A first look at my new book, Grappling with the Gray
On 7 September 2019, a United Airline passenger asked to move from his crowded row to an unoccupied row further up. He was not requesting a first-class seat, but merely to take an identical economy seat a few rows forward.
He was told no. Those seats, he was informed, were for Economy Plus customers who paid a premium so they could board early and have access to seats closer to the cabin door. To let a regular economy passenger take one of those seats would not be fair to the customers who had paid for them.
The customer messaged the airline, arguing that the seats were empty, and all the passengers had boarded. No one would lose anything by allowing him to move; indeed, other passengers – both him and his crowded neighbors – could have a more pleasant flight.
The airline responded with this message:
The customers who choose to pay for Economy Plus are then afforded that extra space. If you were to purchase a Toyota, you would not be able to drive off with a Lexus, because it was empty.
Who is right – the passenger or the airline?