Seat Swap in same cabin etiquette

Old Jul 6, 14, 10:05 pm
  #1  
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Seat Swap in same cabin etiquette

Here is the hypothetical:

Nearly full A320. Row 7 is booked and checked in as:

X0X XXX
ABC DEF

Yours truly is deemed lucky by the computer, in 7A with 7B open minutes before departure and after.

Near the end of boarding, Mr. and Mrs. 7C and 7F arrive and help themselves to 7B and 7C.

"Poach" is confirmed by glimpse of boarding pass for person helping themselves to 7B, printed for 7F, not 7B. All passengers in row 7 would fit in the sizer, so to speak and would be reasonable row-mates if the row was full. So for the next three hours, Ms. 7E is the lucky one, finding herself next to an empty 7F which she takes advantage of.

Clearly easier to poach 7B than arrange a swap with 7E for 7C so they end up in 7E/7F, but is it FlyerTalk best practice? Does the road warrior code suggest that seat moves such as this be negotiated or is an open seat at the end of boarding and the on line tool an invitation to self-help?

My solution was to chalk it up to life and know that this sort of karma is a coin toss and will balance out over time, certainly I am flying enough to toss this particular coin many times. But, what is the view of the community of frequent flyers?
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Old Jul 6, 14, 10:18 pm
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The only person you need to ask about a seat swap is the person in that seat. If there's nobody there, it's anybody's seat as long as they're entitled to it (e.g., no E- for E+ swap). You have no right to an empty seat, so I'd say you have nothing to complain about.
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Old Jul 6, 14, 10:18 pm
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I've been in this situation before. Let it go. Unless the whole plane is pretty empty, which is about never these days, you're lucky as it is to get an open seat next to you. If some switching so people can travel together works out so that it disappears, so be it. You'll find yourself the recipient of it working out in the other direction on some upcoming flight.
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Old Jul 6, 14, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by noah View Post
I've been in this situation before. Let it go. Unless the whole plane is pretty empty, which is about never these days, you're lucky as it is to get an open seat next to you. If some switching so people can travel together works out so that it disappears, so be it. You'll find yourself the recipient of it working out in the other direction on some upcoming flight.
This is my conclusion as well, thanks for the confirming thoughts.
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Old Jul 6, 14, 11:02 pm
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Originally Posted by BlackMountain View Post
....
Yours truly is deemed lucky by the computer, in 7A with 7B open minutes before departure and after.

Near the end of boarding, Mr. and Mrs. 7C and 7F arrive and help themselves to 7B and 7C.

"Poach" is confirmed by glimpse of boarding pass for person helping themselves to 7B, printed for 7F, not 7B. ....
Since 7B was open, 7F could have easily formally changed seat assignments to 7B. So the lost open seat was always at risk . The only one that could complain would have been someone assigned to 7B.
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Old Jul 6, 14, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by BlackMountain View Post
Here is the hypothetical:

Nearly full A320. Row 7 is booked and checked in as:

X0X XXX
ABC DEF

Yours truly is deemed lucky by the computer, in 7A with 7B open minutes before departure and after.

Near the end of boarding, Mr. and Mrs. 7C and 7F arrive and help themselves to 7B and 7C.

"Poach" is confirmed by glimpse of boarding pass for person helping themselves to 7B, printed for 7F, not 7B. All passengers in row 7 would fit in the sizer, so to speak and would be reasonable row-mates if the row was full. So for the next three hours, Ms. 7E is the lucky one, finding herself next to an empty 7F which she takes advantage of.

Clearly easier to poach 7B than arrange a swap with 7E for 7C so they end up in 7E/7F, but is it FlyerTalk best practice? Does the road warrior code suggest that seat moves such as this be negotiated or is an open seat at the end of boarding and the on line tool an invitation to self-help?

My solution was to chalk it up to life and know that this sort of karma is a coin toss and will balance out over time, certainly I am flying enough to toss this particular coin many times. But, what is the view of the community of frequent flyers?
7A lost out of having an empty seat. But that's just the way things happen. In theory they should have asked permission from the FA to change to an empty seat. But since the seat was empty no one else has any room to complain.
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Old Jul 7, 14, 1:06 am
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7A is a great seat. The trade-off is you almost never get that middle empty, so this is definitely not something to get worked up about.

Some might even say the "poacher" did the right thing by not imposing on another pax to move. This is not like the situation where she was not entitled to E+. Heck, she could theoretically have changed seat assignment to 7B right up until the boarding door closed.
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Old Jul 7, 14, 3:21 am
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Originally Posted by BlackMountain View Post
Here is the hypothetical:

Nearly full A320. Row 7 is booked and checked in as:

X0X XXX
ABC DEF

Yours truly is deemed lucky by the computer, in 7A with 7B open minutes before departure and after.

Near the end of boarding, Mr. and Mrs. 7C and 7F arrive and help themselves to 7B and 7C.

"Poach" is confirmed by glimpse of boarding pass for person helping themselves to 7B, printed for 7F, not 7B. All passengers in row 7 would fit in the sizer, so to speak and would be reasonable row-mates if the row was full. So for the next three hours, Ms. 7E is the lucky one, finding herself next to an empty 7F which she takes advantage of.

Clearly easier to poach 7B than arrange a swap with 7E for 7C so they end up in 7E/7F, but is it FlyerTalk best practice? Does the road warrior code suggest that seat moves such as this be negotiated or is an open seat at the end of boarding and the on line tool an invitation to self-help?

My solution was to chalk it up to life and know that this sort of karma is a coin toss and will balance out over time, certainly I am flying enough to toss this particular coin many times. But, what is the view of the community of frequent flyers?
So if Mr and Mrs blackmountain were travelling and happened to find themselves in 7c and 7f with 7 b empty, how would you have handled it? Asked 7a for permission to sit in an empty seat that is not in anyway associated or entitled to the pax in 7a. I am assuming though that you did not by two seats - that would be the only scenario where the word poached can legitimately be used I think?
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Old Jul 7, 14, 4:31 am
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I don't think it is entirely true that an empty seat is up for grabs, if someone is entitled to it (e.g. the same class of service). I have seen and have personally experienced the gate agent blocking the seat next to someone as compensation, giving them the little extra room. I've not seen it in a while, but there have been instances where someone was downgraded from First/Business First for odd reasons and as compensation they'll block the seat next to them. There are also the standard rules about the number of laptop babies in a row that could prevent someone from taking the seat.
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Old Jul 7, 14, 5:50 am
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Originally Posted by feobrien View Post
There are also the standard rules about the number of laptop babies in a row that could prevent someone from taking the seat.
Exit rows also have qualified passenger regulations.


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Old Jul 7, 14, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by feobrien View Post
.... There are also the standard rules about the number of laptop babies in a row that could prevent someone from taking the seat.
Laptop babies? Would those be netbooks?
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Old Jul 7, 14, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
Laptop babies? Would those be netbooks?
nah -- tablets, netbooks are tweens
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Old Jul 7, 14, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
7A is a great seat.
It is definitely a solid choice. You never get the F blanket bag or hard demo box in the underseat space (as you often do with 7C/D). On the other hand, the tray table is on the right, which means the middle seat passenger's arm is usually in the way when you want to raise/lower the tray.
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Old Jul 7, 14, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Since 7B was open, 7F could have easily formally changed seat assignments to 7B. So the lost open seat was always at risk . The only one that could complain would have been someone assigned to 7B.
So any open seat in a class is up for grabs?

So a paid F who say loses their seat via IDB booked into Y with an empty seat beside them as compensation isn't guaranteed the empty seat?
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Old Jul 7, 14, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyGirl001 View Post
So any open seat in a class is up for grabs?

So a paid F who say loses their seat via IDB booked into Y with an empty seat beside them as compensation isn't guaranteed the empty seat?
Pretty much, yes. UA doesn't actively block seats like that for others.

However, there is a difference - E+ seats are normally safer than E-, since seat poaching from E- to E+ is not permitted.
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