Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

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

Post by nexesn »

Traveler wrote: 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.

I think you missed the part where I wrote "I then called Delta and asked if I could pay extra for all of us to choose the seats"

I was not attempting to be entitled. You also assume that there was a lot of warning and information regarding the fare, there wasn't. I fly a lot, and I understand rules. This was when basic economy had just come out. I wasn't trying to get anything for free. Anyway, I was just giving the OP my story so they could understand that basic economy really means basic.
Starfish
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by Starfish »

I rarely pay for seats and there were times when they s parents and a 3y old on 3 different seats far apart.
We swapped with other passengers.
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

Traveler wrote: 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.
Not sure why you would be "glad" about this anyway. Charging for seats is just another way for airlines, already making record profits, to fleece ALL travelers but especially families. Congress already passed rules against separating families with children 14 and under but the dept. of transportation won't enforce it. BTW, every gate agent I've ever worked with, and telephone agents too, have worked hard to get my family seats together--and they've usually been successful.

From a CBS story:
"This is a cruel form of family separation and it is done on a daily basis on airlines with visions of profits dancing in front of the airline-executives' eyes," he wrote. He argued that a family of four could rack up to $800 in extra fees just to sit side-by-side on a domestic flight.

Families wanting to sit together face an additional hurdle under the new pricing model: Customers who have paid up for preferred seats are less inclined to move to accommodate separated families.

"People who would normally be able to move around now feel very entitled to the specific seats they chose for their own comfort because they paid extra money for that specific seat," Leocha said.
TravelGeek
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek »

fortfun wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:26 pm Congress already passed rules against separating families with children 14 and under but the dept. of transportation won't enforce it.
As far as I know, that is a bit of a mischaractarization of the law passed by Congress.

The law is the “Families Flying Together Act”.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/flying-tog ... 1536764795
Congress had ordered a review in 2016 and directed DOT to come up with regulations forcing airlines to provide children with seats next to parents “if appropriate.”

The agency recently determined “issuing a policy was not appropriate at this time,” a DOT official says.
For what it is worth, I don’t ever travel with kids under 13 (the law targets families with kids under 13), but I support coming up with a process that keeps such families together. I don’t want to babysit someone else’s toddler. Putting the burden to reunite families on gate agents or flight attendants or other travelers is not fair. My preference would be to go back to no restrictions on seat assignments for all travelers and fare classes. The Basic Economy fares didn’t drop airfares anyway.
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

TravelGeek wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:59 pm
fortfun wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:26 pm Congress already passed rules against separating families with children 14 and under but the dept. of transportation won't enforce it.
As far as I know, that is a bit of a mischaractarization of the law passed by Congress.

The law is the “Families Flying Together Act”.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/flying-tog ... 1536764795
Congress had ordered a review in 2016 and directed DOT to come up with regulations forcing airlines to provide children with seats next to parents “if appropriate.”

The agency recently determined “issuing a policy was not appropriate at this time,” a DOT official says.
For what it is worth, I don’t ever travel with kids under 13 (the law targets families with kids under 13), but I support coming up with a process that keeps such families together. I don’t want to babysit someone else’s toddler. Putting the burden to reunite families on gate agents or flight attendants or other travelers is not fair. My preference would be to go back to no restrictions on seat assignments for all travelers and fare classes. The Basic Economy fares didn’t drop airfares anyway.
I agree. Basic Economy fares actually raised prices, just as the airline industry hoped/planned.
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wander
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by wander »

azianbob wrote: 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.
You can check in early and seat wherever you want, however, when a big guy comes behind you and if you are fit and average size he will decide to sit next to you and since the seats nowadays are getting smaller and smaller, his legs and arms will invade your space easily. With assigned seats, at least you have lesser chance to sit next to a big guy.
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

wander wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:46 pm
azianbob wrote: 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.
You can check in early and seat wherever you want, however, when a big guy comes behind you and if you are fit and average size he will decide to sit next to you and since the seats nowadays are getting smaller and smaller, his legs and arms will invade your space easily. With assigned seats, at least you have lesser chance to sit next to a big guy.
Does it show the passengers' weights when you are selecting your seat? Or, you could just charge the heavy person to sit next to you like this guy did: http://www.traveller.com.au/us-plane-pa ... eat-h1byc8
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

Bliss wrote: 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!
Good to know that only middle and low income men can be creepy--that changes everything I thought about Bill Cosby, Micheal Jackson, Robert Kraft, etc.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by davidlhanson »

Easy to avoid all this angst. My wife and I always fly first class domestically, usually Delta. We fly internationally to southeast asia once or twice a year and we choose business class, also Delta or a Delta partner. In both cases, we choose our seats together several months before we fly. People who choose basic economy should just take what they paid for and be quiet about it.
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

davidlhanson wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:19 pm Easy to avoid all this angst. My wife and I always fly first class domestically, usually Delta. We fly internationally to southeast asia once or twice a year and we choose business class, also Delta or a Delta partner. In both cases, we choose our seats together several months before we fly. People who choose basic economy should just take what they paid for and be quiet about it.
Easy to say if you have enough money to fly first class and business class.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

I don’t pay to pick seats. If you travel with children, I’m sure some other passsengers wouldn’t mind swapping with you. I know I would.
Even when I fly business class, I would pay Avios points to pick seats either. So what if my husband and I can’t be next to each other. As long as the seats are in the vicinity.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by THY4373 »

fortfun wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:03 pm Good to know that only middle and low income men can be creepy--that changes everything I thought about Bill Cosby, Micheal Jackson, Robert Kraft, etc.
I think you are potentially reading more into her statement than is there. I can think of a number of reasons why First/Business Class would be better having nothing to do with the "class of people" who are seated there. I don't think anybody who has seen the news in recent years would assume "higher economic status" folks are any less likely to be sexual aggressors.
  • First/business class cabins have a much smaller ratio of cabin crew to customers. Additionally they tend to pay more attention to their customers. This may reduce the opportunity for somebody to do something creepy since they are more likely to be caught out by the cabin crew.
  • International First and Business Class often have seats that are on their own or have a lot of space between fliers. Again this greatly reduces or eliminates the ability of somebody to "come on" to you or whatever.
  • Domestic First seats while usually paired still have more space. Again this reduces the opportunity for untoward advances.
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VictoriaF
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by VictoriaF »

There was another recent thread about advantages of priority boarding. Apart from the overhead bin access, when you board early, you avoid the issue of having to accommodate separated families. It's easier to assert that you want to sit in the seat you have purchased and selected, when you are already sitting in that seat, than asking people to let you into your seat.

Sitting families together should be handled by the families when they purchase the tickets and by the airline personnel. But they frequently abdicate their responsibilities and put social pressure on other passengers to mitigate the situation.

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

Post by gasdoc »

Gosh. I really like Southwest Airlines. Everything is up front. If you want seat selection, you purchase early boarding for a few bucks. Your group walks in, you sit down together. Easy.

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

Post by fortfun »

THY4373 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:14 pm
fortfun wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:03 pm Good to know that only middle and low income men can be creepy--that changes everything I thought about Bill Cosby, Micheal Jackson, Robert Kraft, etc.
I think you are potentially reading more into her statement than is there. I can think of a number of reasons why First/Business Class would be better having nothing to do with the "class of people" who are seated there. I don't think anybody who has seen the news in recent years would assume "higher economic status" folks are any less likely to be sexual aggressors.
  • First/business class cabins have a much smaller ratio of cabin crew to customers. Additionally they tend to pay more attention to their customers. This may reduce the opportunity for somebody to do something creepy since they are more likely to be caught out by the cabin crew.
  • International First and Business Class often have seats that are on their own or have a lot of space between fliers. Again this greatly reduces or eliminates the ability of somebody to "come on" to you or whatever.
  • Domestic First seats while usually paired still have more space. Again this reduces the opportunity for untoward advances.
I'll have to take your word for it. Still came off poorly to me...
ag1
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by ag1 »

I am amazed by the total lack of empathy in some comments. 600-800 is still a lot of money for most people and this is on top of the air fares which are not cheap at all. People seem to suggest that the poster is some how cheap or irresponsible because he is trying to save 600-800 USD while flying with family.

We are Bogle heads here and we in general praise living modestly and saving a lot.

Suggesting he fly business class ( why not private jet) because you do is not helpful and rather rude.


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

Post by fortfun »

ag1 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:15 pm I am amazed by the total lack of empathy in some comments. 600-800 is still a lot of money for most people and this is on top of the air fares which are not cheap at all. People seem to suggest that the poster is some how cheap or irresponsible because he is trying to save 600-800 USD while flying with family.

We are Bogle heads here and we in general praise living modestly and saving a lot.

Suggesting he fly business class ( why not private jet) because you do is not helpful and rather rude.


AG
Yeah, I think this post is showing the general wealth of Bogleheads and their lack of empathy for anyone who isn't as fortunate. God forbid a working person try to take his/her family on a vacation without taking out a HELOC....Or having to sit with the creepy people in the basic fares part of the aircraft.
THY4373
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by THY4373 »

fortfun wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:20 pm Yeah, I think this post is showing the general wealth of Bogleheads and their lack of empathy for anyone who isn't as fortunate. God forbid a working person try to take his/her family on a vacation without taking out a HELOC....Or having to sit with the creepy people in the basic fares part of the aircraft.
You seem to have a real chip on your shoulder as well as so far I have only seen you claim that basic fare folks are "creepy". I have flown basic fares and I have flown international first class. The passengers are the same on average. The advantage of first class is I have more space, better service and more privacy nothing more nothing less (oh and a shower once). I once spent 7+ hours in business class between Dubai and London with a baby that didn't strop screaming. Such is life and while I felt a little sorry for myself I felt a lot sorrier for the baby and his/her parents. There are no guarantees who you will be seated near on a plane even up front. And I spend my free time (it is like a part-time job) allowing me to generate the points to fly when, where and how I like. The way I look at it is I have spent many hours generating the points to fly up front so I have earned it.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by THY4373 »

ag1 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:15 pm Suggesting he fly business class ( why not private jet) because you do is not helpful and rather rude.
You make it sound like business class is always insanely expensive it isn't always. Three years ago I flew from DC to Madrid on AA business class for less than $800 round trip. This past January I flew DC to Athens for about $1700 in business class. Yes this latter price is still expensive but it isn't that out of line compared to basic economy fares + seat selection fees. If you watch for deals there can be reasonable business class fares.
essbeer
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by essbeer »

OP, did you check also online if you could purchase seat assignments? I flew Delta basic economy last summer with my family and I was able to purchase seat assignments through the website for, I think, $29 each. It added pretty substantially to the cost but I didn't really want to take chances.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

You will probably each be assigned middle seats, not together. If you want to sit together but don't want to pay what Delta charges, consider boarding the plane with $500-1000 in $50 bills. See if you can find someone to trade with you for cash.

The people sitting in aisle and window seats probably paid more than you are paying. That's how they got better seats. Just in case it was their employer that paid, maybe some of them will accept your cash in hand to trade.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by tibbitts »

gasdoc wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm Gosh. I really like Southwest Airlines. Everything is up front. If you want seat selection, you purchase early boarding for a few bucks. Your group walks in, you sit down together. Easy.

gasdoc
Yes but you don't have a choice of taking Southwest to most destinations at most times, so you fly whatever airline works with your budget and schedule. Or drive, or take some other form of transportation.
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leeks
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by leeks »

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.
I just booked a trip for my family of 4 on Delta, and yes paid for the "Main Cabin" (both more money and more miles compared to cheapest option - two were award tickets) so we can select seats. Our kids will be 3 and 5 for this trip, they obviously have to sit with a parent, and my husband and I prefer to be close enough to all talk to each other and pass things back and forth. We want to know that is set up in advance, no hassle when boarding.

I am inclined to generally be helpful and to sacrifice my own comfort for another traveler/family with some obvious need. However, now that there is an explicit price for reserving a seat, I would actually be less likely to try to help someone (like the family in this quoted post) who purchased a "no reserved seat" fare to save money but is now asking others to voluntarily move to accommodate them.

The feeling would be: Why should I give up my preferred seat that I paid extra to reserve in order to give it to someone else who chose to save money by not paying for a seat reservation? I hate that the airlines have set us up for this kind of potential conflict between passengers. But I can see it becoming harder and harder to ask other passengers to accommodate families that chose not to pay for seat reservations.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by mainiac »

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.
For an international flight, I paid an extra $50 to obtain a window seat closer to the front of the plane rather than a middle seat at the back of the plane. It was worth it.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by leeks »

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.
You can use the credit card immediately after signing up (I just got a second Delta card - the Amex platinum one - today to get a new mileage bonus and immediately booked tickets with it). After you are approved it gives you the option to show you the new credit card number on the screen and you have 3 minutes to print or save it before it disappears. It gives you the number, expiration, and a temporary CID valid for 15 days.
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fortfun
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by fortfun »

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.
Infomom2, not sure if you have already decided, but I don't think priority boarding will help on Delta, as all of their seats are already assigned by the time boarding starts. Your best bets are:
1. Call reservations and ask them to get your seats together. They will do their best. Call before the 24 hour period and after the 24 hour check in period.
2. Set your alarm for the 24 hour check in period. If you can't find seats together, at least try to pick as many aisle seats as you can. People will be willing to trade those.
3. Show up to the gate early. Gate agents will do their best to get you seated together. On all of my flights with Delta, they've at least been able to get us 2x2 seats. So at least one adult per child.

Good luck! I bet your kids will do fine even if they don't end up sitting next to you. After all, they go to school all day without you and they have to sit next to some pretty wacky people there. Save that money for a few nice meals out once you get to Europe :)
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by tibbitts »

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.
Remember that for each variety of Delta card you only get one bonus for life.

The card would not increase your odds of getting seats together - it would merely allow you to get into those seats earlier.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by dogperson »

leeks wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:08 pm I am inclined to generally be helpful and to sacrifice my own comfort for another traveler/family with some obvious need. However, now that there is an explicit price for reserving a seat, I would actually be less likely to try to help someone (like the family in this quoted post) who purchased a "no reserved seat" fare to save money but is now asking others to voluntarily move to accommodate them.
I feel the same way. I have traded seats for families several times in the past, including moving from a window to a middle seat for a not-too-long leg so that a parent can sit near a young child. But now that I'm paying extra for my window seat, I'd be less likely to give it up to someone who didn't pay extra.

I would not accept cash for my seat while traveling on business, since that would be personal profit from a premium my employer paid for. I guess I would consider it on personal travel, but I'd rather have my window seat.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by 123 »

How much pain does the airline want to inflict on other passengers? It would seem that the airline is taking a significant gamble by not seating a family together, maybe they are hoping that other passengers will enjoy sitting next to the kids.

Paying extra to sit next to my spouse for a number of hours is something I could pass on.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by randomguy »

ag1 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:15 pm I am amazed by the total lack of empathy in some comments. 600-800 is still a lot of money for most people and this is on top of the air fares which are not cheap at all. People seem to suggest that the poster is some how cheap or irresponsible because he is trying to save 600-800 USD while flying with family.

We are Bogle heads here and we in general praise living modestly and saving a lot.

Suggesting he fly business class ( why not private jet) because you do is not helpful and rather rude.


AG
The bussiness class stuff is pushing it but there is a difference between being frugal and expecting to get things for free. OP was frugal and bought cheap tickets and now is looking to get something below market cost.

It is tough because we are sort of used to getting seat assignment for free. And the airlines probably haven't been charging enough for window/aisle seats. Rename this to middle seat class and everyone will understand why the seat is so much cheaper
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by catdude »

I'm flying round-trip, cross-country, on Delta next month. I bought a Basic Economy ticket, then used mileage to upgrade to aisle seats up front. I'm not gonna be receptive if someone asks to switch seats with me.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by oldcomputerguy »

fortfun wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:16 pm 2. Set your alarm for the 24 hour check in period.
Just to note, if you have the Delta app on your phone or tablet and have your Frequent Flyer number associated with your flight, the app will automatically check you in 24 hours prior to departure, and will automatically download an electronic boarding pass.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by gasdoc »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:03 pm
gasdoc wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm Gosh. I really like Southwest Airlines. Everything is up front. If you want seat selection, you purchase early boarding for a few bucks. Your group walks in, you sit down together. Easy.

gasdoc
Yes but you don't have a choice of taking Southwest to most destinations at most times, so you fly whatever airline works with your budget and schedule. Or drive, or take some other form of transportation.
True, unfortunately.

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

Post by KSOC »

gasdoc wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm Gosh. I really like Southwest Airlines. Everything is up front. If you want seat selection, you purchase early boarding for a few bucks. Your group walks in, you sit down together. Easy.

gasdoc
Same here. I set my alarm for check in. I haven't paid yet. I've even got early "C" boarding & the three of us had almost 1/3 of the back of the plane still empty. And it was a pretty full flight.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by JonnyDVM »

Took a recent four hour flight. Booked it for my family ( one 3 year old) with chase rewards points and ended up booking basic economy. Did not consider that the seats wouldn’t be together. Why would they assign a three year old a seat away from parents? We were together on the way there but in the very last row of the plane. On the way back my wife and I were in the last row again and my child was assigned the row in front of us in a middle seat. Fortunately the gentlemen assigned to our window was kind enough to trade her. Definitely would never book basic economy for family travel again. Not worth the stress and not fair to the probably thousands of people every day who get put in the awkward position of being asked to switch seats so small children can sit with their parents. In hindsight, we probably should have let her sit in front of us. She got airsick and we could have let the other passengers deal with it. I have to wonder what the flight attendants would do if we had told them that’s our daughter. That’s the seat your airline gave her. YOU figured it out.
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NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

No, that's the seat you paid for. You chose not to pay to sit with your 3 year old. Maybe you can't afford airline travel and should try a staycation next time.

Ok, that sounds harsh, but how is it different from complaining about being charged for the food you order at a restaurant?
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by alfaspider »

THY4373 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:03 pm
ag1 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:15 pm Suggesting he fly business class ( why not private jet) because you do is not helpful and rather rude.
You make it sound like business class is always insanely expensive it isn't always. Three years ago I flew from DC to Madrid on AA business class for less than $800 round trip. This past January I flew DC to Athens for about $1700 in business class. Yes this latter price is still expensive but it isn't that out of line compared to basic economy fares + seat selection fees. If you watch for deals there can be reasonable business class fares.
If you are flexible on both timing AND destination, you can get fares like this. If you need to be in a specific place at a specific time, business class on a mainline carrier from the U.S. to Europe is a $4-7k proposition (depending on when in the year you are flying). You can scrimp by flying airlines like Norweigian, but you are taking a risk given relatively frequent cancellations on such airlines, and you are also not getting service equivalent to mainline business class. I fly business class internationally 4-5 times a year for work, but if flying on my own, I can't justify the expense- especially with a family.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by neilpilot »

123 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:50 pm How much pain does the airline want to inflict on other passengers? It would seem that the airline is taking a significant gamble by not seating a family together, maybe they are hoping that other passengers will enjoy sitting next to the kids.

Paying extra to sit next to my spouse for a number of hours is something I could pass on.
I see it differently. The airline isn't taking the gamble....you are the gambler by deciding to spend down on a Basic Economy seat. Their web site makes it abundantly clear that you are agreeing to random seating an are like to not be seated together.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by chazas »

Basic economy fares are a way of getting the best price with the most restrictions. Unfortunately if you want to pick seats you're going to have to shell out for a higher basic fare, and then pay even more for "good" seats. Just the way it is today. If I were a family traveling together it would be worth it. And keep in mind that those in the "better" seats have paid the higher fare and (unless they fly so much they have status) paid for their seat assignments, so it's not fair to expect them to trade with you.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by coalcracker »

dogperson wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:16 pm
leeks wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:08 pm I am inclined to generally be helpful and to sacrifice my own comfort for another traveler/family with some obvious need. However, now that there is an explicit price for reserving a seat, I would actually be less likely to try to help someone (like the family in this quoted post) who purchased a "no reserved seat" fare to save money but is now asking others to voluntarily move to accommodate them.
I feel the same way. I have traded seats for families several times in the past, including moving from a window to a middle seat for a not-too-long leg so that a parent can sit near a young child. But now that I'm paying extra for my window seat, I'd be less likely to give it up to someone who didn't pay extra.

I would not accept cash for my seat while traveling on business, since that would be personal profit from a premium my employer paid for. I guess I would consider it on personal travel, but I'd rather have my window seat.
I'm the poster with 2 young kids who had to ask other passengers to shuffle seats. I plead ignorance for this first mistake, but going forward I agree with Leeks that I will be purchasing the level-up tickets to allow seat choices on all my flights. It's not worth the stress of not knowing our exact seat assignments and getting "the look" from other passengers.

This does seem to set up passengers for potential conflict.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by aquaman »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:31 pm
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.
Remember that for each variety of Delta card you only get one bonus for life.

The card would not increase your odds of getting seats together - it would merely allow you to get into those seats earlier.
Exactly. Also keep in mind, that if the OP is traveling from a large Delta hub, a Delta credit card does not really result in priority boarding either. Here's a link to Delta's boarding order: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US ... ority.html

If flying out of a large Delta hub, about half to two-thirds of the plane could easily end up boarding ahead of the Group 1 boarding, as so many of them would be Gold Medallion members and higher. The remaining passengers would essentially all end up being in Group 1, with just a few in groups 2 and 3.

This is less likely to happen on international flights, but is a very common occurrence on domestic flights, particularly those frequented by business travelers.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by essbeer »

NotWhoYouThink wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:44 am No, that's the seat you paid for. You chose not to pay to sit with your 3 year old. Maybe you can't afford airline travel and should try a staycation next time.

Ok, that sounds harsh, but how is it different from complaining about being charged for the food you order at a restaurant?
It's different because the seat assignment is a necessity, not an option, for a young child, meaning the cheapest seats on the plane aren't available to them. It's a soft form of discrimination. It's like charging a person in a wheelchair more for a wheelchair seat than a regular seat, and then trying to justify it by saying the wheelchair seat has a better view. Children don't need seat assignments, just a seat by their parent, which seems to me like a reasonable accommodation.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by TravelGeek »

JonnyDVM wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:33 am Took a recent four hour flight. Booked it for my family ( one 3 year old) with chase rewards points and ended up booking basic economy. Did not consider that the seats wouldn’t be together. Why would they assign a three year old a seat away from parents? We were together on the way there but in the very last row of the plane. On the way back my wife and I were in the last row again and my child was assigned the row in front of us in a middle seat. Fortunately the gentlemen assigned to our window was kind enough to trade her. Definitely would never book basic economy for family travel again. Not worth the stress and not fair to the probably thousands of people every day who get put in the awkward position of being asked to switch seats so small children can sit with their parents. In hindsight, we probably should have let her sit in front of us.
If the two parents were sitting together in the row behind the kid, why didn’t one parent switch seats with the kid and have the other parent sit next to the kid in the last row? Or were the parents split up, too?
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by winT »

I picked the basic economy fare for Delta to save some $ as we are party of 6 and travelling during peak summer period. I was assuming that we will get special consideration because of 2 kids but after looking at this thread, not so much.

I went to my reservation yesterday and didn't see any option to upgrade the fare level. Called Delta support and offered to pay extra to choose some of the seats. To my surprise, they went ahead and allocated seats to "2 kids + 1 adult" free of charge. If you are travelling with kids and made the mistake of buying basic economy, it might be worth calling the airline ahead of time.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by neilpilot »

essbeer wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:15 am
NotWhoYouThink wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:44 am No, that's the seat you paid for. You chose not to pay to sit with your 3 year old. Maybe you can't afford airline travel and should try a staycation next time.

Ok, that sounds harsh, but how is it different from complaining about being charged for the food you order at a restaurant?
It's different because the seat assignment is a necessity, not an option, for a young child, meaning the cheapest seats on the plane aren't available to them. It's a soft form of discrimination. It's like charging a person in a wheelchair more for a wheelchair seat than a regular seat, and then trying to justify it by saying the wheelchair seat has a better view. Children don't need seat assignments, just a seat by their parent, which seems to me like a reasonable accommodation.
To take your comments to a logical end, would you accuse the OP of child abuse if they were to buy a Basic Economy seat knowing that they were essentially authorizing the airline to seat their children at random?
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

I would not trade seats if I paid for it. I never paid to select any seat. This is my frugal cheapstake choice. But in general, I book the cheapest fare means the dates are usually not crowded, most of the time, there are a lot of empty seats. One of the perks of retirement, go anytime, and anywhere, it’s my motto. The only exception is not to go too early or get there too late. It’s hard on my retired body . So that’s the only time I pay more, to get better flight time.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by aquaman »

KSOC wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:12 am
gasdoc wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm Gosh. I really like Southwest Airlines. Everything is up front. If you want seat selection, you purchase early boarding for a few bucks. Your group walks in, you sit down together. Easy.

gasdoc
Same here. I set my alarm for check in. I haven't paid yet. I've even got early "C" boarding & the three of us had almost 1/3 of the back of the plane still empty. And it was a pretty full flight.
People tend to have very strong opinions about Southwest. Personally, I absolutely despise its cattle call boarding process, but like everything else about the airline. The boarding process (as well as the fact that there's no first class, so you can't be upgraded, which is a non-starter for frequent flyers) is also the reason that a ton of business travelers tend to avoid it.

The whole thing where one person boards early and "reserves" seats for the rest of the group, which is something that Southwest officially does not allow, can mean that on certain flights once you get to the middle of "B" boarding, there will only be single/middle seats left. Likewise, Southwest's boarding doesn't work for those with tight connections, as you are then going to get stuck with a crappy seat.

Free baggage does mean that people aren't trying to bring giant suitcases onto the aircraft, which virtually eliminates any issues with overhead bins, and is a significant plus. Still, I know quite a few people who'd rather pay to have their preferred specific seat on a mainline carrier than endure the Southwest cattle call.
winT wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:29 am I picked the basic economy fare for Delta to save some $ as we are party of 6 and travelling during peak summer period. I was assuming that we will get special consideration because of 2 kids but after looking at this thread, not so much.

I went to my reservation yesterday and didn't see any option to upgrade the fare level. Called Delta support and offered to pay extra to choose some of the seats. To my surprise, they went ahead and allocated seats to "2 kids + 1 adult" free of charge. If you are travelling with kids and made the mistake of buying basic economy, it might be worth calling the airline ahead of time.
This generally doesn't work on a busy long haul international flight, where the airline is selling seat assignments for a couple hundred dollars a piece.
Last edited by aquaman on Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by essbeer »

neilpilot wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:33 am
essbeer wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:15 am
NotWhoYouThink wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:44 am No, that's the seat you paid for. You chose not to pay to sit with your 3 year old. Maybe you can't afford airline travel and should try a staycation next time.

Ok, that sounds harsh, but how is it different from complaining about being charged for the food you order at a restaurant?
It's different because the seat assignment is a necessity, not an option, for a young child, meaning the cheapest seats on the plane aren't available to them. It's a soft form of discrimination. It's like charging a person in a wheelchair more for a wheelchair seat than a regular seat, and then trying to justify it by saying the wheelchair seat has a better view. Children don't need seat assignments, just a seat by their parent, which seems to me like a reasonable accommodation.
To take your comments to a logical end, would you accuse the OP of child abuse if they were to buy a Basic Economy seat knowing that they were essentially authorizing the airline to seat their children at random?
Why the straw man argument? OP is asking precisely because they don't want to traumatize their child. No parent is going to intentionally separate their child. That why I said for children these assignments aren't optional.
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by White Coat Investor »

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.
So far it has worked out for me, most of the time. If you want a guarantee, pay the $600. The younger the children, the more likely it is to work out. At 16? Don't hold your breath.
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DrGoogle2017
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Re: Airline travel and economy: pay $$ to pick seats

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

The 16 year old kid might not want to sit near the parents anyway.
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