How One Airline Ticket Can Equal Two Seats

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Newscience, Aug 17, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    How One Airline Ticket Can Equal Two Seats

    The New York Times

    By ADRIENNE CARTER

    AUG. 17, 2015

    It doesn’t take a seasoned traveler to know that flights are closer to full than ever. Passengers jockey for overhead space, wrestle over an armrest or are smacked by a reclining seat — at least those relegated to economy.

    But on every flight, a couple of passengers always seem to sit a little easier. As the cabin door closes, they are the few, the lucky, who managed to snag an empty seat next to them.

    It is the airline equivalent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. More wiggle room. Extra space for stuff. No chatty neighbor. And the best part? These luxuries all come at no extra cost.

    Read the article here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/travel/how-one-airline-ticket-can-equal-two-seats.html?_r=0
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    tl;dr: Get lucky. Otherwise there's no real way to know.

    :rolleyes:
     
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  3. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    When Mrs DTWBOB and I travel together, we usually book an aisle and window and hope no one buys the middle seat and sometimes it works....

    DTWBOB
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
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  4. nat22

    nat22 Active Member

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    Never thought about actually doing something to try to assure myself an empty seat near me! Thanks for the info.
     
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  5. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    I paid for a US choice seat at check-in (first time ever I did that as my free seat options weren't ideal) and ended up on a flight PHL -MIA with the whole row to myself - I booked an aisle and ended up moving to the window and stretching out (the girl behind me also had whole row) flight was otherwise full so only explanation was paying choice seat fee - best money spent
     
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  6. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Or fly at really weird hours when demand is really really low.
     
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  7. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    There's something to be said for that POV, Mapsmith! And it's relatively easier to score an upgrade on a flight which is less sparsely seated than on those flying at prime time and are chock full. ;)
     
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  8. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    I always book in the last few rows of the plane. Ive had pretty good luck depending on the routes. Recently, I started asking the gate agents if the flight was full or if there were any empty seats. About 40% of the time, they offer me an exit row seat with no one beside me.
     
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  9. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Lately, we have been booking two aisle across from each other. That usually gives us a chance that one or the other of the middles may be empty. If not, we can lean into the aisle for a little more room.

    And on Southwest, we usually sit aisle and middle. Many folks really do not like the cramped window seat. And if one of us gets "A" and the other gets "B or C" the "A" sits in the middle and waits for the other to board.
     
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  10. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    I try that and it rarely works... flights just seem to be full these days.
     
  11. seeword

    seeword Silver Member

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    I now notice some passengers just sitting down in any seat which has an empty seat next to it, even before boarding has finished. Of course, they end up having to move back to their booked seat, as planes are usually packed to the gills. If airlines would allocate a reasonable space in economy, this "survival of the fittest," mentality wouldn't be so evident.

    The requests to switch seats seem to be increasing, as previous techniques of booking seats in the aisle/window, booking across the aisle in the hope that there is an extra seat for a toddler etc., usually don't work anymore.

    I've even gotten on a plane, where members of a group have arranged themselves together, with the hope that passengers boarding later, would then move to other seats. It's getting a bit ridiculous at times.
     
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  12. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    There were 10 of 16 seats occupied in F on my flight MCO-LAX last night. Back of the bus was about 1/2 full from what I saw. Two seats to myself in First on a transcon? Must be the middle of a holiday weekend (low demand) and a route not really populated by elites. I also lucked out on the redeye LAX-CLT last week - or so I thought. That empty middle seat was immediately occupied by the aisle seat person twisting and turning every which way trying to sleep in the two seats. :eek: He was such a hassle it would have almost been better to have that middle seat occupied to prevent it. Fortunately I had unlimited legroom in front due to the exit row.

    At the end of the day, it's like Wandering Aramean says... sometimes you just get lucky. Spending all that extra time trying to assure a empty seat next to you just sounds like a great way to be disappointed if it doesn't work.
     
  13. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    On our AA flight to EZE last week I left the middle seat open, and it unselectable. But we were very happy to find no one in it. People said the flight had about 60 empty seats but they were not selectable. The open seat plus the slide forward coach seat on the AA 787 made for a comfortable flight. I slept much more than normal.
     
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  14. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Au contraire, in northern Canada the flights are getting emptier and there is, regrettably, a greater likelihood of last-minute flight cancellations (which leads to the intervening alternates being packed full of cranky folks like my own self upon occasion). Fie and botheration! Sometimes I'd as lief settle for a lawn chair bolted to the tail, like the old Western Airlines ads.
     
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  15. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Sad to say, but flights being consistently near-empty does not bode well. It may just signal that airline leaving that particular terminal, or even that terminal closing, as has occurred in the U.S.
     
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  16. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Newscience, I quite agree with your sense of foreboding.

    Fortunately for yours truly (although perhaps more dismally for Air Canada), I shan't be commuting back and forth in northwestern Canada much longer, preferring instead to commute on a rainy highway along the eastern coast of a much-warmer and altogether more-pleasant mountainous island in Cascadia. (Biased? Yup!)
     
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