Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles
Reload this Page >

How to stop gate agents from changing your seat without permission?

How to stop gate agents from changing your seat without permission?

Old Apr 9, 18, 9:26 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
How to stop gate agents from changing your seat without permission?

This may come off as one of those "rare/petty circumstances" but it has been happening to me a lot (indeed, it has happened to me 3 out of my last 4 flights - it's correlated to a swap from 739 to 753 on the route) and it annoys me to no end.

What happens is all of the aisle/window seats on the seat map will be gone when I book and I will call in and ask to be put into a specific seat (on the 753, it is 49C) which is almost always available as it is blocked on the seat map so pax can't select it themselves. On the 753, 20D is also blocked and is reserved for pax with issues that require an aisle seat (e.g., fused knees).

I select 49C but since most of the time 20D seat goes empty at the gate, the ever so helpful gate agents decide to move me to 20D from 49C, I guess because it's closer to the front of the plane which is perceived as more desirable. But I don't want that seat as it is (a) on the right side of the plane which is less desirable for me when working and (b) it is far more likely to have the middle seat occupied and (c) it is right behind C+ and I have noticed that C+ passengers are more likely to try to recline on average (and once recline happens I am not able to work as my laptop and arms do not fit).

I had already previously filed a complaint to Delta about unsolicited seat changes and when it happened again this morning I had enough and talked to the gate agent and asked for my old seat back. I had assumed that it was because a family wanted to sit in the Row 49 which I disagree with but can at least understand. But no! I was moved for no cause at all.

Is this Delta policy? If so, is there any way to get a flag on your file to not get unsolicited "upgrades"? I have filed a second complaint but I don't expect it to be any more successful than the first one.

I just feel like this falls into the category of things I just shouldn't have to worry about on a regular basis, but I'm batting 75% on this and I'm worried it will continue as long as Delta runs a 753 on this route. I've had this issue before on other planes as well but it usually only happened 10-15% of the time and not on a regular basis.
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 9:33 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: HSV
Programs: Bellevue Lifetime Premiere Mega Elite Supreme
Posts: 1,386
That is really weird. I canít imagine being arbitrarily moved from a selected seat to another seat in the same cabin. I can see being upgraded to a higher class, obviously, but not shuffled around in the same class
TheHorta is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 9:37 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 24,148
Maybe you could request to put a note in the PNR "Passenger specifically requested seat XX, avoid moving unnecessarily." Of course you'd have to call in for every reservation, and I don't know if a GA would even read the PNR notes before changing a seat assignment. Just an idea.
Occupationalhazard and muji like this.
ijgordon is online now  
Old Apr 9, 18, 9:42 am
  #4  
was WWads
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: DCA
Programs: DL PM, UA Silver, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 5,797
Take screenshots of seat maps and always keep a paper boarding pass on hand.
muji likes this.
KDCAflyer is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 9:43 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
That is really weird. I canít imagine being arbitrarily moved from a selected seat to another seat in the same cabin. I can see being upgraded to a higher class, obviously, but not shuffled around in the same class
This is my exact thought. I just don't get it. This happened a few times in the past as well but it was usually "with cause" if you will (a family wanted to sit together, and the last row of the plane is blocked so I was likely the best pax to move to cause minimal disruption). I disagree with this entirely mind you (a seat reservation is a seat reservation!) but I can at least get the logic. The "randomly move you up to 20D because it's arbitrarily/incorrectly perceived as a better seat" is just nonsensical (especially when I was offered it and declined when I called into the reservation desk to get 49C - I realize the gate agents won't see that but it makes it even more frustrating).
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 9:46 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Maybe you could request to put a note in the PNR "Passenger specifically requested seat XX, avoid moving unnecessarily." Of course you'd have to call in for every reservation, and I don't know if a GA would even read the PNR notes before changing a seat assignment. Just an idea.
I have to call in anyways to request the seat (since it is blocked out on the seat map) so I will try doing this and see if it makes a difference. Definitely doubt the GA will read the PNR notes since their seat map screen doesn't show that as first order info but it's at least worth a try.
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 10:01 am
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 48,051
PNR notes won't do anything. Phone agents will add them to get rid of you, but no GA is going to look at them because they are not accessing that section of the PNR. Same thing for screen shots. DL can see every change made to a PNR, so nobody needs to see a screenshot to see that OP is telling the truth. It's simply that DL does not guarantee seat assignments (nor do AA or UA or any other carrier of which I am aware).

I suspect that the GA moved OP for a reason, it is simply that the reason is not clear to OP. It could be almost anything from a family, to an INOP seat, to the CEO's brother-in-law.
Often1 is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 10:06 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I suspect that the GA moved OP for a reason, it is simply that the reason is not clear to OP. It could be almost anything from a family, to an INOP seat, to the CEO's brother-in-law.
The seat was empty when I asked to be moved back into it. I saw it on the gate agent's screen - and I am sitting in it now, so it's definitely not a busted seat. I can only say for sure that this time was "without cause" as the previous two times they were already boarding by the time I got to the gate and I didn't want to disrupt things to argue with the gate agent about which aisle seat I wanted.

I realize that seat reservations are not guaranteed (despite Delta charging for them - what a great industry) but I'd like to think as a Diamond medallion on a B fare that I shouldn't expect be yanked around and have my seat changed for no good reason on a regular basis.
strickerj likes this.
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 10:49 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 350
If it was a longer flight and the last row I suspect the flight attendants asked the gate agents to leave the last row open. They will try to get those seats left open for their use.
Jeff767 is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 10:59 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by Jeff767 View Post
If it was a longer flight and the last row I suspect the flight attendants asked the gate agents to leave the last row open. They will try to get those seats left open for their use.
It is indeed the last row but if that's the case I'd find it doubly unacceptable that I was moved. With that said I doubt it was in this case as the plane departed nearly full with only a few empty seats - the last row has 5 of 6 pax in it. In addition, it's not that long of a flight (block time a little over 5 hours).
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 12:13 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: LHR / BHX / MAN / ATL
Programs: DL DM MM - IHG Spire
Posts: 3,877
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I suspect that the GA moved OP for a reason, it is simply that the reason is not clear to OP. It could be almost anything from a family, to an INOP seat, to the CEO's brother-in-law.
There are a thousand legitimate reasons to move pax to different seats, from FAM to unaccompanied minors. During my stint at a GA during the ATL DL Do in 2010, I worked a ATL-SRQ flight that had 19 (yes, nineteen) wheelchair passengers. Wheelchair passengers can only sit in aisle seats where the armrest can be raised. Not all aisle seats have armrests that can be raised, so the GA had to move around quite a few pax to accommodate those 19. There was a lot of grumbling from other pax - "I selected my seat 6 months ago..." etc. But as we all know, the CoC says that you are buying transportation, not a specific seat. Like the OP, I would be unhappy if I was moved out of my carefully selected seat, but it would not be the end of my world and life would go on.
ecaarch is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 12:17 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by ecaarch View Post
There are a thousand legitimate reasons to move pax to different seats, from FAM to unaccompanied minors. During my stint at a GA during the ATL DL Do in 2010, I worked a ATL-SRQ flight that had 19 (yes, nineteen) wheelchair passengers. Wheelchair passengers can only sit in aisle seats where the armrest can be raised. Not all aisle seats have armrests that can be raised, so the GA had to move around quite a few pax to accommodate those 19. There was a lot of grumbling from other pax - "I selected my seat 6 months ago..." etc. But as we all know, the CoC says that you are buying transportation, not a specific seat. Like the OP, I would be unhappy if I was moved out of my carefully selected seat, but it would not be the end of my world and life would go on.
This is acceptable on an exception basis but not as a rule. 3 out of my last 4 flights is not an exception, it's a rule. And this was clearly not wheelchair pax or other pax with disability given that 20D - the seat I moved to (same seat as the other 2 flights I got moved on) - is another seat that is blocked for such use. In addition, no one was moved into my seat after I was moved out.

I get that there are "legitimate" reasons why I would be moved (although I would like to think that Delta would avoid moving a DM on a high fare whenever possible) but 3 out of 4 times is not an exception use case.
strickerj likes this.
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 12:28 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Programs: DL-Pyrite Medallion
Posts: 310
Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
. With that said I doubt it was in this case as the plane departed nearly full with only a few empty seats - the last row has 5 of 6 pax in it. In addition, it's not that long of a flight (block time a little over 5 hours).
I realize that it won't make you happy, but Jeff767 is undoubtedly correct. As a courtesy to the F/As, the GA will often keep the last row in coach open. Obviously if the flight is full, those seats get used, but they are some of the last to be filled (they often go to nonrevs as well).

The FA jumpseats are made to be utliitarian, not comfortable and on a 5 hour flight it is nice for them to get to sit for 10 minute or eat a quick snack, especially since that's probably not their only flight of the day. I'm quite sure that reservations phone agents are not as familiar with that custom
Down3Green is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 12:46 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by Down3Green View Post
I realize that it won't make you happy, but Jeff767 is undoubtedly correct. As a courtesy to the F/As, the GA will often keep the last row in coach open. Obviously if the flight is full, those seats get used, but they are some of the last to be filled (they often go to nonrevs as well).

The FA jumpseats are made to be utliitarian, not comfortable and on a 5 hour flight it is nice for them to get to sit for 10 minute or eat a quick snack, especially since that's probably not their only flight of the day. I'm quite sure that reservations phone agents are not as familiar with that custom
It is one thing to avoid filling a row, but to me it is a whole different thing to move a passenger that has already been placed there. If this is indeed the case then I am very disappointed in Delta for this behavior. I have resigned to never/rarely getting C+ seats (much less F seats), but I'd like to at least get my left hand aisle seat unless the plane is truly full. Good to know that Delta gate agent's SOP would be to remove this possibility for me...
ethernal is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 4:10 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 18,372
The GA doesn't know that you unlike basically every other passenger likes the last row. 99% of time I'm betting it was selected because nothing else was open. What you see as aggravating is for most a very nice gesture, especially if an elite member.
DiverDave likes this.
flyerCO is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: