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The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an investigation into airline seating policies. The driver behind this is recent allegations that airlines (especially Ryanair) are deliberately splitting up families, groups and couples, unless they pay extra to select seats in advance.
Has this happened to you!?
The CAA wants to hear from you. You can submit your experience online here. This won’t be treated as a complaint, and you won’t get an individual response; but your submission will definitely help the CAA decide if there is substance to the rumours.
Personally, I always pay in advance to select a seat (see Point 3 in my guide to making Economy travel more comfortable!) or use my elite status to select one for free. I am generally travelling with my partner and he is an anxious flyer. This means a prerequisite for stepping onto a plane is knowing where he will be sat – so no playing the Ryanair lottery for me!
On our recent flight to Alicante in January, along with experiencing the new cabin baggage policy, it was very clear others had played, and lost. As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, a significant number of people were blocking the aisle negotiating seat swaps to be near the rest of their party – almost all of them from middle seats near the back!
Certainly at InsideFlyer UK – whilst we have no concrete evidence – we have more than a slight suspicion that Ryanair (and potentially other airlines) is “punishing” those who don’t pay up by scattering them in middle seats across the plane.
I’d certainly like to see this formally investigated – to put this to bed once and for all. Whilst it might be a bit sneaky, I kind of don’t blame them. They are in the “up-sell” game and what do you expect when they’ll fly you to Spain for a fiver? They guarantee you a seat, nothing more – no guarantees on where that will be in the aircraft. It would just be nicer if they were honest up front the true “cost” of not paying for advance seat selection – it might even increase their revenues!
New Ryanair marketing slogan – “Pay for seat selection or we WILL put you in the middle at the back by the toilet” ??? 🙂