Beware: Rant ahead.
I understand the appeal of paying an extra $15 to $60 per plane seat on a domestic flight to get the few inches of extra leg room in United Airlines Economy Plus section. I’ve paid the fee myself when I’ve wanted confirmed assurance that I’d have a bit more comfort for my five-foot-nine-inch frame on a cross-country flight.
I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who pays a little more to sit in the exit rows and the coveted half-dozen Economy Plus rows of seats. And they shouldn’t begrudge me if the flight is less than half full, there are several of these spacious seats open, and I ask to scoot up into the roomy seating – after all, Economy Plus patrons still have the extra space they’d reserved. I wouldn’t be taking away their precious extra five inches of legroom.
But that’s exactly why the flight attendant wouldn’t let me move up to an empty exit row on my flight from San Francisco to Denver earlier today.
It comes down to a bunch of whiners.
I asked a flight attendant if I could move up to one of TWO empty exit rows or one of the THREE totally empty rows 12, 13 and 14 on the aft side of the plane. Nope, couldn’t do it, “Those rows are reserved for people who paid for the upgrade. You’re welcome to purchase an upgrade now if you like.
Since when did Economy Plus become First Class??
When I said I’d never had a problem moving up to a roomier seat before, the UA flight attendant said, “If I let you sit there, I could get fired.”
The only reason I couldn’t have the extra bit of legroom is because others paid for it. Um, so what. If there are empty seats, why can’t I snag one? Its not like I’m displacing the other Economy Plus passengers, nor am I getting any extra services, like the passengers being served a hot lunch in First Class.
My guess is all those people who forked over the money to reserve an Economy Plus seat have been furious and complained when Economy passengers have scooted up front for free.
Just more nickel and diming from the airlines. They’ll take every dollar they can get.
Obviously, United Airlines has no interest in making passengers as comfortable as possible on a half-empty flight on a lousy two-and-a-half-hour flight (that had already been delayed an hour). Flight attendants shouldn’t fear for their jobs in situations like this. It’s a judgment call.
The next time I book an Economy Plus seat, and by chance someone moves up to share my row with me, I won’t complain to United Airlines’ Customer Service. Instead, I’ll say, “Good for you!” After all, plane travelers need to stick together these days. We’ve been knocked down so much lately, with extra baggage fees, reduced flight schedules and paying for on-board water and pillows and snacks. We should celebrate small victories amongst one another, since the airlines are growing stingier by the month and aren’t going out of their way to do us any favors.