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Honesty with customers (seat blocks)

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Bofter

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Now a platinum shadow is clearly not a published benefit, so there is no obligation to provide one. I am sure there are difficult customers, and I don't think I am right up the scale, so I am disappointed to be lied to, twice about a platinum shadow.

Keen followers of my posts (which is quite possibly no one) will know that my seat allocation for today got mucked around. I wouldn't normally request a shadow but today I did.
"Yes I've done that for you" - except you haven't and perhaps don't realise there are a couple of tools I can use to tell that.
So after a few minutes (bathroom visit) called back to pleasantly provide a prompt.
Quick check, then "yes that's already done"

I am pleased that Virgin's check in systems have been upgraded to do highly intuitive gesture or voice control as normally this action would have required some keystrokes or mouse clicks and then actually show the seat as not vacant.

So I look forward to anticipation to my magically blocked seat, also known as just a no one has selected it yet so it is vacant anyway seat. I just hope that this magic non-block sticks.
 

notzac

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I don't know why they'd bother to lie about it - the systems are capable of blocking seats and I'm told it's not difficult to do..?

Edit:

"Yes I've done that for you" - except you haven't and perhaps don't realise there are a couple of tools I can use to tell that.

I wonder if you mean by using Expert Flyer - I was of the understanding that the seat maps in EF show the seat map according to the reservation system, not the boarding system - if that's true, and assuming the staff member didn't just fob you off and actually blocked the seat per your request, perhaps that might explain why you haven't seen any change in what you were using to check?
 

markis10

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I don't know why they'd bother to lie about it - the systems are capable of blocking seats and I'm told it's not difficult to do..?

Unfortunately VA gate agents are a power to themselves and happily shift passengers to override those blocks and often to do favours for friends, they are the biggest obstacle to Virgin attracting the type of customers they need.
 

notzac

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Unfortunately VA gate agents are a power to themselves and happily shift passengers to override those blocks and often to do favours for friends, they are the biggest obstacle to Virgin attracting the type of customers they need.

Agreed wholeheartedly! :(
 

eastwest101

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Agreed wholeheartedly! :(

Often on two consecutive legs the vacant empty seat promised next to me vanishes by the time I get on the 2nd flight of the day, seems to happen more towards the front of the Y cabin, I have learned and now quite often request/select a seat quite far back and have had a bit better luck there, when the VA online seat selection works (which is also a bit hit & miss).

It must be annoying for VA Plats though, since I am only Gold myself I don't expect it nor get too bent out of shape about it if the flight is fairly full. I do feel sorry for the Plats in Row 3 who seem to quite often get a NB slotted into 3B or 3E at the last minute thus destroying two Plat shadows in one fell swoop - according to reports often seen on here.
 

Bofter

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For now the magical non block is holding (have boarded). It was definitely vacant and not yellow on the gate check in screen, so we can rule out it being a change in how blocks show up.

By the way, this was a lounge agent, not gate agent.
 

markis10

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For now the magical non block is holding (have boarded). It was definitely vacant and not yellow on the gate check in screen, so we can rule out it being a change in how blocks show up.

By the way, this was a lounge agent, not gate agent.

The lounge folk are the angels, the gate agents the devils.
 

notzac

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For now the magical non block is holding (have boarded). It was definitely vacant and not yellow on the gate check in screen, so we can rule out it being a change in how blocks show up.

Thanks for confirming that .. hope the [-]block[/-]empty seat stays empty!
 

banana0692

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How do you request a seat block? I am VA plat and called a couple times about it and was told they do not do it?
 

Bofter

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I have never tried over the phone, only in the lounge and only if it doesn't look like a full flight. I also don't request one if I have a bulkhead type seat as I am happy with just the one bonus. The success rate is highly variable - sometimes the flight is too full to do it, sometimes the seat isn't free at that point (eg. 1hr before departure), sometimes it is done but reversed (eg. gate agents). Tonight was a first for me as far as I know - being told twice it was done when it wasn't; if it isn't possible due to loads, just say so!
 
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90% of the time I'll get a row 3 seat window or aisle seat. It's a nice perk, but agreed, not an automatic right. Rarely get a shadow. That's all fine.

What does irritate me a bit is that off the main trunk routes, it's a lottery who gets seated next to you cause plats and golds may be few on say, MCY - MEL.

On my last flight to MCY two old dears in their 80s were in 3A & 3B and off to MCY for 10 days and spent 2.5hrs discussing their medical ailiments (particularly their feet), their uncaring kids/grandchilden, and the curried sausages one of them had stashed in her luggage for dinner the next two nights. Oh, and they needed to buy milk that afternoon and plans were made for this. I know all this cause I had to listen to it all for 2.5 hours. A week or two prior to that, ex OOL, I had a mother and adult son combo who clearly came from the bogan side of the family no-one talks about. I will not start on them.

I really don't care what your FF status is, but if you are going to sit up the front with the grown ups, can you please sit quietly, stay in your own space, and just be normal. Read a book. You do not need to access your bag in the overhead five times in ninety minutes.

And that's my row 3 rant for the day.
 

cssaus

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What about seat blocking on VA international flights, any successes?
 

dk4

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Unfortunately VA gate agents are a power to themselves and happily shift passengers to override those blocks and often to do favours for friends, they are the biggest obstacle to Virgin attracting the type of customers they need.
Their FAs do them no favours either.

On one flight I had a uniformed FA sitting in the aisle, me at the window, empty in the middle. During boarding an off duty non-uniformed FA saw the empty seat (know he was one due to ensuing conversation with the uniformed one) and he said he would come back and sit there once we were in the air.

Sorry Virgin, comprehensive failure.

Now I quite often sit next to QF staff (or family) on QF, but I have come to the conclusion that this occurs because the empty seat next to me is the last to be allocated, and a standby staff traveller gets it on an otherwise full flight, so fair enough.

But it is becoming clear that (as well as GAs) Virgin's FAs have not been read the riot act about seat allocation, and making sure their best customers get maximum comfort on any given flight.
 

bullerdude

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Last time I requested a shadow in the lounge I was told that the seats were already blocked for Platinum customers and that no one else would be allocated unless they were Platinum.

Low and behold... once on the plane the seat was taken by a non-member :-/ There were also plenty of seats free in the rows behind...

Amateur hour continues are Virgin... very little care for their higher-value customer.
 

MelUser

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On any airline there is no such thing as a blocked seat once the flight comes under Airport Control - for most airlines in the 24 hours before takeoff, the flight management is taken from reservations and given to "airport control". All shadows/blocks etc can be easily overriden.

For all the things I prefer - eg: business class passengers in business class lounges, first class passengers in first class lounges, status/qantas club etc economy class passengers in "special lounges" I do not believe that an airline should have to keep a free unsold seat next to an "important" passenger!
 

notzac

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Last time I requested a shadow in the lounge I was told that the seats were already blocked for Platinum customers and that no one else would be allocated unless they were Platinum.

I suspect the staff member confused the difference between what the online check-in system allows vs. what ground staff at the airport can do. Like you said .. amateur hour. :rolleyes:

On any airline there is no such thing as a blocked seat once the flight comes under Airport Control - for most airlines in the 24 hours before takeoff, the flight management is taken from reservations and given to "airport control". All shadows/blocks etc can be easily overriden.

Seat blocks in Sabre (don't know about Amadeus, but I assume it's the same) are managed by the airport control systems - so yes, seats *can* be blocked by ground staff, but are probably overridden by other ground staff. :(

I do not believe that an airline should have to keep a free unsold seat next to an "important" passenger!

Whyever not? Unsold seats aren't earning any revenue and I think it's fair to say that almost anyone would enjoy having a seat free next to them - why not have those empty seats next to people that pay you the most money?
 
D

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Not exactly a shadow issue, but indicates VA does seem to have seating problems....

I preselected 1A BNE-MKY a couple of weeks back and when I boarded, a lady was already in 1C. I jokingly made the comment about "sorry, I bet you thought you had a shadow". The lady said she had hoped so as her mother was back in 2F. Of course I had no issue about swapping with her, but I was somewhat amazed as all of row 2 just had just that 1 seat occupied but VA wouldn't allow her to move back to be with her mother until everyone had boarded. So in the end, all of row 1 was full and I was the only pax in row 2. Suited me....I'm actually of the belief row 2 beats row 1 all hands down! You can stretch out but why on earth did VA not allow her to move? A business class pax and surely they can check the manifest!
 

MelUser

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I think I was misunderstood - I was trying to make the point that an airline should be permitted to sell all seats, IE that there shouldnt be an expectation that an airline can't sell all seats.
 
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medhead

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I think I was misunderstood - I was trying to make the point that an airline should be permitted to sell all seats, IE that there shouldnt be an expectation that an airline can't sell all seats.

Misunderstanding all around it seems. No one has suggested the airline can't sell all seats. Keeping an unsold empty seat next to a given passenger is not the same as not selling a seat.
 

Ausbt

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On the specific occasions I've been advised "I'll block a seat for you" (unrequested and unprompted), it hasn't happened. I want to throw this one out there though: how do you WPs feel about random non-status pax just sitting in your shadow at the pointy end regardless? Had that happen to me a few weeks ago when I was in 3D. The WP (presumably) in 3F just invited a random to sit in 3E. They hadn't met before and were simply continuing a conversation started in the airport. Nice to make new friends of course, but a bit of a PITA and I just ended up moving as I really didn't want to listen to loud conversation all flight. No big deal of course, but one we can remember for the future when status drops off - just grab 3B or 3E as there is a chance they will be free anyway!
 
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