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enilria
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UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:16 pm

This article was published last week, but it's blowing up on social media today. Basically, airlines were caught forcing families to sit apart so that they can charge to put them back together. FlyBe and TUI are marked as least likely to be doing this. Not clear who is the worst offender. If true, pretty awful. Probably is true.

Algorithms used by airlines to split up those travelling together unless they pay more to sit next to each other have been called “exploitative” by a government minister.

Speaking to a parliamentary communications committee, Digital Minister Margot James described the software as “a very cynical, exploitative means… to hoodwink the general public”.

She added: “Some airlines have set an algorithm to identify passengers of the same surname travelling together.

How much money do airlines make from charging for extras?
“They’ve had the temerity to split the passengers up, and when the family want to travel together they are charged more.”


https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/ne ... 40771.html
 
RamblinMan
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:30 pm

I see no problem with carriers charging more for adults who wish to sit together, but when it comes to families with kids- I've definitely got no desire to be somebody's babysitter when their 6-year-old winds up next to me and the parents are at the other end of the cabin. I would be all for legislation that forces airlines to seat children under a certain age, say 12 or 13, next to at least one accompanying adult, whether they paid for seat selection or not.
 
sccutler
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:31 pm

While my first instinct was to throw out a callous "...should have thought ahead..." comment, upon reading the article, two things stand out:

1. Algorithms that purposely identify same-surname bookings and split them up? Just plain ugly; - and
2. Safety: in the event of an evacuation, having family members separated from each other could delay and complicate evacuation; definitely!

Food for thought...
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
sierra3tango
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:43 pm

I had a related type of experience of a BA flight to Bahrain in late July.

Checked in online 20ish hours before to find I had been allocated a middle seat in Y (yuk), the only option was were aisle seats (2) at a premium of somewhere about $50.
I am a long standing (20 years) FF, albeit only 'blue' (avoid them where possible), with a recorded seat preference of aisle. Booked late so the fare was high (double that quoted in Oct) & whilst the fare class wasn't a full Y, it was thereabouts. My boarding pass logged me with the 'seq no' of 79 (for a 772) & the flight was almost full.

Worked out what was going on & complained to 'Customer Services' (a misnomer if there ever was one) at the terminal, to be told that their management wasn't listening to them & I should write to officially complain, wouldn't even log the complaint. Can't say I'll never ever fly tem again, but it'll be once in a blue moon.

Strikes me such algorithms go far further than just families.
 
ikramerica
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:14 pm

When airlines decided to charge you extra to choose your seats, you have to believe they also put in place a plan to purposely split you up so they can then charge you more.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
BREECH
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:30 pm

enilria wrote:
“Some airlines have set an algorithm to identify passengers of the same surname...

Oh, that should work great on flights to Seoul and Beijing. :-D

enilria wrote:
“a very cynical, exploitative means…"

HA! And poll tax isn't, Ms.Conservative Government?
Welcome to Britain, sweetheart, the country with no heart.
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mxaxai
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:40 pm

The opposite to this has happened to me, though. While the seat selection comes with a fee online, showing up for check-in at the airport often makes the agent seat all people in the group together. Even if they're not even on the same ticket, showing up as a group sufficed. Happened on several LCC, including AirAsia, Lionair, and Scoot.
 
mdavies06
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:19 am

Last year's thread on this topic on FR.

viewtopic.php?t=1364705

Glad someone is looking at this from the regulatory perspective.
 
Jomar777
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:13 am

Quite a frequent flyer and never happened to me and my family. Our 1.5 year old, of course, is out of question since he needs to be with someone and no airline even dare split a non seat baby form parents. My 13 year old son could be an issue but we never got any issues with Qatar Airways, BA, Easyjet, Ryanair, AF, KLM, IB, etc.
UA, DL and AA allow you to choose your seats at time of booking regardless for Long Haul (I am UK based) so no issues, AC is the same.
Call me lucky but I feel that this is not an issue (yet...). In over 15 years, I heard this once on a VS Flight with some friends (both adults) 10 years ago and once on TAP in 2002.
Just returned from Dubai on an Air Belgium operated on behalf of BA and the flight attendants were moving some people aroujnd to cater for someone to sit together.
 
davies2911
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:25 am

Charge for all or charge for no one.
 
jmmadrid
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:50 am

This is RYANAIR's default seating policy. Flew them last night, seat 3A, and could witness how a family of 3 (mom, dad, and 10ish year old son) had been assigned 3B, 4B and 5B respectively. So three people on the same PNR and all of them got middle seats? What a coincidence...
Luckily, people around were very understanding and swapped seats so that the family could travel together.
By the way, before the seat swapping began, it turned out that seats 3C, 3D and 4D were available. So, unless it's another coincidence that the passengers who got those 3 seats were all no shows, the seats were available when the family checked in and could have received a better arrangement, eg 3BCD
 
LupineChemist
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:17 am

Jomar777 wrote:
Quite a frequent flyer and never happened to me and my family. Our 1.5 year old, of course, is out of question since he needs to be with someone and no airline even dare split a non seat baby form parents. My 13 year old son could be an issue but we never got any issues with Qatar Airways, BA, Easyjet, Ryanair, AF, KLM, IB, etc.
UA, DL and AA allow you to choose your seats at time of booking regardless for Long Haul (I am UK based) so no issues, AC is the same.
Call me lucky but I feel that this is not an issue (yet...). In over 15 years, I heard this once on a VS Flight with some friends (both adults) 10 years ago and once on TAP in 2002.
Just returned from Dubai on an Air Belgium operated on behalf of BA and the flight attendants were moving some people aroujnd to cater for someone to sit together.


My experience is the legacies do at least try to get everyone together, of course with nothing guaranteed without prepayment, but the LCCs have indeed recently started separating people for this reason.
 
ltbewr
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:42 am

Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ? I don't think so and is why the 'algorithm' needs to be redone to reflect such variables rather than be greedy. You also may have family members with mental or physical disabilities who must be next to another family member for their comfort and safety. As noted above, if an emergency having family members apart would make things much more deadly.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:51 am

LupineChemist wrote:
Jomar777 wrote:
Quite a frequent flyer and never happened to me and my family. Our 1.5 year old, of course, is out of question since he needs to be with someone and no airline even dare split a non seat baby form parents. My 13 year old son could be an issue but we never got any issues with Qatar Airways, BA, Easyjet, Ryanair, AF, KLM, IB, etc.
UA, DL and AA allow you to choose your seats at time of booking regardless for Long Haul (I am UK based) so no issues, AC is the same.
Call me lucky but I feel that this is not an issue (yet...). In over 15 years, I heard this once on a VS Flight with some friends (both adults) 10 years ago and once on TAP in 2002.
Just returned from Dubai on an Air Belgium operated on behalf of BA and the flight attendants were moving some people aroujnd to cater for someone to sit together.


My experience is the legacies do at least try to get everyone together, of course with nothing guaranteed without prepayment, but the LCCs have indeed recently started separating people for this reason.

My experience of the lagacies is they separate.

I prefer JetBlue for a reason.

Is there a search engine that allows a comparison with seat selection and bag? I would switch in a blink.

Lightsaber
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JannEejit
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:12 pm

Why does it matter to an airline who sits next to who as long as the seats are sold ? Why...? To cynically extort more money out of the passenger of course. What next ? A charge to use the seatbelt, a rental fee on the safety card, corkage fee on the wine, toilet paper charged per inch used ? Someone needs to start an airline that sells you an 'all inclusive' ticket deal for using the onboard facilities. Back in the old days we just called it 'buying a ticket' !
 
ChrisKen
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:19 pm

ltbewr wrote:
Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ?

You or your wife could equally be that 'possible pervert'.

If you want to guarantee seats together, you book seats together. People forget, you weren't guaranteed seats together in the age before 'seat selection' either, you paid for carriage not a specific seat. The check in staff juggled what they could but you could still be SooL. These days you HAVE the option.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:26 pm

ChrisKen wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ?

You or your wife could equally be that 'possible pervert'.

If you want to guarantee seats together, you book seats together. People forget, you weren't guaranteed seats together in the age before 'seat selection' either, you paid for carriage not a specific seat. The check in staff juggled what they could but you could still be SooL. These days you HAVE the option.


Yes but the point here is airlines deliberately seperating families to force them to pay a seat reservation fee when they can clearly see from the booking they are travelling as group. Therefore making the notion of sitting together into a paid for extra. As I have already asked, why does it matter to the airline if it's not just a money maker ? Yes you can reserve seats by paying more but if the flight is not already sold out at time of booking and full rows of three seats (or more) are available, it's easy to accomodate families travelling together in the seat allocation software.
 
ChrisKen
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:37 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Yes but the point here is airlines deliberately seperating families to force them to pay a seat reservation fee when they can clearly see from the booking they are travelling as group. Therefore making the notion of sitting together into a paid for extra. As I have already asked, why does it matter to the airline if it's not just a money maker ? Yes you can reserve seats by paying more but if the flight is not already sold out at time of booking and full rows of three seats (or more) are available, it's easy to accomodate families travelling together in the seat allocation software.


Airlines are using allocated seating as they always have done. It used to be the first come first served as you checked in at the airport. You now have the CHOICE to book specific seats. If you choose not to, then you default back to first come first served juggling of old but with the disadvantage most of the flight has effectively checked in before you. You're not being forced apart, nor forced to pay.

Airlines still attempt to accommodate where they can, although in the age of pre-booked specific seats, the pickings left are slimmer.
Airlines will place a child fare next to at least one of the adult fares on the same booking.
 
boerje
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:51 pm

ChrisKen wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ?

You or your wife could equally be that 'possible pervert'.

If you want to guarantee seats together, you book seats together. People forget, you weren't guaranteed seats together in the age before 'seat selection' either, you paid for carriage not a specific seat. The check in staff juggled what they could but you could still be SooL. These days you HAVE the option.


I flew with my wife on AY from HEL to FCO and back. To Rome we had 16 C&D. Not perfect but fine. Back to HEL we were given 20 B and 21 A. There was a friendly gentleman on 20 A with whom I switched my seat. So no, booking seats together does not guarantee seating together.
 
Amiga500
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:51 pm

ChrisKen wrote:
Airlines are using allocated seating as they always have done.


Rubbish. Complete utter rubbish.

Until around 18 months / 2 years ago, the chances of being split up were (by my own experience) about 1/20.

Now, the chances of being together are around 1/20.

That is not coincidence.


[Ryanair & Easyjet]
 
EBJ68
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:01 pm

Bottom line is customer service isn't what it used to be, but that been the situation for some time now and it's not just the airlines. To have good customer service an organization needs old fashioned values, like placing a high value on the family.
 
andymartin
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:08 pm

No prizes for guessing the worst offender, hello MOL. When making a booking all people on that booking should be allocated seats together.
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:18 pm

sierra3tango wrote:
I had a related type of experience of a BA flight to Bahrain in late July.

Checked in online 20ish hours before to find I had been allocated a middle seat in Y (yuk), the only option was were aisle seats (2) at a premium of somewhere about $50.
I am a long standing (20 years) FF, albeit only 'blue' (avoid them where possible), with a recorded seat preference of aisle. Booked late so the fare was high (double that quoted in Oct) & whilst the fare class wasn't a full Y, it was thereabouts. My boarding pass logged me with the 'seq no' of 79 (for a 772) & the flight was almost full.

Worked out what was going on & complained to 'Customer Services' (a misnomer if there ever was one) at the terminal, to be told that their management wasn't listening to them & I should write to officially complain, wouldn't even log the complaint. Can't say I'll never ever fly tem again, but it'll be once in a blue moon.

Strikes me such algorithms go far further than just families.


This has ever been the way of things, aisle and window seats go first, people who either book late, don't pay for seating or don't check in as early as possible get the rubbish middle seats, its is however an entirely different matter to what this thread is about - deliberately splitting families up.

The other matter is that you describe yourself as a FF albeit blue, that's the very lowest executive club membership, not really a FF at all. As to your complaint, you booked one seat to Bahran, that's what you got, one seat to Bahrain, where did the booking promise that it wouldn't be a middle seat ?
 
cledaybuck
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:40 pm

RamblinMan wrote:
I see no problem with carriers charging more for adults who wish to sit together, but when it comes to families with kids- I've definitely got no desire to be somebody's babysitter when their 6-year-old winds up next to me and the parents are at the other end of the cabin. I would be all for legislation that forces airlines to seat children under a certain age, say 12 or 13, next to at least one accompanying adult, whether they paid for seat selection or not.
Agreed. I would look at airlines own policies for determining the correct age. When they charge unaccompanied minor fees should be a pretty good guide.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
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euroflyer
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:06 pm

This is very serious. We are of course used to see companies using your personal information to target their sales, but this is a whole new level. A company is voluntarily acting in a distinct way to weaken your situation and increase the likelihood of selling extra. This is basically the same as a doctor that would hurt you in order to sell you medicines.
There's virtually no limit to what this software could collect. We can imagine checking the internet with the pax names to see if there's a connection, or checking pax with tickets paid with the same credit card etc...

Judges will appreciate
Last edited by euroflyer on Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Calpe
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:07 pm

I had a similar experience of Jet2 this year when flying with my wife and two children (age 6 & 4) and wrongly assumed that having young children we would be seated together. When I checked in online a couple of weeks before we flew there were no seats together to choose from even though I was prepared to pay for allocated seating and we were allocated seats across four different rows.

I called up their customer services once I had checked in and the discovered our allocated seat numbers and to give them credit they moved us all together without hesitation and they said it was company policy for minors under a certain age to sit with accompanying adults, even though I would have accepted two pairs of seats in different locations as I didnt expect to all be sat together.

However it was an eye opener as to how their algorithms for allocating seats appeared to deliberately split up families and the online seat reservation blocked out many seats which were in fact unallocated.
 
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enilria
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:30 pm

ltbewr wrote:
Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ?

You just gave them an idea how to "tune" the algorithm further. :(
 
LupineChemist
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:55 pm

lightsaber wrote:
LupineChemist wrote:
Jomar777 wrote:
Quite a frequent flyer and never happened to me and my family. Our 1.5 year old, of course, is out of question since he needs to be with someone and no airline even dare split a non seat baby form parents. My 13 year old son could be an issue but we never got any issues with Qatar Airways, BA, Easyjet, Ryanair, AF, KLM, IB, etc.
UA, DL and AA allow you to choose your seats at time of booking regardless for Long Haul (I am UK based) so no issues, AC is the same.
Call me lucky but I feel that this is not an issue (yet...). In over 15 years, I heard this once on a VS Flight with some friends (both adults) 10 years ago and once on TAP in 2002.
Just returned from Dubai on an Air Belgium operated on behalf of BA and the flight attendants were moving some people aroujnd to cater for someone to sit together.


My experience is the legacies do at least try to get everyone together, of course with nothing guaranteed without prepayment, but the LCCs have indeed recently started separating people for this reason.

My experience of the lagacies is they separate.

I prefer JetBlue for a reason.

Is there a search engine that allows a comparison with seat selection and bag? I would switch in a blink.

Lightsaber


I'm just as anxious as anyone for B6 to start TATL service, but this is a UK report and not really generalizable except to maybe the rest of Europe in the single aviation market. I'm giving my experience in Europe.
 
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XAM2175
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:24 pm

sierra3tango wrote:
My boarding pass logged me with the 'seq no' of 79 (for a 772) & the flight was almost full.


It is worth noting that your Sequence Number is nothing more than the order in which you completed check-in. Your seat may have been allocated hours, days, or even weeks before this, and you've no real way of knowing whether the "occupied" seats are simply blocked by the airline or have actually been chosen by passengers before check-in opened.
 
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enilria
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:42 pm

LupineChemist wrote:
I'm just as anxious as anyone for B6 to start TATL service, but this is a UK report and not really generalizable except to maybe the rest of Europe in the single aviation market. I'm giving my experience in Europe.

NK has a long history of stealing ideas from EasyJet and RyanAir (and Frontier stealing ideas from Spirit). I wouldn't be surprised if this is either in place already or in the pipeline for NK/F9.
 
theaathiqone
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:52 pm

Quite an intriguing article, and I felt this personally as I've been through this experience on Emirates.

I and my family of 4 (1 kid and parents inclusive) was flying back to Singapore on Emirates. Did not do online check-in as I did not have much internet connection at the place I was staying, so on check in, I got a shock to see that the seats we had are far apart from each other, plus the child in the family was sitting in the emergency exit (immediate warning bells).

Tried to change but the counter said no. In the flight itself the cabin crew directed the child to sit elsewhere so there was drama in that. I complained to Emirates Customer Affairs but they said it was my fault in not ensuring I get a higher base ticket (we had a 'Normal' fare) and checked in online.

Thoughts?
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:34 pm

I'm afraid we've reached the point where if families want to travel together, they will either need to pay for the opportunity to do so or ensure that one of them is an elite frequent flyer who can call their service desk and have everyone seated together. When you are just an average passenger paying the lowest fare, you no longer have the rights that you used to. That might include the right to choose an aisle or window seat or even the right to carry on a rollboard. To me, BA has always been the worst offender when it comes to offering very few seating options, and little can be done when flying with them, especially if the plane is full. It can make one wonder if it's best to fly one of the US3 in those cases.

You really have to step back these days and look at the total price that will be going on your credit card before you decide to travel. It can be much steeper than imagined when you have several people traveling together, and often times it may pay to have a family discussion about seating in the aircraft and how travel to and from a popular destination may involve a number of inconveniences that can leave one cranky, tired and dehydrated.
 
ikramerica
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:08 pm

It seems counterintuitive to me to target/penalize a small group that brings more revenue to you than a single non-elite flyer. I’m not sure I know of another business that does that.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:30 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
I'm afraid we've reached the point where if families want to travel together, they will either need to pay for the opportunity to do so or ensure that one of them is an elite frequent flyer who can call their service desk and have everyone seated together. When you are just an average passenger paying the lowest fare, you no longer have the rights that you used to. That might include the right to choose an aisle or window seat or even the right to carry on a rollboard.


The problem is the airlines are taking direct advantage of the situation. Selecting seats together when two people are flying the seat next to each other will be blacked out. Separate passengers will find that seat available for purchase. The seat is actually not occupied, reserved or called for when families book. They are just not making it available to buy unless you pay more. Seems like extortion. instead of an opportunity.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:32 pm

On a personal note, I flew quite a few times with EZY with my wife and daughter and we always got three adjacent seats, allocated from booking.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:29 pm

Again Contract of Carriage difficulties The government (citizens' representatives) and airlines need to negotiate how families should be seated, and what extra charge for that might be in order. Dogs are treated better than kids on airlines. LOL
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
Turnhouse1
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:42 pm

Bongodog1964 wrote:
sierra3tango wrote:
I had a related type of experience of a BA flight to Bahrain in late July.

Checked in online 20ish hours before to find I had been allocated a middle seat in Y (yuk), the only option was were aisle seats (2) at a premium of somewhere about $50.
I am a long standing (20 years) FF, albeit only 'blue' (avoid them where possible), with a recorded seat preference of aisle. Booked late so the fare was high (double that quoted in Oct) & whilst the fare class wasn't a full Y, it was thereabouts. My boarding pass logged me with the 'seq no' of 79 (for a 772) & the flight was almost full.

Worked out what was going on & complained to 'Customer Services' (a misnomer if there ever was one) at the terminal, to be told that their management wasn't listening to them & I should write to officially complain, wouldn't even log the complaint. Can't say I'll never ever fly tem again, but it'll be once in a blue moon.

Strikes me such algorithms go far further than just families.


This has ever been the way of things, aisle and window seats go first, people who either book late, don't pay for seating or don't check in as early as possible get the rubbish middle seats, its is however an entirely different matter to what this thread is about - deliberately splitting families up.

The other matter is that you describe yourself as a FF albeit blue, that's the very lowest executive club membership, not really a FF at all. As to your complaint, you booked one seat to Bahran, that's what you got, one seat to Bahrain, where did the booking promise that it wouldn't be a middle seat ?


Unless BA have changed something in the last year or so (I don't actually fly with them much anymore as they offer neither direct flights or cheap connections from the UK regions) the following options apply.

Seat selection at time of booking; Exec Gold, Silver, F, J, W, Y or if you pay an additional fee. Certain rows may be restricted to Gold/Silver.
Seat selection 7 days ahead: Exec Bronze
Seat allocation 3 days ahead: They try to put families together in whatever seats are available, or at least 1 adult in each group if they have to split, this process is basically invisible to customers.
Online Checking 24 hours ahead: Anyone can pick any available seat for free. I have checked in about 1 minute after it opens and there have been very few options, the flight was full.

So I don't believe that you had to pay to change the seat 20 hours out, unless you were on a HBO fare which have all sort of restrictions on them. BA's policy doesn't always work for me, but I understand them prioritising actual frequent flyers or those on fully flexible fares makes sense for the business.

The actual issue raised by this thread of deliberately splitting up groups rather than having an algorithm to maximise groups being together in the seats which haven't been paid for or selected by frequent flyers is annoying. Though the alternative is probably higher base fares all round, the budget airlines have a target of additional spend per passenger from; priority boarding, seat selection, baggage and snacks. Also, they know that families would assume they're together and not pay if they made an exception as when they used to ask 'families with small children' to board first not just those with buggies, but massive groups where all the kids are of school age crowd the gate.
 
Jomar777
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:45 am

LupineChemist wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
LupineChemist wrote:

My experience is the legacies do at least try to get everyone together, of course with nothing guaranteed without prepayment, but the LCCs have indeed recently started separating people for this reason.

My experience of the lagacies is they separate.

I prefer JetBlue for a reason.

Is there a search engine that allows a comparison with seat selection and bag? I would switch in a blink.

Lightsaber


I'm just as anxious as anyone for B6 to start TATL service, but this is a UK report and not really generalizable except to maybe the rest of Europe in the single aviation market. I'm giving my experience in Europe.


As I mentioned, it seems std procedure for the US Carriers to allow you to select a seat at the itme of booking (within the access your ticket gives you) at leats for flights going in or out of the US. The same seems to apply for Canada (people in the US and Canada can correct if I am wrong). The seat issue seems to apply the most on European Airlines. Personally, I fly a lot Emirates and Qatar also and never saw any issues with them apart from Qatar Airways moving you around when they want to balance their aircraft. But, in fairness, they do so keeping groups together.

As i mentioned, I have never had an issue in having my family separated (2 adults, a teenager and a 1.5 year old baby) plus whoever flies with us. Last time I flew Air Canada, it was on a last minute rebooking done by IUnited Airlines due to an isse with the plane that was to make one of the legs of our flight so understandably, seats were very limited but even then Air Canada arranged for me and my teenage son (we were flying together just the two of us...) to sit reasonably together (both on aisle onm the same row so only the corridor between us (no complaints there from either of us...) in one of the flights and get seats together on the second flight.

I always felt that Ryainair and Easyjet tended to allocate seats together based on whether you are or not on the same booking ref but know that there would be issues in the end when flights are full and this option is no longer possible. Interesting to see how many people need to re re-accommodated or have their complains addressed PER FLIGHT. If you have loads of issues in total but only one or two per flight, then you could blame the fact that sometimes is not always really possible to make everyone happy - just like it happens on a Theatre, for example (I've got loads of cases on Operas and Ballets tothe point of avoiding to go to certain plays only because could not get seats together with my wife...).
 
offloaded
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:15 am

I don't sell enough FlyBe or Tui to comment; I do however do a lot of Ryanair, Easyjet (approx €400k/yr so I believe that gives me a fair sample) and scheduled carriers such as BA. Where pax elect not to prebook a seat, and are on the same PNR, 9/10 times EZY and BA have seated them together, (unless it's a late booking and the flight is virtually full), with FR they are 9/10 times apart. (My last 2 pax had 2B and 31A!)
To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
 
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klm617
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:43 am

BREECH wrote:
enilria wrote:
“Some airlines have set an algorithm to identify passengers of the same surname...

Oh, that should work great on flights to Seoul and Beijing. :-D

enilria wrote:
“a very cynical, exploitative means…"

HA! And poll tax isn't, Ms.Conservative Government?
Welcome to Britain, sweetheart, the country with no heart.


I had an interesting experience with this I checked in the night before on a Delta Detroit Frankfurt flight and was allowed to chose the seat I wanted with no problem in basic economy albeit I couldn't chose it early but when I checked in the night before wasn't blocked from choosing a seat I wanted but on the return out of Frankfurt back to Detroit I could not chose a seat upon check-in I was only able to get a seat assigned just before the door was opened for boarding and true to their word I got one of the worst seats one could get on a plane directly in the middle and both flights were pretty full.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
FlyHappy
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:11 pm

enilria wrote:
LupineChemist wrote:
I'm just as anxious as anyone for B6 to start TATL service, but this is a UK report and not really generalizable except to maybe the rest of Europe in the single aviation market. I'm giving my experience in Europe.

NK has a long history of stealing ideas from EasyJet and RyanAir (and Frontier stealing ideas from Spirit). I wouldn't be surprised if this is either in place already or in the pipeline for NK/F9.


Really? I'm quite confident I've noticed the seat splitting algorithm in place at Frontier for around 5 years (right near the start of the transition to LCC) .
Frankly, I thought this seat fee extortion was well understood, and global.; I'm shocked that a.net is shocked.

In fact, I distinctly recall not knowing about, or understanding what "unbundling"/LCC was (mostly because in the past I didn't travel with luggage or care about seat assignment until I had children), until I literally realized thru trial and error that there was an active software component splitting myself and a young child... over and over and over again.

As far as I'm concerned, this is another dubious "1st" for US airlines.
 
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klm617
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:38 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
I'm afraid we've reached the point where if families want to travel together, they will either need to pay for the opportunity to do so or ensure that one of them is an elite frequent flyer who can call their service desk and have everyone seated together. When you are just an average passenger paying the lowest fare, you no longer have the rights that you used to. That might include the right to choose an aisle or window seat or even the right to carry on a rollboard. To me, BA has always been the worst offender when it comes to offering very few seating options, and little can be done when flying with them, especially if the plane is full. It can make one wonder if it's best to fly one of the US3 in those cases.

You really have to step back these days and look at the total price that will be going on your credit card before you decide to travel. It can be much steeper than imagined when you have several people traveling together, and often times it may pay to have a family discussion about seating in the aircraft and how travel to and from a popular destination may involve a number of inconveniences that can leave one cranky, tired and dehydrated.


With stand up seats waiting in the wing. Hey if it adds to the bottom line for airlines it's all good per the airliners.net forum. I have heard it said many times on here if you don't like the experience just reach in your pocket and pay more for an upgraded experience that appeals to you more. Personally I have an issue with charging for exit row seats meaning a person is entitled to that seat but could possibly not be able to perform the needed actions in an emergency but they are not going to say anything because they paid to sit there and the airlines are playing the odds that most flights land without incident. That being said every exit row should have a crew member seated there as a jump seat just in case. I was on a flight where a very large woman was seated next to the window and I'm pretty sure in an emergency she would have been more of an obstruction than anything else can you imagine trying to get an unconscious 300 + pound woman out of the way in an emergency that was given that seat just because she paid for it.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
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enilria
Topic Author
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:39 pm

FlyHappy wrote:
enilria wrote:
LupineChemist wrote:
I'm just as anxious as anyone for B6 to start TATL service, but this is a UK report and not really generalizable except to maybe the rest of Europe in the single aviation market. I'm giving my experience in Europe.

NK has a long history of stealing ideas from EasyJet and RyanAir (and Frontier stealing ideas from Spirit). I wouldn't be surprised if this is either in place already or in the pipeline for NK/F9.


Really? I'm quite confident I've noticed the seat splitting algorithm in place at Frontier for around 5 years (right near the start of the transition to LCC) .
Frankly, I thought this seat fee extortion was well understood, and global.; I'm shocked that a.net is shocked.

In fact, I distinctly recall not knowing about, or understanding what "unbundling"/LCC was (mostly because in the past I didn't travel with luggage or care about seat assignment until I had children), until I literally realized thru trial and error that there was an active software component splitting myself and a young child... over and over and over again.

As far as I'm concerned, this is another dubious "1st" for US airlines.

You may be right. I was unaware that was happening in the USA. You should file a DOT complaint and reference this article.
 
AWACSooner
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:25 pm

Amiga500 wrote:
Do certifying authorities really think that aircraft would be evacuated in anything like the regulation times?

Thank you for making my argument for regulating minimum seat pitch ;)
 
Amiga500
Posts: 2645
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:36 pm

AWACSooner wrote:
Amiga500 wrote:
Do certifying authorities really think that aircraft would be evacuated in anything like the regulation times?

Thank you for making my argument for regulating minimum seat pitch ;)



Indeed. The seating density the airframer certifies at and the density used by LCCs are worlds apart.

Would be interesting to see just how badly affected evac times are.


Look at this - Airbus in this case - but they are all at it:

https://runwaygirlnetwork.com/2015/03/2 ... al-airbus/

“We believe we can demonstrate the evacuation capacity by analysis based on the tests already conducted to justify the increased credit and also tests results from the original A320 evacuation test. This is the typical approach and means that a new demonstration is not required,”


BULL.

(As is all too often the case), the certifying authorities are in the back pocket of the airframers - and seemingly don't have the competence or balls to insist on proper trials.
 
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alex0easy
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:58 pm

IMO separating minors from their supervisors on a plane should be illegal if leaving minors at home alone is illegal.
On the other hand, I'm fine with separating adults.
 
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Aisak
Posts: 929
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:47 pm

alex0easy wrote:
IMO separating minors from their supervisors on a plane should be illegal if leaving minors at home alone is illegal.
On the other hand, I'm fine with separating adults.


While maybe not illegal, there's a minimum "legal" age to be able to fly "solo". Or else, it is considered an Unaccompanied Minor and not all companies accept UMs.

Why is it wrong for a 10 years old kid to fly alone and it seems legit to let him fly and sit its accompaning adult 12 rows back?

Also, as already stated above in other comments: No infant should be assigned an emergency exit seat. That should break the law in some point as it's clear an infant cannot perform the tasks required for an emergency. The airline doing that should be fined, even more if it is an infant separated from its accompaning adult.
 
Bhoy
Posts: 548
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:05 pm

American were splitting kids up from Parents way back in '89. There was definitely a McCallister family that had this issue on a flight from Chicago to Paris... :duck:
 
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NeBaNi
Posts: 477
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:42 am

Bhoy wrote:
American were splitting kids up from Parents way back in '89. There was definitely a McCallister family that had this issue on a flight from Chicago to Paris... :duck:

I don't think it was AA splitting up the kids in that case. If you remember, the parents booked themselves in J while leaving the kids in Y, so they separated themselves from their kids.
 
jomur
Posts: 354
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Re: UK Says Airlines Forcing Families Apart to Charge More Fees

Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:36 am

enilria wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
Would you want to have your teen daughter sitting next to some possible pervert ?

You just gave them an idea how to "tune" the algorithm further. :(


Jet2 usually moves families around once online check in closes 5 hours before the flight and is done by the airport staff.

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