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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:00 pm

Seat Assignment Changes

Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:02 am

Hi everyone,

I have a question regarding seat assignment. If a passenger has checked in and boarded the aircraft, can the passenger be moved arbitrarily by the ground staff to fulfill another passengers' request? For example, a couple wishing to sit together finds someone sitting in one of their seats (the couple requested at check in to sit together and the passenger travelling alone checked in first as well as boarded first), can ground staff order the sole passenger (who has all the right documentation) to move?

Similarly, if a pax has a failed ptv and wishes to watch, can ground staff/cabin crew order another pax out of their seat to serve this passenger? Or must an agreement be made?

I've witnessed a mother and her baby being given different seats on a UA flight, and the crew said that they had no power to move anyone for other than safety reasons. The mother was told that she would have to ask fellow passengers if they would like to swap seats so she could be with her child. I have seen this practice many times before (where the cabin crw may ask on behalf of a pax if someone would like to swap, but never forcibly move someone), but these run contrary to my mother's experience last night.

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:04 pm

RE: Seat Assignment Changes

Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:32 am

Now there is a good question.

Quoting 9VSIO (Thread starter):
the crew said that they had no power to move anyone for other than safety reasons.

Yes that happens. Usually when an infant ends up in a non-infant seat . Only some rows of seats on an aircraft have an extra oxygen mask for infants, so they must sit in these rows.
Or maybe for balance problems, and passengers are asked to move to an empty seat at the other end of the aircraft to correct this.
But otherwise, I would say it is request only, and the pax can say no.
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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:58 pm

RE: Seat Assignment Changes

Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:46 pm

It would all depend on different airlines, but I'm assuming there is a 'norm' out there. At my airline, passengers can be re-assigned seats to cater for families etc, but only before boarding. Once they have boarded the aircraft, it's essentially their seat and would only be told to move if it were for some safety reason.
This, however, does not mean that the crew cannot ask someone to move to accomodate people sitting together etc. Generally speaking, people are quite obliging about this. As crew, I would usually only ask someone to move if I had a better seat for them (exit/bulkhead etc).

As for the IFE/PTV issue, no, nobody would ever be forced to move from a seat to accomodate someone else. Possibly, crew might ASK a nonrev passenger, or deadheading crewmember, but that's it.
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RE: Seat Assignment Changes

Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:59 pm

As a gate agent, I'll try to shuffle people around before boarding if I need to move their seats or get a family together, but that's if I have the room to do it. If the flight is completely booked full, I'll advise them to swap seats with other passengers once onboard the aircraft.

I have involuntarily removed passengers from the exit row before. It was a party of two and when boarding, I asked them if they were willing and able to assist in an emergency. They woman said "no" and the guy said "oh, she was just kidding." I canged their seats anyway and told the flight attendant that they were not to sit there.

I was working a flight to CVG one day and I had a pre-board passenger who was in a wheel chair and travelling with her daughter. They were seated in 4B and C, but once onboard the aircraft, the flight attendant told them that they could sit in 3B and C (which is the bulkhead row) even though those seats were assigned to other passengers. When the flight attendants take it upon themselves to change passengers seat assignments, I let them deal with it if it becomes an issue.
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