Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

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Infomom2
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Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Infomom2 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm

I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.

nguy44
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by nguy44 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:13 pm

According to this link, no guarantee you will sit together. https://thepointsguy.com/guide/how-to-s ... air-lines/
Travelers on the same reservation — including families with young children — aren’t guaranteed to be seated together unless they pay to select seats together. You might luck out by checking in exactly 24 hours before departure, but there’s a risk you won’t sit together.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:14 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
Many airlines will allow you to pay $12 or so per person/flight to pick a seat if you pick economy basic. Do note there are other restrictions such as no cancellation or carry-one usually.

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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:27 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
We flew round trip to London last summer on AA/British Airlines. Our family of 4 did not pay extra for the seat assignments. Luckily, BA gave us 4 seats together, both ways, without even having to ask. I think their hope is that you will be scared into paying an extra $50(per seat) to have advance seat reservations. We explained to the kids that they may not sit next to us and they were okay with that. Generally, I think the airlines will try to get your seats together. Just check in as early as possible. If you don't get them at checkin, just show up to the gate as early as you can. I would not pay that kind of money for seat assignments, especially for teens--they will survive--good character building...

Oh, I just saw Delta. We flew to Hawaii on Delta, this winter. We did not pay extra for seat assignments. We had several connections and they always gave us seats together. The very last leg, my son and I sat together and my DW and daughter sat a few seats in front of us. Again, check in as soon as you can to the 24 hour window (set your alarm). If you don't get seats together then, call in to request seats together. If you still don't get them, show up 1 hr early to the gate. I give you at 95% chance of getting them together.

TravelGeek
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:35 pm

MotoTrojan wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:14 pm
Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
Many airlines will allow you to pay $12 or so per person/flight to pick a seat if you pick economy basic. Do note there are other restrictions such as no cancellation or carry-one usually.
OP is looking at Delta. In my limited experience, Delta will not allow you to choose seats for Basic Economy tickets even for a fee. And you do get the standard personal item + one carry-on that non-basic Economy fares also offer. No cancellation isn’t quite accurate (though I understand what you mean). You can certainly cancel, but you lose all the money you paid. With regular non-flexible economy fares you usually can pay a change fee to apply the fare to a future ticket (they won’t give you the money back). None of that is possible. You fly the flight you bought or you lose your money.

OP - I don’t think you have any guarantees. It will likely very much depend on the number of families that fly on your travel date and also want to be accommodated, as well as the overall load. Especially with teenagers, I am not convinced that gate agents will go out of their way to juggle seat assignments and annoy other passengers. They might be more motivated to do that for parents with toddlers.

IMO, I would risk it. Your teens are probably old enough to keep themselves occupied. Airlines would let them travel as unaccompanied minors. They’ll probably just watch non stop movies between meals.

nexesn
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by nexesn » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:46 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
I booked 3 seats on Delta's "Basic Economy" online. I then called Delta and asked if I could pay extra for all of us to choose the seats a head of time so we could ensure we could sit together (we have a toddler). They said "No". I spoke to a supervisor, who essentially said the same thing. At least with Delta "Basic Economy" means you you get the last choice of seats once everyone else has been seated, or been assigned seats. Fortunately, my purchase was within the 24 hour cancellation window that all airlines are required to offer by law. So, I just cancelled the tickets and booked on another airline. The price was a little higher on the other airline but I was able to select my seats. I obviously could have booked with Delta, but the price of the non "Basic Economy" for our particular trip was really high.

My suggestion would be to book the tickets, then immediately call the airline. If they can accommodate the request, cancel the tickets. Again, rules now state airlines must offer you a full refund as long as you cancel within 24 hours of booking- even if the ticket strictly states "non-refundable".

Good luck

TravelGeek
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:23 am

nexesn wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:46 pm

My suggestion would be to book the tickets, then immediately call the airline. If they can accommodate the request, cancel the tickets. Again, rules now state airlines must offer you a full refund as long as you cancel within 24 hours of booking- even if the ticket strictly states "non-refundable".
It is a useful tip, but isn’t applicable to all tickets. The DOT requirement applies to tickets bought from the airline seven days or more before departure. Some airlines are more generous. The DOT rules also don’t apply to online travel agencies, though some offer their own 24 hr cancellation window, presumably in order to compete. (I would avoid online travel agents for other reasons, though).

This article is a decent summary:

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/airlines ... -policies/

Back to Basic Economy tickets: airlines actually don’t want you to book these “cheap” tickets. They want you to spend more on the regular economy fares. That is why they are showing all the warning pop ups listing the restrictions and offering the upsell. So it is actually quite unlikely that they would be willing to circumvent the fare rules if you just call and ask. They may even have implemented software blocks on seat assignments to implement the rules and prevent generous or tired or insufficiently trained agents from circumventing the rules.

bberris
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by bberris » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:54 am

If all else fails, you could switch with someone on the plane. They would be very likely to give up a middle seat for an aisle or window.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fujiters » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:29 am

bberris wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:54 am
If all else fails, you could switch with someone on the plane. They would be very likely to give up a middle seat for an aisle or window.
If you don't pay for assigned seats, you are far more likely to end up in the middle. It's not unlikely that OP's family will all be assigned to middle seats.
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retiringwhen
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by retiringwhen » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:30 am

bberris wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:54 am
If all else fails, you could switch with someone on the plane. They would be very likely to give up a middle seat for an aisle or window.
The downside of this theory is that most if not all basic economy fare seats don't get window or aisle, they start as middle seats. you actually have to pay to be able to get one of those seats first. Now if the flight is >50% basic economy, you may have a chance of getting a desired seat for swapping. If folks really want to sit together, pay the fee. The real thing to learn here is that the basic economy fares really are not realistic for all but a few situations. you WILL be upsold. that is the airline's intention. Because airlines like Spirit have driven the no frills mindset into kayak.com surfers, the other airlines had to match the prices. this is what you get: a la carte pricing.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by coalcracker » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:34 am

My family recently flew on a short Delta flight (with a connection) from the northeast to Florida, with 2 adults and 2 young seated children (5 and 1.5). I have traveled extensively in the past, but not much on Delta, and I ignored the warnings about you-can't-choose-your-seats class of tickets when I purchased. I just assumed we could talk to the gate agents and get seats together given our kids are so young.

Well, I was wrong. They had us seated individually and separately on all flights, including the 1.5 y/o. We had to talk to other passengers and switch seats after boarding while wrangling the younguns.

I fear this pay per feature model, for priority boarding, luggage, choosing seats, food, drinks, etc, is the future of airline travel. I'll be paying close attention to which airlines keep these features "free" and choosing more carefully in the future.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:37 am

From the Delta Fare Chart:
When you purchase Basic Economy, you will typically enjoy our lowest fare, but seats will be assigned after check-in and you will not be able to change or refund your ticket after the Risk Free Cancellation period. Additionally, you will not be eligible for: paid or complimentary upgrades; paid, complimentary or discounted Delta Comfort+™; paid or complimentary Preferred Seats; or same-day confirmed or same-day standby travel changes, regardless of Medallion or other elite status.
If sitting together is a deal-breaker, skip Basic Economy. You will have no guarantees whatsoever. For that matter, since seating is assigned after you check in, it wouldn't suprise me at all if you ended up on standby. I avoid Basic Economy like the plague.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by aquaman » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:33 am

fortfun wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:27 pm
The very last leg, my son and I sat together and my DW and daughter sat a few seats in front of us. Again, check in as soon as you can to the 24 hour window (set your alarm). If you don't get seats together then, call in to request seats together. If you still don't get them, show up 1 hr early to the gate. I give you at 95% chance of getting them together.
You are talking about things that are completely unpredictable. If the flight ends up being half empty, the OP and his family won't have a problem. On the other hand, if, by the time the 24 hour window rolls around, most of the seats are already selected by those traveling in higher travel classes and those with status, there will be absolutely nothing that the OP will be able to do.
bberris wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:54 am
If all else fails, you could switch with someone on the plane. They would be very likely to give up a middle seat for an aisle or window.
As others have pointed out, it's not unusual for Delta's Basic Economy to consist exclusively of middle seats. Even if it doesn't, the OP is talking about an international flight, where people are significantly less likely to be open to switching seats. It's a very different situation than what you're likely used to seeing on short domestic flights.
Last edited by aquaman on Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by neilpilot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:33 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:37 am

If sitting together is a deal-breaker, skip Basic Economy. You will have no guarantees whatsoever. For that matter, since seating is assigned after you check in, it wouldn't suprise me at all if you ended up on standby. I avoid Basic Economy like the plague.
....and I'd be suprised if anyone here could provide a real example where they were placed on standby after a timely check in using Basic Economy

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Chicago60 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:35 am

coalcracker wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:34 am
I fear this pay per feature model, for priority boarding, luggage, choosing seats, food, drinks, etc, is the future of airline travel. I'll be paying close attention to which airlines keep these features "free" and choosing more carefully in the future.
Sadly, the future is already here.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Xrayman69 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:45 am

Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
200 each seems a bit excessive just to choose a seat, unless you are getting something more.....


Is this round trip and thus 100 each way? Does it include choice of seating in economy comfort where there is 4 more inches of legroom?

In addition the basic economy choices board last and typically overhead bin space for carryon items such as roll on suitcases is very limited. Basic economy is ideal for a single individual traveling with only a single carrry on item that easily fits in the space under the seat. I realize this is frustrating for less experienced travelers who purchase the cheapest/lowest fair ticket and pack inefficiently (more than they really need) but I imagine this is not an unusual scenario.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by neilpilot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:55 am

Xrayman69 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:45 am

In addition the basic economy choices board last and typically overhead bin space for carryon items such as roll on suitcases is very limited. Basic economy is ideal for a single individual traveling with only a single carrry on item that easily fits in the space under the seat. I realize this is frustrating for less experienced travelers who purchase the cheapest/lowest fair ticket and pack inefficiently (more than they really need) but I imagine this is not an unusual scenario.
My admittedly limited experience with carry on luggage on domestic basic economy is very different. Last year we had 3 flights on American and in every case, when the overhead bins were expected to fill, AA offered all passengers a free carry on luggage gate check. The bag was transported in the cargo hold, and then available as we left the plane without going to baggage check.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:01 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:35 pm
MotoTrojan wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:14 pm
Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
Many airlines will allow you to pay $12 or so per person/flight to pick a seat if you pick economy basic. Do note there are other restrictions such as no cancellation or carry-one usually.
OP is looking at Delta. In my limited experience, Delta will not allow you to choose seats for Basic Economy tickets even for a fee. And you do get the standard personal item + one carry-on that non-basic Economy fares also offer. No cancellation isn’t quite accurate (though I understand what you mean). You can certainly cancel, but you lose all the money you paid. With regular non-flexible economy fares you usually can pay a change fee to apply the fare to a future ticket (they won’t give you the money back). None of that is possible. You fly the flight you bought or you lose your money.

OP - I don’t think you have any guarantees. It will likely very much depend on the number of families that fly on your travel date and also want to be accommodated, as well as the overall load. Especially with teenagers, I am not convinced that gate agents will go out of their way to juggle seat assignments and annoy other passengers. They might be more motivated to do that for parents with toddlers.

IMO, I would risk it. Your teens are probably old enough to keep themselves occupied. Airlines would let them travel as unaccompanied minors. They’ll probably just watch non stop movies between meals.
+1
Or video games on iPads or Cell phones. :)
Also, a perhaps interesting expansive experience for them to interact with fellow travelers. :D
I have occasionally seen families try to rearrange and seat swap with other travelers although quite a few are reluctant but did so, so that may be "uncool". :( since they had perhaps may have paid more to select their seats in the first place.
You can often select your seats when doing online check in for free or a small upgrade fee if they are available.
Have fund. :D
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:19 am

coalcracker wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:34 am
My family recently flew on a short Delta flight (with a connection) from the northeast to Florida, with 2 adults and 2 young seated children (5 and 1.5). I have traveled extensively in the past, but not much on Delta, and I ignored the warnings about you-can't-choose-your-seats class of tickets when I purchased. I just assumed we could talk to the gate agents and get seats together given our kids are so young.

Well, I was wrong. They had us seated individually and separately on all flights, including the 1.5 y/o. We had to talk to other passengers and switch seats after boarding while wrangling the younguns.

I fear this pay per feature model, for priority boarding, luggage, choosing seats, food, drinks, etc, is the future of airline travel. I'll be paying close attention to which airlines keep these features "free" and choosing more carefully in the future.
Pay per feature would better for all of us if we knew what they were and how much they cost. I find it very hard to find the costs associated with the extras. Frontier especially, as you have to carry through their system, page by page, just to find the price for a bag. Very tedious.
Airlines should be upfront about it. As in, on the home page with a link to the price for the features. At least then we would have the information to proceed. It is not as if we did not know there are extra charges. Why they have to resort to hiding them is beyond me.
As for seating. To break up people whose tickets are purchased as one transaction is wrong. It is usually expressed as a threat so that you purchase the extra option, although you may be hard pressed to find that option on the website.
Obtuse threats, misinformation, incomplete information, that is the way of business for the airlines now. There is no recourse.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:22 am

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:55 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:45 am

In addition the basic economy choices board last and typically overhead bin space for carryon items such as roll on suitcases is very limited. Basic economy is ideal for a single individual traveling with only a single carrry on item that easily fits in the space under the seat. I realize this is frustrating for less experienced travelers who purchase the cheapest/lowest fair ticket and pack inefficiently (more than they really need) but I imagine this is not an unusual scenario.
My admittedly limited experience with carry on luggage on domestic basic economy is very different. Last year we had 3 flights on American and in every case, when the overhead bins were expected to fill, AA offered all passengers a free carry on luggage gate check. The bag was transported in the cargo hold, and then available as we left the plane without going to baggage check.
As more and more travelers take advantage of this freebie, I expect airlines to start charging for gate-checked luggage. I think they would already be doing it if they could figure out a way to avoid the chaos and bad feelings.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:32 am

While I am sympathetic to your needs/wants if you require sitting together you’ll need to pay for that privilege up front. Otherwise you are simply rolling the dice.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by tibbitts » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:49 am

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:55 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:45 am

In addition the basic economy choices board last and typically overhead bin space for carryon items such as roll on suitcases is very limited. Basic economy is ideal for a single individual traveling with only a single carrry on item that easily fits in the space under the seat. I realize this is frustrating for less experienced travelers who purchase the cheapest/lowest fair ticket and pack inefficiently (more than they really need) but I imagine this is not an unusual scenario.
My admittedly limited experience with carry on luggage on domestic basic economy is very different. Last year we had 3 flights on American and in every case, when the overhead bins were expected to fill, AA offered all passengers a free carry on luggage gate check. The bag was transported in the cargo hold, and then available as we left the plane without going to baggage check.
That will generally not occur except with regional aircraft. Your bag may be checked to your final destination for free, but it will appear on the baggage carousel along with other checked bags. You won't be able to access it during your connection, and is exposed to the usually checked-baggage risk. Also while the bag will be checked to your destination, there is no guarantee it will be on the same flight as you are (domestically.) Within the U.S. bags don't have to travel with their owners.

Also remember that checked baggage rules still apply if the airline takes your bag at the gate, so if you rely on that "feature" you have to pack accordingly with some of the more-restrictive regulations for checked bags (for example spare lithium batteries) in effect. So you might be scrambling to re-pack at the gate.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by tibbitts » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:05 am

Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
Absent some medical or behavioral condition, I'm not sure why teens would have any issue sitting next to others.

But having said that, you have $600 to work with. Even if you all get stuck in a middle seat, which is likely, you could try bribing the person in the window or aisle to swap with the kids in their middle for $100 or $200 cash each. You'd still come out ahead.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by obgraham » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:26 am

I see this happen often. A couple or family, near the last to board, wants me to switch seats so they can "sit together". Having booked early snd selected my seat with care, I usually refuse, prompting the "stink eye" look the rest of the way.

Sorry, OP, don't expect the rest of us to fix your lack of preparation.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Infomom2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:29 am

obgraham wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:26 am
I see this happen often. A couple or family, near the last to board, wants me to switch seats so they can "sit together". Having booked early snd selected my seat with care, I usually refuse, prompting the "stink eye" look the rest of the way.

Sorry, OP, don't expect the rest of us to fix your lack of preparation.
[/quote



Ah, but that is why I am planning and preparing. There are plenty of seats on this flight. Just figured out I dont want to pay $600 to chose them.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:04 am

nguy44 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:13 pm
According to this link, no guarantee you will sit together. https://thepointsguy.com/guide/how-to-s ... air-lines/
Travelers on the same reservation — including families with young children — aren’t guaranteed to be seated together unless they pay to select seats together. You might luck out by checking in exactly 24 hours before departure, but there’s a risk you won’t sit together.
If the airlines wants strangers to sit next to my screaming kids for several hours I'm all for it :mrgreen:

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by tibbitts » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:06 am

obgraham wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:26 am
I see this happen often. A couple or family, near the last to board, wants me to switch seats so they can "sit together". Having booked early snd selected my seat with care, I usually refuse, prompting the "stink eye" look the rest of the way.

Sorry, OP, don't expect the rest of us to fix your lack of preparation.
How much did they offer? Everybody has a number, what would yours have been?

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Infomom2
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Infomom2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:12 am

Just read that if you have certain Delta credit cards, you get priority one boarding (or whatever its called when you have first priority). You dont need to pay with that card, just have it at check in....wondering if I should consider this. It would be too late for me to use their airline miles bonus as I dont wan to wait to spend the money on that card to buy these tickets...but it would increase chances of getting seats together. Hmmn, not sure I want to get their card. I do get cards for their bonuses, which is part of why I don't know if I want to get this one (chase rules about how many cards you can get, etc). Also, that doesnt help me decide if I want to pull the trigger and buy these tickets now.

Traveler
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Traveler » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:14 am

nexesn wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:46 pm
Infomom2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:09 pm
I am looking at some international travel with my 13 and 16 year olds; we are very excited and ready to book. Well, almost. So, these new economy fares that don't let you pick your seats, any ideas on if it generally ends up that families can sit together? I am looking at a $200/per ticket price/$600 difference in order to get tickets that allow me to pick seats. That is a lot of money to me, but even though they are teens it is difficult for them to sit next to strangers and not family. How likely they would at least get to sit together; I can sit somewhere else...it seems insane to spend $600 extra.

Thoughts or experiences? The likely airline is Delta if that matters.
I booked 3 seats on Delta's "Basic Economy" online. I then called Delta and asked if I could pay extra for all of us to choose the seats a head of time so we could ensure we could sit together (we have a toddler). They said "No". I spoke to a supervisor, who essentially said the same thing. At least with Delta "Basic Economy" means you you get the last choice of seats once everyone else has been seated, or been assigned seats. Fortunately, my purchase was within the 24 hour cancellation window that all airlines are required to offer by law. So, I just cancelled the tickets and booked on another airline. The price was a little higher on the other airline but I was able to select my seats. I obviously could have booked with Delta, but the price of the non "Basic Economy" for our particular trip was really high.

My suggestion would be to book the tickets, then immediately call the airline. If they can accommodate the request, cancel the tickets. Again, rules now state airlines must offer you a full refund as long as you cancel within 24 hours of booking- even if the ticket strictly states "non-refundable".

Good luck
Just curious why you would think you would get to choose seats when you book a Basic Economy seat when a pop-up shows up before your confirm and you have to acknowledge the fare limitations? Blows my mind that people seem to be entitled for that which they aren't paying for. I'm glad the Delta reps stuck to the rules.

Everyone should think of these Basic Economy types of fares as a discount for not being able to select a seat in advance and taking whatever is left (usually a middle seat) along with whatever other limitations the fare class has.

Traveler
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Traveler » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:17 am

tibbitts wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:06 am
obgraham wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:26 am
I see this happen often. A couple or family, near the last to board, wants me to switch seats so they can "sit together". Having booked early snd selected my seat with care, I usually refuse, prompting the "stink eye" look the rest of the way.

Sorry, OP, don't expect the rest of us to fix your lack of preparation.
How much did they offer? Everybody has a number, what would yours have been?
People usually expect you'll move for no charge even though you paid to select that particular seat. The greed in the aviation world is astounding.

stan1
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by stan1 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:17 am

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:12 am
Just read that if you have certain Delta credit cards, you get priority one boarding (or whatever its called when you have first priority). You dont need to pay with that card, just have it at check in....wondering if I should consider this. It would be too late for me to use their airline miles bonus as I dont wan to wait to spend the money on that card to buy these tickets...but it would increase chances of getting seats together. Hmmn, not sure I want to get their card. I do get cards for their bonuses, which is part of why I don't know if I want to get this one (chase rules about how many cards you can get, etc). Also, that doesnt help me decide if I want to pull the trigger and buy these tickets now.
Priority one boarding does not get you better assigned seats. It gets you on the plane sooner to claim overhead space. All passengers on Delta have assigned seats. It's not like Southwest where you choose your seat from what's not occupied.

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Infomom2
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Infomom2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:26 am

stan1 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:17 am
Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:12 am
Just read that if you have certain Delta credit cards, you get priority one boarding (or whatever its called when you have first priority). You dont need to pay with that card, just have it at check in....wondering if I should consider this. It would be too late for me to use their airline miles bonus as I dont wan to wait to spend the money on that card to buy these tickets...but it would increase chances of getting seats together. Hmmn, not sure I want to get their card. I do get cards for their bonuses, which is part of why I don't know if I want to get this one (chase rules about how many cards you can get, etc). Also, that doesnt help me decide if I want to pull the trigger and buy these tickets now.
Priority one boarding does not get you better assigned seats. It gets you on the plane sooner to claim overhead space. All passengers on Delta have assigned seats. It's not like Southwest where you choose your seat from what's not occupied.
That makes sense. Just went back and read the article from The Points Guy on this and it is not clear if/how it helps with seating...

neilpilot
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by neilpilot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:29 am

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:26 am
stan1 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:17 am
Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:12 am
Just read that if you have certain Delta credit cards, you get priority one boarding (or whatever its called when you have first priority). You dont need to pay with that card, just have it at check in....wondering if I should consider this. It would be too late for me to use their airline miles bonus as I dont wan to wait to spend the money on that card to buy these tickets...but it would increase chances of getting seats together. Hmmn, not sure I want to get their card. I do get cards for their bonuses, which is part of why I don't know if I want to get this one (chase rules about how many cards you can get, etc). Also, that doesnt help me decide if I want to pull the trigger and buy these tickets now.
Priority one boarding does not get you better assigned seats. It gets you on the plane sooner to claim overhead space. All passengers on Delta have assigned seats. It's not like Southwest where you choose your seat from what's not occupied.
That makes sense. Just went back and read the article from The Points Guy on this and it is not clear if/how it helps with seating...
No seating help. Depending on your particular Delta-affinity card, it may also offer a free checked bag if you use it to pay for the ticket.

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Infomom2
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Infomom2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:44 am

Thanks. Does anyone have experience of Delta's "main cabin" tickets? I found some that are more expensive that basic economy, but nowhere as expensive as the premium economy I was seeing called "main cabin"; it looks like I can choose seats, but its not clear. It says something about medallion status and not clear if there is an extra fee to choose seats or not. I am on the Delta website, actually taking the steps to buy the tickets, but these things are not clear.

dewey
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by dewey » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:50 am

If they don't seat you together--often people will swap seats if they keep what they had before, e.g. if I swap an aisle for an aisle or window for a window I'm willing to swap to help someone out.
“The only freedom that is of enduring importance is freedom of intelligence…”

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by galawdawg » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:53 am

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:44 am
Thanks. Does anyone have experience of Delta's "main cabin" tickets? I found some that are more expensive that basic economy, but nowhere as expensive as the premium economy I was seeing called "main cabin"; it looks like I can choose seats, but its not clear. It says something about medallion status and not clear if there is an extra fee to choose seats or not. I am on the Delta website, actually taking the steps to buy the tickets, but these things are not clear.
Yes, you can select seats with main cabin tickets. The selection of "free" seats will be limited but you can select preferred seats at an additional cost (which is waived for those with Medallion status).

https://worldairlinenews.files.wordpres ... art-hr.jpg

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US ... class.html
Last edited by galawdawg on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rich126
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by rich126 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:55 am

While airlines and companies can make things more complicated than need be, people need to look at what they are buying. Most of the time it is clear as to whether you get seat assignments, baggage, etc. If those things are important, then avoid basic economy.

For seat information, https://www.seatguru.com/ is the best site to use.

As others mentioned, only Southwest is the only airline I'm aware of, that doesn't assign seats ahead of time and once on board you pick your seats.

When you don't buy or get seat assignments with the airlines then you are just gambling with what you will end up with. If the flight isn't crowded (doesn't happy much now) then you'll likely get lucky, otherwise it will be a middle seat for the flight, or one that doesn't recline, etc.

Credit cards sometimes help with getting free luggage checked and a few other perks.

gt4715b
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by gt4715b » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:56 am

There are two separate issues here:
1. Sitting together
2. Avoiding an "isolated" middle seat, that is where at least 2 of you are sitting together.

If you don't buy seats, it's very likely that will be assigned 3 "isolated" middle seats.

To me issue #1 is probably mostly a non-issue, especially on the flight where you'll be mostly sleeping.

Issue #2 is a matter of personal preference. A 7+ hour flight in a middle seat is approaching torture to me. You never know what situation you're going to be in. Having the option to lean out into the aisle or into the window is huge.

Also, as someone mentioned earlier, given that most people ARE buying for their seats more and more people are not playing the "Can you switch seats with me?" game anymore, myself included.

harrychan
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by harrychan » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:09 pm

Don't patronize those airlines. My whole family booked the lowest fares using ANA to Asia this summer and were all seated together for all 4 legs.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:31 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:26 am
That makes sense. Just went back and read the article from The Points Guy on this and it is not clear if/how it helps with seating...
It will not help you with seating, but it will help The Points Guy earn a credit card commission. :twisted:

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:36 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:44 am
Thanks. Does anyone have experience of Delta's "main cabin" tickets?
They are the regular non-basic economy/coach fares. You don’t face the restrictions that are unique to Basic Economy, incl. seat assignment. Look at this page and scroll down to the Compare Experiences button for a handy dandy comparison chart.

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US ... ience.html

TravelGeek
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:39 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:14 am

Everyone should think of these Basic Economy types of fares as a discount for not being able to select a seat in advance and taking whatever is left (usually a middle seat) along with whatever other limitations the fare class has.
It is also important to look at the actual rules for a given airline because they aren’t consisten. For example, UA is more restrictive about carry on bags with domestic BE fares. Alaska Airlines’ version, called Saver Fares, actually sometimes lets you choose seats at booking. They basically have a pool of less desirable seats in the back of the plane that you can pick from... unless they have already been picked by earlier Saver Fare purchasers.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Bastiat » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:47 pm

What makes it "difficult" for them to sit next to strangers?

They are teenagers. Taking a flight by themselves should not be an issue, let alone when parents are on the same flight...

student
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by student » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:55 pm

Infomom2 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:44 am
Thanks. Does anyone have experience of Delta's "main cabin" tickets? I found some that are more expensive that basic economy, but nowhere as expensive as the premium economy I was seeing called "main cabin"; it looks like I can choose seats, but its not clear. It says something about medallion status and not clear if there is an extra fee to choose seats or not. I am on the Delta website, actually taking the steps to buy the tickets, but these things are not clear.
Main Cabin on Delta is the old-fashioned economy. You can choose seats.

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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:55 pm

aquaman wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:33 am
You are talking about things that are completely unpredictable. If the flight ends up being half empty, the OP and his family won't have a problem. On the other hand, if, by the time the 24 hour window rolls around, most of the seats are already selected by those traveling in higher travel classes and those with status, there will be absolutely nothing that the OP will be able to do.
fortfun wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:27 pm
The flights I mentioned where completely full (over xmas break). We still didn't have any problems getting seats together. Yes, they were all taken by the 24 hour check-in period. That was usually resolved with a phone call to Delta, for the remainder of the flights, the gate agents worked hard to get our seats together. As I said, there's no guarantee but in all of our flights, we've always had at least two seats together. YMMV but I wouldn't pay a lot of extra money for assigned seats--I'd rather add a few days to my vacation :)
Last edited by fortfun on Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

student
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by student » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:59 pm

obgraham wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:26 am
I see this happen often. A couple or family, near the last to board, wants me to switch seats so they can "sit together". Having booked early snd selected my seat with care, I usually refuse, prompting the "stink eye" look the rest of the way.

Sorry, OP, don't expect the rest of us to fix your lack of preparation.
I understand. I paid extra for it and I do not want to give up what I have paid for. My standard response is I am somewhat claustrophobic, I am willing to switch if it is another aisle seat.

aquaman
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by aquaman » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:03 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:55 pm
The flights I mentioned where completely full. We still didn't have any problems getting seats together. The gate agents seem to work hard to get families together. As I said, there's no guarantee but in all of our flights, we've always had at least two seats together. YMMV but I wouldn't pay a lot of extra money for assigned seats--I'd rather add a few days to my vacation :)
Right, and I've previously been upgraded to first class (on a domestic flight; ain't happening on an international one) without any status on those particular airlines. Anecdotal examples like this are not particularly helpful in the OP's situation, and statements along the lines of "I give you at 95% chance of getting them together" are even worse, as you are talking about things that are completely unpredictable, especially on international flights where switching seats tends to be significantly more difficult.

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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:08 pm

aquaman wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:03 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:55 pm
The flights I mentioned where completely full. We still didn't have any problems getting seats together. The gate agents seem to work hard to get families together. As I said, there's no guarantee but in all of our flights, we've always had at least two seats together. YMMV but I wouldn't pay a lot of extra money for assigned seats--I'd rather add a few days to my vacation :)
Right, and I've previously been upgraded to first class (on a domestic flight; ain't happening on an international one) without any status on those particular airlines. Anecdotal examples like this are not particularly helpful in the OP's situation, and statements along the lines of "I give you at 95% chance of getting them together" are even worse, as you are talking about things that are completely unpredictable, especially on international flights where switching seats tends to be significantly more difficult.
I've never paid for seat assignments on international flights either--I'm too cheap (Mexico, Turkey, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Greece, UK, etc). Always ended up together. Like everything else on this board, it's just my opinion and what I would do. The OP is a grown-up and will have to make his/her own decision.

Bliss
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Bliss » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:26 pm

I frequently took international flights by myself in my 20’s and 30’s. I experienced enough unwanted attention from creepy men sitting next to me that I started to fly Business, and continue to do so when I’m flying solo. I can’t imagine any circumstance in which I wouldn’t pay extra to sit with my young daughter.

If you choose to not pay extra for a seat selection I don’t see how you could ask someone who DID pay a premium to switch with you.

I hope you find a happy resolution and enjoy your trip!

azianbob
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by azianbob » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:20 pm

If you have kids don't risk it. There is no guarantee. Unless maybe you beg an attendant at the gate on check in.

My wife and I chose the economy and they assigned us two middle seats on check in. We could not change online without paying a fee. By the time we got to the gate all the seats were already booked. So we sat separately. It was worth it because it was a relatively short flight (2.5 hours) and we ended up in the same row but across the aisle from each other. We saved $50 a person roughly.

Like a day before flight, they will generally allow you to pick a seat for like $12 or some reduced price, you can maybe gamble for that, but once again, it will be hit or miss based on how many people paid to pick their seats and what is available.

Or just fly Southwest they let you sit wherever you want.

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