Where I Put My Seat Matters to Me.
After a while, you just have to wonder if the airlines have simply decided on a policy of “to hell with the passengers.”
As issues go, the latest bone I’m picking with an airline is not a big deal … except that it’s just not right and the airline—British Airways, in this case—apparently doesn’t give a damn.
Back in December, when I was beginning to make arrangements for the European trip I’m taking later this month, I booked a flight on British Airways from London Heathrow back to Boston. As with most airline passengers, I’m fussy about where I sit. Perhaps it’s a touch of claustrophobia, but I really prefer a window seat and, if it’s one of the wide body jets with two aisles, I really, really do not like sitting in one of the middle sections.
So when presented with the opportunity to choose my seat for the 8-hour flight back to the U.S., I shelled out an additional £38 and, after consulting a seating chart for the Boeing 747-400, selected seat 30A. It was available; it was a window seat; I liked it. My choice was shortly confirmed by an email from British Airways.
Then, about two weeks ago, I received another email from BA, notifying me that there has been a schedule change. Upon checking, it turned out to be not a big deal—departure and arrival times had changed by ten minutes.
But then, in another part of the email, quite by chance I noticed my seat assignment: 41A.
Huh? Yes, I still have a window seat, but all of a sudden I’m 11 rows farther back in the plane. I emailed BA with a politely worded complaint: I paid £38 for seat 30A, why am I now sitting in 41A?
The response arrived two days later. I will paraphrase:
Your £38 did not purchase Seat 30A. It bought you the right to select a seat, whereas we have the right to reassign you to another seat for any reason, such as when there is a change in equipment.
That makes perfect sense … except there has been no change of equipment as far as I can tell. The plane was, and still is, a Boeing 747-400.
I know, I know … it’s only eleven rows and it’s still a window seat. But I’m going to see if I can get my £38 back, anyway.