Bumped from Row 4 at the gate

Frankiesdad

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Hi everyone,

I’m a long time lurker, first time poster. Thank you for being a helpful community, I have found this forum interesting and insightful.

Today, my partner and I flew from SYD to MEL on a lightly loaded flight. She is a nervous flyer so I wanted to sit as far forward as possible for a more comfortable journey. As a lowly Bronze I waited until T-80 (2:30am!!) to reserve seats in row 4.

These seats were confirmed at check in, 40 minutes prior to departure and shown on our printed boarding passes.

At the gate, the ground staff advised me that we had been moved to Row 28 due to trim and balance. I was sceptical about this explanation so I pressed him further and, perhaps frustrated by my persistence, he finally told me that for operational reasons our seats in Row 4 had to be empty.

We were the last to board and found our row 4 seats occupied. (4A,C,D and E were occupied.)

I am unhappy with this experience. A little about being moved to the opposite end of the cabin, but mainly because of the disrespect shown when I was lied to by staff.

I interested to know if this experience is common and whether I should be less annoyed than I am.
 

defurax

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I don't know why staff do it. I guess they assume people don't want to hear we moved you for a VIP, CL or P1 passenger.
Sometimes they also just don't know why, so they say operational reasons. Sucks to end up in last row though.
 

RooFlyer

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Welcome to posting on AFF. Sadly, not uncommon, either to be bumped or given a 'wrong' reason. As a plat, I've been bumped from row 4 too, although that was at check-in and I was able to negotiate an OK outcome.
 

oz_mark

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They probably should have just stuck with 'operational reasons'. The truth would probably be they don't know.
 

Pushka

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We were the last to board and found our row 4 seats occupied. (4A,C,D and E were occupied.)
Welcome to AFF. Agree this was unfortunate, first to be bumped after you'd carefully planned, then to be given the false statement which seems a ridiculous thing to do when it can so easily be verified, as you did.

Everyone can get bumped though, likely happened to us all. Even people booked on the same PNR can be suddenly split up when it comes to actual boarding.
 

samh004

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I've also been bumped as a Platinum, for what I later figured was a P1/CL. While I was P1 though, I never had lounge staff move other people for me. I figure, if you don't know the process (to either select seats at time of booking or at T-80) then you're not entitled to them :p sadly, this isn't how 'entitled' people feel ;)

I have also been on an incredibly lightly loaded flight before where they actually had to seat me and others much further back due to trim and balance (Q400 – 3 onboard). I was a bit miffed in the lounge but when I got to the gate and realised there were literally 3 of us it made more sense... and couldn't fault the service, haha!
 

jakeseven7

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CL's + 'Friends of Qantas VIP/CIP' are absolutely able to have people moved (not that they would directly request this, they might just ask 'are there better seats further forward?' and the staff would say 'leave it with me' and then bump people around to accommodate.

P1 unsure if staff would do this for them.
 

mviy

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If you were Platinum you still would have had to wait till T-80 to select row 4.

The higher the status you can achieve and maintain the less likely you are to get bumped. If they have a choice to bump a Silver member or a Bronze member they are probably going to choose the Bronze member (that's if they bother to check such things as the status of the passengers already booked into the seats).

Travel between SYD and MEL Is a popular route with high status travellers which probably increases the chances of getting bumped from row 4.
 

Mattg

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I have certainly seen people moved further back on very empty flights for weight & balance reasons - this is a real thing.

However, the fact that your seats were occupied by other passengers after you were told this does seem questionable.
 

milehighclub

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However, the fact that your seats were occupied by other passengers after you were told this does seem questionable.
The only thing I can think of is that other passengers did the 'steal' in hoping that boarding was almost finished and looked like that row might be free so moved there, hoping they wouldn't have to do a walk of shame back to their original seat. It happens quite a lot.
 

aikman

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I think that you are right to be annoyed. I guess you either have to just accept it or take your business elsewhere.

I'm sure gate agents see this happen everyday so I reckon they have a fair idea of why it happens but it obviously won't help telling a passenger that they have been moved to make way for a VIP.
 

drron

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The only thing I can think of is that other passengers did the 'steal' in hoping that boarding was almost finished and looked like that row might be free so moved there, hoping they wouldn't have to do a walk of shame back to their original seat. It happens quite a lot.
But if that was the case surely the OP wouldn't have been reissued with a new boarding pass at the gate.
Yes it sucks but it will probably always be so.
So lurk a bit more frequently and pick up as much info as you can so you hopefully move up the loyalty chain making these things at least a little less likely.
 

milehighclub

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But if that was the case surely the OP wouldn't have been reissued with a new boarding pass at the gate.
Well, weight and balance is a thing, so they may have been moved for that reason. Therefore, that renders row 4 free, and anyone who moved there got lucky.

Also, could be any of the other reasons give, simply offering an alternative reason.
 

Ade

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The only thing I can think of is that other passengers did the 'steal' in hoping that boarding was almost finished and looked like that row might be free so moved there, hoping they wouldn't have to do a walk of shame back to their original seat. It happens quite a lot.

I thought one can't move/change seats due to CoVID ...
 
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mviy

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Passengers aren’t supposed to do lots of things that they regularly do.
For instance at the end of a flight people don't observe social distancing when leaving the plane. They get up as usual for the most part to try to get off as soon as possible, grabbing bags etc. when people several rows in front are still waiting to leave.
 

Frankiesdad

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Thanks everyone, insightful as always.

Seems like it’s common place rather than a one off. For what it’s worth, I’ve provided my feedback through their Facebook channel, not expecting anything of substance back. It is what it is I guess.

We are heading back tomorrow, but in J on the A330, hopefully no eleventh hour surprises there and a much better experience all round.
 

mviy

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Was J coming home an upgrade or points seat or did you buy a business seat using cash?

You're probably less likely to get moved in J but every seat in J is better than being in Y.
 

Frankiesdad

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Was J coming home an upgrade or points seat or did you buy a business seat using cash?

You're probably less likely to get moved in J but every seat in J is better than being in Y.
They are classic reward seats, we’ll see how we go...
 

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