I am not an experienced traveler. For various circumstances, I did very little traveling for many years. Things have now changed and my wife and I are venturing out into the broader world. We have just returned from a week in Ireland; my wife’s 60th birthday present to me. Over the next little while, I will post on this absolutely wonderful experience. But first some bitching.
Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry; so why is it always open-season on tourists?
The first culprits, and perhaps the most culpable, are airlines. My wife booked our flights a full six months in advance. Yet when we checked-in with Aer Lingus in Boston (we flew Montreal-Boston-Dublin) we had been seated separately. Not merely a row apart, or an aisle between us, but I was in row 9 while my wife was in row 47. That’s an entire cabin away.
The check-in kiosk computer gave us an option to change seats – for a significant fee. Wouldn’t you think that seats would be assigned sequentially? If two tickets for a flight are bought it seems only logical that you would seat these people together. Or perhaps a family of four – mom, dad, two kids under ten – should be seated together. But no. There’s no cash in that.
I have been told that some airlines actually have applied algorithms that break-up bookings in an attempt to squeeze extra money out of passengers. Isn’t it bad enough that the fares are wicked, the seats require a shoe-horn to get into, and the food looks good on the menu, but only two options are ever really available?
On our return flight, Air Canada Boston to Montreal, they seated us four rows apart. Anything to screw tourists I guess.
But, there’s a solution! DO NOT pay for “preferred seating” unless you want a specific seat (e.g. by the emergency exit). Rather about an hour or so before boarding go to the airline representative at the gate and explain the situation. On both occasions, we were able to arrange logical seating with no mention of an additional charge.
The airlines will try, but don’t give in!!