Recently United Airlines has been in the news after forcibly removing a passenger from a flight. I flew United in January and no one was removed but we were asked to switch seats. Similar scenario as United Airlines Flight #3411, as no one was willing to but I wonder what would have happened if someone did?
It’s no stranger to get on a flight and find someone in your seat. Most times people mistakenly sit in the wrong seat or misread their boarding pass. In my recent flight, someone wanted to trade seats with me but decided to sit in my seat anyway. I would have appreciated it if the customer sat in their own seat and then asked me once I arrived but they took it upon themselves to sit there anyway. When the customer asked could we switch seats I responded with a quick No! I was not interested sitting in a middle seat when I paid extra for an aisle seat. The customer was not pleased with my response and asked around for others to switch and no one responded. Eventually, one of the flight attendants came to the back of the plane (where the cheap seats are) and asked would anyone be willing to trade. She said the customer was “claustrophobic” and would anyone be willing to assist.
Eventually, a young lady offered to give up her aisle seat in exchange for the middle seat next to me. United treated the young lady to extra goodies on the flight for her kindness and they did the same for the “claustrophobic” customer. I don’t think the customer was claustrophobic at all they just booked a cheap uncomfortable seat and thought someone would be compassionate and trade seats. Clearly, I wasn’t feeling very compassionate that day.
Now on my flight, United didn’t offer anything to entice us to switch seats but thinking of flight #3411 the airline offered $800 to $1000 in flight vouchers. Keep in mind we are here to learn how to save money and a $1000 voucher will save a lot on travel. Especially when United needed 4 seats, that $4000 in travel vouchers! If I was on flight #3411 I would have jumped at the chance to secure the voucher and negotiated more if possible. If you ever find yourself in this type of situation be prepared to negotiate if you can stand to change your flight. You can end up putting a lot of extra money in your pocket, unlike United which has lost millions in value as a result of this fiasco. Check out the video of the situation on flight #3411 below.