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Middle Seat Madness

July 16, 2008

Off to the West Coast tomorrow for a meeting. Looking forward to it as we just kicked off this cool client in July. What I’m not looking forward to is the flight.

Don’t get me wrong, I typically enjoy traveling for work or pleasure (except for layovers and interactions with those “chipper” and “happy-go-lucky” TSA employees). If I didn’t like to travel, I’d probably hate my job.

Anyway, I booked my US Airways ticket through Orbitz and selected my seats. I went to check in this morning and, to my surprise, they had me confirmed in a middle seat not the aisle seat I selected two weeks ago.

I called US Air and was given two answers from the rep:

  • Orbitz doesn’t own the plane so they can’t gurantee seat selection
  • For an extra $15, I can buy the premium seat 9C

Huh? So why would Orbitz even give the customer the option to select a seat if it’s all a farce? I know the lawyers will tell me their policy is communicated (err, hidden) in the terms and conditions, but this is ridiculous.

When I asked the rep if I had purchased the flight on usair.com, would my aisle seat have been confimred. He said, “Yes.”

Can someone out there explain this to me as it’s the second time in the past month?

I assume US Airways wants to encourage their customers to come directly to them instead of third parties by implementing shaddy tactics like this. “Oops, sorry, you are now flying in the middle seat beacuse you went to a partner to whom we have to pay a 3% fee. Come to us next time and you can fly in any open seat you want…”

Next time I’ll fly JetBlue, thanks.

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