Online check-in opened up 24 hours before our flight to the US last week, so when I went to check in I was a little surprised to see that ALL the seats were taken aside from some hefty upgrade options. Then I was disappointed.
It seemed a little scammy to me. Would we really have to chalk up more money in order to get seats together after we had bought tickets together (and assigned seats) four months previously?
Kay actually sounded vaguely interested in spending an additional $180 to get some emergency exit row seats together, but the principle of it really disturbed me. I bought two seats together with plenty of time before the rest of the plane filled up. Our seats should be together! I didn’t want to have to pay significantly more just to sit together.
American airlines responded via Twitter and said they would look into it, and after a little while they told me that some seats opened up and we would only be a couple rows from each other, which is easier to ask people to switch than when you are on opposite ends of the plane from one another. But when I checked our reservations later in the evening the night before we flew, we were still in the same seats above. I was frustrated so I went to bed and hoped something would open up in the morning.
Luckily seats had changed again in the morning and I was able to change our reservation to two seats together finally. But the site told me while my seats were confirmed, they would have to print them at the airport. Fine.
At the airport, we received our tickets and our seats were still together, but when we got on the plane I realized the seats were in an entirely different section than I had confirmed online. And on our connecting flight and the flights home, we were also together but on totally different seats than our reservations had told us. It’s really like a slot machine. You have no idea where you will end up on the plane! I can’t imagine paying for business tickets and being treated this way, but it seems to be totally fine to treat economy passengers with these mystery seats.
We were also always in the last boarding zone, group 4. I believe most airlines use boarding zones to fill the plane up faster from the back to the front, but on our last flight by the time group 4 was called and we made our way onto the plane, the back of the plane (row 39 out of 44) was almost completely full already and many people further ahead and further behind had been seated before us.
It didn’t make any sense.
During check-in I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to group 1 boarding for $10 a piece. I said no of course. It really seems like boarding zones are based on how much you paid for your ticket and not where you are sitting in the plane. And in the end, loading people into the plane after it has filled up wastes time and causes more flight delays. Our plane landed in Zürich almost an hour late. Coincidence? I think the poorly planned boarding zones contributed to the delay. Many people straggling into the plane late had issues storing their carry on luggage away because everyone around them had already taken it and we had to wait for flight attendants to help sort the issue out.
Does anybody else have experience with American Airlines having totally bogus seating arrangements and funky boarding groups? I really get the feeling that they are just trying to make an extra dollar off me. I’d rather have them treat passengers normally and roll those costs into tickets if need be. Otherwise, I will be choosing other more dependable airlines in the future.
Starting to think I should write up some airline reviews when we fly… What do you think, is that worth reading?