Extortion of $ for aisle/window seats

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Mar 14, 2018
291
330
63
#21
[QUOTE="let's block all aisle seats even in back rows so that people that really want them will be forced to pay extra, and then we'll unblock them for other less desperate people checking in at last minute who would not have paid anyway).
Exactly. Customers prefer aisle and window seats so airlines charge more for them (or, if you prefer, offer a discount for middle seats). If they don't sell all of them at the higher price, they make them available at a lower price.

All products work the same way. That's why a toy costs less after Christmas (if it's available) than it does before.
 
Likes: Patina
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#22
Exactly. Customers prefer aisle and window seats so airlines charge more for them (or, if you prefer, offer a discount for middle seats). If they don't sell all of them at the higher price, they make them available at a lower price.

All products work the same way. That's why a toy costs less after Christmas (if it's available) than it does before.
OK, in that case they should make that clear at time of purchase. What I paid for was not sold to me as "economy class middle seat", but "economy class". It was not marketed as a discounted price as you suggest. To extend your toy metaphor, that's like buying a Barbie doll with one arm and then paying extra for the full package - you can play just as well with a one-armed doll and should pay extra for the more desirable doll with two arms, right? Only the doll is marketed as a "Barbie doll" and you have no idea what you're getting.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,562
15,873
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#23
[QUOTE=" Airline prices are quite low today compared to years ago when a passenger received all those benefits without having to pay for them. "
I hear this a lot, but is this really true? I paid 1200 for the ticket, the most ever in many years for this itinerary which I fly fairly regularly.
More on point: I appreciate there's now an opportunity to pay more for a certain seat to be guaranteed it, I just find it unfair that the airline blocks all aisle seats. It comes down not to a fair gamble (check in early before other passengers claim certain seats or lose out) but to extortion (let's block all aisle seats even in back rows so that people that really want them will be forced to pay extra, and then we'll unblock them for other less desperate people checking in at last minute who would not have paid anyway). I don't want benefits, I just want to choose from seats that are genuinely available in the class that is on my paid fare.
What do you mean the block all aisle seats? How do you know they aren’t booked?

I fly Delta all the time and they don’t charge extra for aisle seats unless you are booking preferred seats in the front. My wife and I book aisle seats across from each other all the time and have never paid extra for an aisle.

How late did you book your tickets? The aisle and windows book first - it’s more likely they were already booked.
 
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#24
What do you mean the block all aisle seats? How do you know they aren’t booked?

I fly Delta all the time and they don’t charge extra for aisle seats unless you are booking preferred seats in the front. My wife and I book aisle seats across from each other all the time and have never paid extra for an aisle.

How late did you book your tickets? The aisle and windows book first - it’s more likely they were already booked.
I didn't get assigned seating when I bought the ticket through another website. On my outbound flight I had absolutely no problems picking a seat that suited me (checked in 10-15 hours before departure) On the flight back I also had to get the seat when I checked in online, which in my case was 20 hours prior to departure (four hours after check-in opened). It seemed very suspicious to me to see the entirety of main cabin, including 15 rows in the back of main cabin having only aisle and window rows neatly blocked out as if they have been occupied by solo travelers. The odds of this seemed quite low as many people travel with children so at least some middle seats would also be taken. There is no way to prove this, but one website showed how it works: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/10/blocked-window-and-aisle-seats/
My suspicions that the airline blocked the seats rather than genuine travelers was confirmed when I checked the seating chart about two hours before departure, and saw that some of the aisle/window seats in the back of the plane were shown as unoccupied. I would have happily picked one of them the night before instead of forking over another $75.
I normally like Delta and have never encountered this before, but it seems to be a practice that is starting to really catch on with all the majors.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,545
1,525
113
Maui Hawaii
#25
I didn't get assigned seating when I bought the ticket through another website. On my outbound flight I had absolutely no problems picking a seat that suited me (checked in 10-15 hours before departure) On the flight back I also had to get the seat when I checked in online, which in my case was 20 hours prior to departure (four hours after check-in opened). It seemed very suspicious to me to see the entirety of main cabin, including 15 rows in the back of main cabin having only aisle and window rows neatly blocked out as if they have been occupied by solo travelers. The odds of this seemed quite low as many people travel with children so at least some middle seats would also be taken. There is no way to prove this, but one website showed how it works: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/10/blocked-window-and-aisle-seats/
My suspicions that the airline blocked the seats rather than genuine travelers was confirmed when I checked the seating chart about two hours before departure, and saw that some of the aisle/window seats in the back of the plane were shown as unoccupied. I would have happily picked one of them the night before instead of forking over another $75.
I normally like Delta and have never encountered this before, but it seems to be a practice that is starting to really catch on with all the majors.
Why are you booking Delta on "another website"? If you log into Delta with your FF # you may find things work better. Booking through "another website" means Delta will put you in another booking class.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#27
Why are you booking Delta on "another website"? If you log into Delta with your FF # you may find things work better. Booking through "another website" means Delta will put you in another booking class.
Thanks, I didn't know that. Delta was only responsible for the longer of the two legs of my flight.
I had actually vowed not to fly Delta again after the experience last year (see end of original post) but ended up booking a Delta/KLM flight again as that was the most convenient option. I think next time I'll stick with EU-based carriers though, at least they compensate you when things go terribly wrong. I didn't realize US airlines cannot be held accountable, silly me.
 
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#28
In your first post, you mentioned "basic economy main cabin". Did you pay for a "basic economy" fare or a "main cabin" fare?
Sorry, I'm not well versed in these things but now I checked and my ticket says "Main Cabin (U)".
V odd as the outbound flight put me in "Delta Comfort+". I had no say in these category options, are they randomly assigned?
 
Sep 19, 2015
4,431
5,816
113
48
#29
It's not charging for seats that I take issue with, it's artificially blocking certain seats throughout the plane to boost incentive for desperate people to pay for 'preferred' seats. I would have happily taken an aisle seat in the very back of the plane, but Delta blocked all of them when I was checking in, and only unblocked them later, when the middle seats filled up. That's what seems unfair to me.
Or you take your chances and select a seat at check in. I have no status with BA and booked an expensive day trip in the UK— I could even select a middle seat without paying. Status members could select a seat. My ticket as a round trip same day cost 2.5 times more than those that stayed over a Saturday night.

I could select a seat at check in but all that was available was a middle seat. At least this was a short flight as the UK is not large; but this is the same to the European continent.

This has been the situation for several years as the airlines have decided to join in on the race to the bottom. Why? To compete with the Ryanairs of the world
 
Nov 20, 2015
144
267
63
#30
They aren't randomly assigned. I just wanted to make sure you hadn't unknowingly purchased a "basic economy" fare. This happens a lot these days(especially when people buy from 3rd party sites).
 
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#31
Or you take your chances and select a seat at check in. I have no status with BA and booked an expensive day trip in the UK— I could even select a middle seat without paying. Status members could select a seat. My ticket as a round trip same day cost 2.5 times more than those that stayed over a Saturday night.

I could select a seat at check in but all that was available was a middle seat. At least this was a short flight as the UK is not large; but this is the same to the European continent.

This has been the situation for several years as the airlines have decided to join in on the race to the bottom. Why? To compete with the Ryanairs of the world
Yes, I heard British is even more expensive in terms of these seat assignments. It really sucks.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,545
1,525
113
Maui Hawaii
#32
Thanks, I didn't know that. Delta was only responsible for the longer of the two legs of my flight.
I had actually vowed not to fly Delta again after the experience last year (see end of original post) but ended up booking a Delta/KLM flight again as that was the most convenient option. I think next time I'll stick with EU-based carriers though, at least they compensate you when things go terribly wrong. I didn't realize US airlines cannot be held accountable, silly me.
Delta is the best rated major US airline on this forum for cust serv. So think twice before you eliminate Delta. American is by far the worst, United somewhat better, but Delta is the best. EU based airlines have advantages, but you will need to set up an account and book directly with the airline for best success. Getting seat assignments on EU airlines can be more difficult that with US-based airlines. You can use the online TAs such as Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz to look at routes and fares, but book directly with the airline (whether US or EU based).

If you have a complex EU travel itinerary you can always come here and ask before booking. There are many travel agents and experienced EU travelers on this site.
 
Sep 19, 2015
4,431
5,816
113
48
#33
Sorry, I'm not well versed in these things but now I checked and my ticket says "Main Cabin (U)".
V odd as the outbound flight put me in "Delta Comfort+". I had no say in these category options, are they randomly assigned?
These fare codes have to do with the price paid. U is a deeply discounted economy fare. You were given a better seat in Comfort plus. Basically you got seated in a better area as people pay more for guaranteed seating in comfort + and that costs more.
 
Sep 19, 2015
4,431
5,816
113
48
#34
Yes, I heard British is even more expensive in terms of these seat assignments. It really sucks.
I meant to say that I would have had to pay for a middle seat.

And BA does not give non status business class passengers free seat assignment until check in which is outrageous. Someone could pay $6,000 round trip NY to London and still have to pay to chose a seat before check in.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,562
15,873
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#35
What website did you book the air through? That is your problem, they may not have shown accurate availability or pricing. This may have been the fault of the website, not Delta.

Also if you book as a code share you may not even be able to book a seat at all until 24 hours before.

You should go back to the website you booked through because that appears to possibly be the issue. Don’t blame this on Delta. If you had booked directly this might not have happened. But if you book late - a month or two out- there’s a good chance that those aisle seats ARE already booked.
 
Likes: Christina H

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,545
1,525
113
Maui Hawaii
#36
"Extortion of $ for aisle/window seats"-remember this is US airline deregulated capitalism. Your congressional representatives have voted for this many times. It is legal and standard practice of all airlines. The EU airlines may actually charge more for seats. I just spent $110 on Lufthansa for an advance seat assignment on a DEN-FRA flight (booked through the UA website as a Star Alliance flight, but seat assignment paid directly to Lufthansa).
 
Jan 8, 2019
15
0
1
37
#37
Delta is the best rated major US airline on this forum for cust serv. So think twice before you eliminate Delta. American is by far the worst, United somewhat better, but Delta is the best. EU based airlines have advantages, but you will need to set up an account and book directly with the airline for best success. Getting seat assignments on EU airlines can be more difficult that with US-based airlines. You can use the online TAs such as Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz to look at routes and fares, but book directly with the airline (whether US or EU based).

If you have a complex EU travel itinerary you can always come here and ask before booking. There are many travel agents and experienced EU travelers on this site.
Thanks, yes, I don't disagree that Delta is "best of the worst" so to speak. When things don't go wrong, I can't fault the flying experience with them. When they do, it's every man for himself, and my experience last year was the worst in my life and it literally took me months to recover from. This thing with seats this year just added insult to injury.
 
Sep 19, 2015
4,431
5,816
113
48
#39
"Extortion of $ for aisle/window seats"-remember this is US airline deregulated capitalism. Your congressional representatives have voted for this many times. It is legal and standard practice of all airlines. The EU airlines may actually charge more for seats. I just spent $110 on Lufthansa for an advance seat assignment on a DEN-FRA flight (booked through the UA website as a Star Alliance flight, but seat assignment paid directly to Lufthansa).
Ryanair has made a successful business model of charge for everything.
 
Likes: weihlac

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,076
7,968
113
San Francisco
#40
The basic premise is that an airline exists to create revenue ... as much revenue as possible. Add up your sales, deduct your expenses and your shareholders love you if you're making money. First thing the airlines did was reduce the size and pitch of seats to transport more passengers in a given plane, with given expense. That worked quite well; nobody stopped flying. They complained a great deal, but the airlines don't care.

They decided to keep fares as low as possible and charge passengers for whatever they wanted: a better seat, a checked bag, a meal. Many people, including me, think this is a very good plan. I want to check a bag and be comfortable. I don't care about the food or drink or entertainment. So I just pay for what I want.

This makes perfect sense to me as a business plan. If I have to book a short trip in coach, I want to be able to pay for the extra leg room and have a seat assignment (I understand it's not guaranteed, but I've never had to sit elsewhere). The problems arise when infrequent travellers encounter all this and are dismayed and perplexed. They often feel cheated, but really, it's just a matter of not knowing what they're buying.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.