View Full Version : Airlines investigated over claims they deliberately split up groups then charge for a

4th Feb 2018, 14:45
CAA lumbers into 'action'.

Airlines investigated over claims they deliberately split up groups then charge for allocated seats | The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/airline-seats-caa-ryanair-easyjet-british-airways-seating-allocations-splitting-middle-seats-a8193431.html)

What's the betting they find nothing and do not need to take any action? After all, are the carriers going to show them the detailed code of their booking and seat allocating systems? :hmm:

4th Feb 2018, 15:11
And even if they do find that the airlines are doing this, or just randomly assigning seats regardless of being booked on same PNR, have they actually broken the law?

It's called unselling and lots of businesses do it. Some are just better at it than others.

How about going after the car rental firms for selling you insurance you don't actually need?

4th Feb 2018, 15:22
I think you may find that the CAA have a fair amount of clout in this case, regardless of what the law may or may not say.

"Airline seating practices are clearly causing some confusion for consumers. Airlines are within their rights to charge for allocated seats, but if they do so it must be done in a fair, transparent way.

Our research shows that some consumers are paying to sit together when, in fact, they might not need to."

4th Feb 2018, 16:01
whats the big fuss about sitting next to people you know on a plane?

I like sitting by myself, it means I can be left alone to read a book.

4th Feb 2018, 17:35
Oh Dear. There are too many people who forget they are customers and expect decent treatment; and that airlines are in the customer service industry and not the customer fleecing industry. I also think allowing all this low level customer service attitude to have developed over the past 15 years is a UK thing. It is where the rot started and sadly it has polluted the rest of Europe. Pax have been punch drunked into accepting it all as the norm. Any kind of fight back is most welcome, then we can get back to the standards of where we should be. And before anyone starts shouting low prices will rise, well let them; but they won't. If pax figures drop off prices will be adjusted. Pax are becoming wiser and shop around for the best value bottom line total price. It is becoming easier to find more pleasant affordable alternatives to the fleecers.
Pax dignity needs to be taken back soon.

Hotel Tango
4th Feb 2018, 19:42
RAT 5 I have to agree with you.

4th Feb 2018, 20:34
The key aspect is families travelling with children/teenagers who are entitled to sit together for obvious reasons.

Espada III
4th Feb 2018, 20:53
Indeed. Several years ago, when booking your own flight online was in its infancy for the masses, and the idea of choosing a seat online was barely heard of, I booked five tickets for me and my family. Two of the three children were under 11 and booked as such.

When we got the departure airport, we discovered that we were seated all over the plane, with no-one near each other. After much loud complaining, especially along the lines of 'my six year old daughter is sitting with a parent or we will shout even louder' it got sorted. But not a pleasant experience at the time and a lesson learnt.

5th Feb 2018, 01:42
Is this only a European issue as I've never experienced it within Asia?

5th Feb 2018, 04:23
If not paying for a seat I’ve found you are more likely to end up in a middle seat towards the back. If with an airline doing connecting flights with a tight transfer, you are likely to get a seat towards the front on the first leg.

It can be worth paying if you’re going to a small airport and want to be in front at immigration, also better quality passengers tend to be the ones paying more to sit up front
Which could be worth considering as well.

5th Feb 2018, 09:28
I've seen reports in press of children being seperated from their parents in aircraft. Surely there must be rules on this ?

I recall years ago, being on a flight where this happened - child of 6 or so split from parents. Father was an ex-mil pilot, complained this was a safety issue (in case of evacuation) and demanded that his complaint be recorded in aircraft safety log (or something similar, can't remember exact details). In any case, cabin crew backed down and reunited parent and child.

Hotel Tango
5th Feb 2018, 11:09
What beats me is that if RYR say that they only charge €2 per pax per seat, why not just incorporate it in the basic published fare and be done with it?! This low cost sickness of charging extra for every separate aspect of the flight has now got way out of hand.

5th Feb 2018, 11:26
It’s a control freak attitude.

5th Feb 2018, 15:06
The key aspect is families travelling with children/teenagers who are entitled to sit together for obvious reasons.

Wow, the self-entitlement is strong with this one.

You're entitled to what you pay for and nothing more.

All that is happening is the snowflakes dont want to pay the fee, arrive knowing they will statistically not be sitting together and then kick off about how unfair it is.

If they want to sit together, or have a specific need to sit together, then they pay. Its that simple.

5th Feb 2018, 15:08
What beats me is that if RYR say that they only charge €2 per pax per seat, why not just incorporate it in the basic published fare and be done with it?!

Do you really have to ask ?

People will use other carriers over a £2 difference.

As usual, people want things at a rock bottom price but are trying to wriggle out of consequences of that choice.

If its only £2 then why not pay it and have peace of ind - but no, instead they 'save' £2 and then whine about the direct consequences they knew about when they chose to save £2.

5th Feb 2018, 15:49
Originally Posted by PAXboy https://www.pprune.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/605023-airlines-investigated-over-claims-they-deliberately-split-up-groups-then-charge.html#post10042059)
The key aspect is families travelling with children/teenagers who are entitled to sit together for obvious reasons.

Wow, the self-entitlement is strong with this one.I do not have children but, based on previous discussions on this topic in this forum, I understand that the CAA had mandated this. I might be wrong. I don't know many parents who would willingly let their children sit next to stangers. I understand that some are not prepared to pay for the certainty and then moan about it.

However, LCCs have always stressed the cost and so, after 30 years, that's what folks look for. The question here is: Do the carriers now deliberately split families - on the same booking - in order to coerce them into paying for reservations, no matter if it is a low price?

5th Feb 2018, 15:52
On a separate but associated note, how can I book seats together when my ticket has been booked by a travel agent in association with a cruise? I can access the booking to add passport information, contact details etc but I can't see baggage allowance, reserve seats or upgrade. Flights are with BA.

In this case I will be mightily p***ed off if I get to the 24 hour checkin window and we don't have the option of seats together.

5th Feb 2018, 16:09
The question here is: Do the carriers now deliberately split families - on the same booking - in order to coerce them into paying for reservations, no matter if it is a low price?

At last, somebody gets it.

There is a real and almost certainly well founded suspicion that some airlines are deliberately separating passengers travelling as a group in order to gouge them for a bit more cash.

If the airlines are using algorithms to assign seating, how difficult can it be to adapt those to keep travellers on the same PNR together?

5th Feb 2018, 16:14
Wow, the self-entitlement is strong with this one.

You're entitled to what you pay for and nothing more.

What utter tosh. What we are seeing here is once again self-important aircrew showing their firm belief that airlines exist solely to keep their hours current and fund their lifestyles (not all of them - just the utter cads who give the rest a bad name).

Back in 2010 we (my family and I) flew British Midland(?) to Cairo. I have two daughters who at the time would have bee 12 and 13. When we booked we specified that the girls must sit with one of us - we knew it was an A321 and so only 3 people could sit together. They assured us that this was no problem and the bookings had been flagged accordingly. When we came to do the on-line check-in malarky we couldn't even find two seats together, let alone three, so we phoned and asked them to check - they found the promise and gave us three adjacent checked-in seats and another elsewhere. When we arrived at the gate they told us the seats had been reassigned (yeah, right!) and each of my daughters was sitting next to male strangers.

The gate didn't give a flying dingo's kidney about what we had been promised, so I asked to have the captain's written confirmation that he accepted personal responsibility for any harm my daughters came to. I was obviously told to take a hike. So I called the airport police and explained the situation, saying that I felt the airline were not exercising their duties of care towards my children. Airport policeman agreed, and asked for the captain to be called to the gate. He put it to him straight - he was personally responsible, and if he refused to sign a statement to that effect then he would be interviewed under caution, or he could choose to address the problem by allowing my wife and daughters to sit together on the same row.

The captain said that he had not been told of the problem (I believed him) and OF COURSE young girls should not be required to sit between strangers on his aeroplane. As if by magic there was suddenly a free row of seats, with a free isle seat ion the other side.

So if you find yourself in this position the solution is pretty simple. The aircrew on here are always banging on about how the Captain has absolute authority over his/her aeroplane, so you just have to make it clear that with absolute authority goes absolute responsibility. So if your daughter suffers unwanted touching or or worse then the Captain will be a co-defendant in the subsequent criminal prosecution for sexual assault. The captain has absolute responsibility, and so if any crime is commited on his/her aeroplane the Captain should go to jail with the other criminals.

Fair enough?

5th Feb 2018, 16:23
From the OP’s link:The investigation doesn’t cover families with younger children, for whom there are specific safety rules.

Well that has sorted that.

5th Feb 2018, 16:44
If you don't want to pay and are separated from the kids, I'm sure that if they started crying they would soon be moved.

However, are the children really at risk from sexual predator on a flight (in which most are just a few hours)?

Doubt it.

The risks are by far overplayed.

5th Feb 2018, 17:32
However, are the children really at risk from sexual predator on a flight

Only if they're sitting next to one.

Oh, hang on .

Hotel Tango
5th Feb 2018, 18:14
When I read your posts GreyhamO I can only conclude that you have been well and truly brainwashed to the point where you are no longer able to think outside the box.

5th Feb 2018, 19:19
Emirates charge rather more than £2.

And multiply that by more than one passenger.

And I can recall SirTim Clark talking on the in-flight audio about this and anybody who hadn't flown before might have thought he was talkign about a new ffacility where previously airlines didn't sit people together but now they could.

It didn't seem to be an issue over thelast 30 years + that I've been flying until the online technology allowed them to sell this feature and the copy cat nature of the marketeers in the business means they all pile in.

The airline industry as a whole has been fairly despicable about this.

It suits them to turn this into a 'fear sell' for families. So even if they are not doing anything deliberate they are encouraging some customers to pay out of concern.

My feeling is that government could do something simple. Air tickets are VAT free. Any extras such as 'speedy boarding' or seat selection should be liable for VAT. That would give the airlines a bit of a dilemma.

5th Feb 2018, 21:38
The evacuation argument trumps pretty well every other consideration.

If the airline sits your kid(s) further from the exit than you, are you going to abandon them in an evacuation, or force your way towards them against the flow and potentially put other passengers' lives in danger?

Airlines need to get real.

Hussar 54
5th Feb 2018, 22:31
Well....It's not just the families who might feel a bit inconvenienced.

Last year, I had to fly back from Luanda to CDG in Economy because the Business Section was full, and I found myself sitting next to two youngish children ( maybe 10 or 11 years old ) who were seperate, didn't know each other, one in the middle seat, one in the window seat.

I spent the whole nine hours or so being interrupted either by the children wanting to get past to go see their parents for something, or the parents leaning over me to talk to the children.

Felt like quite probably the longest, worst flight of my life.

5th Feb 2018, 22:47

Would you risk your children?

5th Feb 2018, 22:47
When I first flew I was 14 and BA organised a stewardess to escort me from the terminal to my seat, which was next to a kindly middle-aged lady. I'm sure I remember reading that there was a law against seating lone women and children next to single men but it seems I must be mistaken.

Fast forward a few years and I took an Easyjet flight to and from Cyprus. On the way there, they did as I thought they always did at the time. Families with young kids got free speedy boarding and you got your pick of unallocated seats and could always ensure you were together. It was a good and generous system.

On the way back we were given allocated seats. My partner and I were separate and my 2 year old son was about 20 rows back across the aisle and between two single men. It was remarkably difficult to interest the flight attendants in the problem, or the other passengers who didn't seem to want to move. And I've checked my reservations and there was no mention of any possibility of booking seats beforehand.

I'm afraid anybody who doesn't think that is ridiculous doesn't have kids of their own.

5th Feb 2018, 22:54
Anyone who doesn't think that is more probably the sort of person we parents are trying tp prevent getting at our children.

5th Feb 2018, 22:56
Would you risk your children?

I agree. On a one-off basis the risks are doubtless quite low, but if you're going to take a few dozen flights as a child then the risks will become more significant.

But this is hardly the only issue: as a parent, having your toddler sit 20 rows away might feel like a blessing. None of that constant making-sure they have their seatbelts on. No interminable repeat-readings of 'Thomas the Tank Engine'. No careful rationing of snacks when they seem about to have a tantrum. Somebody else can sort out the changing of nappies. Or else believe me they'll suffer for it.

6th Feb 2018, 11:37
This from a pal:

My wife is the one that makes sure we have passports and tickets when going away. Once on a flight when [name] was just two, they boarded an airplane to discover there were only single seats. Naturally my wife wanted to sit with [child]. She went up and down the plane asking if anybody would accommodate, but nobody would. So she took [child] and put him in the centre of two guys who refused to move. She said she hoped they'd have a good trip and they were good with screaming two-year-olds. They suddenly decided to give up their seats.

As it happens, the boy was not a 'screamer' and is very mild mannered but it shows that some people do not understand the problem.
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6th Feb 2018, 12:36
As it happens, the boy was not a 'screamer' and is very mild mannered but it shows that some people do not understand the problem.

People paying for seat selection has rather hardened attitudes.

Those who haven't and end up with issues when it comes to seating at boarding time get little sympathy.

It probably makes things more difficult for CC as well - more likely to cause a dispute if they try and move people.

6th Feb 2018, 12:56
All the more reason, then, for the airlines to keep family groups together when they allocate seats.

6th Feb 2018, 14:53
If you read the OP’s link, and my previous post, this investigation has nothing to do with Children being seated with their parents. While, I’m sure it’s an interesting discussion ...

Hotel Tango
6th Feb 2018, 15:09
ExXB, you mean that the thread has somewhat drifted off course? Quelle surprise! ;)

6th Feb 2018, 15:54
In something like 98% of cases of child abuse the perpetrator is known to the child. So statistically the airline should exercise their duty of care by sitting children next to strangers.

I think the issue here has nothing to do with child safety. The practical reality is I do not want to be seated next to someone else's child if I can avoid it, particularly if the child is not supervised. So I expect the airline, in every ones interest, to seat children with their parents.

Maybe Ryanair should offer the option to pay not to sit next to an unsupervised child? I'd pay a lot more than £2!

6th Feb 2018, 15:55
Imagine the horror this February 14th if lots of Valentines couples find they need to pay extra to be seated together at the restaurant!

6th Feb 2018, 16:14
"XYZ opens up Valentines dating flights."

You buy a ticket for 9.99, cabin bag only. 1 night away. You turn up at the airport and XYZ then tells you where you are going so they can fill up the flights. A section of the cabin has been blocked off for participants and you have no idea who you are going to sit next to. Good luck with aviation speed dating. During the flight seat swapping is allowed.
Some will be luckier than others. The next day you turn up at the airport and the procedure is repeated; meaning you have no idea which airport you are going to come home to, only the country. Good game. Good game.

6th Feb 2018, 18:35
Flying standby I rarely was seated with my partner. Sometimes we couldn’t even travel on the same flight. Perhaps I should sue for damages. That will teach them.

Hotel Tango
6th Feb 2018, 22:22
ExXB, I know it was a partly tongue-in-cheek comment, but travelling stand-by isn't quite a valid argument! ;)

7th Feb 2018, 06:22
partly? Completely :O

Wannabe Flyer
12th Feb 2018, 06:22
I get it when low cost carriers charge for everything. I just don't get it when full service carriers start charging for seats. Case in point EK. They are at least 10%-20% more expensive than most carriers on the route I fly. They still charge for seating unless you want a middle seat. The have started this about a year ago, what has changed?

12th Feb 2018, 08:22
Greed. And because they can. Pax have become punch drunk to accept these irritations.

12th Feb 2018, 09:18
I wonder if people would be happy if these fees were required to be included in the price. In other words everyone would pay the fee (and perhaps a lower fee as a result).

I don't think so.

But what about fees for more legroom, or for 1 piece of luggage, or ...?

12th Feb 2018, 10:59
But what about fees for more legroom, or for 1 piece of luggage, or ...?

SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't give anyone ideas ... but they're probably already in the pipeline ....

12th Feb 2018, 11:09
But what about fees for more legroom, or for 1 piece of luggage, or ...?

But the issue is deliberately splitting parties up and then charging them to be re-united.

I can see the logic where there’s a tangible cost in labour or materials which can be, in whole or in part, deducted from the cost of the ticket. Want a meal – then pay extra for it. Want a suitcase checked – then pay extra for it…….. I can also accept that some passengers are happy to pay a bit extra for ‘premium’ treatment – extra legroom, priority boarding etc; at least they have the choice not to do so.

But I simply can’t see that there’s any cost to the airline in allocating seating in such a way that passengers travelling on the same booking are seated together. Which leads to the conclusion that they are deliberately inconveniencing their customers just so they can charge them to put things right.

12th Feb 2018, 11:52
Well yes, but perhaps they are not deliberately splitting parties up, but blocking certain seats from assignment to non-payers, until departure time. These seats could very well include all window and aisle seats, which are more in demand than middle seats.

At the time of check-in, often weeks in advance with the lcc model, two seats together may not be available. Closer to departure, as the flight is managed, adjacent seats could become available, but by then it isn’t easy to reseat allready checked in passengers.

If I am booking close to departure, and am prepared to pay for seat selection, I certainly don’t want all the aisle/window seats to be allocated to people that haven’t paid.

12th Feb 2018, 12:18
I think you need to review the actual allegations being made. Many have found that when they try to check in and select seats as a group there are no adjacent seats available, but as soon as they agree to pay the adjacent seats fee suddenly the adjacent seats appear as if by magic. And the authorities have become confident that it isn't a coincidence because they have whistleblower evidence from staff and former staff involved in these systems.

Fraudulent and corrupt activity - essentially what we have come to expect from airlines. Clearly we need to reinstitute public flogging for airline executives and captains until they learn to behave in an honourable manner.

12th Feb 2018, 12:35
Leave the FC - just the Chairman (it is usually a Man!) and all of the Board to be in the Stocks. These may be in a place suitable so that, when queuing up for check-in, pax may occupy their time by flinging rotten fruit at them. Given we now have fewer foreign workers to pick the fruit in the UK - it can be shipped to the airports.

12th Feb 2018, 13:05
At the time of check-in, often weeks in advance with the lcc model, two seats together may not be available. Closer to departure, as the flight is managed, adjacent seats could become available, but by then it isn’t easy to reseat allready checked in passengers.
If I am booking close to departure, and am prepared to pay for seat selection, I certainly don’t want all the aisle/window seats to be allocated to people that haven’t paid.

Oh dear; you have allowed yourself to become brain washed. Is it the LoCo syndrome or just punch drunk?
In the beginning there was only free seating and a scrum at boarding time. Slowly, and for dubious reasons, seat allocation crept in; just like normal airlines. I suspect it was to speed up boarding and had nothing to do with pax convenience. Then LoCo's realised there might be some mileage/profit in charging for specific seating, i.e. front row & extra leg room overwings etc. Those who didn't want these were allocated seats at random, but together if on the same booking. Then has come the 'pay for any seat choice' system. To encourage that it is alleged that same booking pax are being separated.
If that is true it means that a group of marketing whallas have sat around a table; some one has thrown that idea into the hat, and they have agreed to implement yet another fleecing tactic. That must be true because it wasn't there 5 years ago, and it didn't invent itself. It just shows the mentality of Monday morning meetings. What will be the new 'fleece of the week'?

12th Feb 2018, 13:20

Sounds like a plan. Let's put it on the Government website for people to vote on so it can be introduced as a new legal requirement once the UK "takes back control" after leaving the EU next year.

I personally think we should leave Captains on the list, because they are so prone to telling veryone that they have absolute authority over (and thus absolute responsibility for) everything that happens on their aeroplane.

12th Feb 2018, 15:38
I think you need to review the actual allegations being made. Many have found that when they try to check in and select seats as a group there are no adjacent seats available, but as soon as they agree to pay the adjacent seats fee suddenly the adjacent seats appear as if by magic.

Actually could you reread my previous post? If an airline blocks (for non-payers) all aisle and window seats - there will be no adjacent seats available - only middle seats. When they decide to pay, the aisle and window seats become available and with the previously available middle seats, magic! They get two seats together.

Now, is this deliberately splitting groups, or just allowing them to select only the cheap seats?

Oh dear; you have allowed yourself to become brain washed. Is it the LoCo syndrome or just punch drunk?Could you reread my post? I said that the locos allow check-in weeks in advance. This is something most network airlines don't do. Usually only 24 hours, or so. It wasn't a slag at the loco model.

12th Feb 2018, 18:37
But the issue is deliberately splitting parties up and then charging them to be re-united.

Whether it is or isn't a deliberate intent isn't really relevant.

What's important is that it's a totally foreseeable consequence of the way the LCC(s) in question have programmed their seat assignment logic, which they have done nothing to mitigate and indeed are using to their financial advantage.

Trav a la
26th Feb 2018, 21:26
This is what the CAA say...

Families, children and infants

The seating of children close by their parents or guardians should be the aim of airline seat allocation procedures for family groups and large parties of children.

Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults, should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Children and accompanying adults should not be separated by more than one aisle. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults. This is because the speed of an emergency evacuation may be affected by adults trying to reach their children.

Whenever a number of infants and children are travelling together the airline should make every effort to ensure that they can be readily supervised by the responsible accompanying adults.

27th Feb 2018, 09:05
CAA wording seems slightly woolly - use of "aim", "should" and "ideally" rather than "must". Leaves plenty of wriggle room. Presumably explains press reports of children being separated from parents on aircraft.

Raises question of who (notionally) assumes responsibility for supervising evacuation of unaccompanied children and infants - does it reside with adult sitting next to them. i.e An infant is plonked next to you and you are now "in loco parentis" ? Similarly, who is responsible for ensuring children & infants observe cabin safety announcements ? Of course, as CAA recognises, in real life, parents are going to go to the aid of their children in an emergency, even if that means battling against flow of departing pax.

11th Mar 2018, 08:30
Families are definitely being split up. I'm sitting on the tarmac at SOU in a Q400. The cabin crew have just had to rearrange most of the seating because of families with very young children being spread to the 4 corners of the aeroplane! CC denied that the airline was doing this deliberately but it's hard to imagine that it could be anything else. I gave up my seat so a father could sit with his 4yo daughter. Hats off to the CC for recognising and resolving the problem but it should never have happened in the first place.

Espada III
11th Mar 2018, 14:50
Happened to me on Lufthansa years ago. Very much surprised then but less no. Although I seem to see less of it these days on legacy airlines.

12th Mar 2018, 00:08
I rarely see seating issues on flights at my carrier unless it’s a full flight with numerous children onboard. Even then, you can see that the algorithm has done its best to achieve the next best thing.... no more than a row away. Very occasionally not even this is achievable and the crew steps in. I can only speak from experience at my airline and I can categorically say that I have not seen any evidence of people being split up on purpose. I can’t speak for any other carriers.

12th Mar 2018, 13:33
Easyfkyer83, thank you for your comments on seating children. Butwe are seem to be back on seating of Children, which is irrelevant to this thread.

It is intentionally separating adults.

12th Mar 2018, 14:07
I rarely see that either. If split, many adults will reach out to the crew to help. Even then, they are sat across the aisle or in front/behind each other which again demonstrates how the algorithm doing its best to get people sat together.

Again, just experience at my carrier.