Bumped from Row 4 at the gate

justinbrett

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There was a whole who-ha a couple of years ago because Qantas moved somebody’s seat selection. Can’t remember the exact details but inexplicably was a big news story.

Public opinion landed squarely on the side of the passenger and Qantas basically put out a statement saying they’d never bump passengers from seats because someone had better status.
 

TheInsider

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There was a whole who-ha a couple of years ago because Qantas moved somebody’s seat selection. Can’t remember the exact details but inexplicably was a big news story.

Public opinion landed squarely on the side of the passenger and Qantas basically put out a statement saying they’d never bump passengers from seats because someone had better status.
not saying it doesn't happen, but in my many many years there, it never did.
 

RichardMEL

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Everyone knows (or should know) that seat assignments aren't guaranteed. It's more or less a request in my view that 99.99% of the time for most people is honoured.

I do not think selecting a seat that shows as available via QF's own channels (ie: app/website) is "scamming" into a seat not entitled to. Clearly the system (at T-80) says yes they are entitled to select it. One can debate the merits of this but this is how it currently works. Many folks use it to advantage, but that's not a "scam" - nobody is using the provided system illegally or in a fraudulent manner. Now the plats and others who have pre-allocation rights may feel hard done by by this, but heck if they hadn't booked it prior to T-80 then it's likely a last minute flight booking and one can't expect an airline to just hold back choice seats on the off chance they will book. Personally I have no issue with the T-80 thing. Either way definitely no "scam"

by the same token QF can move anyone they like. Is it fair? probably not. Without knowing the actual situation and what actually happened it's not really fair to judge one way or the other imo.

Do agents "do a favour for a mate" on occasion? probably (though I am also aware that QF agents do get audited specially when they use overrides). Could it have been some entitled higher status knob demanding row 4? Possibly. I may be a higher status knob, but I've never seen that actually happen in practice. Could it have been someone at HQ pulling strings? Maybe.

Don't get me wrong, if I had allocated myself a seat and was shoved out to a worse seat at time of boarding I'd be pretty annoyed but I also understand I am purchasing the transportation frm A to B. I am not purchasing seat 4A and things happen. I've never had this happen to me - the closest being a SQ F flight when it was politely requested at check in if I might move so a couple could have the connecting suites to make the double bed (I had selected hoping the cabin would not be full so I could try out the double, but it did not work out that way and so I did move, but it was by agreement). I've had a few prop flights back in the day on things like Brasilias and the like moving for W&B but no biggie.

The point is I agree with the comment above about contract of carriage and the like. You don't own an allocation and on their a/c they can do whatever the heck they like in this regard.

imo.
 

Vic

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The OP very much gamed the system. He would never ordinarily be entitled or able to get row 4 but knew that at T-80 (which is ‘the’ system) he would be able to, even if T-80 was at some ghastly hour and he waited up all night to get it.

Seats are NEVER guaranteed. EVER. And to be frank, as the OP is a bronze member, neither should they be, especially in what is considered a premium seating area.

The false sense of entitlement here is as ridiculous as the OP thinking that he’s somehow special or got special treatment for being seated/allocated/scamming his way in to row 4.
Had he been more ‘realistic’ and chosen something between rows 6-10, it may have stuck, but I am neither concerned nor surprised he was moved from ‘emerald city’.
The OP used the system as it works in practice. That is not gaming, it is not a scam. That's how the system works.

What is the sense of entitlement in deciding a bronze member is lesser than others?

emerald city on a 737??? :eek:🤣

...ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

edit:
and of course even vanilla emeralds need to wait until T-80 to get row 4-5.
 
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JW

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IMHO, OP is justified in being miffed, and is entitled to book a seat when they are open as is anyone on that flight. First come first served.
 

JW

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I had that once and was surprisingly quick enough on the draw to reply with, "good, then you won't mind sitting in your assigned seat since they're all the same to you, whereas this is the one I booked and will be sitting in." They still didn't budge but didn't have a comeback (I also had to get cabin crew to move them).
That funny :)

Reminds me of pre covid flight, boarding just before doors closed I find a somewhat scantily dressed lady in ‘my allocated bulkhead seat'. She appeared ‘surprised’ she was in ‘my’ seat, made some excuse and smiling/batting eyelids informed me that I could sit in her seat as she was already settled in.

Firmly but politely pointed out that seats were numbered for a reason and suggested she move back to her allocated seat with all the paraphernalia she had spread out everywhere. She said she only just opened the blanket etc. Again pointed out that it would not be necessary as I would not require a used (yes we know) one and would get my own.

Left her and went to change into pj’s. When I came back she was gone but left the entire area in a mess with all the wrapping, blanket, various bottles, bits of paper, etc spread all over. My OCD obviously could not cope, therefore wrapped all her cough in the ‘old’ blanket and found her and plopped the lot on her lap, with something to the effect, "you forgot these" :)

Given her performance, she obviously tried this stunt before and likely had more success. Sadly not this time....
 

Frankiesdad

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Conversely, I, Contract law, Reality, Qantas and their conditions of carriage disagree with you.

The OP did not book a seat. He booked a flight, which you may also like to know isn’t guaranteed either, as the conditions of carriage make perfectly clear. The airline is technically under NO obligation to actually provide the product you pay for, lay alone a particular seat which they also make clear they can take away from you under the guise of rather obtuse ‘operational reasons’.

The OP very much gamed the system. He would never ordinarily be entitled or able to get row 4 but knew that at T-80 (which is ‘the’ system) he would be able to, even if T-80 was at some ghastly hour and he waited up all night to get it.

Seats are NEVER guaranteed. EVER. And to be frank, as the OP is a bronze member, neither should they be, especially in what is considered a premium seating area.

The false sense of entitlement here is as ridiculous as the OP thinking that he’s somehow special or got special treatment for being seated/allocated/scamming his way in to row 4.
Had he been more ‘realistic’ and chosen something between rows 6-10, it may have stuck, but I am neither concerned nor surprised he was moved from ‘emerald city’.
I completely respect your opinion, though I’m keen to clarify my point of view on these issues.

I don’t feel as though I scammed the system because I simply exercised my ability to access a service that was made available to me by Qantas.

Similarly, I don’t feel that Qantas wronged me by changing my seat at late notice. They similarly exercised their right to do so under the conditions of carriage.

I am not suggesting that this transaction was offensive, nor that it was contrary to my contractual entitlements as a fare-paying passenger.

What I did take offence to was the dishonesty shown by staff when they lied to me about the reason for my seat change. That’s because I feel that Qantas distinguishes themselves, in a low cost dominant market, as having a customer focused operating model. I felt my experience was inconsistent with that model, because I did not feel valued nor respected as their customer.

I appreciate your pragmatic explanation of the harsh realities of contract law and their application to this particular case. However, I do feel that the discussion had evolved beyond pedestrian parts of the conditions of carriage towards an interesting conversation about the realities of managing expectations when travelling on a full service airline with complex loyalty and operational obligations.
 

TheInsider

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What I did take offence to was the dishonesty shown by staff when they lied to me about the reason for my seat change. That’s because I feel that Qantas distinguishes themselves, in a low cost dominant market, as having a customer focused operating model. I felt my experience was inconsistent with that model, because I did not feel valued nor respected as their customer.
They haven't lied to you. It purely would've been to due to the weight and balance of the aircraft when you got moved at that point in time. You being changed seats would've not been done at the gate, it would've possibly been done at around -1hr prior to departure.
Gate staff have ZERO reason to move people out of their seats (they just want to get the flight out with minimal interaction from the passengers), unless they get told to by Load Control to do so.
IF there was a situation where on this SYD-MEL flight had a significant amount of more people added to it (which happens) at last minute, then the trim of the aircraft would change and those previously blocked seats may become available again.
I can tell you now no one lied to you about the reason as to why you got moved and there is no big conspiracy attached to it either. It's a simple transactional based solution.
Everything subsequent to the seating after that fact is a completely different discussion, as it would not be related to your concern.
Yes they could've moved you back into those seats IF they found out those seats were available again, but tbh, no one would've known that those seats may have been available again.
In terms of moving people front to back or back to front, it does happen, but it's more likely for a non-frequent flyer or low tier FQTV to get moved rather than a high tier FQTV.

TBH those people in row 4 could've also just allocated those seats themselves if they were in row 5/6/7/8 etc.

For example, if on a MEL-CBR lightly loaded flight 40 people, load control may call and tell the airport staff they need to move 20 from the front to the back and there is only 25 people up the front, then they will generally go from lowest tier to highest tier and move them out, if it's not possible or time constraints are in place, then they will move literally anyone in the forward zone. They will also stop selling business class too if it can't be changed around suitably.

For the reasons due to trim, there may be any amount of reasons like:
- Cargo door not working
- Fuel uplift
- Too many J class travellers
- Too many Y class in front
- Too many Y class in back
- Freight uplift
- Excessive amounts of baggage in the hold
- Too many children in one zone and too many adults in another zone.
- Weather conditions

EDIT:
Just wait until you get into DH8/B717 territory, they will literally ask for ONE person to move from front to back, or back to front to get the trim right! A child not marked as a child (but as an adult) could have an effect of taking off baggage of a flight because they are overweight!
 
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MEL_Traveller

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Similarly, I don’t feel that Qantas wronged me by changing my seat at late notice. They similarly exercised their right to do so under the conditions of carriage.

I am not suggesting that this transaction was offensive, nor that it was contrary to my contractual entitlements as a fare-paying passenger.

What I did take offence to was the dishonesty shown by staff when they lied to me about the reason for my seat change.

I’m not sure all of these statements can be true!

Either Qantas did move you for operational reasons, and were therefore adhering to the conditions of carriage, or they did not. If QF was telling porkies that implies the reasons for moving you may not have been operational.

‘Operational requirements’ are not defined in the contract of carriage so they would be given their ordinary meaning... to do with the actual operation of the aircraft, including the safety of the plane itself, crew or passengers.

Moving a passenger for weight and balance, moving a passenger with specific needs closer to a WC, or a a child to sit with a parent... all could be examples of operational reasons, ie to do with the actual operation of the aircraft or the safety of the flight or passengers.

Moving someone to make way for a status passenger is therefore unlikely to be ‘operational’. I guess you could have a VVIP requiring certain seats for security, but that’s probably not too common.

The real issue is what right of redress do you have? Almost none in a practical sense. If you paid for a specific seat, such as a bulkhead, exit, ‘upfront’ or aisle and didn’t get one, you’d be entitled to your money back. Not much else. The rest would be up to customer service.
 

ole nimeton

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Reminds me of pre covid flight, boarding just before doors closed I find a somewhat scantily dressed lady in ‘my allocated bulkhead seat'. She appeared ‘surprised’ she was in ‘my’ seat, made some excuse and smiling/batting eyelids informed me that I could sit in her seat as she was already settled in.
I was in business to New Zealand a few years ago and upon boarding found an entitled middle age women, dripping in jewellery, sitting in my window seat. I politely queried it with the woman who insisted it was her seat and I didn't know what I was talking about. I then looked at the cabin crew who didn't seem in the mood for an argument and told me to sit in the woman's aisle seat. Needless to say, I was about as dirty with the crew as I was with the woman for the rest of the flight.

Wouldn't have minded sitting in the aisle if it was handled with any element of politeness from the woman or apology from the crew, but it wasn't.
 
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kpro

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I've been bumped from my forward row Y seat as a status passenger in order for a couple to sit together. Wasn't really given a choice, but at least they paged me in the lounge prior to boarding.

They didn't stick me at the back though, so I thought "fair enough" and took the new BP.
 

suze2000

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but it obviously won't help telling a passenger that they have been moved to make way for a VIP.
No, it wouldn't.

What airlines don't seem to care about is that everyone considers themselves to be a VIP in their own head. Or maybe more meek people don't, I don't know, but speaking for myself, *I* am the most important person to me, particularly in stressful, airport situations. I am at least honest enough with myself to know this about myself. I'd seriously expect it to be spelled out to me why *that* person was more important than me. And if that sounds self-involved, you betcha sweet patootie that I am that person, and age has not diminished that.

ETA: further along in the thread @hmmm suggested the OP gamed the system and got what he deserved when the system gamed him right back.

THIS WHOLE FORUM IS CENTRED AROUND GAMING THE SYSTEM. All the credit card threads, status run threads etc etc are for exactly this purpose. Sure there are people here with genuinely earned status who never use any of those schemes to increase their points balance or status, but there are also a significant number who do/have. I don't see how the OP was doing any different when trying to get the best seats he could for his money.
 
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Seat0B

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They haven't lied to you. It purely would've been to due to the weight and balance of the aircraft when you got moved at that point in time. You being changed seats would've not been done at the gate, it would've possibly been done at around -1hr prior to departure.
Gate staff have ZERO reason to move people out of their seats (they just want to get the flight out with minimal interaction from the passengers), unless they get told to by Load Control to do so.
IF there was a situation where on this SYD-MEL flight had a significant amount of more people added to it (which happens) at last minute, then the trim of the aircraft would change and those previously blocked seats may become available again.
I can tell you now no one lied to you about the reason as to why you got moved and there is no big conspiracy attached to it either. It's a simple transactional based solution.
Everything subsequent to the seating after that fact is a completely different discussion, as it would not be related to your concern.
Yes they could've moved you back into those seats IF they found out those seats were available again, but tbh, no one would've known that those seats may have been available again.
In terms of moving people front to back or back to front, it does happen, but it's more likely for a non-frequent flyer or low tier FQTV to get moved rather than a high tier FQTV.

TBH those people in row 4 could've also just allocated those seats themselves if they were in row 5/6/7/8 etc.

For example, if on a MEL-CBR lightly loaded flight 40 people, load control may call and tell the airport staff they need to move 20 from the front to the back and there is only 25 people up the front, then they will generally go from lowest tier to highest tier and move them out, if it's not possible or time constraints are in place, then they will move literally anyone in the forward zone. They will also stop selling business class too if it can't be changed around suitably.

For the reasons due to trim, there may be any amount of reasons like:
- Cargo door not working
- Fuel uplift
- Too many J class travellers
- Too many Y class in front
- Too many Y class in back
- Freight uplift
- Excessive amounts of baggage in the hold
- Too many children in one zone and too many adults in another zone.
- Weather conditions

EDIT:
Just wait until you get into DH8/B717 territory, they will literally ask for ONE person to move from front to back, or back to front to get the trim right! A child not marked as a child (but as an adult) could have an effect of taking off baggage of a flight because they are overweight!
Your explanation takes me back to my days as an Air Movements Officer for the RAAF - I once had to individually weigh every passenger and bag (rather than using standard weights), and do exotic manual calculations of very specific seat allocations to get everyone who needed to be on a particular Caribou sortie on board after a late addition of extra UNDA freight. I did it, but boy was it complex!
 

jjonnboy

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I was in business to New Zealand a few years ago and upon boarding found an entitled middle age women, dripping in jewellery, sitting in my window seat. I politely queried it with the woman who insisted it was her seat and I didn't know what I was talking about. I then looked at the cabin crew who didn't seem in the mood for an argument and told me to sit in the woman's aisle seat. Needless to say, I was about as dirty with the crew as I was with the woman for the rest of the flight.

Wouldn't have minded sitting in the aisle if it was handled with any element of politeness from the woman or apology from the crew, but it wasn't.
I love my window esp to/from NZ. Unless there was a physical issue that she needed to be there i would not have acceded to any change. I have made that mistake before, and very occasionally hear from my wife on that. :cool:
 

ole nimeton

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I love my window esp to/from NZ. Unless there was a physical issue that she needed to be there i would not have acceded to any change. I have made that mistake before, and very occasionally hear from my wife on that. :cool:
No physical issue, she just decided that she wanted/was entitled to my seat. Unfortunately, I think it would have caused a prolonged incident if I had made an issue out of it as selfish woman wasn't budging. I like my window seat too (especially to/from NZ), so all in all, I think the cabin crew could have been a little bit more grateful for my willingness to move. Ah well.
 

jakeseven7

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No physical issue, she just decided that she wanted/was entitled to my seat. Unfortunately, I think it would have caused a prolonged incident if I had made an issue out of it as selfish woman wasn't budging. I like my window seat too (especially to/from NZ), so all in all, I think the cabin crew could have been a little bit more grateful for my willingness to move. Ah well.

Yea the problem is when the crew give you a direction it’s all over.... You can only take it up with customer service post flight.
 

RichardMEL

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I've been bumped from my forward row Y seat as a status passenger in order for a couple to sit together. Wasn't really given a choice, but at least they paged me in the lounge prior to boarding.

They didn't stick me at the back though, so I thought "fair enough" and took the new BP.
This kind of grinds my gears tbh.

Why?

You're not ASKED.

9/10 times when I have been asked to move - either my an agent or on board by pax or a crew member politely I move. I have no problem with couples sitting together or whatever. I've even offered a few times seeing people split up (due to late upgrades, whatever) and them being reasonable and not making a big deal for a 2 hour flight but I notice and if doesn't result in a worse seat for me or whatever I am more than happy to make that offer and change or move if requested.

But the thing that is worse than an entitled so-and-so taking one's seat under the posession is 9/10 of the law type thing is when an agent decides that a pax can move because others either did not sort out their own seat assignments, or whatever and because some folks showed up and asked if they could sit together so agent tells them "ok leave it with me" or whatever and then decides to move another pax to make this happen without asking/ No That is worse. Now kpro doesn't say they weren't asked first, but it is implied by my way of reading.

I get customer service wanting to make people happy but there has to be a line and for a flight goodness me people can suck it up if they're not sitting together can't they? Are we not all adults? Or perhaps, like many others, couple could have got on board and *asked* politely.

Those are not, in my view, operational reasons to move people. Air Marshals, UM's, W&B, sure.. I can go with that...

but heavens is it too hard to just ASK a customer if it is OK? Most people are reasonable in these situations but show some respect and ask rather than just assume it is OK. Yes, I get it if I am in 5A and moved to 7A well big whoop a window is a window. What if a 9A and there's no window (on the 737?) or what if I've been moved to 8B? or 14C? The person being moved surely has the same rights as the requesters I would think, hence ask.

I know, airlines can do what they like and it wouldn't be worth making a scene about but I do think some agents DO take it upon themselves at times to do things that perhaps on reflection could be handled better. IMO.
 

jb747

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If you ask it implies that the person can say no. I'm not sure that option actually exists.
 
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Matt_01

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This kind of grinds my gears tbh.

Why?

You're not ASKED.

9/10 times when I have been asked to move - either my an agent or on board by pax or a crew member politely I move. I have no problem with couples sitting together or whatever. I've even offered a few times seeing people split up (due to late upgrades, whatever) and them being reasonable and not making a big deal for a 2 hour flight but I notice and if doesn't result in a worse seat for me or whatever I am more than happy to make that offer and change or move if requested.

But the thing that is worse than an entitled so-and-so taking one's seat under the posession is 9/10 of the law type thing is when an agent decides that a pax can move because others either did not sort out their own seat assignments, or whatever and because some folks showed up and asked if they could sit together so agent tells them "ok leave it with me" or whatever and then decides to move another pax to make this happen without asking/ No That is worse. Now kpro doesn't say they weren't asked first, but it is implied by my way of reading.

I get customer service wanting to make people happy but there has to be a line and for a flight goodness me people can suck it up if they're not sitting together can't they? Are we not all adults? Or perhaps, like many others, couple could have got on board and *asked* politely.

Those are not, in my view, operational reasons to move people. Air Marshals, UM's, W&B, sure.. I can go with that...

but heavens is it too hard to just ASK a customer if it is OK? Most people are reasonable in these situations but show some respect and ask rather than just assume it is OK. Yes, I get it if I am in 5A and moved to 7A well big whoop a window is a window. What if a 9A and there's no window (on the 737?) or what if I've been moved to 8B? or 14C? The person being moved surely has the same rights as the requesters I would think, hence ask.

I know, airlines can do what they like and it wouldn't be worth making a scene about but I do think some agents DO take it upon themselves at times to do things that perhaps on reflection could be handled better. IMO.
@RichardMEL is that you. Normally when you go off on your dissertations your comments are are thought through. I am surprised that a comment such as "I've been bumped from my forward row Y seat as a status passenger in order for a couple to sit together." set you off. What is "my forward row Y seat as a status passenger" for all you know this could be some PS or NB member in R15 on a narrow body pushed to R23. As an aside talking to some in the office who do not fly apparently NB is higher status than QP members as they have to pay.

You are high enough up the QF food chain to know that if called to the QF service desk it is normally to:
  • ask if you are willing to move seats
  • the lounge staff have moved your seating, Y to J, or
  • let you know there is an issue with the flight (not yet announced) and they are working on it.
 

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