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Do preassigned seats make sense for regular economy class?

Do preassigned seats make sense for regular economy class?

Old Sep 19, 17, 4:26 pm
  #1  
tjl
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Do preassigned seats make sense for regular economy class?

Do preassigned seats make sense for regular economy class on non-WN airlines?

Seems like preassigned seats just create more hassle (e.g. with groups potentially being split up or less likely to get seats together) and slows boarding, while not necessarily giving a better seat selection.

In theory, a non-WN airline could still have preassigned seats for first/business class, and could handle premium economy through status or buy-up either with preassigned seats or by giving those passengers the earliest boarding numbers for economy class.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 5:16 pm
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Any of the above makes sense...more than one way to skin a cat. There are just different business models. Some airlines require payment just to reserve a seat in advance at all...others make money selling buy-ups to "preferred" seats and to extra legroom seats...they like the extra cash made from those sales. Even WN of course sells Early Bird boarding. I'm guessing no airline is philosophically married to any particular scheme so long as they are leveraging it to maximize revenue as much as possible.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 5:30 pm
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For reasons that I won't go into here, I hate airlines (such as Southwest) that don't offer assigned seats. I don't know how common this perspective is, but for my sake, I hope others share the same view.

The one thing in my favor is that airlines now monetize seat selection. As long as airlines think they make more money by selling seat assignments (versus alternatives like WN's), things are likely to stay that way.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by mikew99 View Post
For reasons that I won't go into here, I hate airlines (such as Southwest) that don't offer assigned seats. I don't know how common this perspective is, but for my sake, I hope others share the same view.
I'm in this boat as well. Any airline that won't let me select my seat is one I won't fly. I haven't touched WN since college, and I'm fairly certain that I won't. Being able to select a convenient seat, and knowing that I'll be sitting there ahead of time (barring last minute A/C swap or FAM) is a substantial factor for me in Y.

On a somewhat related note, BA's policy of charging $$ to select any seat, even in paid J, is absurd. In the years I don't have OW status, they're absolutely my last choice.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 6:35 pm
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I don't have (m)any problems with WN's seating arrangements, especially on flights under 1.5 hours. This method does tend to discriminate against late comers though.

However, airlines have figured out that not every seat is alike and you can charge more for seats that are more favorable.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 7:19 pm
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i pretty much require them, and have bought extra seats (extra seats do require them)

i am probably usually happy to pay for the seats up front possibly with extra leg room

most airlines are happy to have seats where they charge extra/assignment fee for

as those and other fees are where the big US airlines are making tons of revenue
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Old Sep 19, 17, 9:11 pm
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Originally Posted by mikew99 View Post
For reasons that I won't go into here, I hate airlines (such as Southwest) that don't offer assigned seats. I don't know how common this perspective is, but for my sake, I hope others share the same view.

The one thing in my favor is that airlines now monetize seat selection. As long as airlines think they make more money by selling seat assignments (versus alternatives like WN's), things are likely to stay that way.
I agree. I despise WN's seating method.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 1:30 am
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I hate the idea of paying for a seat and then you have to rush to find one. When I travel, I like to travel with my travel companion in the seat beside me. And we like to select the seats we want.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
Do preassigned seats make sense for regular economy class on non-WN airlines?

Seems like preassigned seats just create more hassle (e.g. with groups potentially being split up or less likely to get seats together) and slows boarding, while not necessarily giving a better seat selection.

In theory, a non-WN airline could still have preassigned seats for first/business class, and could handle premium economy through status or buy-up either with preassigned seats or by giving those passengers the earliest boarding numbers for economy class.
The solution to the problem of groups of passengers traveling together is to block off some seats near the back. Those seats would be available for airport check-in. Since the major airlines (except Southwest) now have Basic Economy fares without advanced seat assignments, this problem is far less since many seats are not assigned until less than 24 hours out.

I've always thought that the most efficient boarding process would be to board people from back to front. None of this cardholder or elite nonsense, just rows 35-39, rows 30-34, etc. But I've read that boarding in random order is a bit faster.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by aquamarinesteph View Post
I hate the idea of paying for a seat and then you have to rush to find one. When I travel, I like to travel with my travel companion in the seat beside me. And we like to select the seats we want.
If you are a non-elite passenger flying economy on most non-WN airlines, it may require an extra fee to get a preassigned seat, if any are even available (and available together if you are in a group who wants to sit together).
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Old Sep 20, 17, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
I've always thought that the most efficient boarding process would be to board people from back to front. None of this cardholder or elite nonsense, just rows 35-39, rows 30-34, etc. But I've read that boarding in random order is a bit faster.
WN boarding seem to go quickly, because many passengers will just sit in any nearby available seat. If someone is standing in the aisle putting bags in the overhead in row 20, and your assigned seat is in row 21, you must wait. But if there is an empty seat in row 19 on WN, you can just sit in it.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 10:03 am
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For long-haul Y, I want a seat assignment. Even in regular Y with no status, I just want the assurance that I'm not in a middle seat. Flying LH on a basic coach award in January, and I'm glad I already have seats for our party. They aren't great seats, but they are at least assigned. I'm flying BA later in the spring as an AA Gold, which I *believe* gets me a seat 7 days prior to travel, and I'm a bit nervous about it. If it works correctly, then I'm generally assuming I will be okay since it's a 744 and it can't be *all* mid/high-tier elites in the back. But I won't know until 7 days prior to the flight.

For short-haul Y, Southwest's model doesn't bother me. If that turns flights around faster and makes the entire process simpler, great.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 10:25 am
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I dislike WN's arrangement - I need to worry about checking in at 24h on the nose, getting to the gate when boarding starts, etc. I'd much rather have the traditional seat assignments. But I'll fly WN if it's substantially cheaper.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 10:44 am
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Yes, they make absolute sense. From a revenue standpoint, seat selection fees with all their tiers are a huge source of $$. From a customer service standpoint, allowing pax to select their seats in advance gives them more control over the comfort of their flight..even the logistics of it if they have a tight connection.

If Ma and Pa Kettle cannot figure it out, that's purely their problem. There is no excuse for not knowing how to select your seats in this day and age, and if they cheap out on it, they have no right to complain later or insist that others move for them.

I avoid WN for many, many reasons..but the primary one is the seat selection issue. I hate the t-24 scramble..even with EBCI you still may pull a B or even a C. I hate the lines at the gate that the mouth breathing public still cannot figure out. All WN's model has done is move the issue from the aircraft into the gate. Instead of poachers you get line jumpers. Or people with good boarding numbers "saving" seats for their companions with bad ones..which amounts to line jumping.

As to turn around speed..that's the airline's concern, not mine.
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Old Sep 20, 17, 11:56 am
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I've flown enough hours in cramped economy middle seats when forced to. Now that my air travel is almost all personal, I am done with that. If I cannot choose (and pay for) more comfortable seating, I won't be flying.

Having paid for my seating choice, I will not be voluntarily moving to accommodate those that think they are entitled to "sit together". You chose low price over convenience and comfort and should live with the consequence of that choice.
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