qslinger
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Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:48 pm

Hi All:

This has been back of my mind for a while but didn't think of it much until I read an article on nzhearld.co.nz. The article discusses about being put in a non-reclining seats, such as the ones right before the exit doors or the ones against the bulk heads or all the way in the back next to the toilets.

I was put on a non-reclining seat (all the way in the back next to the toilets) on my Air Asia flight from DPS to CGK as Air Asia doesn't let you pick the seats for free. As it was a full flight, I could not even request to be moved to another reclining seat. I also know that I paid the exact same amount as another passenger, as she and I got into a conversation while waiting in line to board the aircraft and talked about how much we each paid. The unfortunate situation is that I knew there was no point in arguing with the flight crew as there was nothing they could do and being a budget airline, probably would not do anything about it.

What surprised me from the article was that even the big guys do it:

"Air New Zealand, American, Emirates and Singapore are among airlines which have planes fitted with non-reclining or barely reclining seats."

(More Here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/new...icle.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10721218)


My question is,
1. What are a passengers rights in regards to requesting not to be put in a non-reclining seat?
2. Assuming that he as paid the same amount for the ticket as the rest of his fellow passengers in economy, can he request for a partial refund as he is not getting the same bang for the buck? If he didn't, would that be considered as cheating or unequal treatment?
3. Can the passenger prevent the passenger in front from reclining as his seat itself does not recline? (I am pretty sure he can't but, still worth asking).
4. As the passenger cannot recline back, and is now forced to sleep on the tray table (I have done that) and gets injured while the passenger in the front reclines his seat, can the airline be liable for it?

Will post more questions as i think of them. Thanks for all the answers.

Raj
Raj Koona
 
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:33 pm

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
(More Here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/new...1218)

The link is not working properly.

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
1. What are a passengers rights in regards to requesting not to be put in a non-reclining seat?

As far as I know: None, just bad luck! Next time check-in early or pay to reserve a better seat.

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
2. Assuming that he as paid the same amount for the ticket as the rest of his fellow passengers in economy, can he request for a partial refund as he is not getting the same bang for the buck? If he didn't, would that be considered as cheating or unequal treatment?

Probably not. He paid for transportation from point A to point B and that's what he got.

Almost all aircraft in operation today have good and bad seats, everyone with a common-sense knows that. If you're too lazy to check-in early or reserve seats (or being a haggler not wanting to pay for a seat reservation) you will accept the risk of getting the last available seats, which are mostly the worst seats on the aicraft, that's how it works!

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
3. Can the passenger prevent the passenger in front from reclining as his seat itself does not recline? (I am pretty sure he can't but, still worth asking).

Is this a serious question?   

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
4. As the passenger cannot recline back, and is now forced to sleep on the tray table (I have done that) and gets injured while the passenger in the front reclines his seat, can the airline be liable for it?

Again, is this a serious question? Nobody forces you to sleep, so if you decide to sleep on the table it's your own decision.

By the way, why on earth would you need a reclining on a short flight such as DPS-CGK anyway? Reclining seats should be removed from all short - and mediumhaul aircraft in my opinion.
'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'
 
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Vasu
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 1):
Reclining seats should be removed from all short - and mediumhaul aircraft in my opinion.

I'm personally not a fan of seat reclining at all... For me, the cabin space in front of my seat is far more important than having the "ability to recline".
 
antonovman
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:47 pm

Talk about clutching at straws
I thought it was just the Americans who think " I gotta sue sue sue "
You bought a ticket to transport you from A - B and thats what the airline did
They transported you from A to B
Get over it
 
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Aesma
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:56 pm

More and more single aisle planes are fitted with slim non reclining seats, so at least here you'd have no ground to complain. As for me, I hate it when the seat in front is reclined, so I don't recline mine.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
WNbob
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:01 am

Quoting qslinger (Thread starter):
I also know that I paid the exact same amount as another passenger

Now EVERYBODY KNOWS the convoluted way carriers price their seats is well known. The argument that the pax across you paid the same is a coincidence. If you had a chance to ask 10 others, you'd be surprised 85% paid different fares. All frequent flyer knows this. That's just how it works nowadays.

Now for sure, some carriers charge you for "better" seating but unfortunately sounds like the one you were on had no such offer and it's a lottery who get what seat.

Nothing that the in-flight crew could do? Of course not. Lets say a FA feels for you and wants you to have another seat. Who does he ask to switch with you? What reason does he give to the other passenger?

Lesson: Next time, fly with the carrier that for a small fee, you can be sure to have a "nicer" seat, or one of those pre-assign ones. It's all capitalism my friend.

[Edited 2011-04-23 17:03:52]
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:06 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 4):
As for me, I hate it when the seat in front is reclined, so I don't recline mine.

  

I hate it too...so I do recline, but just a bit, so that I get some comfort but I'm not inconveniencing the guy behind me....unfortunately, most passengers are not so considerate....

On a recent AC 773 flight from YYZ to LHR, I got the last seat in the plane, right at the back of Y class....seat next to me was empty and my seat could recline a bit.....loved it all the way....just perfect for me.....   
 
Viscount724
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:13 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 4):
More and more single aisle planes are fitted with slim non reclining seats, so at least here you'd have no ground to complain. As for me, I hate it when the seat in front is reclined, so I don't recline mine.

I have also noticed that many recent seats that do recline, are installed at an angle that makes them quite comfortable without any need to use the recline feature. This is true of the Recaro seats on LX A319/320/321s and Avro RJs, and on the different model of Recaro seats on KLM 737s. I have been on many of those aircraft and most passengers seem happy with the seat in the fully upright position for the entire flight. They don't recline very much in any case.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:55 am

If an airline advertises reclining seats, they're required to make good on that. However, I would bet that any airline that has some non-reclining seats has fine print on any advertising they do have (if they have any about the reclining seats at all) making note that not all seats recline. As long as they're truthful in their advertising, there's not much you can do.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
KingFriday013
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:02 am

The seats on the Dash 8-100s I travel on don't recline at all. Now you might say that's not a big deal because of the short duration of the flight... but when you're #1,000 in line for takeoff at LGA it takes a lot longer than you think.

-J.
Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:10 am

Quoting antonovman (Reply 3):
Get over it

                             

Passengers' rights? Just like that bullsh** rule in the US about planes not being able to be on the tarmac for X hours. Sure there were abuses, but they went way overboard. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing the airline has a "right" for you is to get you to your destination safely. Have a problem, fly on a different airline!
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
ozark1
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:45 am

Could not agree with you more DeltaMD90! This "rights" thing is absolutely ridiculous. The only reason the airline industry has been subject to it and idiots like Kate Hanni is because it's a fun business to dramatize in the media. Interesting how no one ever talks about any other industry like Amtrak or hotels or cars. It's because those are yawners to read about. Over hyping a tarmac delay just feeds the same group that feeds off of Nancy Grace and Fox News and other soap operas. The passenger is paying for fuel. Period.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:05 am

Well, if you really want to block the seat in front of you from reclining, there's Knee Defender, but I understand airlines aren't keen on passengers using it because it has led to mid-air arguments and a few broken tray table supports by passengers determined to recline their seat.

Personally, I view reclining seats as one of several annoyances that one has to put up with for the privilege of flying. I understand some passengers have very valid reasons (long legs) against reclining seats, but plenty have valid reasons against crying babies, smelly idiots or passengers taking up more than one seat and they're told to put up with it. So it goes for people who object to the seat in front of them being reclined... There are solutions to each and every one of these problems, some within reach of most of us, some not. Deal with it or don't fly...
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
tranceport
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:32 am

Definitely a hot button topic for me. I wish there wasn't such a thing as reclining seats. Being 6'2" I usually have my knees jammed into the seat in front of me anyway, and I never recline my seat because I know how miserable it is for me when someone else does it to me.....and it's always some shriveled up tiny shrew who reclines their seat in front of me.

I'm normally mild mannered, but you can rest assured that when the seat is reclined in front of me, they are in for a bumpy ride. All I have to do is start shifting every little bit and my knees that are jammed into the back of their seat is a hasty motivator for them to put their seat back upright - sometimes with a loud huff.

I always get a secret delight when I get the good fortune to sit in an exit row and the person ahead of me calls the flight attendant to complain the seat won't recline and then gets told that's because they are right in front of an exit row.
 
beefstew25
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:54 am

Quoting tranceport (Reply 13):
Definitely a hot button topic for me. I wish there wasn't such a thing as reclining seats. Being 6'2" I usually have my knees jammed into the seat in front of me anyway, and I never recline my seat because I know how miserable it is for me when someone else does it to me.....and it's always some shriveled up tiny shrew who reclines their seat in front of me.

I'm normally mild mannered, but you can rest assured that when the seat is reclined in front of me, they are in for a bumpy ride. All I have to do is start shifting every little bit and my knees that are jammed into the back of their seat is a hasty motivator for them to put their seat back upright - sometimes with a loud huff.

I always get a secret delight when I get the good fortune to sit in an exit row and the person ahead of me calls the flight attendant to complain the seat won't recline and then gets told that's because they are right in front of an exit row.


Amen. I am 6'8". If three inches of tilt makes or breaks your flight, get lost.

I never recline my seat. And if the dude in front of me reclines their seat, they will think they are sitting in front of a 3 year old.
MLB: Where you are always number one for takeoff.....
 
Markam
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:00 am

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 10):
As far as I'm concerned, the only thing the airline has a "right" for you is to get you to your destination safely.

Uh... not really. They have to do it within a certain time window, abide by any promises that they might have made you, etc. etc. The air travel industry, as many others, suffers from imperfections that can be unfairly exploited, and an amount of regulation, such as consumer protection, is needed. Conceeded, it can sometimes be overkill, but many times it is necessary. Personally, I don't think that it is anything surreal to ask American airlines not to keep passengers on the tarmac for hours, or to abide by take off and landing slots times which are succesfully in use in many many other countries.

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 11):
Interesting how no one ever talks about any other industry like Amtrak or hotels or cars.

Uh... again, not really. Perhaps it is because you read mostly aviation-related news, but there are plenty of articles about hotels, trains, etc. Those industries also have to comply with consumer protections rules, which, of course, are not the same as for the air travel industry because the problems that might arise are in most cases very different.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 12):
Personally, I view reclining seats as one of several annoyances that one has to put up with for the privilege of flying.
Quoting tranceport (Reply 13):
Definitely a hot button topic for me. I wish there wasn't such a thing as reclining seats.

Well, try and sleep on a 14 hour flight in economy without your seat reclining... unless you have some masochistic inclinations, you are going to have a horrible time. Seats recline because in that position they offer more comfort to the sleeping or relaxing passenger. If you are too big, or need to work with your laptop during the flight, etc. and cannot do with the seat in front of you being reclined, you should pay more to move to the front of the cabin, not make the passenger in front of you suffer so that you can be more comfortable. I like taking naps even in short haul flights, and even when not sleeping, as soon as it is allowed I recline my seat to rest better. I just ask before reclining and/or do it slowly, and I assume that whoever sits behind me is a grown up. No big deal.
 
mark385
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:05 am

i recently flew on a 3.5 hour jetstar flight from singapore to manila, and even though the aircraft was brand new, all of the seats didn't recline on the entire plane (our seats weren't even close to the exit aisles or the back...closer to the front). i honestly didn't mind the fact that the seats didn't recline, although it would've been nice to at least have a label on the back of the seat or something saying that all seats on this a/c don't recline; my mom fumbled with the seat for about 20 mins figuring out where the recline button was until a flight attendant told her the seats don't recline at all. anyway, i believe that minor frills like a reclining seat doesn't matter too much, especially when you're trying to save money on getting from point A to point B, and for short flights like that. my opinion differs, however, for longhaul...
 
nycdave
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:37 am

Quoting tranceport (Reply 13):
Definitely a hot button topic for me. I wish there wasn't such a thing as reclining seats. Being 6'2" I usually have my knees jammed into the seat in front of me anyway,
Quoting beefstew25 (Reply 14):
Amen. I am 6'8". If three inches of tilt makes or breaks your flight, get lost.

I'm wondering where our good friends are from the start of this thread to tell you if you don't like the leg room, quit your complaining and pay for enough space for your gangly legs! If massively obese folks have to buy two seats next to each other, maybe if you cant fit your legs between the seats (reclined) easily, you need to pay for the seat in front of you... or business/first!  
 
splitterz
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:20 am

Passenger rights? Over a reclining seat? What a joke.

I think a good solution to the problem is just to eliminate the reclining feature all together. But really we should just get over such a small inconvenience and instead focus on perhaps...Idk holding passengers responsible for not complying with crew-member instructions, placards, or anything else. Passenger right is a bunch of BS, especially when a tarmac delay is ATCs fault.
 
tranceport
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:14 am

Quoting nycdave (Reply 17):
I'm wondering where our good friends are from the start of this thread to tell you if you don't like the leg room, quit your complaining and pay for enough space for your gangly legs! If massively obese folks have to buy two seats next to each other, maybe if you cant fit your legs between the seats (reclined) easily, you need to pay for the seat in front of you... or business/first!  

I get what you're throwing, but don't quite think the two are logically related. Aside from some rare medical conditions, the obese are 100% in control of their body size through their lifestyle choices. Height was kind of genetically determined when the sperm punched into the egg, don'tcha figure?  
 
Airvan00
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:22 am

Quoting splitterz (Reply 18):
especially when a tarmac delay is ATCs fault.

Ohh come on. It's not ATC's fault if your government doesn't build enough taxiways or runways or your company is too tight to build enough gate space. But this is way off topic!!!!
 
tranceport
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:32 am

Quoting Markam (Reply 15):
If you are too big, or need to work with your laptop during the flight, etc. and cannot do with the seat in front of you being reclined, you should pay more to move to the front of the cabin, not make the passenger in front of you suffer so that you can be more comfortable.

So paraphrasing.....I should suffer so the passenger in front doesn't have to? I'm not that altruistic. I don't need to pay more to move up front because the room is fine in economy without the seat in front of me being reclined. I've paid for my 32" - 34" inches of space, and if the person in front feels the need to move into it - they can enjoy what I dish out to 'em.

I'm coming across as a prick which I'm actually not, and I do have my own set of rules. For long haul flights and red eyes I make exception as I get the need for people to sleep. Heck, if the person behind me is sleeping with their seat reclined on these flights - I'll recline for a bit for some shut-eye myself.

[Edited 2011-04-24 00:40:10]
 
nipoel123
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:45 am

Quoting tranceport (Reply 19):
Aside from some rare medical conditions, the obese are 100% in control of their body size through their lifestyle choices. Height was kind of genetically determined when the sperm punched into the egg, don'tcha figure?

  
Being 6'5", reclining seats are just about the worst thing to happen, together with being on a Ryanair flight   , luckily those two can never happen at the same time...
one mile of road leads to nowhere, one mile of runway leads to anywhere
 
Quokka
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:59 pm

It is fairly common to find that seats by an emergency exit do not have the ability to recline - for obvious reasons. In the event of an emergency you do not want to waste precious time trying to put a seat in the upright position. Design rules in some jurisdictions require that and there is nothing the airlines can to to overcome it short of taking out a row of seats.

You will almost certainly find that even if you book a particular seat, the airline does not guarantee it. There may be several valid reasons why you might be moved. At best they guarantee to try to accommodate your wishes. The reasons for the move might include a wheelchair assisted passenger needing that coveted aisle seat; an unaccompanied minor not being placed next to a male passenger (who by definition is a potential sexual predator); a ninety eight year old with acute arthritis requesting an exit row seat online but clearly being unable to open the exit.

Full service airlines like Emirates and Singapore Airlines make this clear in their "Conditions of Carriage" but few people actually read these documents. They make it clear that you can even be required to change seats after you have boarded the aircraft. But then, EK does not charge for making seat requests. LCCs and others that charge you for asking for a particular seat should, in my opinion, refund the charge if they can not fill the request for whatever reason. Of course, if you don't request a seat you can hardly complain about your particular allocation on check-in.
 
nqyguy
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:33 pm

I'm personally not bothered about recline either.. I've actually slept the best on a plane with a bulkhead directly behind me.

But that's just me..
 
qslinger
Topic Author
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:17 pm

Hi Guys
Sorry for the non working link:

Try this one: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/new...ticle.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10721218 . If this does not work, please go to www.nzherald.co.nz and look up "Buckle up for rough plane ride"

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 1):
As far as I know: None, just bad luck! Next time check-in early or pay to reserve a better seat.

Doubt it if that works too....doesn't the system try to fill the plane from back to front, specially where the airline doesn't have a seat picker system. Also, sometimes as the flight attendants can move you to another seat from the one you picked. Was moved from the second last row of Air NZ flight from AKL to LAX because there were 2 kids flying and had seated together. Don't have problem with it, just that even when the seats are picked well in advance..there is no guarantee!

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 1):
By the way, why on earth would you need a reclining on a short flight such as DPS-CGK anyway?

Personal preference buddy!

Quoting antonovman (Reply 3):
I thought it was just the Americans who think " I gotta sue sue sue "

I used to live in America!  
Raj Koona
 
Markam
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:04 pm

Quoting tranceport (Reply 21):
So paraphrasing.....I should suffer so the passenger in front doesn't have to?

Well, it is not exactly a zero sum game, right? No one needs to suffer, you could just recline your own seat, and stretch so that your knees avoid the front seat altogether. Unless you are in a very cramped aircraft, legroom should be enough to do that. And if you can't, and I say it honestly, you should really think of flying another airline or booking economy plus or business. I am 6 feet tall, and I usually have no trouble with legroom unless the legroom is really reduced or the seat really bad (e.g. magazines taking knee space, etc.). In any case, reclining usually helps, even with the seat in front reclined too, since I can stretch below the seat in front more easily and avoid the knee obstacle. Also, there are some new seats, for example those in Avianca's new A320s, that seem to offer the seat behind more, not less legroom when reclined (the upper part seems to move backwards, but the lower part seems to move foward). Needless to say, if widespread those would eliminate any discussion altogether!   

Quoting tranceport (Reply 21):
I've paid for my 32" - 34" inches of space, and if the person in front feels the need to move into it - they can enjoy what I dish out to 'em.

I myself have been angered by someone in front reclining suddenly, or reclining during the food service, or bumping into my seat a few extra inches from time to time by moving in their seat, etc. They were being rude, and in some cases, if they were especially annoying, I did what I could to get back at them (for example, many old long-haul economy seats are so soft that if you remove the magazines you can make sure that the person in front feels your knees right in their kidneys  ). However, if someone in front warns you and/or slowly reclines their seat, I am afraid they are within their rights and you cannot do anything about it, other than reclining your own seat. Personally, if you are behind me and tell me nicely that for whatever reason you really need me not to recline, I'd probably be more than happy to desist. However, if you protest rudely, you might get to know my other set of frequent flyer tricks, those intended to make the life of the person sitting behind miserable for a few hours.  
 
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Non-Reclining Seats: Passenger Rights

Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:18 am

Quoting qslinger (Reply 25):
Personal preference buddy!

In that case, avoid airlines like easyJet and Ryanair, no reclining seats at all.   

Quoting qslinger (Reply 25):
Doubt it if that works too....

Yes, in general it does.

Quoting qslinger (Reply 25):
doesn't the system try to fill the plane from back to front, specially where the airline doesn't have a seat picker system.

Depends on the airline, aircraft, number of passengers booked and many other things.

Quoting qslinger (Reply 25):
Don't have problem with it, just that even when the seats are picked well in advance..there is no guarantee!

I'm not saying a reserved seat is a guaranteed seat, but it works in 99% of the ocassions. There are always rare exceptions, like the one you described above.
'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'

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