Airline changed my seat that I paid to select

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Sep 22, 2019
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#1
Hello,
I bought tickets to Europe on Lufthansa. I paid an extra $35 to select a seat I wanted in the middle of the plane. The airline changed my seat because the aircraft changed. I went from row 35 originally to the second to last row. The airline’s policy is to give an “equivalent” seat in terms of aisle, window but I don’t consider the last rows equivalent. I called to inquire on my options as I really prefer to be in the middle or as close
to front as possible. Row 35 in the new aircraft now had a $50 seat fee (instead of the $35 I paid originally) and I asked if I could pay the difference to get back there. They said no, that the seat selection fees are non-refundable and I’d have to pay a new fee to select a seat. But I already paid to select the one I wanted!!

This is their “regulation” which is arbitrary and does not seem customer friendly. Am I being unreasonable to think I should either get a refund on my seat selection fee since I didn’t select this one or be able to select my preferred seat without paying again? After all, the aircraft change is beyond my control.

Note I submitted a complaint to the airline but they said they have to “follow the rules.”

Thank you,
AMCG
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
What you paid for is the opportunity to select a an advanced seat assignment rather than be assigned one that was left at check in , and not because it was in the middle of the plane.

Seat assignments are never guaranteed unfortunately and this can happen when a plane is changed.

Did you receive the same seat you had booked- aisle or window? As long as you had a pre-assigned seat, that’s what you actually paid for.

You can certainly use our company contacts and write to Lufthansa and ask for a refund of what you paid, but if they say no, that’s why they might refuse you.

You have nothing to lose by asking.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
654
930
93
St. Louis
#3
Hello,
I bought tickets to Europe on Lufthansa. I paid an extra $35 to select a seat I wanted in the middle of the plane. The airline changed my seat because the aircraft changed. I went from row 35 originally to the second to last row. The airline’s policy is to give an “equivalent” seat in terms of aisle, window but I don’t consider the last rows equivalent. I called to inquire on my options as I really prefer to be in the middle or as close
to front as possible. Row 35 in the new aircraft now had a $50 seat fee (instead of the $35 I paid originally) and I asked if I could pay the difference to get back there. They said no, that the seat selection fees are non-refundable and I’d have to pay a new fee to select a seat. But I already paid to select the one I wanted!!

This is their “regulation” which is arbitrary and does not seem customer friendly. Am I being unreasonable to think I should either get a refund on my seat selection fee since I didn’t select this one or be able to select my preferred seat without paying again? After all, the aircraft change is beyond my control.

Note I submitted a complaint to the airline but they said they have to “follow the rules.”

Thank you,
AMCG
AMCG,

You are absolutely correct that these are not consumer-friendly policies, but unfortunately, their terms state that specific seating is not guaranteed, and if they change it (due to a number of reasons) all they usually do is give you a comparable seat. Usually, this means in the same section if it is an upgraded seat (i.e. premium economy), or if it is not an upgraded seat, then usually the same type of seating, such as window or aisle.

You can ask for a refund, but as you have found out, they may not provide one. Definitely follow Neils recommendation to up this request, one at a time, to the company executives, you may get someone to provide an exception. As there is no policy or regulations that prohibit these terms from the airline there isn't much you can do if they say no, but perhaps file a complaint with the regulatory officials. If they get enough complaints, they may regulate how airlines handle these situations.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 23, 2019
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#4
I have run into this with LH and it is indeed a very unfriendly policy that you cannot simply upgrade seat selection by paying any difference. However, you should be able to change to any seat within the same seat selection price category any number of times (I have often done this on LH as the flight date nears to move to a row where the middle seat is still unoccupied in the hopes that it might stay empty). Is the new row 35 more desirable in some way, such as a bulkhead or exit row? That would account for the difference. Are there no other rows or aisles that near the middle or front that show as available when you try to modify your seat selection?