Can't help to ask this question:
When do exit row seats become "seats" for tall people?
Well, most airlines actually keep their exit row seats to their elite flyers, and airlines like United will sell you those seats, only if you pay the fee to "upgrade" to Economy Plus.
I guess most agents will try to accomodate "tall" people by giving them the exit row seats when permitted, which is a nice thing to do. it is perhaps "common sense" in that way, but you cannot expect those seats reserved for the tall people. Then how do you define "tall"?
However for a whole basketball team, there may not even be that many exit row seats, and those seats may have preassigned to elite flyers, which SQ
cannot ask them to deplane.
It is an unfortunately situation and I really don't know if there is a correct solution to it. The most I can think of is that most airlines adopt the United's Y Plus seating and allow more comfortable saeting at a nominal fee, and/or like Northwest, keep those exit row seats open to all passengers in a first come first serve basis, and once again, have those seats available as a nominal fee.
But I agree that it is an "entitlement" issue. You just cannot expect the agent to give you an "exit" row seat automatically, when you are taller than average. A Y ticket really just composes of getting you from Point A to Point B with some food and drinks, some amenities, and a seat. I really don't know if one can file a complaint when they can't get an exit row seat and they are tall.
It is "common sense" to try to accommodate a tall person to the exit row, but is also "common sense" to take care of your elite flyers first and make sure your most loyal customers are well taken care of. But as the original case, if the basketball team is traveling on a Boeing 777 flight, will there be enough exit row seats available in the first place? I still think if they care so much about their basketball players, they should fly J and work out a deal with one of the airlines (I am sure some discounts can be worked out), who fly between those two cities? Or call the airline early in advance and work out a solution? I am sure airlines like SQ
will try to accommodate, as well as Qantas, its hometown airline? or fly airlines like Gulf Air, who offers very affordable J fare between SIN
I still think the best solution is like NW
, and save the exit row seats for elites and/or have them available in a first come first serve basis with a nominal fee surcharge. So for those tall folks, there are at least an option. But I just think it is unreasonable to expect the airline to automatically assign and reserve those exit row seats for the tall.