you're rebooked. I've booked flights 300 days out, only to have IROPs day of and get split up on the flight I/we get rebooked on.
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Old Mar 19, 16, 10:44 am
  #780  
 
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
FAs ought to be empowered to reward a volunteer for giving up a window or aisle for a middle seat to accommodate a parent and young child. Maybe a voucher, or free drink and food. At least try to arrange it so the middle seat they have to take is less of a sacrifice. Maybe an upgrade to the next class if it isn't full.
Delta FA's are. I've always been offered at least an adult beverage anytime I've done something like this when an FA was involved or nearby.
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