Airlines’ Preferred Seating Scam



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.

The first culprits, and perhaps the most culpable, are airlines

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?

But, there’s a solution! DO NOT pay for “preferred seating” unless you want a specific seat (e.g. by the emergency exit)

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!!

1 thought on “Airlines’ Preferred Seating Scam

  1. If I told you all about our recent experience with airline seating, you would be amazed. Let me do my best to be succinct and just list the issues.
    1. I had to drop my previously purchased business class ticket because I was forced to stay in the US until the biopsy results came back for a possible melanoma in my upper hard pallet near the uvula.
    2. The only quick access tickets to proceed to our destination were through Travelocity for Quatar airlines. We bought flight insurance just to be sure.
    3. Two days later I consulted with the surgeon and was cleared to fly.
    4. Our only option for that emergency flight was Economy Class with little baggage and stringent size limits.
    5. Just before the flight, I chose the seats according to a plan similar to the one you showed. I deliberately chose seating with leg room since I tend to have at least one if not more DVTs from lack of foot room.
    6. The seating plan that Travelocity gave us to choose from was *nothing* like the seating plan for the plane. We were separated, which I expected because of the late purchase, but we had the least foot room possible and no way to even lean back in the seat, since it was butted against the back of the plane.
    7. I immediately contacted a stewardess for help, but she was sharp and non-cooperative, saying, “This is precisely the seat you chose.”
    8. As I predicted, I did indeed have swollen feet and legs after my arrival and have been on blood thinners since. I might have been dead, but fortunately not this time.

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